New Seasons officially pulls out of Emeryville Project, will close Sunnyvale location

Published On February 6, 2018 | By Rob Arias | Local Business, News & Commentary

The E’ville Eye broke the exclusive story last month that the Public Market New Seasons project was being put on pause. Today, news was handed down that New Seasons will indeed be pulling out of its Emeryville project.

A leaked email published by the SF Business Times last week stated the Emeryville store had been delayed by “increased construction and operating costs in addition to lower and slower sales in our NSM NorCal stores.” The memo cast further doubt of the eventual opening of the location.

In a press release published today, the Portland-based grocery chain made the official announcement. “New Seasons will not open locations in [Emeryville] as originally planned.”

The company announced that it will instead focus growth in California through its sister company, New Leaf Community Markets. They also announce a strategic shift in business direction which includes a flattening of the executive leadership structure and the departure of CEO Wendy Collie.


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“It is never easy to leave a company you love,” Collie noted. “I truly love the amazing people who are the very heart and soul of our company. I feel very confident that the company is in good hands with the team that I have built and with Kristi and Forrest at the helm, who are both dedicated to our mission and have the leadership skills and expertise to ensure New Seasons remains a thriving company.”

Collie is credited with helping grow the grocery chain from twelve Portland area stores to twenty-five locations across three states with over 4,000 employees.

New Seasons also announced it will not open planned locations in San Francisco and Carmel and will be closing its Sunnyvale location that just opened last August. “Closing the Sunnyvale store is a tough decision for us. This location proved to be a challenge for several reasons,” said Kristi McFarland, Co-President of New Seasons Market. We are immensely proud of the staff who worked at the Sunnyvale store, and we’ll ensure they have support through this transition.”

It was not noted if the lease with the Public Market would be terminated or sold. We have reached out to The Public Market’s owners City Center Realty Partners for clarifications and of any new plans for the space. Commercial real estate capital intermediary HFF recently announces $83.532 million in construction financing for the Market’s ongoing renovation.

[Update:] CCRP provided the following statement in regards to the future of the space:

Although New Seasons Market’s announcement is very recent, we have already received inquiries regarding the premises from a number of parties.  We are engaged in ongoing discussions with New Seasons regarding the future of the space, and those discussions prohibit us from disclosing our future plans further.  However, rest assured that we are proactively exploring all of our options.


We look forward to continuing our work to provide the greater community with a unique and vibrant destination for the heart of Emeryville.

The store was so close to completion that the corrals were stocked with carts (Photo Sarah S.).

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

49 Responses to New Seasons officially pulls out of Emeryville Project, will close Sunnyvale location

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well done Emeryville!

    New Seasons and Toys R Us in one month. And don’t forget all those family run restaurants before that, not to mention AAA, and Jamba Juice HQ off to Texas, and what is it now, a dozen retail stores gone? And isn’t the economy growing? But oddly the businesses are leaving? Hmmm. Quite the stumper.

    Such a shame for the thousands of Emeryville employees who have lost their jobs and the thousands more who will lose them thanks to Jennifer Lin, the SEIU, and a city council brain trust that so wanted it to be true that businesses can just “get creative” and invent a progressive utopia where supply and demand no longer apply. Darn it. Reality sure sucks particularly when you just lost your job.

    Maybe next time listen to your community instead of the paid union lobbyists. On the upside, the staff at Toys R Us and New Seasons now have a fantastically fair workweek.

    Wonder who will be next?

    My money’s on Target.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s pretty impressive how a small city the size of Emeryville was able to drive a multinational like Toys R Us into bankruptcy all by itself!

      • david Merlin says:

        It is a tough world for retail, of course, but Emeryville needs to be less onerous on business. It’s the goose that lays lots of golden eggs.

      • Anonymous says:

        4 out of 5 Toys R Us stores DID NOT close. Emeryville moved itself to the top of the list and every list for store closures. Watch what happens during the first recession.

        When stores need to be closed, do you close the one making money or the one that has the worst minimum wage in the country, the worst labor laws in the country, and some of the worst crime in the country?

