Whole Foods Will Replace Safeway As Part Of Encina Grande Remodeling

The shopping center in eastern Walnut Creek is undergoing an $18 million renovation starting next spring

The Encina Grande Shopping Center in Walnut Creek will be renovated starting next spring
The Encina Grande Shopping Center in Walnut Creek will be renovated starting next spring
An $18 million remodeling of the Encina Grande Shopping Center will begin in a few months.

As part of that endeavor, Whole Foods Market will replace Safeway when that store moves across Ygnacio Valley Road to its proposed Orchards project.

The refurbishing of the center built in 1965 will be done in four stages. The first phase is scheduled to begin next spring.

Safeway's lease ends in summer 2015. The plans call for that store to be torn down and a new supermarket built in its place.

Whole Foods is expected to open in late 2016. The market will take over the two small retail spaces just west of the store as well as the current Walgreens facility.

Walgreens will move to the east end of the center, taking over the furniture store as well as Radio Shack and Papa Murphy's Pizza spaces. The drug store will also have a drive-through window.

Most of the other businesses, including Applebee's, Taco Bell, Rocco's Pizza and Ace Hardware, are expected to remain.

The redevelopment of the 9.5-acre site will also include structural upgrades and a new facade with less overhang to allow more sunshine on the storefronts.

The parking lot will also be repaved and re-striped. The lot will also get new LED lighting.

There will be new signs at the entrances of the center as well as an outdoor seating area for Whole Foods.

The plaza will also get wi-fi and charging outlets.

Officials at Regency Centers, the owners of Encina Grande, said the remodeling is needed because the center hasn't been updated since it opened 48 years ago.

"It really needs the upgrade," said Jenny Hess, senior leasing agent for Regency Centers.

One of the motivations for the renovation was the departure of Safeway. Both sides said they tried to renegotiate the lease but couldn't reach an agreement.

"It just didn't work out," said Hess.

Safeway officials released a statement, saying:

"We negotiated but couldn’t come to an agreement, so we elected to pursue other options that seemed to better meet our needs and allowed the landlord to pursue other tenants."

Whole Foods executives say they are excited about moving in.

Beth Krauss, the company's public relations coordinator for Northern California, said Whole Foods' development team chose the location at Ygnacio Valley Road and Oak Grove Road because of its high volume of traffic.

She added the move is part of a larger strategy for Whole Foods to fill in areas of the East Bay where the company currently isn't serving customers.

"We always like it when people don't have to drive as far to get to one of our stores," said Krauss.

srl99 December 11, 2013 at 09:17 AM
Time to fire the property "managers" who let the property fall into disrepair. Of course, you "lost" your anchor tenant - the place is a shambles!
Sadie Berkhimer December 11, 2013 at 10:19 AM
Along the same line of thinking, why didn't we citizens fire the "property managers" at the old downtown library before the place became a shambles? Why haven't we fired the "properly managers" of the town pool facilities before they became a shambles? I see a pattern here, ignore a problem long enough until the conditions are deplorable, then you have an "easy sell" to the public to get what you really want. Biggest problem is that both of these examples have/will cost us extra millions along the way. The owners of the shopping center are no different than the city council when dealing with the taxpaying public.....make it hurt and then the door is open for carte Blanche on development plans.
mlm2013 December 11, 2013 at 01:39 PM
So does this mean that the Safeway project at Shadelands has actually been approved? What if it's not approved, what is Safeway going to do? Maybe they are watching how Macerich does it downtown. And what does this mean for Nob Hill Foods? But on a positive note, with a new Whole Foods in town, this will free up some traffic in the LLHS area and the kids who drive will have better access to school during the upcoming construction at Broadway Plaza.


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