Safeway seeking site shift


POSTED: Saturday, January 23, 2010

Safeway shopping carts might soon roll around where a horse-and-carriage window display once marked the Schuman Carriage Co. dealership at 1234 S. Beretania St.

Pflueger GMC Buick currently leases the site from the Schuman family.

“;We hope to purchase the auto dealer site to relocate our entire Beretania store — it is about a half a block away,”; said Susan Houghton, Safeway director of public and government affairs. However, there is not a finalized deal yet, she said.

Safeway wants to build a new, 60,000-square-foot store on the lot to replace the current store at 1121 S. Beretania St., about a half-block away and on the makai side of the street. The old store would remain open during construction.

The new Safeway would have 230 parking spaces, more than double the nearby store's 103 spaces.

It also would be next to the competing, locally established Times Super Market, according to a televised report.

The current 40,000-square-foot store was Hawaii's first Safeway, built more than 40 years ago, Houghton said.

Safeway will dedicate an additional lane on Piikoi Street and undertake other traffic mitigation measures “;to ensure traffic and pedestrian safety”; if the land purchase is finalized, Houghton said.

“;It is important for your readers to know that we are very interested in customer (and) resident feedback on our design and plans,”; she said. The company is setting up a Web site for the public to access and contribute their input, and the Star-Bulletin will publish the online address when it goes live in a few weeks.

; The company hopes to start construction this summer and open the new store in the summer of 2011, she said.

Meanwhile, the possibility that Safeway will take over the former CompUSA site at Ala Moana Boulevard and South Street has fizzled. “;We did look at that site but in the end opted not to proceed,”; Houghton said.

Contrary to talk around the Kailua community, Safeway has no plans to close the Enchanted Lake store on Keolu Drive, she said. It is one of three in the Windward community, including the one in Kailua on Hamakua Drive and one at Aikahi Park Shopping Center.

The main dealership building that would be demolished to make way for the new Safeway was built in 1960, when Schuman Carriage had to move to make way for construction of the state Capitol building.

The more-than-100-year-old, four-generation family business confirmed plans to close in the fall of 2004, as then-patriarch Gustav E. “;Dutch”; Schuman wanted to retire, he told employees at the time. He died the following year at age 76.

Safeway has undertaken larger redevelopment projects on Oahu, such as its 4.5-acre location at 888 Kapahulu Ave., where it is the anchor tenant of the Avenue Shops at Safeway Center on Kapahulu.

The store and 17,000 square feet of adjoining retail space replaced a strip mall.

While plans for the complex initially included a gas station, that aspect was abandoned due to input from neighbors concerned about resulting traffic jams. In that case, Safeway also made regular presentations to the area's neighborhood board.

It broke ground late in the summer of 2006 and had its grand opening in November 2007. The store, built in the company's new lifestyle format, which incorporates wood flooring and other, more contemporary design features, represented the company's largest investment in a new store to date, surpassing the average $20 million for a build-out in California.