        Emeryville is a terrible place to run a business. And it’s getting worse.

      • Anonymous says:

        Toys R Us has been struggling forever and is closing 27 CA stores including tons of east bay ones. Again, you’re just ignoring facts to attack the city for whatever reason. The store here has been underperforming (as easily judged by seeing how few people are ever in it) since well before the minimum wage increase, etc.

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is that no matter how many straws the City and the SEIU added to the camel, people will always point to someone else’s straw as the one that broke the camel’s back.

        Look at how many businesses have closed or left Emeryville in the last 3 years. Restaurants, call centers, retailers, manufacturers most of which had been in Emeryville for decades.

        Every single one of those businesses had at least two reasons for leaving or closing, so sure, you can always point to another reason.

        But the one thing they all have in common is Emeryville.

        When a business chooses which locations to close, Emeryville is going to be the one that’s the least profitable, the hardest to do business in, the most difficult to compete with surrounding competitors, the one with the most outrageous labor laws, and the one with the highest crime rates. That’s quite a sales pitch to give senior management when you’re trying to keep your store off the closure list.

        How many businesses have to close before it’s ok to acknowledge the pattern?

        If you make a place worse for business than every other city around, businesses leave and their employees lose their jobs. Businesses choose to close where it no longer makes sense to do business.

        Emeryville is one of those places.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not to mention no one wants to do business in a community where your staff and customers are much more likely to get victimized while shopping in your store or working in your office.

        And don’t think if people didn’t drive everywhere the problem would be solved.

        Car breaks aren’t the only sign of a new Emeryville.

        You’re just as likely to get robbed at gunpoint or have your bike stolen here.

        Who the hell wants to do business or be a customer in Emeryville?

      • Anonymous says:

        Throw another 117 bodies in the Emeryville graveyard.

        Wargaming America just announced it’s laying off its entire staff in Emeryville. They will continue operations in all their other locations.

        Crash and burn. Who’s next? Go Emeryville!

      • Anonymous says:

        For those keeping score, here’s a list of businesses that have closed JUST at Bay Street. I may be missing a few.

        Aaron Brothers
        Aerosoles
        bebe
        Charming Charlie
        Crepes a la Carte
        Elephant Bar
        Francesca’s Collection
        Fossil
        Pasta Pomodoro
        Pottery Barn
        Teacake Bake Shop

        Based on storefront window signs announcing “70% off” and “Everything Must Go”, it looks like Daf’e might soon be dead as well. They replaced Francesca’s Collection just a year ago.

  2. Pete says:

    Toys R Us has been struggling for years, that’s not recent news. However the New Seasons deal is a clusterfuck. They removed palm trees and rerouted the road which made it horribly worse imho. Now what? Wondering what if any guarantees that Eville has in the contract. Ouch

    • Anonymous says:

      To be totally fair they removed trees and rerouted the road for more than just NSM. The entire Public Market redevelopment including other construction had that as part of the plan.

      The new traffic pattern is slowly starting to open and now that you don’t have to do a convoluted set of detour turns I think it’ll work out fine long term.

      Just interested to see what ends up going in the new seasons location now. Probably not a whole foods since there’s one nearby already, but its already internally constructed for grocery so I would think that makes it attractive to other grocers. Maybe safeway?

  3. Sarah says:

    So disappointing to those of us that like amenitiesand commerce ina neighborhood. I guess the residents and city council will get their peace and quiet if there aren’t any businesses open. If they get the quiet zone then it will just be the sound of crickets and screaming seeping homeless people and car burglers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes but the imaginary jobs that City Hall created will ensure imaginary workers will be earning a livable wage.

      Stop being a selfish corporate lackey.

      Empty storefronts and offices are much better. The right jobs and business will come. Right after the unicorns.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sarah really loves those early morning train horns! This is her 10th comment saying so! What a vocal minority!

      • Rob Arias says:

        From my observations here and on Nextdoor, Sarah’s stance isn’t exactly in the minority. If you live near the intersections in question, I’m sure this is a higher priority for you but for those of us that are battling with the byproducts of nearby encampments including needles and other quality of life issues, this seams rather frivolous. Believe it or not, a lot of people like the sound of trains!

