The Orchard Supply Hardware proposed for Alameda Towne Centre would undercut local hardware stores and cause increased traffic and pollution, according to an appeal of a Planning Board decision that will go before the City Council tonight.

Planners approved the new store for the former Safeway site at the shopping center in July.

The project calls for increasing the size of the building by 1,500 square feet — it's currently 37,230 square feet — and installing a 35-foot front parapet, as well as for new landscaping, benches and bicycle racks outside.

An outdoor garden center is proposed for the north side of the building.

"Orchard Supply Hardware would be in direct competition with us," said Phillip Jaber of Encinal Hardware. "It's not like Home Depot — and I'm not necessarily advocating for a Home Depot, which supplies mostly building materials. Orchard Supply would be right in our playing field. It would take our bread-and-butter away from us."

Jaber is among those appealing the Planning Board decision.

Along with hurting his business, Jaber said the new store would not generate much new sales tax for the city because it would pull residents away from neighborhood stores instead of drawing new customers from off the Island.

The new store would increase traffic in residential neighborhoods because people would drive across town to reach the shopping center, Jaber said.

An Orchard Supply Hardware representative was not immediately available for comment. The company has some 86 stores in California, according to its website.

City staff are urging the City Council to deny the appeal.

They point to a study on having an Orchard Supply Hardware open within the city, prepared for the Alameda Landing project — the housing and retail development across from Jack London Square — that found enough "retail leakage" exists to support a new store without hurting smaller businesses.

The effort to bring the hardware store to the center comes as part of a drive by Harsch Investment properties, which owns the shopping center, to increase the number of its "anchor" businesses as part of revamping the site.

Among anchor businesses already open are Trader Joe's and Borders bookstore, as well as Safeway, which moved to another location after vacating 2130 South Shore Center, the site where Orchard intends to open.

Harsch also was working toward having a Target store at the center. But the plan fell through last year after meeting opposition from nearby residents, who argued the store would be too big and cause traffic congestion.

Reach Peter Hegarty at phegarty@bayareanewsgroup.com or 510-748-1654.

If you go
The City Council will meet tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Council Chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.