Grocery store may stay open due to setback 

Delayed plans to build new condos in Nob Hill could keep a Cala Foods supermarket open longer than expected.

The grocery store was scheduled to close at year’s end, when its lease expires. Construction on a mixed-use development project at the California and Hyde streets location was slated to begin Jan. 1, the day after the store closed.

However, the Prado Group ­— a local firm in charge of the project — is still negotiating with potential grocery stores to replace Cala Foods, casting doubt over the original schedule of events. The development group planned to make an announcement of a new grocery store more than a month ago.

Dan Safier, president of the Prado Group, could not give specifics on the timeline of the redevelopment project, but asserted that it was  still “feasible that the project could begin sometime in the beginning of next year.”

If the Prado Group’s project is delayed, Cala Foods could continue to stay at the existing location on a short-term lease basis. Repeated calls to Kroger, Cala’s parent corporation, were not returned, and Hank Dever, a manager at the Nob Hill location, said store employees did not know any details about a lease extension.

The proposed redevelopment project — which would include 107 new condominium units and 30,000 feet of retail space — has been a source of controversy with Nob Hill residents, who are reluctant to see an expensive, high-end grocer replace Cala Foods, a more-affordable market that’s been a neighborhood presence since the 1960s.

“We need a grocery store in this area that can cater to a wide range of demographics,” said Dawn Trennert, chair of the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association, a community group. “In the neighborhood, we have everyone from the very affluent to the very poor, and it’s critically important that a local grocery store meet all the residents’ needs.”

Trennert said it was comforting to know that the Cala Foods could stay in the area past December.

“I think everyone would be happy to see Cala Foods stick around for a few more months,” she said.

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Will Reisman

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