|The city's Planning Commission will meet tonight to consider a bid by South Bay Development Company for a new office building and retail complex at Bernal and Valley Avenues next to the I-680 freeway that would include a state-of-the-art Lifestyle Safeway Supermarket.
The proposed 65,000-square-foot store would anchor the 39-acre complex, which South Bay acquired in 2000 when the Bernal property was purchased from its long-time owner, the city of San Francisco.
The new Safeway would be designed to compete with the Whole Foods Market chain of stores that are attracting an increasing number of shoppers looking for healthy foods. Whole Foods recently announced that it will build a new store across from Hacienda Crossings in Dublin.
As proposed, the new Pleasanton Safeway would include a gas station and be a showcase retail operation to the site, which South Bay has named Pleasanton Gateway. The property already has been zoned for South Bay's earlier plan to build eight four-story office buildings on the site.
Now, behind the proposed Safeway and situated to the south roughly parallel to the freeway, South Bay plans to construct seven office buildings totaling 588,000 square feet and 59,506-square-feet of retail and commercial space on the Valley Avenue side of the site, across from the Shell station and Jack-in-the-Box fast food restaurant. The office buildings would include business, professional, medical and administrative offices and would be 66 feet in height, although still only four stories.
Safeway's store would range from 26 feet in height at the freeway to 38 feet at the entrance. Its loading dock would face the 680-Bernal Avenue off ramp and would be screened by landscaping from the freeway.
Safeway officials said the development proposal reflects their new store model as a "lifestyle" store. The grocery store and the service station would operate 24 hours a day. The gas station would have 10 fuel dispensers and an 880-square-foot employees/equipment building but no convenience market or car wash.
The seven smaller retail stores planned for the site could include a variety of businesses, such as a dry cleaners or a drug store. Although fast food restaurants are allowed in Pleasanton's Neighborhood Commercial zoning areas, as the site is zoned, South Bay told planners that no drive-through businesses are planned.
Tonight, Scott Trobbe of South Bay and representatives of Safeway are expected to review their plans with the Planning Commission. The meeting, which will start at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers, is billed as an informal workshop meeting with no formal actions to be taken, according to Marion Pavan, staff planner. Participation by the public is invited.
The new Safeway store proposed for Pleasanton would follow the same consumer formula as Whole Foods, which is now considered by supermarket analysts as the world's leading natural and organic foods supermarket and America's first national certified organic retailer.
Whole Foods recently opened a new store in Cupertino that at 68,000 square feet--or about the same size as the new store proposed by Safeway--is two-to-three times bigger than conventional supermarkets with 68,000-square-feet of specialty foods, including a dine-in Market Bistro, Culinary Center and over 200 seats for indoor/outdoor eating.
South Bay acquired the 39-acre parcel as part of the purchase of the Bernal property by Greenbriar Homes and associates in 2000 from the city of San Francisco. The Greenbriar consortium paid $126 million for the 510-acre parcel, with South Bay taking 39 of the acres. At the time, Greenbriar and KB Home received approvals to build 581 homes and apartments on their portion of the property, with an agreement that 318 acres would be given free of charge to the city of Pleasanton. The homes and apartments have been built, with a few still under construction west of the 680 freeway. Pleasanton is just now building three lighted baseball fields on its parkland.
South Bay, which had approval to build eight four-story office buildings, was granted an extension of its planning approval after the office market collapsed in 2001 and South Bay decided to postpone the construction project.
- Jeb Bing
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