January 11, 2010

Trader Joe’s Finalizes Lease For Castro Location (ETA: A Year)

Market and Noe Center (Image Source: MapJack.com)

According to the San Francisco Business Times, Trader Joe’s has finalized a lease to open a 13,000 square foot store in the Castro, filling an empty storefront in the Market & Noe Center which Tower Records vacated over three years ago.

ETA for the TJ’s assuming not too much BS from NIMBY's or the BOS? Around a year.

Trader Joe’s to open in old Tower Records site [San Francisco Business Times]
Out With Tower Records (Three Years Ago), In With Trader Joe’s? [SocketSite]

First Published: January 11, 2010 4:45 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

OMG! We're all gonna die! Oh, wait. In a year I can walk there and get a decent bottle of sparkling wine for $5? Woo hoo!

Posted by: Tweety at January 11, 2010 5:00 PM

Trader Joes and Cafe Flore all in one building! This may become ground zero in the Castro.

Posted by: sign me up at January 11, 2010 5:00 PM

As someone who lives VERY close to the proposed location, I'm very concerned about the potential traffic and parking issues. If they can figure out a way to effectively discourage folks from DRIVING to the store and turning Noe and surrounding streets into a smog-choked parking lot of waiting cars, I'd like to hear about it.

The impact on nearby small grocers and merchants is a concern too. A neighborhood in which most of the corner stores have gone under because they can't compete with Two Buck Chuck is another place I don't want to live.

I think this could work with some serious modifications to the typical TJ's formula. Otherwise, it will be a disaster for the neighborhood.

Posted by: Dave at January 11, 2010 6:42 PM

Dave, your concern about automobile traffic is well placed, but the "small grocers" that are currently thriving in the neighborhood probably aren't selling wine that competes with Two Buck Chuck. Two Buck Chuck is just displacing the E.&J. Gallo "hearty burgundy" or whatever plonk that's on the shelf at the corner drug or liquor store. Turning Leaf, that kind of thing. Hell, I buy it exclusively to cook with; the cab goes great into a bolognese sauce, purists be damned.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at January 11, 2010 7:43 PM

I second the concern about TJ attracting lots of cars: people double-parking or loading on Market could be a disaster.

Plus the parking lot for this bldg is tiny and accessed via Noe Street. I can only predict there will be a line of cars snaking out onto Noe waiting to get in. And given that stretch of Noe is a narrow, congested street, it could back up cars trying to cross Market. And that is already one of the most accident-prone intersections in the city (grab a drink at the Metro sometime, and before your cocktail is over, you will have witnessed several near-collisions).

I don't share the concern about the local stores being negatively impacted. As a long-time Castro resident, I feel the corner stores & grocers need a little competition to improve their offerings and prices. The local bodegas have nothing besides standard liquor store offerings. And Harvest across the street sells salads for roughly the same cost per ounce as cocaine. Adam Smith, work your magic!

Posted by: bananarama11 at January 11, 2010 7:52 PM

Yea, now all the nimby fear mongers start their rant.........horrible traffic, terrible competition to the little grocer...what else can they complain about?

oh, let's just keep this space vacant for a few more years...that might work..

Congrats to Trader Joes! Can't wait to see them finally open on Market St..

Posted by: noearch at January 11, 2010 8:39 PM

I'm a little disappointed; I thought I read "Trader Vic's".

Posted by: Thomas Towry at January 11, 2010 9:32 PM

TJ is a whiff of fresh air in the stale high-mark-up world of mainstream supermarkets. Big brands manufacture maple-flavored corn syrup for pennies and sell it for $6 a flask. At TJ you get little choice but great and real product. Cold Pressed Olive Oil for 6 bucks when Safeway starts at 9. Organic chicken for less than 4 bucks a pound.

Sure, parking there will always be a drag. I am regular on both Masonic and Bay street. Masonic: well, 1/2 the time I park on Geary or close by. It's the interior suburbia anyways, you know the drill. Bay St: heck you're in NB. Everybody's telling you not to drive in North Beach!

I am sure the Castro will be happy to carry their bags by foot. You can't be more than 5 blocks from the end of the Triangle and same thing for the Castro. What's the use of all the work out at the gym if you drive 5 blocks for grocery? This is a great city to walk. Get off the couch, walking is good for you. And TJ opens late now.

Posted by: wow at January 11, 2010 9:36 PM

Shorter lines at Safeway!

Yay!!!!

Posted by: BobN at January 11, 2010 11:03 PM

This place is going to be super cruisey. It will replace Dateway (Marina Safeway) as top cruising spot. Will it come with a steam room? I wonder if TJ's has it's own brand of condoms and lube. :)

I keep hoping they'll open another TJ's in SOMA/Potero Hill area the current 9th street locatin is a nightmare for parking and it has it's own deck.

Posted by: Poor in PacHeights at January 12, 2010 8:42 AM

Everyone is considered a disaster for the Castro neighborhood when they move in. That is part of the experience.

Posted by: Mole Man at January 12, 2010 8:48 AM

I'm thrilled to hear this news. For those worried about 'cars lining up', it's time to use your cellphone and call the police on anyone blocking a lane. Strict enforcement of existing traffic laws -- and I mean strict -- would go a long way to keeping drivers out of this TJs. If a doubleparked driver has to pay a $250 for blocking the Market St bike lane (or did they raise it to $500?), then that 2 Buck Chuck gets mighty expensive.

