Centennial Village Update: Safeway to close for good Saturday July 12

South San Francisco, CA   July 11, 2014

View from Spruce Ave

View from Spruce Ave

Well the party is coming to a close. After nearly 30 years it is time to start saying good-bye to our Spruce Shopping Center at 180 El Camino Real as Safeway closes their doors for the last time tomorrow Saturday July 12. A new grocery store in our city has long been over due.

This development was originally built in 1965 on 14.5 acres and was home to White Front, Treasury, Bentwood Markets, Service Merchandise, Longs, and other landmarks through the years.  Today it houses CVS, Bedroom Express, Ballys and Safeway. This 30 year old center is overdue for some major changes so moving forward will be good for all.

First out of the old center was Firestone. They moved out at the beginning of the year when their contract expired. The manager had told us it was a last minute notice that it would not be renewed. Although development plans for this area have been on the drawing board for seven years it is now finally happening.

Thanks to Sandra Peña, a Safeway employee for sharing ‘’Safeway Store on Spruce & El Camino will be closing for remodel on Saturday, July 12th. Almost empty! A sad goodbye to all those wonderful customers that made my day and my fellow coworkers that became a family to me after just 7 yrs of working there!’

‘Bally’s and CVS will remain open until December. They start tearing everything down on 1/25/15’ Sandra said. Lucinda Denning, an employee at CVS said she also has heard Bally’s will be closing in December but had not yet heard about CVS. Ubaldo Reyes added ‘I am a member at Bally and I asked them about their situation earlier this week. They told me they will eventually close, but they will give members a 6 months notice. So it seems like it won’t be closing too soon.’ Laina Romani I called Ballys today and they said once they are given their 120 day notice to vacate , they will be moving locations, and the location to be determined will still be in SSF.

View from Spruce Ave Cent_Vil

Nearly empty shelves at Safeway this week  Photo: Sandra Peña

Nearly empty shelves at Safeway this week
Photo: Sandra Peña

When asked what will happen with our local clerks Danielle Michelle Cresci said, ‘I work at Safeway in Foster City. All the employees from the Spruce store will be absorbed into other stores in the area!’ We sure hope so, after so many years a lot of the clerks in these stores are like family.’

As excited as many are to finally see a new grocery store in town, there is still a bit of nostalgia that comes with saying good-bye. Karen McEvoy said ‘I will miss the staff at the Safeway, it was always so convenient for me as I live in the Brentwood area and was so easy to run there for just 1 or 2 things you always seem to forget. The staff was always very pleasant but the store looks so sad.’

‘Love you all! Thanks for all the hard work. What stands out was when there was only two lines open and everyone was bitchy you all kept a great attitude.’ Added Vaughn Leslie Hyndman

San Bruno’s Bill’s Lock Shop chimed in ‘Always enjoyed this “old school” Safeway with WIDE aisles, and friendly staff.’

For those who stop by tomorrow it will be a bittersweet good-bye.

The Development

This approved project will sit on 14.5 acres

This approved project will sit on 14.5 acres

This project took 7 years of planning between the developer and city staff and staff is to be commended for their work. It was approved by our City Council this past March after 7 months working out final details between Council and developer with at least 3 public meetings with Council alone.

The end result will bring 220,000 square feet of retail space compared to 150,000 square feet that currently exists. The plan is for Safeway to return and was confirmed in March by Safeway Realtors per Mr. Mitchell, spokesperson for the development. A Fitness Center will also be included, although we don’t know which one at this time. Entrances to the Centennial Village will be on El Camino Real, Spruce Avenue, and Huntington Blvd. The development will include buildings from 2 stories up to 5 stories. The Council is encouraging that local residents be used for all stages of this project, although it is not required, and prevailing wages will be paid.

There will be approximately 285 apartment units which our council pushed for and will consist of studios, 1 and 2 bedrooms. These will be market rate units as the developer is not asking, nor receiving, any government monies. They will not be low cost or below market rate. RealFacts Annual Trends reports a South City 2 bedroom, 1 bath unit was renting for $2,017 in 2013 which would require the household to earn  at least $80,680 annually. There has been public debate about low cost housing; some want to see more of it in our city which others do not. The developer states this is a very high quality housing complex.

Another upside is we will realize $800K that will be generated by property tax for our schools with an additional $700K for our city annually. This will be a 10 year project with ground breaking to start a year from now (approximate time frames). It is expected to be done in two Phases with residential and Safeway included in Phase 1.

More plan renderings (pictures) can be found on our website HERE

To view the March 2014 Council Meeting when this was last discussed and approved CLICK HERE


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[…] Camino Real in South San Francisco has finally been demolished after standing vacant for ten years. In 2014, after 7 years of planning, a new development, Centennial Village, was approved by the City Council to be built on this […]

9 years ago

I cant imagine how congested Spurce and El Camino will be around 5pm M-F. 285 apartment units= at least 200 cars added to SSF!!!

9 years ago

I’m so disappointed to hear that they’ll be building more expensive apartments. Don’t we have enough in South City already? I am glad to see Safeway being upgraded though. That store had seen its day, but the employees were always nice there. I think it’s great that the center will have a new, fresh look. But the apartments *sigh*

9 years ago

Think it’s too bad their building more housing. Been in South City since the 50’s and it is to commercial now and far too many people for what was once a gr8 place to live. The culture has changed so much in south city with new views so much has been taken away, our trees especially. There was a tree at every house where I live and now our house is the only one with trees. I wish they would stop building in South City, and the schools are so overcrowded, having to now have kids from DC come to our schools is just not right. What sense does that make to build apartments condo’s and shut the schools down. What a disappointment. Stop building in South City