Heather Murtagh/Daily Journal
A woman checks out the produce options minutes after the newly revamped Safeway at 525 El Camino Real in Millbrae opened 5 p.m. Thursday. The store is officially open for business at 8 a.m. today.
At 5 p.m., a handful of shoppers took the chance to be among the first to shop at the newly revamped Safeway in Millbrae.
Opened one year, 12 days and five hours after breaking ground, the podium store at 525 El Camino Real was celebrated with a private reception Thursday afternoon before a limited opening to the public at 5 p.m. Starting at 8 a.m. this morning, the grocery store opened to the public.
Mayor Gina Papan welcomed the new store for a variety of reason — it’s larger, resulted in 1,000 jobs during construction and 50 new positions going forward.
“We are very excited because, needless to say, we missed you and your revenue,” she said with a smile.
Plans for the new store were approved in 2011 and ground broke on the new store in June 2012.
In the last year, the store at 525 El Camino Real was torn down and a podium building with street-level parking both in front of and underneath the store was erected.
“What a phoenix,” Keith Turner, director, public and government affairs for Safeway Inc.’s Northern California Division, said of the store which is the first podium store in Northern California.
Millbrae Planning Commissioners Catherine Quigg and Lorrie Kalos-Gunn were happy with the results of the approved plans. Many of the small details the commission requested — like maintaining the historic mosaics and putting in charging stations for electric cars — were implemented.
Shoppers were excited to get a chance to buy food from the new store. Councilwoman Marge Colapietro came to the ribbon cutting prepared with coupons, her rewards card and a shopping list — her Safeway tool kit.
Safeway opened in Millbrae in 1962. The old store was 37,094 square feet with 92 parking spaces, according to a 2012 staff report written by contract planner Catherine Barber. Space was added in the early ’90s.
Now, Millbrae shoppers will be enjoying a 54,000-square-foot store with 183 parking spots which will be reached by using an escalator or elevator. The new store will offer the standard supermarket departments with expanded offerings in the bakery, pharmacy, florist, prepared foods section and deli as well as a wide range of organic food. In addition, the store will offer indoor and outdoor seating for customers to enjoy food or coffee from the Starbucks inside.
Yesterday’s celebration included two $2,500 donations to local organizations, the Millbrae Education Foundation and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
MEF President Karen Bettucchi was happy to be on hand to accept the donation from Safeway. The five-year-old nonprofit that supports the city’s five elementary and middle schools raised $280,000 in the last fiscal year. Going forward, the donations will support new technology elements as well as access to music for all elementary school students.
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