Safeway officials reported last week that construction of the new 45,000-square-foot grocery store on First Street will wrap up in time for a grand opening in late June.
According to Wendy Gutschall, Safeway’s Northern California Division public and government affairs manager, the podium-style market’s construction remains within the timeline officials originally set. Construction crews began razing the former single-story Safeway store – which served Los Altos for more than 45 years – in June 2013, more than a year after the Los Altos City Council approved the national grocer’s plans to rebuild at 160 First St.
“We broke ground in June of last year and we anticipated that the turnaround would be one year,” said Gutschall, who noted that the podium-style market is just one of two built by the grocery store chain in Northern California.
Safeway completed construction on a similarly sized podium store in Millbrae last year, wrapping up work approximately the same time demolition of the old Los Altos Safeway store commenced.
The new two-story market will be nearly double the size of its predecessor. Safeway made a public-private parking agreement with the city to share 129 of the store’s 154 street-level spaces. The ceiling evokes an open-air market that mimics San Francisco’s Ferry Building. It will feature 27 skylights, flooding the market’s interior with natural lighting.
Bill Carrozzella, Safeway’s Northern California real estate manager, said the lack of rain during the fall and winter months aided the construction schedule by limiting the number and duration of work interruptions.
“I would say I’m very happy – things have been very smooth,” he said. “There have been no hiccups, aside from some normal construction issues (that projects typically encounter).”
Carrozzella added that he’s pleased to see that the store is part of the overhaul along First Street, pointing to the ongoing construction of a two-story mixed-use structure next door by developer Jeffrey A. Morris, in addition to developer Randy Lamb’s 48-unit condominium complex at 100 First St., site of the former U.S. Postal Service office. Both projects are slated to wrap up sometime in 2014 as well.