May 21, 2010

Whole Foods Here By End Of The Year As Cala Gutting Commences

Whole Foods Haight Construction: 5/21/10

As a plugged-in tipster notes, the gutting of the old Cala Foods at the corner of Stanyan and Haight has commenced with the scaled back small format Whole Foods currently expected to open in time for the December holidays.

The 690 Stanyan Project Scoop: Scaled Back To An Interior Gutting [SocketSite]
Whole Foods On Stanyan At Haight (Less 62 Condos) Has Its Lease [SocketSite]

First Published: May 21, 2010 10:15 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

What a waste ...

Posted by: badlydrawnbear at May 21, 2010 10:24 AM

It is disappointing that this decrepit lot and building could not have been developed into some much needed housing and new retail.

Thanks to the neighbors who are so afraid of growth and change.

Posted by: noearch at May 21, 2010 10:49 AM

Agreed but still an improvement over that Cala.

Posted by: shza at May 21, 2010 11:24 AM

Today's articles provide an interesting contrast: The developers of 900 Folsom and 260 Fifth Street went far out of their way to begin by talking to the community and integrating with the local area plan, they changed around basic elements of the project early on in the design process, and then they continued to make changes in order to appease the community right up until the unanimous approval vote. The developers who intended to build at 690 Stanyan came up with an awful boxes with hats design that did not integrate with the area or neighborhood at all, when people gave them feedback they dug in their heels and made only minor changes, and when things dragged on they stuck with what they had and the whole project got thrown out.

It is sad how this turned out, but the possibility that development in San Francisco is becoming a game for cooperative adults only that even well connected traditional game players cannot win is in many ways an enticing prospect. Perhaps the Haight could learn some lessons about proper behavior from what is going on South of Market?

Posted by: Mole Man at May 21, 2010 11:27 AM

Sorry kids, San Francisco is gentrifying. This isn't a waste at all - Whole Foods is probably the most useful use of space to an increasingly yuppie culture in SF. And I'm not complaining, I'm one of them. And if you're not, you probably won't be here in a few years...

Posted by: GetUsedToIt at May 21, 2010 11:43 AM

GetUsedToIt...

the what a waste comments are (i believe) targeted to the fact that an old decrepit building is being reused for a small format Whole Foods RATHER than having the whole site redeveloped with a larger Whole Foods and housing. Most of this board has been very supportive of a higher density project at this important location at the entrance to Golden Gate Park.

Re: Moleman's comments. I'm not that aware of the level and quality of engagement with the community, but I am aware that there are some extremely nimby elements in the Upper Haight, so I'm not sure I'd want to directly compare this developer's efforts vis a vis 900 Folsom and 250 Fifth. Remember...this is the neighborhood that firebombed a Thrifty's store because it was a chain......

Posted by: curmudgeon at May 21, 2010 11:49 AM

Let's be clear, curmudgeon. I think all of us here would have preferred the site be developed with some great new infill housing AND a new store..My understanding is that the nimby neighbors in that area essentially killed the project.

Btw: Whole Foods is a great store and I hope we see more of them in the future here.

Posted by: noearch at May 21, 2010 11:57 AM

Re: Moleman, sorry your facts are wrong, the local neighborhood group actually were invited to form a design committee and that committee came up with a design and the neighborhood voted for it. The group also introduced the idea of a mezzanine cafe overlooking the park - despite Whole Foods objections - it was the Planning dept and some commissioners who wanted the box design. I live a block away and was intimately familiar with this project and the ridiculous red-tape it had to go through. This project had the support of 80% of the neighborhood - and btw, it was unanimously approved as well. GL seeing if Folsom ever gets built.

Posted by: haightist at May 21, 2010 12:00 PM

Looking forward to this being built. I'm hoping the noise from the construction will drive away the squatters and drug dealers across the street. Whole Foods coupled with a Sit/Lie ordinance are good progressive steps in the long overdue clean-up of the Haight.

