Saturday, January 30, 2010

Whole Foods okayed for Haight and Stanyan

John Mackey

Good news for the Haight-Ashbury: the Planning Commission gave the green light to Whole Foods Market on the old Cala Market site at Haight and Stanyan. The Haight needs a supermarket, but the not-so-good-news---or at least it's worrisome news--- is that parking for the store will now be limited to the old Cala parking lot, which has only 42 parking spaces. The original proposal for the site---shelved for economic reasons---included 114 parking spaces in an underground garage. Traffic in and out of that parking lot will be intense, much like the Whole Foods on 24th Street in Noe Valley. Maybe the store can work something out with the Kezar parking lot a block away on Stanyan to handle the overflow.

Interesting New Yorker profile of John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods.
Examiner Staff Writer

What was once a lightning rod of a proposal to place a Whole Foods in the Haight District sailed through the Planning Commission with nary a ripple of controversy Thursday night.

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the proposal, which will renovate the old closed Cala Foods store on Haight and Stanyan streets and install a Whole Foods.

Whole Foods representative Glen Moon said only about five members of the public spoke before the commissioners made their decision, and all were in favor of the project. The hearing was a night-and-day difference from the Planning Commission meeting in Fall 2008, when hundreds of people spoke, roughly half in favor of the proposal and half opposed.

At the time, the property owner was considering a much larger store with several floors of housing above and parking below. However, the owners have since abandoned that project because of the bad economy and because of city fees they said were prohibitively expensive.

Moon said Whole Foods is happy with the outcome, and is relieved the project is no longer the hot-button issue it once was.

“You can get a lot more teamwork and cooperation with sugar than you can with vinegar,” he said. “We love the size of the store---it gets built a lot quicker this way.”

He said that if everything goes as planned, the new store should open between September and December.

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At 5:34 PM, Blogger RickSchmoo said...

I don't think the lack of parking will be an issue.

Many people had this concern with the Noe Valley store which likewise has extremely limited parking in a tricky-to-park-in neighbourhood. The lack of parking is managed with a couple of attendants who move on backed up traffic as required, and provision of lots of bike parking, easy access to public transit etc.

My main concern is the impact that WF will have on the excellent wholefood like neighbourhoods store we already have in Haight-Ashbury.

At 7:25 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Whole Foods will be the only real supermarket in the Haight, with a deli, a butcher, and a fish counter. Lucky Market at Masonic and Fulton has an underground garage with 250 parking spaces, which is why you rarely see any traffic jams in that area. The traffic should be manageable, but there will be a lot of traffic.


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