Trader Joe’s Update: Government Audit and Oversight Committee

Government Audit and Oversight Committee
Agenda Item #1
WHEN: Thursday, April 6 at 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: City Hall, Legislative Chamber, Room 250
Remote Access: follow links in the city agenda
Public Comment Call In: (415) 655-0001 /
Meeting ID: 2494 845 7799 # # (Press *3 to enter the speaker line)

Trader Joe’s update from Supervisor Preston

We received the following letter from Kyle Smeallie in Supervisor Preston’s office this evening with updates on Trader Joe’s and a change in the hearing focus.

Good afternoon Hayes Valley neighbors,

I’m writing with an update on 555 Fulton Street and the effort to bring a neighborhood-serving grocery store to the space.

As you may know, over the past few weeks, our office has been meeting with representatives from both Z&L and Trader Joe’s. In the course of our meetings, Z&L conveyed information to us that they asked us to keep in confidence until they indicated we could share publicly. I know many of you have asked us for updates, and it’s put us in a tough position in that we wanted to share, but also felt important to honor our commitment.

Earlier this afternoon, we were given permission to share the following: Z&L is in contract to sell the 555 Fulton Street property to a buyer that is eager to take the necessary steps to bring in Trader Joe’s.

They provided the following statement, in full:

“Z&L Properties is now in contract to sell the 555 Fulton Street property to a buyer who, once the deal is finalized, will assume the obligations of the lease and has assured us that they are eager to take the necessary steps to bring in Trader Joe’s as soon as possible. The transaction is not yet complete, as the buyer is conducting due diligence, and in accordance with the buyer’s request, we are not revealing their identity at this time. But we can say with confidence that they have expressed a strong desire to move in Trader Joe’s as soon as possible, and this is specifically a condition of the sale. We expect that the due diligence will require another month.”

This is a significant development in the effort, as we understood the barrier to Trader Joe’s moving in to the space was that Z&L was not making the agreed-upon tenant improvements.

The potential buyer did not want to make a public statement at this time, but our office has communicated with them and independently confirmed the facts as stated by Z&L and that the property is in fact in contract with a buyer that is eager to move forward with a neighborhood grocery as described. The potential buyer asked that their identity not be revealed until the deal closes.

Trader Joe’s provided the following statement to our office: “Trader Joe’s remains eager to open a neighborhood grocery store serving the Hayes Valley community.”

In light of this development, we are planning to change course for the hearing tomorrow. Rather than bringing in representatives from Z&L and Trader Joe’s, Supervisor Preston will share the update, as well as our desire to have the transaction proceed and the space improvements made as quickly as possible, and then continue the hearing to the call of the chair. There will still be public comment, but it will only be on the continuance.

Thank you all for your advocacy on this front. We recognize that this is not the end of the line, and we will still need to work to make sure the buyer follows through, but we are happy to share this positive development.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or feedback.

With appreciation,
Kyle Smeallie (he/him/his)
Chief of Staff, Supervisor Dean Preston