Bi-Rite Divisadero Rendering
With the store still under construction and an opening now expected in “the early part of 2013,” on Thursday San Francisco’s Planning Commission is expected to authorize and clear the way for Bi-Rite to open their second San Francisco location at 550 Divisadero.

The proposal is a request for Conditional Use authorization…to allow a use size over 4,000 square feet through the combination of a vacant retail commercial tenant space (previously occupied by a grocery store d.b.a. Divisadero Farmer’s Market Liquor & Deli) at 550 Divisadero Street with a vacant commercial tenant space (previously occupied by a grooming and pet supply store d.b.a. Tae Hee’s) to establish an approximately 7,350 square foot grocery store (d.b.a. Bi-Rite).

The proposed hours of operation for the grocery store are 9 am. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. But more importantly, the “Bi-Rite Creamery within the grocery store may consider extending its hours of operation until 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.”
UPDATE: With respect to a reader’s question about loading zones and the potential for getting stuck behind a truck:

The combined commercial tenant spaces, with approximately 7,350 square feet of floor area, will not require any loading spaces. However, the project sponsor has indicated that they have contacted the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to extend the existing yellow loading zone metered parking spaces in front of 550 Divisadero Street to 542 Diviscidero Street to a width of approximately 66 feet in length which will allow for commercial vehicle loading from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Bi-Rite estimates there will be 10 to 15 deliveries per day with most occurring between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. and with loading times ranging between 10 and 30 minutes each.
542-550 Divisadero Conditional Use Authorization [sfplanning.org]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by lyqwyd

    woo hoo! Another win for NOPA!

  2. Posted by BDB

    PrettyPretty great!

  3. Posted by Michael

    Great news but now early 2013? It’s ridiculous how long this is taking to get authorized and opened.

  4. Posted by DanRH

    That stretch of Divis is going to be even harder to drive through now. Still, good news for Nopa.

  5. Posted by Lou

    Excellant article. I commend Socketsite for the research and time they put into writing this article. Job well done! You’ll go far if you continue to put this much effort into future posts.
    Wait a sec, this looks very familiar for some reason…
    [Editor's Note: Huh? We research and cover the Planning Commission's agenda every week.]

  6. Posted by curmudgeon

    I do hope they have decent loading zones. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck behind trucks unloading bread or something on 18th Street. At least Divis is two lanes, but it’s a much more important transportation corridor. I’ve just learned to avoid that stretch of 18th street.
    [Editor's Note: See UPDATE above.]

  7. Posted by BDB

    I don’t really ever see that many people driving on that block, most take the turn for Fell.
    Heading Southbound has more traffic as people head for Oak and the freeway.
    The traffic calming work done on Divisadero has worked quite well I think

  8. Posted by curmudgeon

    Ummm…Divis is a major cross-town connection. Many people use it to access Lombard and the GG Bridge. The 24 Divis is also a significant cross town transit line. But you’re right, at least there aren’t any significant turning movements on this block (as there are at Oak/Fell) so traffic currently moves very easily. But that would change if trucks were consistently loading in one of the travel lanes. Glad to hear that Bi-Rite is pro-actively dealing with that issue. This will be a great asset to the neighborhood.

  9. Posted by lol

    Like on 18th street, Divis will now enjoy their share of double-parked idling Audis while wifey lines up for her carbon neutral soy burger.

  10. Posted by lyqwyd

    From my experience the traffic on Divis is not too bad, but can get slow during rush hour, and particularly when you are going against the dominant direction as the lights are timed during rush hour, but if you are going the other direction you get pretty screwed by the timing.
    But I definitely hope they manage the deliveries effectively, because it could make things much worse if thy are blocking a lane for 30 minutes during the morning commute.

  11. Posted by Schlub

    “Like on 18th street, Divis will now enjoy their share of double-parked idling Audis while wifey lines up for her carbon neutral soy burger.”
    LOL, lol.
    Bi-Rite helped turn that block of 18th into a traffic nightmare. Divis is already bad, even with the new work. This may seal the deal on making sure to avoid ever driving on Divis.

  12. Posted by curmudgeon

    I’ve driven 18th alot…I used to commute along it in the AM and PM. To be honest it was really more of a delivery truck issue in the AM, and I would expect the same on Divis.
    There isn’t really a motivation to double park if you are a customer (unless you are stopping momentarily to pick someone up) because you could never dash in and dash out of the store fast enough. The 18th Street block is complicated by Delfina and Tartine as well…so there is alot of bad behavior to go around. It is indeed a traffic nightmare.
    I assume that most Bi-Rite customers walk. But Bi-Rite is so good and special, I’m sure many folks circle the hood looking for parking as well. We need a Bi-Rite in every hood!

