Update: Admiral Safeway proposal unveiled tonight


(view from the northeast – if you were looking down from a helicopter high over Admiral Starbucks – click for larger version)
Even before tonight’s community meeting, the folks at Safeway cautioned that what they are showing tonight is more their “vision” for the sight than what they will take to the Design Review Board next week — since there’s a set procedure for those meetings, reviewing three options for general size, shape, layout, etc. But nonetheless, it’s our first look at what they are hoping to build on their current store site that takes up the southern half-plus of the block fronting California and 42nd between Admiral and Lander: a bigger new store, plus more than 30 residential units, and a separate small retail building on the northwest corner of the lot. Just ahead, three more views (all four are courtesy Fuller/Sears Architects), plus Safeway’s description of its hopes and dreams (followed by our bullet points from tonight’s meeting:

You can see the larger version of each of these images by clicking it. First, the view from the southeast – if you were over the Walnut/Lander end of Hiawatha, looking down over the Safeway site:


Next, from the southwest (if you were looking toward the site from the corner with the Admiral Junction mail/travel storefront):


And finally, the entry, along California (this would be the view if you were standing in front of Lafayette Elementary across the street)


Here’s Safeway’s explanation of the project (we will add our meeting notes shortly):

Our architects have worked to compliment and celebrate the uses and style of the surrounding community while producing a design concept that will meet Safeway’s objectives for a store to best serve its customers.

The preferred scheme will:

* Enhance and enliven the California Avenue street frontage with retail shops, outside seating and articulated Safeway entrances.
* Reflect the residential character and scale along 42nd Ave with residential units adjacent to the grocery store.
* Provide a landscape buffer facing the Hiawatha Playfield along the storefront looking into the grocery.
* Clearly define entrances and convenient access for pedestrians and cars.
* Provide more density while minimizing the impacts of parking and loading.
* Minimize surface parking by providing screened rooftop parking.

The design for this project is still preliminary and building materials and colors are yet to be selected.

All this was unveiled to a community meeting tonight, attended by a few dozen people at Hiawatha Community Center.

The Safeway reps said the store itself will be about 58,000 square feet, 50 percent bigger than the current one (38,000 sf). It’ll be what they call a “Safeway Elite” store because of that size. It will have 72 surface parking spaces and 150 on the roof of the store, about 30 of which will be reserved for apartment residents; the site’s surface lot currently has 178 parking spaces. (Here’s the project’s official city webpage.)

As you can see in the last rendering above, the midblock entry on California will be designed to have more of a pedestrian-friendly feel than the current site. To its north, the retail building (somewhat reminiscent of the Tully’s corner store by Thriftway in Morgan Junction, though larger) will be about 7,000 square feet (“too small for Trader Joe’s,” someone joked), possibly the right size for coffee shop/restaurant type uses. The tallest part of the proposed development would be 4 stories near its southeast corner, with 3 stories predominant on the rest of the site.

Not too much controversy, except for two points: One, the fact that the California/Lander (southwest) corner of the store will have an entrance dropping down about 10 feet – it will have accessibility accommodations, of course, but still drew some concern; two, a truck entrance on the east side. That side of the property currently includes a house, on land that would have to be rezoned for the project to go forward in its entirety. City approval also will be required for an alley “vacation.” Construction noise and traffic will be a concern for those in the surrounding neighborhoods, as always with a project of this size, particularly with an elementary school right across the street — Safeway reps say they haven’t talked to Lafayette yet but plan to.

Construction timetable: If everything went perfectly quickly, Safeway says, the earliest this could be done would be the first part of 2011. Whenever all the permits are in and everything is ready to start, they expect “teardown to grand opening” to take about 16 months.

What happens now: The Southwest Design Review Board will get its first look at the Admiral Safeway project next Thursday night, 6:30 pm at the Southwest Precinct meeting room; public comment is welcome, as long as it relates to the design aspects of the project. (Right afterward, at 8 pm Thursday, the board gets its next and possibly final look at Link, the Harbor Properties proposal for 38th/Alaska.)

17 Replies to "Update: Admiral Safeway proposal unveiled tonight"

  • Diane September 18, 2008 (11:11 pm)

    I was very impressed with their presentation tonight, appreciate that Safeway made a point of first showing all the details of this project to the community, with plenty of time for questions/feedback; they seem very open & responsive; thrilled to see them making this more upscale, “green”, encouraging pedestrian & outdoor cafe activity; my only disappointment is that the process will take so long, due to all the city requirements for alley vacation and code change, glad to hear the architects have lots of experience navigating through the process; just wish this could magically replace the current building now; can hardly wait to see this come to fruition

  • GenHillOne September 18, 2008 (11:13 pm)

    I had envisioned the apts./condos running along the south side of the complex. Seems like that would be a real selling point. How nice to look out at the park…rather than in Jan’s window (and vice versa!) :)

  • Diane September 18, 2008 (11:59 pm)

    it would also be good if Safeway would fully inform their employees re what is happening; I recognized some employees at the meeting tonight, but when I went food shopping after the meeting, the checker was pretty clueless about the project and seemed a bit panicked about when/where she’ll be transferred, fearing she’ll have to find new place to live, etc; she was asking me when the new store would be built

  • JanS September 19, 2008 (3:43 am)

    GHO…thanks for the concern…lol…yes, I had envisioned that, too. But it seems that they think that it would more blend in with the “residential” that is on 42nd SW,,,oh, well…

    I actually liked what they presented this evening. It’ll be interesting to see if it changes much before final approval….

