The North Beach Safeway permanently closed on Friday, and it could be a long time until the building near Fisherman's Wharf is repurposed.
Grocery Outlet had announced it wanted to open a store in Safeway's 350 Bay St. location, but news that the property owner is listing the site for sale has thrown a wrench into those plans.
Last month, Bill Coyle, vice president of Grocery Outlet's Northern California real estate division, said he visited the Safeway and reached out to the owners of the Northpoint Centre, Northpoint Investors, about negotiating a lease at the former Safeway site. Coyle said he had not heard back as of Tuesday.
But the shopping center might be a tough building to sell right now, Coyle said. “It could be months, maybe years,” before the site sells, he said.
“It’s a difficult time in San Francisco for commercial property owners, and it’s near Fisherman’s Wharf,” Coyle said. “[Foot] traffic is down. Tourism is down. It’s not the ideal time.”
Negotiating a lease at a building that is listed for sale could be a risky business decision, according to Coyle, who said $5 million would have to be invested into the site to make it work for the bargain retailer.
“They might have visions for what they want to do with the property,” Coyle said of its potential new owners.
The Safeway at 350 Bay St. was the largest grocery store in North Beach, and other than a nearby Trader Joe’s, the area is primarily served by corner stores and higher-end markets.
Northpoint Investors were contacted for comment via the building’s property manager, and company representatives did not respond to requests for comment by publication time.
Garrett Leahy can be reached at email@example.com