January 30, 2009

Update: Whole Foods

A reader passed on notes from the Upper Noe Neighbors meeting last night at the Upper Noe Rec Center. We didn't have the group on our radar, as they've been quiet for months, but here's a description of who they are: "For 18 years, UNN has helped champion and improve their neighborhood. Whether the challenge is oversized development, screeching Muni tracks or calming traffic, the UNN has been dedicated and effective." If you attend a neighborhood meeting, please pass along your notes so that we may share them with the community.

On the agenda: Whole Foods and Congestion Pricing (yet ironically unrelated).

Whole Foods:

In brief:
  • Bell Market closes on Valentine's Day
  • Whole Foods takes over lease March 1
  • Filed Change of Use on 1/29 (no details online yet)
  • Community open house at St. Philips on February 18 (details as we get them)
  • Planning Commission hearing on Feb 19
  • Projected opening October 2009
  • keep building structure and parking lot
  • fix up and remodel interior
  • Core goods only -- no Whole Body, no cafe, no kitchen stuff
  • yes bakery, yes supplements, some prepared foods
[Trivia: the Mill Valley WF is about the same size and a good example of what to expect for product mix. For reference, the Franklin and Soma locations are twice the size of 3901 24th St.]

  • Possible shuttle to other markets for eldery while under construction
  • Possible temporary leases (perhaps Streetlight) for basic groceries while under construction
  • Bevan Dufty and City have fast-tracked the permit process
  • WF has tried, but been unable to secure a deal to take over the Real Foods space
  • Confirmed they're in talks with the developer at Dolores/Market, but would not say more
Community Wishlist:
  • Stroller lane for checkout, dog zone outside store -- "This is Noe Valley"
  • Use of parking lot while shopping at other 24th St locations (not likely to happen)
  • Shuttle/delivery service for neighborhood residents
The community liaison for this project lives in Noe Valley, and works at the 4th/Harrison location. His name is Andrew Calabrese, and his email is andrew.calabrese@wholefoods.com. He's fielding all questions and suggestions from the neighborhood.

Also feel free to discuss in the comments and we'll make sure he's reading.

Congestion Pricing: Principal Transportation Planner Zabe Bent gave a presentation explaining the hypothetical plans for charging automobile drivers to cross in and out of parts (or all) of San Francisco. She emphasized that the study is still in the early phase, and hopes to learn from trials in London, Stockholm and Rome. For information on the project, upcoming meetings or how to get involved visit the San Francisco County Transportation Authority website, or send comments/questions to Zabe Bent or mobility@sfcta.org. Most useful concern expressed: don't let Noe Valley become a park and ride for downtown commuters.

[Side note: Bevan Dufty is the new chairman of the SFCTA.]

Notables in attendance: Gwen Sanderson (NVMPA President), District 8 Supervisor hopefuls Rafael Mandelmann and Scott Wiener, as well as representatives from the Transit Authority and Whole Foods. 15-20 residents and members of UNN also attended.

[NVSF: Bell Market: Winding Down]
[SFCTA: Congestion Pricing]


murphstahoe said...

Bike Racks/Bike Parking. At Bell people just lock their bikes to the steel framing surrounding the trees in the center of the lot. And there is almost always someone with a bike shopping in the store, and that will increase with the transition to Whole Foods. Amazing there is no bike rack. The Bike Plan injunction is irrellevant - Whole Foods can install a rack on private property.

To me, this is a must.

A wishlist is some sort of inside bike parking, something where you insert a quarter to open a lock to lock your wheel in and get the key - something that encourages people to use their bikes to get to the store (given that parking and traffic will be a huge problem there) but not to store their bikes inside the bike valet area.