OAKLAND -- Plans are afoot to overhaul Rockridge Shopping Center at the corner of Broadway and Pleasant Valley Road.
"The proposal is to remove all existing structures and build a completely new shopping center," said Darin Ranelletti, a planner in the city of Oakland's Planning and Zoning Division. "It is currently under review by the Planning Department and will come before the Planning Commission on Sept. 25 for a decision. If approved, construction would begin early next year."
In addition to 330,942 square feet of new commercial space -- compared with the current 185,000 square feet -- the project includes 967 parking spaces, including rooftop parking on the new Safeway and a three-tier garage.
There would be modifications to neighborhood streets including installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection of Broadway and Coronado Avenue (next to Wendy's). In addition, Broadway between College Avenue and 49th Street would be reduced to two lanes in each direction and new bike lanes would be installed.
Keith Turner, director of public and government affairs for Safeway, said the existing Safeway and shopping mall serves a large regional area.
"This could become an exciting retail development linking College Avenue and Piedmont Avenue," he said. "We believe the site will attract the types of retailers and restaurants that the community wants."
The renovation of Safeway will be done in two phases, according to District 1 Councilman Dan Kalb.
"In phase one, CVS Pharmacy will be torn down and a new Safeway built on that site," Kalb said. "Once phase one is complete, the rest of the site will be torn down and rebuilt."
That includes Chase Bank and the AAA building on the perimeters of the site.
The new grocery, which opened in 1967, will be approximately 65,000 square feet -- it's currently 47,925 square feet -- and will incorporate the company's lifestyle format, according to Turner.
"Customers will experience an enhanced shopping experience with an expanded selection of offerings, wider aisles and more efficient checkout," he said.
The store also will maximize energy and water efficiency, incorporating greenhouse gas-reducing features in lighting, refrigeration, HVAC, display cases and facilities.
Kalb said Safeway -- which is the primary lessee of the whole property from owner Albert B. Chan, Inc. -- initially introduced a plan to revamp the shopping center in 2009 but met with "pushback" from the community.
"Safeway redesigned the whole thing to be in line with what the community had articulated," Kalb said.
Some community members wanted to see housing incorporated into the plan.
"Safeway is not opposed to the idea, but they don't own the land and the owner is not inclined to have housing on the site at this time," Kalb said.
Neighbors also had concerns about an increase in traffic to the shopping center. Turner said that Oakland conducted a complete transportation study as part of the environmental impact report for the project.
"We are designing the project to encourage other modes of transportation including pedestrian, bus and bike access," Turner said.
Kalb said Safeway also agreed to supply a community room in the shopping center. Other amenities will include a garden center, gym, bank, retail stores and office space.
Turner said the exact tenant mix has yet to be determined, including which of the current tenants will stay. The tenants include Great Clips, a dry cleaner, credit union, GameStop, Pet Food Express, Payless ShoeSource and Boston Market.
"We believe the site will attract the types of retailers and restaurants that the community wants," Turner said. "We already have various quality businesses interested in the site."
Kalb said Oakland needs to offer its residents better places to shop in order to stem what he calls "retail leakage."
"Oakland residents are going to Emeryville or Walnut Creek to do their shopping," Kalb said. "Oakland is losing that sales tax revenue."
He said he wants to make sure the project is done right and fits with the neighborhood.
"Safeway has indicated they are looking for a mix of independent retailers with a few chains and restaurants," Kalb said. "I'm optimistic we can have a great shopping center."
Turner believes the new mall will have a trickle-down effect on the whole neighborhood.
"We believe the redevelopment will be a catalyst for additional redevelopment along Broadway," he said. "We have taken great care to design a project that will act as an anchor for the retail shopping districts of Piedmont and College avenues."
What: Oakland Planning Commission meeting
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday
Where: City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland