Transbay Block 8 Rendering: Folsom and First

As we first reported last year:

It’s now been over two years since Related California cut 99 residential units from their development plans for Transbay Block 8 and reduced the project’s proposed grocery store space from 22,000 to 12,500 square feet, a reduction that rendered the space too small for a large grocer like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

While the approved development agreement for the 548-unit building to rise up 55 stories in height upon the City’s former Transbay Block 8 requires Related to use “good faith efforts” to obtain a grocery tenant “on commercially reasonable terms,” with a full-service grocery having been deemed “very important” to the development of the Transbay District and its future residents by the City’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, Related could seek approval from the City “to reprogram the space for another use” if a lease hasn’t been inked at least 12 months prior to the anticipated completion date of the grocery store space which is currently slated for August 2019.

And according to Related’s latest update to the City, neither Bi‐Rite nor Gus’s Community Market have expressed interest in the future space along Folsom between Fremont and First nor has another operator.

And with the expected opening of the new “Avery” tower and retail space at the base of the development on Transbay Block 8 (aka 450 Folsom Street) now less than 12 months away, Related is now formally requesting to terminate their obligation and repurpose the space rather than provide a new full-service grocery to serve the neighborhood.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Hunter

    Why would another small grocery want to setup shop one block from Woodland market? Am I missing something?

  2. Posted by Sutro_Tower

    If the area is starving for a full service grocery store then perhaps the community should push for something inside of the Transbay Terminal if it ever reopens. Plenty of retail space that can be stitched together to get close to desired square footage.

    • Posted by tipster

      I don’t think it’s that simple. You need a loading dock, for example, that 5 boutiques, that get all their deliveries via UPS, don’t care about. Stitching them together doesn’t make the space suitable.

      • Posted by Sutro_Tower

        Yes I was being slightly facetious. Use the bus only ramp after hours and offload using service elevators.

        When I was living in NY the delivery trucks for Trader Joe’s would park curbside on E.14th and shuttle things in through the front door. You make things work!

      • Posted by Notcom

        Are you sure it doesn’t have one ?? Docks are fairly common (even) in office buildings: I would think a building filled with retail spaces – and just a lot of space generally – would include such as a standard. (Of course that common sense would mandate one probably doesn’t mean much for this project)

        I think whether or not the TTC ends up with a grocery will have less to do with infrastructure and more to do with the followup to ‘ST’s first dozen words being “it isn’t”.

  3. Posted by matteo

    Might be the right place for an Amazon Go.

    • Posted by Sutro_Tower

      Absolutely or a smaller format City Target. A snack for the long wait on the train platform…

  4. Posted by Notcom

    “On hold”;
    “Down (10%)” and now
    “Nixed”…all on the same (front) page

    That’s it: SF is officially doomed…better convert all 10 lanes of the Bay Bridge to outbound.

    But back to this project: it seems to be (yet) another example of the folly of these store-targeting mandates; this is harly some food-desert whose denizens can’t fend for themselves…transportation, delivery, and – in the case of Millennium – four-figure-an-hour legal assistance are all readily available.

  5. Posted by Brian

    I live nearby and agree that Woodlands is enough. Amazon Go would be a nice choice IMO but the other 2 locations are easily walkable. I would rather see more casual restaurants, places to hang out in these new commercial spaces. Something like The Grove, or even Shake Shack (are you listening universe?).

    • Posted by Gorkem

      They just opened another Soma Eats on Spear st if you are closer to that one its a nice casual alternative

  6. Posted by Peter

    Related is pulling the same extortion tactic to get out of ground-floor commitments that all of the large developers are pulling. In neighborhoods with formula retail restrictions, the developers hold the spaces vacant – killing the streetscape – until neighborhoods relent and allow cookie-cutter formula retail uses.

    • Posted by Doug Smith

      That is nonsense. The owner used good faith efforts to lease to a grocery stores and after numerous discussions they could not find a grocery use to lease the space.

      The city requires retail spaces on street level on Folsom to be less than 10k SF in the transbay redevelopment area. The city did not make the job easier by effectively forcing a two level grocery store space on the developer (ever been to a two level grocery store? Me neither).

      Your comment about keeping spaces vacant for formula retail uses is utter and complete nonsense. It’s actually the opposite, i know, i work in the industry and represent both landlords and owners. Most LL’s DONT WANT to lease to formula retailers because of delays in obtaining permits which can be well over 8 months to a year for a formula retail conditional use permit. You should be pointing fingers at an onerous permitting process, ridiculously difficult and expensive ADA codes and upgrades and the highest construction costs in the country to build out tenant improvements as the reason for vacancies.

      Your comments are totally uninformed and are the reason for ridiculous misinformation and opinions about what the reality of leasing retail space in SF is.

      • Posted by Andy

        FWIW other cities have successful two level grocery stores. In Chicago my go-to Whole Foods was two levels (also next to the Fullerton L station in Lincoln Park.) People are pretty resourceful if you give them a cart escalator.

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