  13. Posted by lol

    With Bi-Rite, 18th at Dolores is like Frogger with Hipsters. The bonus points are ice cream cones and sunflower bouquets.

  14. Posted by Joshua

    Yes, so a stretch of 18th is busier than before. That’s because the area is now more desirable. Tartine, Bi-Rite, Delfina, an even more vibrant Dolores Park. Do you remember the area before? It’s more crowded because people enjoy it. Let’s only hope Divis/NoPa can be so fortunate.

  15. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    there is already a falletti’s (with a small parking lot), on broderick between oak and fell, and a lucky’s, on fulton near masonic (with ample underground parking), in the neighborhood as well as small healthfood store up the block across from the Independent (as well as several ‘convenience’ stores). Not sure the Bi-Rite is needed
    The falletti’s does cause major problems on broderick with loading trucks idling and motorists unclear on the concept of ‘going around’ idling or stopped vehicles.
    I suspect the Bi-Rite, next to an already busy NoPa that attracts personal vehicles and taxis ‘dropping off’ or ‘picking up’. With the Bi-Rite next door this is only going to get worse, with a majority of people likely filling in the 21 hayes bustop on the corner.
    The extra loading zone is just going to get filled up with people looking to ‘run in’ and the trucks are going to start blocking this high traffic, commuter, street.
    An alley behind the store would have been helpful.
    Should prove interesting.

  16. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    oh and the Whole Foods in the Haight which is 20-30 minute walk from the Bi-Rite.
    I can’t believe I am saying this … but I think the neighborhood might be over served when it comes to grocery stores.

  17. Posted by Joshua

    Who are you to say the community is “over served”???

  18. Posted by BobN

    “Glad to hear that Bi-Rite is pro-actively dealing with that issue. This will be a great asset to the neighborhood.”
    By taking existing parking that local residents, workers, and customers use?
    I can’t imagine why a store can’t time its deliveries in such a way that they don’t need 66 feet all day long.

  19. Posted by redseca2

    Being of the size it is and in a mid-block store front, the model for this Bi-Rite and its impact is much more like Haight Street Market in the Upper Haight.
    HSM moves a lot of trucks through every day, but with little impact because they manage to do it very early in the morning. We live up the hill on Ashbury with a good view of them and the trucks start arriving well before dawn and are usually gone before 8 AM or so, except for the odd Zip car delivering vegan chorizzo from the Mission or whatever.

  20. Posted by curmudgeon

    Sorry BobN, no sympathy here. It’s much better to ensure that there is an off-street area to load (which is a critical function). The commercial strip on Divis is accessible by walking and biking for neighborhood residents…parking for them is not a critical issue. (and since it is all metered I don’t know where your “worker” parking is).
    By the way, SF loading zones are nearly always metered, and in any case are available to the general public after posted loading times. That’s efficient use of limited curb space.

  21. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    who am I? I am a 7 year neighborhood resident who feels walkable access to falletti’s, lucky’s, whole foods, an independent healthfood store (with a similar, albeit much smaller, selection to whole foods), several small convenience stores, and a weekly farmers market at Grove and Divis, already serves the neighborhood very well.
    Falletti’s is a block away, the independent healthfood store is less than a block away, two convenience stores are 2 blocks away, and a large lucky’s is 4-6 blocks away.
    The whole foods is in the Haight but I can walk there in about 15 minutes from my apartment which is a block away from the bi-rite location. Of course, there are other residents in the upper and lower haight, Alamo square, and individuals how may not be as mobile as me to consider
    Personally I have nothing against the bi-rite, I rarely drive. So, I am unlikely to be impacted by the trucks that will end up adding congestion to divis and I catch the 21 bus before it gets to the Divis stop which will also likely fill up with bi-rite ‘run-ins’.
    In the end the market will decide.

  22. Posted by amused

    who am I? A neighborhood resident who finds it troubling that people are objecting to a store because it is likely to be successful, and who finds it patently absurd that anybody thinks they can/should be able to declare a community “over-served.” Because of a Lucky’s, no less.
    Faletti’s is a large convenience store with marginal produce and meats. Whole Foods is run by a hard-right fascist, and the Haight outpost is a hippie nightmare. Convenience stores are for Pringles and beer. And independent health food stores are irrelevant to 95% of the neighborhood. Bi-Rite has a stunning collection of well-curated items, ranging from the best possible produce to thoughtful and well-priced wines.
    We live in a city. Successful businesses create more traffic.
    So what?

