New Safeway Will Take A Year To Build

The company is scheduling a complete teardown of the store at its present location.


You'll need to find your ingredients for life elsewhere beginning in June.

Safeway Grocery will be closing for nearly a year as the company upgrades its Millbrae location.

The present store at 525 El Camino Real will be completely demolished, and a new "Podium style" structure will take its place.

Demolition will begin just after Memorial Day, according to Millbrae Community Development Director Farhad Mortazavi. "The present plan is for the store to close June 4," according to Mortazavi. "Building the new store is expected to take approximately one year."

A drawing of the new building, attached to this article, shows the new store will sit on structural pillars, or podiums, with a parking lot underneath. In essence, the new store will sit up in the air, one level above 181 ground-level parking spaces. Currently, 92 parking spots are available.

Now 37,000 square feet, the new store will be 60 percent larger, some 59,000 square feet of red tag specials when complete.

Safeway hopes to make the store a destination location, and will include a coffee stand and bank outlet inside the store.

At least one item will from the present store be be retained. "The wall mosaic will remain," says Mayor Marge Colapietro. "In addition, they've assured us that the downtown construction that will occur will not get in the way of our Labor Day Art and Wine Festival."

The one year closure will mean a loss of an estimated $200,000 in retail tax dollars for the city.

Safeway is projecting a completion date of May 3, 2013. They say it will take two weeks to stock the store, and anticipate a grand opening of the new store May 17, 2013.

Mortazavi says Safeway is in the process of bidding out the contract work right now.

Other nearby stores in San Mateo County include outlets in South San Francisco and in Burlingame.

According to their website, there are 1,702 Safeway stores across the US and Canada. These include 312 Vons stores in Southern California and Nevada, 112 Randalls and Tom Thumb stores in Texas, 37 Genuardi's store in the Philadelphia area, as well as 17 Carrs stores in Alaska.

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Heidi Beck May 03, 2012 at 02:20 PM
I hope that underground parking will be carefully designed. The current lot is too narrowly striped. Underground will be darker and there will be a lot of columns -- if it's also too narrowly striped, that's just asking for trouble. I don't park in front of the store anymore -- I park away down the lot and walk because I have had my car dinged and seen way too many fender benders in that lot. I can only imagine what a mess that underground parking will be if it's not carefully designed.
Dave Colby (Editor) May 03, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Excellent point, Heidi. Some store parking lots seem to give you lots of room in their spaces, others are just too tight. Perhaps if Safeway corporate reads your thoughtful comment, they'll give the idea strong consideration.
Magellkell May 03, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I hope it's not dark and dreary like they seem to be making all these new Safeway's now.
Marilyn May 03, 2012 at 05:40 PM
It's nice to upgrade, but where are people going to do their shopping if they don't drive? Will some sort of shuttle be made available to help people with their shopping?
Dave Colby (Editor) May 03, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Also, Heidi, just to clarify, the parking won't be "underground." It will be parking "under" the raised building, so, parking, in essence, will be at street level. But your point about the width of the parking spaces is well taken. Thanks!
MikeP May 03, 2012 at 11:15 PM
I think the new Safeways are very nice (eg.in Hayward on Foothill, in Belmont at Ralston and El Camino, South Lake Tahoe). The drawing shows lots of windows, let's hope they are real! This store is long overdue for replacement. So glad they are able to keep the mural.
Heidi Beck May 04, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Thanks, Dave. I did make an error -- it's not underground, but it is covered parking, and between that and the pillars, there will be dark areas, as well as areas where there will be trouble with visibility due to sharp contrast in light and dark areas where some people will have trouble with their vision adjusting. I doubt Safeway corporate will give it any thought. The city will demand a certain number of parking spaces, and the architects will figure out a way to configure the lot. If they need to get the maximum number of spaces, they will stripe to the minimum width they are allowed. I'm just glad there will still be places to park farther out. I can only hope I will be pleasantly surprised that the covered parking is well lit and spacious, and with clear lines of sight for safety -- it might be nice on rainy days!
Cathy Campbell Hidalgo May 04, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I like the design of the Burlingame store, with parking above. I envision that this lot will become dirty and littered in no time, and how will that look at street level? Parking above or parking underground, but covered parking will not have ANY curb appeal. Let's hope that's not the case....
Marilyn May 08, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Second story shopping? Fine for a department store. Will there be an exit that get a person to the outside of the building without having to go through a parking lot? As for the extra parking, the only time I have ever seen the parking lot filled is the Labor Day Weekend at the Art and Wine Festival. Again, will there be some sort of shuttle that will help non-drivers or people without access to cars to go shopping at Luckys, which is the nearest market? Safeway is the only full market for shopping. Trader Joe's has some items, but not as much as Safeway


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