Posted by: Mike L at May 21, 2010 12:20 PM

Totally agree MikeL...

I hope at some point the new housing can still be built there.

Posted by: noearch at May 21, 2010 12:40 PM

Is the parking lot being expanded or built underneath?

Posted by: Jeff at May 21, 2010 1:06 PM

Wasn't it the delveloper, john somebody?
who walked? Over costs/risk/limited profit?

Whole Paycheck.

Faux organic food for a faux hippy neighborhood.

If any of the old haight food coop activists are dead, they're sure to be turning over in their graves.

Posted by: kathleen at May 21, 2010 1:07 PM

You know, it really does get tiresome to hear people call WF "Whole Paycheck"..we've heard it over and over, and guess what?

Whole Foods is here to stay in SF..and they do provide a lot of jobs and a great selection of food for neighborhoods. Many people support and show at WF..we are not evil people.

@kathleen: you seem like you just want to roll back the days to 1970..times change. even hippies grow up, have families, buy houses and work for a living.

Posted by: noearch at May 21, 2010 1:23 PM

All those day-glo freaks who used to paint their face.....they've joined the human race.....some things will never change.....

Credit to Donald Fagen

Posted by: Fishchum at May 21, 2010 1:29 PM

Perhaps in reaction (or antidote) to the new Whole Foods, the expansion of Haight Street Market was approved yesterday without any neighborhood opposition.

They're locally owned. Not only do they sell organic produce, but they also support local, sustainable producers. A great store in a neighborhood that has more than enough shoe stores.

Re the Fifth Street project that was approved earlier this week: people in the neighborhood were not afraid of a Whole Foods or more yuppies or more parking. They were terrified that another hotel like the bright-blue-and-beige Intercontinental would go in.

Posted by: Rocco at May 21, 2010 2:16 PM

The upper Haight will soon host a "yuppy food" slap down when the new Whole Foods goes up against an expanded Haight Street Market.

Haight Street Market, which is currently housed in a single storefront on Haight between Ashbury and Clayton is currently seeking approvals to expand into the adjacent space currently housing an Ethiopian restaurant.

So you choose to support a chain or a local business when you need organic Arugula.

Another secret to fine food shopping in the Upper Haight is to get on a west bound 71 MUNI and in 10 minutes you be at the Sunset Andronico's.

Posted by: redseca2 at May 21, 2010 2:39 PM

@redseca2: You don't seriously expect us to hop on muni to go shopping way out there do you?

jeeezus..by the time you make the return trip on muni, your fruit will be all rotted, your french bread will be one big pile of yeast and your eggs will have hatched into a bunch of baby chicks.

Posted by: noearch at May 21, 2010 2:52 PM

That Andronico's is way more overpriced than Whole Foods and has much worse selection to boot. That's got to be my least favorite grocery store in SF. We always used to get stuck (by our own poor planning) stopping there for picnic supplies en route to Mt. Tam.

I agree with noearch that the "whole pay check" thing is tiresome. It's also not true. Stock items cost basically the same as at Safeway. But it is true that you will pay more for superior proteins and produce. Their wine is overpriced though.

Posted by: shza at May 21, 2010 3:00 PM

^ Actually, there are quite a few products that are cheaper at Whole Foods than they are at Safeway (when they're not on sale).

And Whole Foods' 365 line up is priced to match Trader Joe's products.

I like Whole Foods, but I LOVE Berkeley Bowl. Wish they would build one on this side of the bay.

Posted by: joh at May 21, 2010 3:23 PM

^ and there is absolutely nothing special about Andronico's, unless you enjoy paying too much.

Posted by: joh at May 21, 2010 3:24 PM

End of the year?

Darn! That means we'll have to wait until next holiday season to see if and how the Whole Foods free-range turkeys integrate with the Haight's free-range teenagers.