  23. Posted by lyqwyd

    I don’t think the traffic impact will actually be that big. During the day when they are likely to get deliveries there are ample parking spots available, so even if they take another spot or two away and turn it into a yellow zone I don’t see much impact. As long as they have enough loading space, there shouldn’t be much of an issue with trucks blocking the way.
    As far as customer’s blocking the way, it could definitely happen, but we’ll have to wait and see. Personally I doubt it will be much of an issue.

  24. Posted by moz

    I think Bi-Rite will be a great addition to the neighborhood!
    I live in the neighborhood but closer to Haight Street Market.
    I don’t think this area is saturated with stores. The stores listed above (HSM, Lucky’s, Falletti’s and Whole Foods) are nearly always packed when I go shopping.
    Each one has a pro/con. HSM has excellent produce and decent made-to-order sandwiches/meals but limited selection of household necessities (toilet paper, cleaning supplies, pet supplies). Falletti’s has the best butcher counter but produce is really expensive. Lucky’s has decent prices on household supplies but poor meat and expensive produce. Whole Foods is quite a trek from Divisadero (1.1 miles according to Google walking directions) and can be expensive. Their parking situation is also inefficient.
    Unprotected left turns on Divis seem to cause more trouble than delivery trucks.
    I’ve seen the traffic snarl on Broderick by Falletti’s, but that isn’t the best comparison to Divis since it’s one lane in each direction and many of the people involved are usually coming/going from the DMV.

  25. Posted by BDB

    Another point is that Nopa doesn’t currently open during the weekday for lunch – so it’s quiet until the bar opens at 4ish.
    And if as I’m sure they will want to Bi-Rite manage deliveries mostly in the AM hours then parking is plentiful and traffic is light.
    The Street is booming and this is great, I love being able to walk and get most everything I need.
    Wonder what will end up in the Plant-it Earth location or why they left?

  26. Posted by lyqwyd

    Yeah, I’m curious about the new tenant as well. I heard the landlord jacked up the price on the space when their lease came up… but who knows if that’s true.
    There’s also a commercial space under construction on Grove and Baker where there used to be a laundry. I heard the owners of Maverick were going to put in a restaurant, but that they pulled out. I don’t know what’s going in there now. I hope it’s something good!
    And isn’t a Blue Bottle coffee going in on Divis a couple blocks North of the Bi-Rite location? Lots of good stuff coming to the ‘hood!

  27. Posted by anon

    SF is so under-served with supermarkets that it is comical. I grew up in a town of 40,000 people and we had almost as many supermarkets as SF, which is 20X the size. There’s a reason the Church/Market Safeway is the single most profitable store in the entire company.
    Build this one. And then build 50 more around town.

  28. Posted by BobN

    It’s much better to ensure that there is an off-street area to load (which is a critical function). The commercial strip on Divis is accessible by walking and biking for neighborhood residents…parking for them is not a critical issue.
    Curmudgeon, I wasn’t asking for sympathy. I live in the neighborhood and know that parking is a nightmare. This will push a few more shoppers etc. onto the neighboring residential side streets.
    I agree that off-street parking is a critical function needed for a mid-size grocery. I just don’t think that “pro-active” snagging of existing parking is particularly laudable. Here, there’s probably no other choice, but let’s not praise the store for saddling the neighbors with their “solution”.

  29. Posted by asiagoSF

    full docs below
    [Editor’s Note: Or as linked to (twice) above.]

  30. Posted by Robert

    Not sure the Bi-Rite is needed
    And where will the denizens of NOPA go for organic gluten-free beef tip and sourdough ice cream?

  31. Posted by BobN

    a width of approximately 66 feet in length
    I don’t know… I’d prefer they try a length of approximately 66 feet in width

  32. Posted by Mole Man

    Generally speaking supermarkets require 10,000 nearby in order to support their operations, but with high end produce the minimum number might be lower. With the number of people living near these locations saturation of the grocery market should be a way out, though the slim margins on such operations makes any excess difficult to support.

  33. Posted by asiagoSF

    ooops! :)

  34. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    BTW – I agree with anon @3:23 the city is under-served. However, as I noted above, the NoPa neighborhood, from my perspective, seemed to already have a number of existing options.
    regardless, it is nice to see what was, essentially, a run-down liquor store be replaced by a new grocery store. Bi-Rite will be a nice addition to the neighborhood.
    Here is hoping Bi-Rite, and others, open several more across the city (and that the plans to do so are quickly approved) to help serve the other neighborhoods.

  35. Posted by AllanInThe415

    Hey badlydrawnbear, don’t forget about the Bi-Rite going in to Mission Bay! It should open any day now according to the architect’s rendering…
    http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2012/01/the_artistic_conception_and_architects_quote.html

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