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Oliver’s Market lease may halt move in Cotati

Oliver's employee Christopher Baldwin stocks the frozen foods aisle at the grocer's Santa Rosa store. (PD FILE, 2007)



Oliver’s Market is close to signing a new lease to remain in its flagship store in Cotati, a move that could kill plans for a new grocery store at the town’s northern entrance.

The company, which has three stores in Sonoma County, is hoping to sign a lease for at least 10 years to stay in its current location on East Cotati Avenue, General Manager Tom Scott said.

If the lease is signed, it would be “highly unlikely” that Oliver’s would build another supermarket as proposed on Old Redwood Highway near Gravenstein Highway, Scott said. Oliver’s owns the land and wants to see it developed, but not for another supermarket to move into.

“I don’t think we’re going to put a competitor in an ‘A’ location where we’re going to be in a ‘B’ location,” he said.

Oliver’s current lease expires in August 2014. As such, Scott said, the company soon must sign a lease or move forward with plans to build the new supermarket.

“We’re scrambling to try to have a store in Cotati one way or the other,” he said.

The news marks the latest development in the long-standing efforts to develop a stretch of Old Redwood Highway that city leaders have dubbed the “Northern Gateway” to downtown Cotati.

A year ago, Oliver’s announced it wanted to build a 40,000-square-foot grocery store on the site, plus apartments, offices and more retail space. The 6.2-acre site is the largest undeveloped parcel between the town plaza and Gravenstein Highway.

But last fall, Oliver’s warned that it wouldn’t build a supermarket there if city officials chose to keep two roundabouts as part of plans to redesign the roadway. In December, the City Council approved the plan, and critics since have succeeded in qualifying a measure for the November ballot to ban roundabouts. Oliver’s hasn’t taken a position on the measure.

Two council members said Thursday they would consider it good news if Oliver’s stays at its current location.

“We keep them in Cotati and they stay as the anchor to that shopping center,” said Mayor Susan Harvey.

Councilman Mark Landman acknowledged that the elimination of redevelopment funds by the state will make it more difficult to finance the street and related improvements for Old Redwood Highway. But regardless of Oliver’s decision, the area eventually will develop because of the area’s retail attraction, including its close proximity to a freeway interchange.

“We have the location there,” Landman said. “And that’s something that doesn’t change.”

If Oliver’s doesn’t build, it will be the third supermarket to drop plans for the same location.

Lucky Stores proposed a supermarket for the spot in 1996, a plan that died after Oliver’s helped sponsor a ballot measure to limit the size of retail outlets in Cotati. Then in 2000, Albertson’s supermarket chain sought to build a store slightly bigger than the one that Oliver’s since has proposed.

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285 or robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com

4 Responses to “Oliver’s Market lease may halt move in Cotati”

  1. Jay Behr says:

    Now we can only hope that Steve Moss of Olivers will stop throwing his weight around and cease funding the misguided initiative to end the scourge of roundabouts in Cotati. That campaign is doomed to failure, because you cannot change the CalTrans manual by citizens initiative. No state does roadway design by referendum.

    I do hope that the poisonous and deranged politics of the local wing-nut opposition gets the repudiation that it deserves from the decent citizens of Cotati. It’s one thing to have a policy disagreement, but it takes it to another level when well-meaning, hard-working public officials are vilified as “traitors” and agents of some nebulous one world conspiracy. That is crossing an ethical line that brings into question the mental health of the perpetrators. That kind of brownshirt behavior must stop.

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  2. Steveguy says:

    Too much trouble and ‘rules’ to comply with. And this is just a grocery store !

    Take your losses and move to AZ or Texas.

    It’s the Sonoma County way, don’t ya know ?

    Sell the land to an auto dismantler. Or to a ‘smart growth’ ghetto builder.

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  3. Jim Bennett says:

    You have a great local well recieved upscale grocer in Oliver’s.
    Their effort could serve as an anchor business, get people to take the exit on their way home even if they don’t live in Cotati. People might use Old Redwood Hwy. as a shortcut when traffic is bad, frequent business’ in town. Give them an excuse to go to Cotati, when they otherwise wouldn’t.
    Cotati City Hall shows no loyalty to Oliver’s.
    No loyalty to property/business owners,
    No loyalty to the people of Cotati and their local economy.
    No loyalty to their oath.

    Who are they loyal to?
    The evil globalists that contrived ICLEI as an instrument to impose their oppressive Agenda on a local level.
    Morphing Main St. USA to a Smart Growth hardscape. A model that is designed to undermine property rights, decide who wins and loses, how and where we live, our transportation options.
    Crash coffers and American dreams too.

    They are quite literally…TRAITORS.
    They seem to have quite a resolve to retain their treasonous posture with their constituents as well.

    It’s really a sad story, hopefully it will have a happier ending.

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  4. Factual correction to this story: The reason Oliver’s is not building a new store is not because they are renewing their lease. They are renewing their lease because the city’s insistence on traffic-choking roundabouts made it impossible to build in the location that they have invested over $4 million in to date.

    Exactly eight people are responsible for doomung the weedpatch that could have been a successful $18 million development: City Manager Dianne Thompson, Community Development Director Vicki Parker, City Engineer Damien O’Bid, and the five sock puppets on the city council who are terrified to oppose any plan, no matter how bad, that Dianne Thompson orders them to support.

    Three of these weaklings are up for election in November, as is a permanent ban on roundabouts. More details at http://www.noroundabouts.com

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