While Trader Joe’s has not officially confirmed this, the developer who recently bought the property slated to become the Hayes Valley Trader Joe’s is claiming the new grocery store at 555 Fulton will be open by June 2024.
The saga of the Trader Joe’s supposedly opening in Hayes Valley dates back to well before the pandemic, as it was back in 2019 when Trader Joe’s announced their intention to put a store in the 555 Fulton building. Four years later, there is still no Trader Joe’s there.
But it’s not a story of typical San Francisco bureaucracy and red tape, instead the delay was largely due to San Francisco corruption. The Mohammad Nuru scandal revealed that billionaire developer Zhang Li, who was part of the building’s ownership group, had bribed Nuru with a $2,000 bottle of wine, a trip to China, a fancy tractor, and more. Li was arrested last December, and got a pretty lenient plea deal, though the scandal forced his real estate company to sell off the 555 Fulton property to a new owner.
The Chronicle reports that deal finally closed on September 29. But more significantly, that same Chronicle report notes that a representative for the property's new co-owner says that the Hayes Valley Trader Joe’s now has a target opening date of June 2024. Doing an exclusive interview with Aaron Chang of the new co-owner Avery Bays Real Estate, the Chronicle says that Chang "expects that the store will be open by June, but hopes that it will launch sooner."
"We believe that San Francisco will come back and we are committed to the Hayes Valley community," Chang said. "We are aggressively seeking other opportunities in San Francisco and are currently negotiating other commercial deals in the city."
Though we should note that Trader Joe’s did not confirm this potential opening date, in a statement they gave to the Chronicle.
“We remain eager to open a neighborhood grocery store serving the Hayes Valley community,” a Trader Joe’s spokesperson told the Chronicle. “Typically we announce new stores a few months prior to opening.”
Back in 2019, this proposed Trader Joe’s got a formula retail exception allowing it to move into the Fulton and Laguna streets location, before delays galore stalled the project. The building also contains 139 housing units, plus two more commercial spaces that Avery Bays Real Estate hopes to fill with restaurants.
Image via Fulton555SF.com