The realigned Shellmound Way opened to traffic back in mid-December giving eager residents hope that the opening of the Emeryville New Seasons Market couldn’t be far away.
Reports of a slowdown in activity at the location as well as the sudden cancellation of their planned Hayes Valley opening brought concern to neighbors.
The E’ville Eye has indeed confirmed that the Emeryville New Seasons Market (NSM) will not open in 2018 and no opening date has been provided.
New Seasons was slated to open last fall before construction delays reportedly caused by utility companies threatened to cause them to miss their window to open prior to the busy holiday season.
In July 2017, project owners CCRP applied for and were granted a weekend noise ordinance waiver to allow them to stay on track (Councilmembers Medina and Patz opposing).
A “stop work” order was issued on August 29th after a second complaint was received by neighbors at nearby apartments including EMME.
CCRP Senior Vice President Tim Bacon did not dispute the violations but clarified that they were not for utilizing heavy equipment but unloading tools, climbing scaffolding and some manual shoveling 15 minutes prior to the established 10 a.m. start time. This waiver was discussed and subsequently revoked by our council 4-1 after a public hearing on September 19th (Donahue opposing).
Earlier this week, an astute resident noticed the New Seasons website has been updated to read “Opening in 2019” (this blurb has since been deleted) amid rumors that New Seasons was pulling out. “We are aware that New Seasons is working out some internal operational issues,” noted City Center Realty Partners President Mark Stefan when contacted. “While their opening is delayed, their lease remains current and we hope they open as soon as they possibly can.”
When contacted, a New Seasons Public Relations representative provided the following statement about the status of the Emeryville location:
“Today’s retail and grocery landscape is transforming. As a progressive neighborhood grocery store, we want to best meet the changing needs of our customers while staying true to our mission and values as we grow. As a part of our annual evaluation for our store growth strategy, we have decided not to open the Emeryville location of New Seasons Market in 2018. This decision was not made lightly, and we remain dedicated to deepening our commitment to local and regional food, sustainable business practices, staff and community.
Emeryville is a wonderful community. We have received much support and welcoming messages over the past year, and we thank you sincerely for your enthusiasm. We hope to serve the customers in this neighborhood in the future.”
The ‘transforming landscape’ that NSM may be referring to is the entry of the behemoth Amazon.com into the grocery business by acquiring Whole Foods last year.
NSM would not commit to a specific timeline when we followed up. “We don’t have a specific timeline or additional information to currently share.”
The NSM representative also noted that this decision was independent of their decision to terminate the Hayes Valley lease which was based on “operational complexities, construction delays and other considerations specific to that site”. New Seasons would not point specifically to the construction delays as the reasons for the longer delay. “There were a variety of factors that played into our decision to not open the Emeryville location this year.”
On a more positive note, the finishing touches on Shellmound Way are expected to be completed soon. Bicycle advocates have been angered by vehicles parking in established bike lanes and the lack of green striping that was shown in the construction renderings. “The green bike lane striping was delayed due to wet weather, but was scheduled to start [this] week,” a CCRP spokesperson provided to us noting the process should take a few weeks. “We are also going to paint the curb in front of the office building red to help drivers adjust to the fact that they cannot park here.”
The parking garage above the New Seasons is in fact open with weekday hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends from 6 a.m. to midnight.