The developer of Edgewood Plaza is now facing a fine of $1,000 per day for not replacing the vacant grocery store formerly occupied by Fresh Market, which departed on March 31.
In August, the City Council added pressure on Sand Hill Property Company to replace Fresh Market by the end of September by imposing a fine of $500 per day. That fine increased to $750 on Oct. 1 and $1,000 each day after Oct. 1 until the property is brought into compliance with an ordinance that requires the continued operation of a grocery store at the once-dilapidated Edgewood Plaza, located at 2080 Channing Ave.
The grocery store is a key component of a "planned-community" zone change that the city granted to Sand Hill in 2012. The zone change allowed the developer to construct a development that, in addition to the grocery store, includes two commercial buildings and 10 homes.
Residents have been calling for the city to take action against Sand Hill for the zoning violations.
At an August council meeting, a group of residents and land-use watchdogs from the nearby neighborhoods of Crescent Park and Duveneck/St. Francis submitted a letter calling for the city to impose a financial penalty against Sand Hill, and to prevent the developer from selling the new homes at Edgewood until a new grocer is found.
Three weeks after the City Council's decision that Sand Hill would have to pay $500 per day if the vacant grocery space isn't filled by Sept. 30, Sand Hill's John Tze announced the news about Bay Area-based Andronico's Community Markets' interest in moving into Edgewood.
"I'm pleased to let you and the neighborhood know that yesterday Andronico's issued a term sheet that seems workable to me. I've spoken with them and The Fresh Market, and all parties are trying to bring Andronico's to Edgewood as quickly as we can," Tze wrote.
If Andronico's does enter into an agreement for the site, it would occupy a space only slightly smaller than the 25,000-square-foot store it operated at Stanford Shopping Center until 2011.
The $1,000-per-day fine is the largest allowed under the city's ordinance for zoning non-compliance. It is not the first time that a grocery store vacancy is stirring community anxiety. Last year, the city reached a deal with the developer of College Terrace Centre, a planned-community project at 2180 El Camino Real that includes the former JJ&F Market, that includes increased enforcement if the replacement market were to close. The new store is set to be operated by Michael "Miki" Werness, formerly of Miki's Farm Fresh Market.
In that case, the fine would be $2,000 per day if the grocery tenant were to leave and not replaced with another grocery store within six months.
City staff noted that this situation is different from Edgewood because in the case of College Terrace Centre, the property owner agreed to a restrictive covenant that increases the penalty.