Why 555 Fulton—And Hayes Valley's Grocery Store—Has Been So Delayed

The condo development at 555 Fulton St. in Hayes Valley has been in the making for years, but it's still not ready yet—which is also delaying plans for the neighborhood's first full-service grocery store. 

Last December, we broke the news that Portland-based New Seasons Market was eyeing the large, vacant retail space on 555 Fulton's ground floor. The grocery store chain, which offers a mix of organic and standard products, is primarily based in Oregon, but has slowly been opening stores in California. Its first, in San Jose, debuted last year, and there are two more on the way in Sunnyvale and Emeryville. 

But 555 Fulton continues to face delays, as the Chronicle reported this weekend. According to the city, that's because Fulton Street Ventures, the project's developer, introduced changes to the building without city approval. The planned glass exterior was changed, and the developer also eliminated the landscaping and streetscape improvements for which it had gotten approval. 

After negotiations with the Planning Department, Fulton Street Ventures agreed to go back to its original plans. But that meant a new glass curtain wall system had to be ordered, causing further delays.

The delays have cost the development residents: 30 of the 80 people who originally signed up for a unit have reportedly walked away. 

Nonetheless, New Seasons is still interested in the location, as they confirmed to us earlier this month. However, it's not clear if the store has signed a lease. 

One hurdle for the potential grocery has already been cleared: in 2014, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve District 5 Supervisor London Breed's legislation allowing a large grocery store to be built at 555 Fulton. Due to its formula retail restrictions, Hayes Valley does not typically permit such stores, but the legislation allows for an exception.

Gail Baugh, president of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, told the Chronicle that she is still hopeful New Seasons will sign a lease, as soon as the skinning of the building is complete.

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Why 555 fulton and hayes valley s grocery store has been so delayed