It'll probably be two years before the store opens, but Hayes Valley is finally going to get a grocery store as Trader Joe's won its formula-retail exemption from the Board of Supervisors this week to move into 555 Fulton.
The neighborhood has been pushing to get a grocery store in the space for years, and as SFist noted a few weeks ago, this space had been slated to be a new location for Portland-based New Seasons Market — a company chosen for its size, because it would have skirted around the formula-retail rule of fewer than 11 locations worldwide. But after New Seasons scrapped its California expansion plans, Trader Joe's came back to the table, and Supervisor Vallie Brown had been trying to get this exemption passed.
As the SF Business Times reported Wednesday, getting permits for the store's conditional use construction will easily push a potential opening well into 2021, but we'll see!
Brown had been pushing for a store that had affordable prices given the fact that a large stretch of Fulton Street in this part of the Western Addition/Hayes Valley is low-income housing. As she told the Chronicle, "Hayes Valley is a thriving shopping district, but people forget that the median household income on the north side of Fulton is $24,041, and over one-third of the residents that live there live below the poverty line. It’s important to bring in a grocery store that’s affordable and offers fresh, organic food."
Chinese real estate developer Z&L Properties has been developing 555 Fulton for over five years, with a design by local architect Stanley Saitowitz/Natoma Architects. The 25,000-square-foot space is the largest retail space in the building, and was intended from the get-go as a grocery store, which the neighborhood badly needs. This will be TJ's seventh location in San Francisco.
Rendering via Natoma Architects