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Safeway in Fillmore District pushes closing date to 2025

A exterior of a Safeway with cars to the right.
A newly announced agreement will keep the Safeway store in San Francisco’s Fillmore District open through January 2025. | Source: Google Street View

An agreement to keep an embattled San Francisco Safeway store open through early next year has been reached, Mayor London Breed's office announced Monday.

The Fillmore District store was slated to close in March, but it will now shutter in January 2025 after discussions between the mayor, Safeway and property owner Align Real Estate over maintenance of services, including banking, food shopping and prescriptions.

“The Webster Street Safeway is more than a grocery store—it serves as a space that brings together and builds community for the Fillmore neighborhood, which is home to many senior citizens and families," Breed said in a statement, adding that she had directed police to add resources to the store's location.

READ MORE: Inside Black San Francisco’s Struggle Over the Soul of the Fillmore District

Safeway had announced a deal to sell the grocery's Webster Plaza location to Align, which has plans for a new development including housing and some commercial space.

In a video posted to Facebook, Breed thanked community members who came to the store Monday: "This is the first Safeway I ever shopped at in my whole life when they opened the doors when I was just 11 years old, so we are so grateful that it's going to continue to be here."

A woman in a red outfit sits solemnly in an ornate wood-paneled room with flags and a fireplace.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the Fillmore Safeway was the first she ever shopped at. | Source: Noah Berger for The Standard

On Monday, Safeway said it hoped to give the city and community members time to set up a transition plan.

“Beyond the closure, we will continue to serve this community with our grocery delivery services and will work with our customers to transfer their prescriptions to another Safeway location or a location of their choice," a Safeway spokesperson said. "We remain committed to serving San Francisco at our remaining 15 locations.”

Earlier in January, Align expressed strong interest in moving forward on development, Safeway said.

"The developer purchasing the land at Webster Plaza is excited about this opportunity," Safeway said at the time. "San Francisco has struggled with housing shortages, and Safeway sees this as an opportunity to positively impact the community and be part of a solution to bring much-needed additional housing to San Francisco."

The Fillmore District Safeway store has, in recent years, become a focal point for problems that have plagued the neighborhood.

In December 2022, local community members gathered for a town hall meeting calling for more San Francisco police in the neighborhood.

The area around the Webster Street Safeway's parking lot was dubbed "ground zero" for cars blasting music to drug dealers harassing shoppers.

In June 2023, the store briefly began playing intermittent classical music on loudspeakers at all hours of the day in the parking lot in an effort to deter loitering.

Rev. Amos Brown, pastor of Third Baptist Church of San Francisco and president of the city's NAACP chapter, thanked Mayor Breed and Safeway for reaching the agreement.

“We thank the Mayor, Safeway and our local supervisor for hearing the pleas of the Fillmore District community which relies upon the Safeway as a major source of affordable food and sustenance and employment in the Black community," Brown said in a statement Monday shared by political consultant and spokesperson Sam Singer.

"We believe the next step is to involve the community in whatever happens next to the Safeway on Webster Street. Our community was wronged in the urban renewal movement which drove inner city Blacks out of the Fillmore," Brown said. "We believe that whatever happens next should directly involve the community. We want a good faith and cooperative effort to have conversations about the future not just of the Safeway, but our community in the Fillmore."

George Kelly can be reached at gkelly@sfstandard.com