Posted by: BobN at May 21, 2010 3:27 PM

Exactly..I'm not trying to be a smart ass, but the tired rant of calling Whole Foods "whole paycheck" is a old, old, old.

The fact is, San Francisco keeps changing and evolving. Some people seem to prefer the "peoples" SF where we all are hippies, we all ride bikes everywhere, and we all are struggling artists and street vendors, and renters.

In truth, The City needs change, growth, new housing, condos, new food stores restaurants and shops and people with income and desire to make neighborhoods better. Those with money and a certain pioneer urban spirit are the ones who improved such neighborhoods as Hayes Valley, South of Market, Noe Valley..and now even the Valencia corridor.

Whole Foods is simply part of that urban renaissance and they don't deserve to be continually trashed.

Posted by: noearch at May 21, 2010 3:53 PM

... but seriously it is quite upscale and expensive.

Posted by: diemos at May 21, 2010 7:18 PM

@ diemos: No, they are not. Check out what joh has to say about WF...I agree. Quite often they match Trader Joes and Safeway...

Some items are special and gourmet, and it's nice to have those available.

Posted by: noearch at May 21, 2010 9:23 PM

Great products, very expensive, definitely the future of SF.

SF is 60% renters with a median income of ~70K. That's not the target population.

This city is more and more haves/have-nots/letsgetdafukattahere. In 20 years it will be just the 2 first segments with police and "concierges" making sure they never mix. So much for the "liberal mecca".

Posted by: lol at May 21, 2010 10:24 PM

I'd much rather be a have than a have not. Time to kick the "liberal mecca" mindset to the curb.

Posted by: mikeL at May 21, 2010 11:29 PM

Some products at Whole Foods are certainly pricey. Fresh meat and produce tend to be, but the quality is typically better than most other chain supermarkets. However, Berkeley Bowl has better, cheaper produce, as do many farmer's markets. And as does Walmart (!), according to this Atlantic article:
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/03/the-great-grocery-smackdown/7904/

While I like Whole Foods, I'm starting to feel like there are too many of them in SF proper (meanwhile my friends in the northern peninsula -- Burlingame to Daly City -- all complain that they have to go all the way to Hillsdale or into the city to shop at one). Regardless, building a Whole Foods at Stanyan/Haight is better than what's there now. And it's consistent with Whole Foods' new strategy of going back to their roots and focusing on smaller stores serving smaller communities (like the Noe Valley store).

Posted by: joh at May 22, 2010 12:10 AM

joh, the produce point about Berkeley Bowl may be true but I find actually shopping there (either location) to be a miserable, stressful, and inefficient experience -- due almost entirely to the (basically) half-width aisles that you can barely fit a cart through, let alone two. It's especially impossible if I have my kids with me. Nice in theory but too poorly executed; I guess that's what happens when a bunch of Berkeley hippies try to run a business. I was also underwhelmed with their organic produce selection, after hearing so much about what a Mecca BB was supposed to be. Once and out for me with both locations; I'm back to shopping at WF even now that I'm in the East Bay (also helps that the big Bay St WF is just a 5-minute drive).

Posted by: Shza at May 22, 2010 8:42 AM

I'm not about to apologize one damn bit for working my ass off the past 30 years to own a house and become a "have". I agree with mikeL: this continual whining about the "liberal mecca" is just pure noise.

If you don't like being a renter, then do something about it.

Posted by: noearch at May 22, 2010 5:56 PM

Sorry, but deserved or not, I still laugh every time someone calls it "Whole Paycheck."

Posted by: bgelldawg at May 22, 2010 7:41 PM

The organic food movement as we know it had some big roots haight ashbury. The real foods store ws on Stanyan Street. A long, long, time ago, in an Haight Ashbury far far away, we used to get boxes of organic food dropped off the our house every week for less than teh cost of one bag of food from safeway. It was healthy, high quality and low cost food. And it support toeh lcoal peole in the n'hood who dropped it at our door.

