Whole Foods has submitted new plans to occupy the space that Best Buy vacated way back in 2017, as the grocer continues its now nearly-six-year quest to be the new anchor tenant at City Center plaza at Geary Boulevard and Masonic Avenue.
It was way back in September 2017 when the Best Buy at Geary and Masonic closed, but as Hoodline reported at the time, a new tenant was already lined up. And we learned within a month that the new tenant was a Whole Foods. But Whole Foods has had a whole lot of very San Francisco problems since then in getting open.
Board of Supervisors unanimously upheld this CEQA appeal yesterday. Whole Foods' proposed project at Geary/Masonic must go through environmental review and mitigate environmental impacts. https://t.co/72ABvQXjyo— Dean Preston (@DeanPreston) November 18, 2020
Originally, some sort of big-box store pissing match between the City Center’s Target and Whole Foods’s owner Amazon delayed things. The San Francisco Planning Commission did finally approve the new Whole Foods in June 2020, but that was appealed to the Board of Supervisors by some grocery worker’s unions in November 2020, and in true SF Board of Supervisors fashion, the board “directed the Planning Department to further analyze potential air quality impacts on sensitive receptors near the project site.”
Whole Foods, whole EIR?— Robert Fruchtman (@_fruchtose) June 27, 2022
The chain, applying to open a store in a vacant space at the shopping center at 2675 Geary Blvd, was denied a common sense CEQA Exemption in 2020 by the Board of Supes. Now SF Planning has announced that a full review will be performed. pic.twitter.com/3rLOsrrrVr
Whole Foods’ plans for the site are still in the works, though taking longer than the next George R.R. Martin book to complete. On Thursday, the grocery chain submitted their latest environmental impact report (EIR) to the SF Planning Commission detailing their plans to mitigate concerns over noise, traffic, and air quality.
There is a Bright Horizons daycare facility at City Center, so some of these concerns may be justified. Whole Foods said in the report they would add a “rooftop mechanical penthouse” which would house refrigeration equipment, a cooling tower, and their HVAC units. The Planning Department also concluded that pollution from diesel trucks “would be less than significant.”
“It was actually very interesting to see the large shopping center being retrofitted to accommodate a use like Whole Foods,” commissioner Kathrin Moore said Thursday. “And that is possible, given that sitting on level three [of the plaza] with the ability to create the proper ventilation, ducting system for refrigeration stuff. Glad to see it happen. Long overdue.”
Thursday’s action did not approve the Whole Foods moving into the 2675 Geary Boulevard plaza, it was just a hearing on Whole Foods’s latest draft of plans for the space. So it will still be years when (or even if) the grocer opens there. And a combination of blight and unfriendly architecture will leave that plaza feeling like a graveyard until then — a collection of concrete headstones that bring back memories of the former tenants Sears, Mervyn’s, Toys 'R' Us, and others.
Related: Target Griping Might Kill Masonic Boulevard Whole Foods [SFist]
Image: Alvin J. via Yelp