  • sea-sea September 19, 2008 (4:06 am)

    when they talk about adding sidewalk cafe(s)lets hope they don’t do something tacky like sticking it right by the front door or in front of where people park…hope they really think these things out..Also…perhaps a different sort of entrance across from Hiawatha for all those wired teen-agers that will for sure be coming there to spend their money..keep them from coming through the main entrance!!! Then play classical music outside the door so they don’t hang around and bother other people! Also: If this store is going to be here for a while-lets use some nice stone work for the architecture…and a little color wouldn’t hurt in such a dismal climate…but having said that, I am happy they are changing that area.

  • Stacey September 19, 2008 (7:22 am)

    I was hoping to NOT see anymore condos or apartments. The Admiral Safeway is congested enough already. Oh well. Hopefully it will all work out.

  • Dave's All-American September 19, 2008 (8:34 am)

    Man, this would be a VAST improvement over the nearly block-long blank-wall-and-asphalt desert we have now. Yes, I think the condos would be cooler if they faced the park, but having them face the other housing definitely helps complete the residential street. Too bad they can’t build both – or can they? As for the congestion issue, giving people the choice of living across the street from a park, above shopping and next to bus stops is the surest way to minimize extra car trips. Those same residences spread out evenly across the neighborhood/city/region would create nothing but car trips. This is a good proposal. Doesn’t mean it can’t be improved, but somebody clearly spent some time thinking about this.

  • big gulps,eh? well, see ya later. September 19, 2008 (8:40 am)

    it is a huge improvement over the current situation. Roof parking is a must. I like the pedestrian walkway with the shops on the north side of the property. I think I understand why they have oriented the residential east. It does fit better with the neighborhood that way. All the glass on the California side will be very nice. It will give the shoppers an open air feel and the pedestrians won’t feel like they are up against the berlin wall like they are now.

  • mickeymouse September 19, 2008 (10:37 am)

    Not everyone is within walking distance, and the store will be twice the size and have less parking, go figure!
    How can someone shopping for a large family “walk home “with carts full of groceries?
    I hope it will be nicer and easier to get in and out of than the mess at Jefferson Square Safeway!

  • Gina September 19, 2008 (10:49 am)

    Aren’t the Lafayette parents going to protest the loss of the parking lot right by the corner? My goodness, they might have to walk a block or two!

    Whatever happened to all the boycotters?

  • Diane September 19, 2008 (11:44 am)

    re: “the store will be twice the size and have less parking”
    if you read the article, there will be more parking, not less; on the current street level area, and on the roof
    the designers are going to great lengths to encourage pedestrian activity, provide for folks who walk to the store, as well as those who drive, and trying to work with Metro for better bus access nearby
    the store will be 50% bigger, not twice as big
    the new store will be a much nicer, more open, with more amenities

  • homesweethome September 19, 2008 (12:22 pm)

    Vast improvement and mixed use is the only way to go – we live in a city, thanks for the thoughtful design process – I look forward to seeing more after design review.

  • JanS September 19, 2008 (12:24 pm)

    and for those concerned aobut all those wired teenagers, there will be a smaller entrance on the corner of Calif. Ave. and SW Lander, with stairs and a lift down to the main floor for disabled persons. I had no idea that there was a grade to the street going north to south, but they claim there is a very subtle one.

    Another thing that they emphasized at the meeting…these are initial drawings…they don’t take into consideration the materials that will be utilized, so right now the picture shows it as white, but it won’t really be that way. They haven’t even started the review process yet…there will be more to come, for sure.

  • Forest September 19, 2008 (1:45 pm)

    No disrespect to the proposed Safeway design scheme, which I find surprisingly creative and well-tailored to the Admiral neighborhood, but I’m a bit curious how Jefferson Square must have looked in its first design renderings. Compared to the prison block ambiance (my opinion) it ended up with, I imagine Jefferson Square also looked downright attractive and very neighborhood friendly in its conceptual drawings.

  • west side sun lover September 19, 2008 (2:57 pm)

    The Jefferson Square project was not developed by Safeway or Safeway in partnership with the separate developer. They just signed the lease after the project was designed. Therefore, it is not really fair to compare the two sites. Also, keep in mind that mixed-use developments have come a LONG way since when Jefferson Square was developed. I live within walking distance of the Admiral Safeway site and I am extremely excited to see it get a “2010 facelift”. The preliminary plans look to be a great compromise between residential density (required by the City – not proposed by Safeway), a larger more efficient store, retail and pedestrian areas all enveloped in a “greener” design. I’d like to say thanks for thinking of our neighborhood Safeway.

  • warJR September 19, 2008 (3:13 pm)

    Safeway and their architects did due diligence on this one. It complements the neighborhood plan and Admiral design guidelines. They did a good job on the streetscapes on SW Lander and 42nd SW.
    Also a good job on screening the rooftop parking.
    The project is in compliance with the height requirirements of the NC 2-40 zone. Thanks Safeway.

  • Arciteuthis September 25, 2008 (1:25 pm)

    I really like the idea of increasing the number of residential units so that another group facing toward the park could be included. Aside from that, it looks great according to the artist renderings. Hopefully they’ll stay true to the finished product.

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