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah some people want dog parks.

      • Sarah says:

        I’m not against the quiet zone, I am against prioritizing political wins and self-serving projects at the time and expense of basic services and bigger picture items. The police department is in a crisis. The City is facing a deficit. The homeless camps and trash— which I personally clean up so I have a very personal experience of— are out of control. There are bigger issues I would rather city council focus on. Come the next election, LED street lights and a quiet zone are going to be hailed as a “wins” while ignoring the fact that we are all swimming ina pile of garbage. Halting construction on Saturdays so as to delay construction well past the holiday season is completly and totally on city council. This was their f*ck up and I have no problem regulalry pointing out the distraction campaign. An open and profitsble store is much harder to close than one than never opened. Maybe you have never been to a New seasons, so you don’t realize what an enormous asset it would have been to have one here. Sprouts or TJ’s and NSM aren’t even in the same stratosphere. And really? Whoever thinks we need another Safeway clearly hasn’t been to the one on 40th in the last five years. I live less than 3 blocks away and wouldn’t go in there if they were giving away all that prcessed food and malt liquor – the parking lot is probably the most dangerous place in Emeryville.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sarah speaks the truth.

        Of course, many are in denial that distractions are just that.

        Or their so proud their city is at the forefront of social movements that really don’t impact everyday citizens all that much.

        What good is the highest minimum wage and fair work week when fewer and fewer jobs are being created here?

        Does anyone at City Hall have any business experience besides wining and dining with SEIU or buying bowties?

        We all will be paying for their lack of practical competence for years to come train horns or not.

  4. Joyce Jacobson says:

    New Seasons demise is startling, but wasn’t caused by our City. Would like to see business in Emeryville get more support from City Council. The union agenda isn’t in the best interest of Emeryville.

    • Anonymous says:

      New Seasons chose to close 2 stores in CA. Guess which ones. The two with the highest minimum wage.

      I think the City can take most of the credit.

      Denying them a noise waiver and adding “fair” workweek legislation on top of the highest minimum wage in the country probably didn’t help either. Throw in the fact that the unions already have New Seasons in their crosshairs and Emeryville has made it clear that the SEIU calls the shots, and which store would you choose to close?

      I’m surprised it took them this long to make the call.

      • Stephanie Brown says:

        This anti-union talk is all BS. But, I guess you got to blame someone. Hey, let’s blame the corporate elites for closing stores after receiving so many tax breaks.

      • Anonymous says:

        They cancelled 3 North CA stores + closed an already open one. But yeah, it was totally just Emeryville’s fault.

        If the noise waiver was at issue, then why didn’t they cancel it before construction was done?

        Your arguments don’t even hold up internally, but that’s not shocking since you’re clearly just looking for ways to attack the city for whatever beef you have with it.

      • Rob Arias says:

        I don’t doubt that Emeryville’s current anti-business climate would give new businesses pause (look no further than the empty Elephant Bar space vacant for over two years at Bay Street), but I think we can point the finger at the industry disruption by the Amazon/Whole Foods acquisition and some apparent growing pains/internal turmoil at the main drivers for this decision. MWO and Scheduling ordinances I’m sure are criteria as well.

        I’m not aware of any union opposition to this particular project although unions are fighting a Seattle New Seasons because their stores are not unionized (neither are Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or Berkeley Bowl FTR). Some groups are opposing New Seasons because their stores expedite “Gentrification” and lead to displacement. This to me is the double-edged sword of having an amenity like a grocery store close by. It will increase property values … and rents.

        https://www.seattletimes.com/business/retail/new-seasons-grocery-chain-runs-into-labor-controversy/

      • Anonymous says:

        Funny you note how long it took them to make the call. I always had a hunch that New Seasons would be short lived given the dynamics in Emeryville. My fear was that it would open up and realize it wasn’t worth it to do business in a city that’s grown hostile to developers and gentrification. Then the community would lose something it had grown to appreciate.

