A new kind of grocery store to take over Safeway lot in West Van
From the outside, it doesn’t seem like much is happening to the boarded-up former Safeway building on Marine Drive in Ambleside.
But crews are quickly working on extensive renovations to make way for Fresh St. Market, a grocery store that will offer 70 per cent veggies, fruit and meat and 30 per cent grocery items.
The store is slated to open at the end of November.
“It’s unlike a traditional grocery store. A lot of grocery stores will have an even split between groceries and fresh food, and we’re going to concentrate a lot on fresh,” said Mark McCurdy, spokesman with H.Y. Louie, a company that also owns IGA and London Drugs.
Fresh St. Market is the first of its kind for the company, which opted not to put another IGA in the location.
“We’re looking at having sustainable fish products and [food from] local farmers and cheese producers. We’re going to have some of these people right in our store talking about their products, building a stronger relationship between farmer and customer,” McCurdy told The Outlook.
North Vancouver residents will likely visit Fresh St. Market because of its focus on fresh food, along with other grocery items, he added.
Since Safeway closed its doors in June after its lease wasn’t renewed, many Ambleside residents have been left without a grocery store nearby, a particular problem for the area’s large senior population.
“We knew the people of West Vancouver wanted to get the food store back up and running... so it was important to us to open as quickly as possible,” said McCurdy, adding that work is being stepped up to meet the goal of opening at the end of November.
The company opted to renovate the store because building a completely new structure would have taken about a year, McCurdy said.
“It has a great footprint right now. It’s a good size store with a great parking lot that is convenient.”
The final permit for the design of the store is going before council on Oct. 1. If approval is given, the exterior is expected to be completed by early November.
The owners of the property had originally wanted a mixed-use development on the site, but the plans were quashed last summer because residents were concerned the buildings would block the view of the waterfront.
The options presented to the District of West Vancouver council at the time included a 41,000-square-foot underground grocery store with 16,800 square feet of ground-level retail and office space and between 144 and 154 residential units.
A public forum about the Fresh St. Market development will take place on Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. at John Lawson Park.