I vote TJ's just hire a DPT officer full time for the first 3 months of operation to sit at Market and Noe. That will kill all the car queeen's lust to hit this TJs...

Posted by: WalterAndDuboceStGuy at January 12, 2010 8:49 AM

The Trader Joe's on Masonic is a horrible example of the lining up to park problems that comes with TJ's.

But this is a good addition to the area.

Posted by: BDB at January 12, 2010 9:42 AM

Is there a Trader Joes where parking isn't a problem? It's turned one Stonestown parking lot into something from a Mad Max movie :(

Posted by: FFS at January 12, 2010 9:56 AM

The more TJ's there are, the fewer parking problems there will be for all of them. It's a phenomenally popular chain (for good reason), but all we need to do is distribute the demand over more stores and we'll be fine.

Some heightened enforcement around the time they open will deal with the issue, I think. The small garage will be an attractive nuisance...I'd almost prefer TJ's without any garage option. But people will learn (just as they have at the Whole Foods in Noe Valley).

Posted by: curmudgeon at January 12, 2010 10:01 AM

Walter & Duboce guy - unless the City authorizes an "action" around the store opening, count on a minimum 60 minute response from DPT on a call. That's how long it takes them to come to my neighborhood for things like blocked garages. It's even longer for a simple parking on the sidewalk report.

I visited a neighborhood Trader Joes in Seattle a couple years ago. We drove, as it was across town from my friends, and had to park at least 10 blocks away. The whole neighborhood was under siege from the circling Trader Joes patrons.

I think adding more TJs is the only solution to the parking issue, but it's going to suck for the first few to open.

Posted by: Eric in SF at January 12, 2010 10:07 AM

I am super excited about this. I live nearby and use City CarShare to go to TJs in SOMA. It'll be great to be able to walk. I'll still probably buy produce at Golden Produce, though.

P.S. That Harvest Market salad bar gave me food poisoning once. I curse that place.

Posted by: Jane at January 12, 2010 10:48 AM

I hate the quality of TJs food, and I won't shop there, but we need more groceries in this city - desperately. I wish there weren't parking at all.

Also, why not put a TJ's in the abandoned theater on Union street? That would bring foot traffic to Cow Hollow and even motivate me to shop there. The merchants on Union should be thrilled. What was that rising tide quote that keeps appearing here - albeit ironically?

Posted by: sleepiguy at January 12, 2010 11:07 AM

If anyone has walked the stretch of Market street between Sanchez and Castro, you know it's dead. I think this will bring a lot of foot traffic BACK to the area and help struggling businesses. Places like Harvest Market have a particular clientele and have nothing to worry about.

This worry about driving and idling cars comes from the people who live in the area and, uh, drive. Maybe this will force them out of their cars. I think there should be no parking at all. 39 spots is just enough for people to think they will get a spot. Close off parking completely and it will solve many a problem. With wide sidewalks, the Castro station, the new 17th street plaza, I can't help but think this will make the area feel more like a community.

Nice work, Kent, glad to see the old Tower Records space to stop hemorrhaging.

Posted by: Ev3 at January 12, 2010 11:20 AM

I am the president of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association and really am encouraged about the comments on this site as they are about the substance of the issue and ideas on how some of the effects can be potentially mitigated. Thank you for all of those and keep them coming. Also, for those of you that have nothing substantive to say, why keep calling people names? It adds nothing to the discussion. TJ's is an appropriate use for the site and there will be some issues that need to be worked through. TJs has been transparent and we are initially encouraged that we can have a project that is good for the neighborhood. If you are interested, our next meeting is Monday February 8th at Davies medical Center Level B, Auditorium.

Posted by: Dennis Richards at January 12, 2010 11:23 AM

"I am the president of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association."

No you're Not Dennis.

Posted by: Chad at January 12, 2010 12:50 PM

Trader Joe's is okay for some stuff, but it is definitely not one-stop shopping. Their meat and produce selection suck, and the majority of their prepared foods are mediocre. Still, they offer some decent staples such as milk, eggs, and cereals at reasonable prices, which is why I continue to go.

I don't think this will impact the area mom and pops' terribly.

Posted by: joh at January 13, 2010 1:13 AM

Chad. I am not sure where you get your information from but I was elected as the president of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association in December. Apparently you were not there or did not get the memo. Instead of standing on the sideline trying to derail good comments and solutions please then try to refrain from adding the nothingness that comes out of your head and just be silent. We'd all be better off. Thanks. Dennis Richards, president, Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association.

Posted by: Dennis Richards at January 13, 2010 1:41 AM

Way to be abusive, Dennis Richards.

Posted by: interested reader at January 13, 2010 2:02 PM

I have to concur with Ev3 and Dennis Richards.
I am really not much of a fan of Trader Joe's as I am a bit of a food snob and do not care for most of their products however I feel this will be a tremendous asset to the neighborhood and I welcome them.
Soon, I will be able to walk instead of drive to Masonic or SOMA to buy the one product TJ's has that I can't live without: jars of TJ's "World Largest Olives"! Yum! Is it too early for a martini?

Posted by: KJ at January 13, 2010 2:29 PM

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