        At least New Seasons let the community down shortly and sweetly.

        Next goal: open up the space to individual vendors who otherwise can’t afford rent and wages in an increasingly expensive Emeryville. Or can’t absorb loss from increased shoplifting in Emeryville. Or security costs from increased violence in Emeryville. Of course, these vendors should all ensure their products be affordable to the lowest common denominator in Emeryville because people over profits.

        Oh yes, they should make sure they don’t add to the noise pollution, car pollution, or light pollution. Dismantle the parking lots, make sure there are plenty of bike stalls for thieves to target, and for heavens sake make sure they don’t have any lights promoting any of the businesses in the community they seek to serve!

  5. Sydelle Raffe says:

    Sprouts has 2 stores here, albany and Oakland. Could someone reach out to them?

    • Anonymous says:

      New Seasons probably already has. If they are stuck in a lease, they will likely offer a sublet at a steal to get back some of the money they are already out on the lease.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile, more important things like the Art.com sign has been taken down.

    Ikea and Target you’re next!

    Can’t wait for all the vandals and homeless encampments to find their way to New Seasons.

    Emeryville will truly be livable for all indeed.

  7. Dan says:

    I hope the Trader Joe’s in Powell Street Plaza considers moving to the New Season’s site. It’s questionable if Emeryville has enough density to support two supermarkets west of the tracks. If it’s just TJs, would be great if they could move to the nicer (and more walking/biking/transit friendly) of the two supermarket sites. Also, Powell Street Plaza is awful. Hopefully someday it can be redeveloped along the lines of the Public Market or Sherwin Williams areas.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah and have developers and businesses fight city hall and progressives over every single action item?

      Hope you enjoy trekking to Oakland and Berkeley to run errands as the East Bay gets even more congested.

      That’s the future Emeryville is headed towards.

  8. Scott says:

    In the early 1990’s, we were emanate domained out of our newly constructed home at 45th and Emery Street (as well as 10 other neighbors and several small businesses) in favor of big business. We complained at the time that E’ville was uber pro business to the detriment of its residents. My how times change and what goes around comes around . . .

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m curious what big business is at 45th and Emery. More like small business save for CVS and IHOP, two affordable options for residents in the area.

      If what goes around comes around, how does the community benefit from “sticking it to the man?”

      Bragging rights for the union?

      No one wants to do business in the city. Yeah, that’s a victory.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I would guess that Michaels will close before Target. The same company already closed the Aaron Brothers at Bay Street after the minimum wage hike and now they lose the traffic from Toys R Us.

    But given that Target has had in the last couple months a homicide in the parking lot from a bad drug deal, an armed assault style takeover robbery, union protesters with a giant dog camped out in front, and the ever present drug scene out back, it’s really a close race.

    • Rob Arias says:

      Has it gotten so bad for Emeryville businesses that we’re creating a “dead pool” for them? I don’t wish any bad will on any Emeryville businesses but I’ll say that the food stalls in the market hall were banking on the activity that grocery store was going to bring to them. I hope the NSM building doesn’t stay vacant for too long.

  10. Steve Mooney says:

    High cost of doing Biz in Calif.
    High cost of doing Biz in Eville
    Watch for all of the taxes & bonds ballots in Nov in Eville. Need to pay for all of the CC’s pet projects

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hope it won’t be Sprouts, that store is a disappointment. How about a 365 store? That could work for Emeryville and Amazon has money to survive.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Did the Crazy 8 at Powell St Plaza ultimately close as well? I think they announced they would close the Emeryville location while keeping stores in Alameda and Concord open.

  13. Anonymous says:

    What’s with all the right-wing trolls on this web site? Hey, if the concept of a living wage offends you so much, why don’t you pack your bags and move to some Republican supply-side paradise like Kansas? I’m sure California won’t miss you here.

