We have an update on the beleaguered, mostly empty NorthPoint Centre near Fisherman's Wharf, at the edge of North Beach, and its adjacent apartment complex, and it's good news for those in the neighborhood who miss having a full-service grocery store.
It was early April when we first heard that the Safeway near Fisherman's Wharf was set to close. The store then did close on schedule in late May, but a couple weeks shy of the closing the Chronicle reported that the whole NorthPoint Centre (350 Bay St.) and the connected NorthPoint Vistas apartments were for sale — with the property owner deciding to cash out rather than find a new anchor tenant or redevelop.
(We also learned that noted SF socialite and philanthropist Dede Wilsey and her family's trust were a minority owner of the property, which was managed by a firm called Wilsey Bennett.)
Now, the SF Business Times reports that the property has sold, with both the shopping center and the 72-unit apartment building going for $25.76 million. The buyer, San Jose-based Anchor Pacific Capital (APC), partnered with an unnamed family firm on the purchase. And APC's Anton Qiu tells the Business Times that they are "very long term on this" investment.
"It needs a lot of work, but we’re willing to put in more capital to make it work," Qiu says, speaking to the Business Times.
First on the agenda is finding a new grocery tenant, Qiu says, and the new owners reportedly have three they're in talks with. One is likely Grocery Outlet, which told the SF Standard it was already hoping to snag the space back in April. But we don't know who the other two are — and Trader Joe's surely isn't one of them, because they already have a store across the intersection at 401 Bay Street.
And the owners apparently are more interested in the fire-sale price they bought the complex for — the equivalent of $243,000 per apartment and $95 per square foot for the retail — than they are in doing a wholesale redevelopment anytime soon.
The NorthPoint Vistas apartments are in a building originally constructed in the 1920s, and the building had been a United Airlines call center before being converted to residential use about 15 years ago.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin, in whose district the complex lies, told the Chronicle back in May, "That kind of small suburban mall building typology was always a weird fit for North Beach." And, he added, "That little set of small mall shops on the way in were always kind of marginal even before the pandemic."
One of those small shops is a Subway sandwich shop which remains open, as does Asia Chinese Food.
"Our goal right now is to try and stabilize the center, to try to land another supermarket to activate the center for the neighborhood and Fisherman’s Wharf," Qiu tells the Business Times.
And Peskin tells the Business Times he's "cautiously optimistic there will be another grocery store to serve the people" of the neighborhood soon.
Photo: Google Street View