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Back in 2009, Pet Food Express was blocked from renovating and occupying the former Blockbuster Video store on Lombard at Divisadero due to “public opposition based on the competitive advantage of Formula Retail” and the Lombard Street site has sat vacant ever since.

As we wrote last month with respect to a renewed bid by Pet Food Express to occupy the space:

With a new study in hand concluding that Pet Food Express’ proposed store “will not cause other pet specialty retail stores in San Francisco, as a group, to lose sales revenue,” San Francisco’s Planning Department now supports Pet Food Express’ proposed move. We’ll note the aforementioned study was funded by Pet Food Express.

From the Planning Department’s recommendation of approval for Pet Food Express’ new application to occupy the Lombard Street site: “Through analysis of the current mix of Formula Retail and independently owned retail outlets on Chestnut and Union Streets, it appears that the two types of ownership formats can co-exist as both those streets enjoy robust commercial activity, are considered destination neighborhoods, and neighborhood investment and pride is apparent. In comparison, Lombard Street has a much lower concentration of Formula Retail outlets and does not enjoy the level of commercial activity or investment similar to Chestnut and Union Streets do.”

And atop the Department’s basis for their approval: “The project promotes a viable retail outlet on Lombard Street which could act as a catalyst for additional commercial investment along Lombard Street.”

Despite the Planning Department’s support, the Planning Commission has once again voted to deny Pet Food Express’ request to occupy the Lombard Street site.

The stated basis for the Commission’s disapproval which is slated to be formalized this week: the project is “not necessary or desirable” as it represents “an over-concentration of pet food/supply outlets” in the area; does not promote economic diversity; and represents “a duplication of services” as Pet Food Express operates a store at 3150 California Street, a little over one mile from the Lombard Street site.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Lyon

    A mile is a long way to carry home 20 lbs of dog food.

  2. Posted by Rillion

    I actually love the logic here. It can’t move in because there are too many pet food stores in the area AND because it has a competitive advantage and might take business away from the other pet food stores, forcing them to close resulting in a loss of pet food stores from an area with too many pet food stores…

  3. Posted by MarinaBoy

    I wish they would let this store happen. The space has been empty for years and the smaller pet food stores don’t have what I need anyway so I have to go out of the area to buy my dog and cat food.

  4. Posted by nancydrew99

    Stupid, stupid, stupid decision. What is wrong with this city?

  5. Posted by Nick

    The worst part is I can’t think of a better locally-started corporate citizen than Pet Food Express…

  6. Posted by anon

    Hmm, that makes sense.
    lol
    Cue Brahma and lyqwyd coming in to defend the decision as clearly in the best interests of the city.

  7. Posted by Jane

    This is so maddening. It’s the perfect location for a store like this. Just what exactly are they looking for in that location anyway? Is the answer “anything BUT a Pet Food Express”?

  8. Posted by pvc

    I suppose condo conversion is out of the question?

  9. Posted by Futurist

    I wonder how we can get some of the Planning Commissioners fired? We need some fresh, new voices thinking FOR our city, not against it.
    Totally stupid decision to deny this project.
    Just plain stupid.

  10. Posted by Mark

    Hmmmn, but a Peet’s, Gap, Starbucks, Apple, etc. on Chestnut St. (and pending Sur La Table on Union) isn’t formula retail.
    This city is becoming more of a joke with each passing day.

  11. Posted by Progress That

    “A mile is a long way to carry home 20 lbs of dog food.”
    Ohhhh i can’t resist….take a bike with a cart. Or carry it on MUNI. But…do not use a car even if you own one or you’ll never get your street parking space back again. Or move to the suburbs where there are lots of pet food stores in every strip mall.
    There now, I feel much better covering all the possible progressive come backs.

  12. Posted by jlasf

    These aren’t reasons.
    These are excuses to protect the pet stores on Chestnut.

  13. Posted by Gregg

    Peet’s on Chestnut is gone now. As is the Grove.
    But I agree on the Gaps – time for them to go. Three on one street is enough.

  14. Posted by Scott&Prado

    The Grove had to close their original 1,500 sq ft location after their lease was raised over 50% to $20,500 a month!
    Believe it or not, the New York Times did an article about the Grove rental increase as what is wrong with San Francisco, in that a city can get too expensive for its own good.
    Likewise a similar situation for Peets Coffee that is still going to be on Chestnut, but further down the street after they were not able to reach an agreement on their original Chestnut Street lease.
    How could an local independent start up retail be attracted with these prices ?

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