    • Sarah says:

      Yeah, I find the living wage and anti-union rhetoric totally off point, NSM has always paid employees well above minimum wage and offers health insurance which is why everyone in Portland loves them and people actually do love working there. I have had more thant ten friends work there over the years and every one of them was beyond happy about it. I’m not that interested in people working full time and still living in abject poverty, nor supporting businesses that run that way. These stores pulled out for other reasons, not the least of which has to be how dangerous and expensive it is to do business in a place full of trash, theft, crime, etc and these are all the responsibility of city governement,

      • Anonymous says:

        To be fair, New Seasons isn’t the only employer that City Hall has run off and/or scared away.

        That’s great do so much for Portland and the people they employ up there but we’re not in Portland and I’d venture to say not one Emeryville resident benefits from employment with NSM.

        This is bigger than one cute little grocery store that all those cool kids in Portlandia get to go to.

      • Sarah says:

        I don’t really know what your point is. Maybe you got lost in being argumentative? Time to lay off facebook, my friend, it is deteriorating your rhetorical skils.

        Yes, it is bigger than “one cute grocery store” although you fail to follow up with what “it” is about. You are also right that Emeryville residents are not benefitting from NSM not being here, although that isn’t much of “venture” and if you were going for sarcasm, this time you failed. You state the obvious, that this isn’t Portland and then make some kind of envious jab, which I guess was really your point, to hate on Portland. (I’m guessing failed relationship). You are right, the “cool kids” don’t have to go to the grocery stores in pairs becuase the parking lots are so riotous and filled with intoxicated people that it isn’t safe, so that they can buy plastic food and malt liqour which will promtly be tossed on the sidewalk or thrown in the bushes. They go to nice stores with yummy fresh food and excellent hot bar, where employees are paid well and create value in their communities by being an asset to the neighborhood.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sarah, did it take you nine days to come up with that response? Anyway, I’m not here to get into bickering – that’s what the Tattler is for – so I’m not going to bite.

        My points, however, remain the same.

    • Anonymous says:

      Believe it or not people are over catering to the progressive agenda.

      When your city is literally turning to crap and nothing is improving you have a right to be upset.

      And sorry to burst your bubble, but people are not going to leave just because you say if you don’t like it here leave.

      It’s not the minimum wage that’s an issue. It’s the downright hostility to businesses that’s become evident that is. The problem with City Hall’s patting itself on the back with its initiatives is that they are meaningless when jobs are leaving (along with the services they are a part of) and few are coming in behind them.

      If you don’t like hearing this, pick up your local progressive rag or read that nutjob bully’s joke of a community blog and don’t come back here.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Once you’ve been laid off, it doesn’t matter how high the grandstanding politicians set your salary. You make zero.

    Ask the Toys-R-Us employees how great their new “living wage” is. They have plenty of time to discuss it. There are two currently standing on the corner of Horton and 40th holding signs that say “Going out of Business Sale”, so I’m sure they’d be willing to talk about your progressive views.

    You may not care about the destruction of minimum wage jobs, but minimum wage workers do. Entry level workers in Emeryville are getting killed and their jobs are flying out of the city, not to mention the state (mostly Texas, not Kansas).

    “Look, we raised your wages higher than the market can support!”

    Good for you. You just cost a lot of poor, young, and unskilled people their jobs. Thanks a million.

    • joel says:

      Toy’s r us employees have surrounded themselves in plasic and lead crap that has been coming from china for way to long. Your kids have been sucking the wheels and paint off
      and no doubt you will wonder why their IQ is low. Good by to a store that has no need in our world at all. You have children? Make them happy without the poison. Give them something to play with that you made.

      As for the homeless mobile home lot. Give them some spare change and that will pay the gas to go elsewhere. We should be the keepers of our own streets. Bend over it’s good for you. Pick up some trash today. Beyond that and all our gripes is anybody having a good life. I have been here twenty years and I find this is better than most places I have lived.
      Keeping in mind The cabin at 12,000 feet on the continental divide. That was sweet but I had to clean up from others who had trashed it for years.

      Bring back the cows and pastures/ leave big business out of this.
      I pay to live here because Emeryville is the best town to getaway from.
      I do that a lot North south east and west we hop on the road and we are gone.
      It’s everything I ever dreamed……. Departure. We all got to go sometime.. joel

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