Pleasanton Weekly

News - February 18, 2011

Safeway starts construction on new 'Lifestyle' store

Civic leaders, executives join in groundbreaking

by Jeb Bing

As a massive assembly of earthmovers and bulldozers prepared to churn the dirt behind them, Safeway executives and civic leaders broke ground Feb. 10 for a new 58,000-square-foot "Lifestyle" supermarket at Bernal and Valley Avenues, next to the northbound I-680 Bernal Avenue off-ramp.

It will be the newest of 270 Safeway stores in the company's Northern California division, which like its corporate parent, Safeway Inc., is headquartered in Pleasanton. As Safeway's new Lifestyle-designated supermarket, it will have expanded meats, seafood, bakery and wine departments, featuring a large section of organic products and a large sandwich bar and customer seating area. More than 200 employees will staff the new store.

Last week's ceremony came exactly 70 years after Safeway opened its first Pleasanton store on Main Street in February 1941. Safeway plans to have the new store open by Thanksgiving, along with an array of restaurants, small retail shops and other services that will be part of the Pleasanton Gateway Center.

"I have to tell you that to be able to have this type of economic stimulus on this end of town and then the Staples Ranch property breaking ground at the other end is evidence that Pleasanton is back," said Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, who led off remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony.

"We are back," she emphasized. "We are going to recover from this recession and we're going to recover in a very strong way."

Because of its larger size and product offerings, including organic foods and fresh vegetables sections, the Lifestyle store also is expected to attract shoppers from other cities who now go to Whole Foods in San Ramon.

"Whole Foods, step aside," Hosterman said to the laughter of more than 50 community and Safeway leaders. "Pleasanton is going to have a store that is just going to knock your socks off!"

Facing Valley, the store will back onto the northbound I-680 off-ramp. Although larger and newer than the Pleasanton Safeway at Valley and Santa Rita Road, that popular store will remain open.

The 12-1/2 acre complex is part of a 39-acre site owned by South Bay Construction since the entire 510-acre Bernal parcel was purchased by a coalition of developers in 2000 from the city of San Francisco, which acquired the land in the 1930s. San Francisco's public utilities agency continues to own the water rights under the property along with a 3-acre undeveloped site on Old Bernal Road across from the Pleasanton Public Library.

Pleasanton Finance Director Emily Wagner said the fiscal impact to Pleasanton will add $123,000 to the city's general fund in the store's first year of operation and $285,000 a year after that.

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