See's Candies is coming to the Castro.
Thursday, Dec. 12th, the Planning Commission voted 6-0 at its meeting to allow the South San Francisco-based chocolate chain to open next to Safeway in the former Wolfe Camera space at Church and Market St.
As we've been following since August
, the Warren Buffet owned 112 year-old candy company has been vying to break into the Castro area.
The original goal had been to lease the space in the Safeway shopping center, renovate, and open in time to capitalize on holiday season sales. That plan met resistance when it butted heads with the Castro's new Formula Retail Guidelines.
The new regs state any chain store seeking to open in Castro/Upper Market that brings the concentration of chain retailers within a 300-foot radius to 20% or more be automatically nixed by planning staff. The area chain concentration already busts past that set limit at 30%.
These parameters have already stopped two other chains from opening in the 'Stro this year. First the mega-Starbucks
at Market and Sanchez in May and then Chipotle
at Market and Church in June. But then the Commission eased restrictions to allow the new CVS Drug Store
to fill the former Tower Record Shopping Center at Noe and Market Streets.
See's seems to have the luck of the Irish. The Planning Commission can use its discretionary powers to amend the Formula Retail Guidelines as it sees fit once neighbors --and neighborhood groups-- weigh in as well. Castro Merchants (formerly known as MUMC) had given it their blessing and two other influential neighborhood watchdogs, Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Assc. (DTNA) and Eureka Valley Neighborhood Assc. (EVNA), remained neutral on this new chain stores encroachment into the Castro this time around.
This will be the fifth San Francisco location for See's. Construction should begin shortly. We'll keep you updated on when the grand opening draws near.