ALAMEDA -- Two months after Mayor Marie Gilmore and other dignitaries ceremoniously broke ground, crews are busy at the site of the future Walgreens on Park Street, laying down infrastructure for the pharmacy.
Workers are expected to begin pouring the foundation Friday.
"Once that happens, things will change pretty quickly," said Greg McFann, a building official with the city. "People should be seeing walls and other stuff like that going up soon afterward."
The project next door to the Marketplace is a key part of the effort to revitalize the neighborhood, which city officials consider a "gateway" onto the Island due to its proximity to Interstate 880 and the Park Street and Fruitvale bridges.
But until the last nail is hammered and Walgreens opens its doors, passersby will likely continue to experience delays, albeit small ones.
The sidewalk bordering the Park Street side of the property has been torn out and fenced off in preparation for a new one. And the adjacent northbound lane of traffic may be temporarily blocked again as trucks visit the site.
"It's no big deal," said 23-year-old Jason Nissar of Alameda, as he visited the Marketplace on a recent morning. "The workers are doing what they have to do, and it seems like they are keeping the dust and noise to a minimum."
A new sidewalk is also planned behind the development on Foley Street, the one-way throughfare that links Buena Vista Avenue and Tilden Way.
Along with the building that will house Walgreens, a second building is planed for the site, which was once the home of a Good Chevrolet dealership.
City officials and Foley Street Investments LLC, which is behind the project, are calling the new retail corner "Alameda Station," a tribute to the train station that was located nearby in the nineteenth century.
The building that will accommodate Walgreens will measure 16,778 square feet, while the second building will be 7,788 square feet. The Marketplace measures 19,430 square feet.
The new buildings will front Park Street and will share an 85-spot parking lot with the Marketplace.
So far, no business has taken out paperwork with the city in preparation for occupying the second building, McFann said.
A representative from Foley Street Investments was not immediately available for comment on a possible tenant. The initial plans that went before the city indicated that Chase bank was considering the site, though it later pulled out.
If all remains on schedule, Walgreens could open by the developer's target date of May, McFann said. It will be the Island's third Walgreens pharmacy.
"Is that what's going on over there?" said Joe Shrader, 51, of Oakland as he was leaving the Marketplace, where he had met a friend for coffee. "I figured it was probably stores of some kind. Walgreens? That's a major business, so that has to be good for the neighborhood."
Contact Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.