Bi-Rite's plans to open a second location at 550 Divisadero are inching closer to reality, with some new details emerging as the store faces an important hearing this week.
On Thursday, the market goes before the SF Planning Commission to request a conditional use permit. The hearing is required, in part, because Bi-Rite is proposing an expansion of the current space beyond 4,000 square feet.
According to an executive summary filed a few days ago, Bi-Rite's plans include "expanding the existing building from 4,240 square feet to 5,427 square feet" and connecting it to a second property at 542 Divisadero. The combined size would be 7,350 square foot, or almost triple the size of Bi-Rite's 18th Street location.
The Planning Department summary also reveals some clues as to what the buildings' exteriors might look like:
"The 550 Divisadero Street building will be a revitalized Art Deco-style structure and the 542 Divisadero Street building will remain a Victorian structure. In addition, an over-sized canvas canopy and wood siding covering the original facade and wood millwork at 542 Divisadero Street will be removed."
One other nugget of note: Bi-Rite has indicated to the city that the store's hours will be 9am to 9pm, seven days a week, with the Creamery section possibly staying open until 10pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends.
Things are looking promising for Bi-Rite even before the hearing begins. As of last Wednesday, the Planning Department had received "42 emails/letters in support of the proposed project. The Department has not received any letters or phone calls in support of or in opposition to the project." [That's not 100% clear, but we're interpreting it as: All the feedback has been positive. -Ed.] The executive summary also indicates that Bi-Rite meets all criteria necessary to receive the Department's approval. It even prematurely issues a decision authorizing the conditional use, a full week before the hearing has taken place. Presumably the summary has been posted early by mistake, but still, an encouraging sign.
If Thursday's hearing goes well, Bi-Rite should still be on track for an early-2013 opening, at least last we checked. Rest assured, we'll keep you posted.
Update 5:30pm: Bi-Rite emails with two updates: the Planning Department has now received more than 60 emails/letters of support, and because a good chunk of the new space will be used for storage etc., the actual operating space will only be about 500 square feet larger than the original store. Consider yourself updated!