Will There Be Affordable Groceries in The East Cut? Neighbors Hope So

In November 2018, the affordable grocery component of the Block 8 development at 400 Folsom Street entered limbo, sparking debate in the East Cut District.

While the community celebrated the opening of Woodlands Markets at Lumina in August 2017 – which positively impacted the fabric of the neighborhood – many neighbors remained hopeful that more grocery options were on the horizon in the district.

For many residents in the East Cut neighborhood, needed food and services are too far away or too expensive. To complement the requirement that 35% of all housing in the Transbay Redevelopment Area be affordable (or BMR, Below Market Rate), the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure’s area plan included a requirement for the developer of Transbay Block 8 (Related California) to build-out a ground-floor retail space capable to accommodate an affordable grocery store that would cater to all demographics in the neighborhood.

The project – now known as The Avery – nears completion and Related is leasing the market-rate units in the 56-story tower.  The City will lease the 150 affordable units within the project.

Related is now asking to get released from OCII’s “grocery store requirement” as they have not successfully found a grocer willing to lease the 12,000 sq.ft space despite their efforts.

To understand the grocery shopping behaviors of residents and the need for additional options in the neighborhood, The East Cut Community Benefit conducted a community survey. Over 500 people responded, overwhelming from the district.

Below is the report interpreting the responses collected by The East Cut Community Benefit District from 538 district residents: https://www.theeastcut.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Final_Grocery-Summary.pdf

OCII’s Transbay Citizen Advisory Committee will vote on Thursday March 14, 2019 on wether or not they recommend the developer to be released from OCII’s requirement.