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Trader Joe’s Hayes Valley store on track for June opening

A modern building with glass facade on a street corner, cars parked alongside, and a distant dome-shaped structure.
The long-awaited Hayes Valley Trader Joe’s at 555 Fulton St. is on track to open by the end of June, according to the company. | Source: Google Streetview

The long-awaited Trader Joe’s in Hayes Valley is still on track to open by the end of June, the company told residents Wednesday night.

Melanie Chesley, a regional manager for Trader Joe’s, provided an update on the project during the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association meeting, saying that the grocery chain is starting to hire employees for the new location inside a condo building at 555 Fulton St.

“As you can imagine, it is a very complex process to open a new store, but we are at a point where you can see through the window we have cash registers in there, refrigeration is in there,” Chesley said. “We’re moving quickly. There’s a hiring sign out front and [we] have a hiring event tomorrow.”

According to Chesley, the company is looking to hire approximately 100 staff members and will begin paying employees $20 per hour at the location, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

Chesley said residents will have a 77-space parking garage in the basement that will be monitored by attendants. There will also be bicycle parking and four car-share parking spaces. Deliveries to the store will be off the street.

“The parking attendant will be there always to make sure everything goes smoothly getting in and out,” she said. “We were concerned with noise in the neighborhood. The trucks will enter into a loading dock with a door that closes, and they will offload inside.”

The project at 555 Fulton was initially tied to Z&L Properties, which is partially owned by Li Zhang, a Chinese real estate tycoon who was arrested in London in 2022 for alleged corruption and was accused of bribing officials to obtain construction project permits. In 2023, Z&L sold the property to the current owners, Avery Bays Real Estate and Balance Capital.

In another blow to the neighborhood, employees at the nearby Safeway on Webster Street were notified in January that the company intended to shutter the grocery store and sell the 3.68-acre property to a developer.

Safeway eventually agreed to keep the location open until early 2025 after discussions with Mayor London Breed’s office and the property owner Align Real Estate.

When one resident asked if Trader Joe’s would consider extending store hours to accommodate the void left by the Safeway, Chesley said it was “possible.”

“Generally, we want to be considerate of neighbors and the noise,” Chesley said. “It certainly isn’t off the table.”