Kept starving students from turning into junk food junkies.

We should do this for schools only good food in local schools, and prisons. Nuitrtion has a powerful influence on brains.

I am a firm beleiver that quality food, can come from a local sources and smaller models of businesses are better for local communities than large ones.

Support your local businesses, or our communities loose their flavor.

I have nothign against whole food except for the serious traffic jam it causes on Franklin Street.

Posted by: kathleen at May 23, 2010 11:55 AM

I have nothign against whole food except for the serious traffic jam it causes on Franklin Street.

What cracks me up about W(t)F is this: Their parking is packed w/SUVs. The clients are not environmentally conscious as is often argued. They just do not want to be slowly poisoned by our mainstream food system. What the SUVs show is they don't really care about poisoning others with their exhaust pipes. A car is a sacred cow that no one should ever touch.

Posted by: lol at May 23, 2010 4:55 PM

Another thing about W(t)F: the day they bring their food to the stores by sustainably fed burros I'll be the first to command their social message.

Posted by: lol at May 23, 2010 4:59 PM

joh, the produce point about Berkeley Bowl may be true but I find actually shopping there (either location) to be a miserable, stressful, and inefficient experience -- due almost entirely to the (basically) half-width aisles that you can barely fit a cart through, let alone two.

Shza,
Agreed about the shopping experience at BB compared to WF. With that said, I do prefer the newer West BB location.

I was also underwhelmed with their organic produce selection.

I think WF does have a more extensive selection of organic produce, but if you include conventionals, BB wins, no contest. Where else can you find a dozen varieties of tomatoes or tangerines? Plus, BB has an excellent selection of ethnic produce, which is quite limited at WF and other major supermarkets.

Posted by: joh at May 24, 2010 8:49 AM

Another thing about W(t)F: the day they bring their food to the stores by sustainably fed burros I'll be the first to command their social message.

To their credit, WF runs all of their stores with sustainable energy (wind, solar). I'm sure this doesn't include delivery, but it's still better than most.

Posted by: joh at May 24, 2010 8:52 AM

Honestly, I've never understood the obsession with Whole Foods or SUVs. I get equally bad mileage in my M3 (15.5 mpg combined) as your average SUV but its WAY, WAY more fun than trying to maneuver some lumbering tank around the city.

And I shop at Lunardi's and Molly Stones and get plenty of great food (esp. meat at Molly's -- dry aged in the store) at about 1/2 the price of Whole Foods. What's the appeal of WF?

Posted by: Jimmy (No Longer Bitter) at May 24, 2010 9:24 AM

And I shop at Lunardi's and Molly Stones and get plenty of great food (esp. meat at Molly's -- dry aged in the store) at about 1/2 the price of Whole Foods.

1/2 the price? You obviously haven't shopped at Whole Foods recently.

I put Molly's in the same category as Andronico's. Overpriced.

Posted by: joh at May 24, 2010 10:09 AM

for the millionth time it's "lose" not "loose" within the context of that statement, kathleen.

Not all SUV's are huge. There's a whole bunch of em that are pretty compact these days..and getting pretty good mileage.

Posted by: noearch at May 24, 2010 1:42 PM

Re the assertion that "WF runs all of their stores with sustainable energy (wind, solar)" it is more correct to say that: "The company continues to offset electricity use in its North American locations in 2009, bringing its four-year total purchase to 2 million megawatt-hours of renewable energy credits from wind farms."

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/04/22/whole-foods-overhauls-energy-savings-program/

Nevertheless they are setting an example in this area.

Posted by: fred at May 24, 2010 2:32 PM

Post a comment


(required - will be published)


(required - will not be published, sold, or shared)


(optional - your "Posted by" name will link to this URL)

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)


Continue Perusing SocketSite:

« A Noe Apple (Not Counting The New Red Range In Which To Roast) | HOME | Polk Street Parking Lot Shuttered, Apartments Ready To Rise »