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Abel Heredia pushes a wheelbarrow as workers put the finishing touches on the newly refurbished Safeway in north Berkeley on Thursday Oct. 4, 2012. The store was closed for a year and the company spent $17 million on the project. (Doug Oakley/Staff)

BERKELEY -- A newly remodeled Safeway opened its doors in North Berkeley Thursday after a yearlong, $17 million renovation that included a large degree of community input.

Touted by the company as a "Lifestyle" concept store, the new 45,000-square-foot supermarket at 1444 Shattuck Place will feature an extended range of services, including a bakery, deli, full-service meat and seafood departments, pharmacy, floral department, and a produce section with organic produce.

The new building, which replaces the 28,763-square-foot store that was closed last October, sports vintage lighting and a "sawtooth" design that gives the appearance of several, smaller retail stores instead of one large, monolithic Safeway.

"I've been looking at a rundown facade for the last 15 years," said Marsha Masse, whose business, Masse's Pastries, is across the street from the new Safeway. "I think it's a great improvement."

Safeway spokesman Keith Turner said the opening comes after a long process of negotiation with the community and subsequent redesigns. Public meetings were held, and community input was gathered even before the company went to the drawing board, said Safeway spokesman Keith Turner.

Heather Hensley, director of the North Shattuck Business Association, said area business owners weighed in on the store as well.

"They worked with both the residents and the businesses over many months," Hensley said. "There was a definite impact on the design from both groups."


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Some smaller business owners in the area feel confident that the new Safeway won't have a negative impact on their businesses.

"I've been here for 21 years, and I have my own customers," said Sam Hort, owner of The Produce Center on Shattuck, a block away from the new Safeway.

Safeway held a special wine-tasting event Thursday to celebrate the grand opening and presented a $5,000 donation to the Berkeley Public Education Foundation.

Berkeley City Councilman Laurie Capitelli, who spoke during the event, praised the company's willingness to compromise with the community.

"They worked out virtually every single issue," said Capitelli. "Virtually every neighbor in the area signed off on this process."

The new store will be open 6 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.