"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 companies: Fresh and Easy and The Fresh Market. He did not return a phone call asking which market had signed the lease.
Fresh and Easy has already expanded in the Bay Area and recently opened a store in Mountain View. But The Fresh Market has no stores in California.
The company has 124 markets either open or under construction in 21 states. The westernmost site it has announced is in Tulsa, Okla. However, company officials visited Edgewood Plaza last April, eying it the possible launch site for its West Coast group of stores.
The Fresh Market was started by 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, a 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 yet made an announcement.
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 The Fresh Market is the lessee. The grocer will occupy 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.
She said she could not comment on which company had signed the lease but said she and Sand Hill are trying to figure out what will happen to Edgewood Eats during construction.
The grocer anticipates opening by Thanksgiving, Tze wrote to the Architectural Review Board. Scholl said Tze "is talking to a handful of great tenants" to bring to Edgewood, exploring retailers from coffee and pet stores to financial services.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
People are talking about The Fresh Market and its potential impact on Palo Alto. Join the conversation on Town Square, the online discussion forum, by going to PaloAltoOnline.com and searching for "Fresh Market."
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