The Fresh Market, a North Carolina-based, European-style specialty market will open its first West Coast store at Edgewood Plaza Shopping Center in Palo Alto, a source close to the deal said Friday, Feb. 3.
Developer John Tze of Sand Hill Property Company notified the city's Architectural Review Board on Feb. 1 by letter that the company had signed a long-term lease with a grocer "who is highly desired by our neighbors." The property is located at 2080 Channing Ave.
"Edgewood will be their first Bay Area location before expanding throughout California," Tze wrote. He did not name the grocer, but during previous interviews he said it came down to two markets: Fresh and Easy and The Fresh Market. He did not return a phone call on Friday asking which market had signed the lease.
Fresh and Easy has already been expanding in the Bay Area, and has a store in Mountain View. But The Fresh Market has no stores in California.
The market has 124 stores either open or being built in 21 states. The furthest west it has publicly announced so far is a planned store in Tulsa, Okla. Company officials were eyeing Edgewood Plaza as a possible launch for its first West Coast store and visited the site in April 2011.
Fresh Market was started by husband and wife Ray and Beverly Berry in Greensboro, N.C. in 1982. The couple wanted to build a quality grocery store with the ambiance of an open European market.
The stores are service oriented and offer loose fresh produce, freshly roasted coffee, an old-style butcher shop and fish market, produce and floral stands, a delicatessen and bakery and classical music, according to the company website.
Jordan Worrall, public relations representative for Fresh Market, said she could not comment on the store coming to California, since the company has not made an announcement at this time.
Damon Scholl, Cornish & Carey Commercial broker for Edgewood Plaza, also said he could not comment on which store had signed the lease. And some residents who are in communication with the developer said they are sworn to secrecy.
But a source who asked to remain anonymous confirmed that Fresh Market is the lessee. The market will take over the old 20,100 square-foot Lucky Stores/Albertson's building, which is being renovated.
Lucky Store was built at the historic Eichler shopping center in 1957. The store eventually changed ownership and became an Albertson's, which closed in August 2006. Without an anchor store, the shopping center became defunct.
Crescent Park resident Susie Hwang started weekly food-truck events called "Edgewood Eats" in August 2010 to draw attention to residential enthusiasm for revitalizing the center and to help lure a potential grocer.
On Friday she said she could not comment on which company had signed the lease. She said that she and Sand Hill are trying to figure our what will happen to Edgewood Eats during construction.
Tze wrote the Architectural Review Board that the grocer anticipates opening by Thanksgiving. Scholl said the developer "is talking to a handful of great tenants" to bring to Edgewood, and is exploring all uses from coffee and pet stores to financial services.