Former Safeway (Westborough and Skyline) site, San Bruno, CA

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Former Safeway (Westborough and Skyline) site, San Bruno, CA

Post by TheStranger » 30 Oct 2006 21:28

http://www.angelfire.com/ab8/foxskyline/ talks about a shopping center in San Bruno, at the intersection of Route 35 (Skyline Boulevard) and Westborough, that closed in 1984 or so, with Safeway as a tenant during much of the place's existence. (I've actually been to the apartment complex that replaced this shopping center, but I had never known about its past until today.)

Unfortunately, I'm not sure about the details: the page itself has a few inaccuracies, talking about the Westborough Blvd. Safeway in South San Francisco (a 1970s build) as having closed in the 1980s, when it closed in 1997. And one of the two photos of the center only shows a small edge of the store on the far left:

http://www.geocities.com/exclectic/FSP1.jpg

Having said that, the roof seems to start to curve upward there, making me think this might be a marina building...

Anyone have any more information on this site?
Chris Sampang

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Post by Groceteria » 30 Oct 2006 22:25

My 1964 shopping center guide lists the center as being open, but doesn't include the original opening date, square footage, etc. as it does for many other centers.

There is a tenant list, though:
  • Safeway
    Shell Service Station
    Beauty Shop
    Barber Shop
    TV Sales and Repair
    Dress Shop
    Ben Franklin
    Thrifty Drug Store
    Liquor Store
    Bakery
    Laundry and Cleaners
    Me-N-Ed's Pizza Parlor
So it was definitely open in 1964, although I don't know for how long. It looks like a Marina to me too; I've seen them anchor similar centers elsewhere. Given the time period and locale, I'd say it was a pretty safe bet.

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Post by TheStranger » 30 Oct 2006 22:39

Wow, that makes it at least three demolished marinas in San Mateo County (Daly City, this one, and the San Mateo store on Norfolk Street), and the other San Bruno marina slated to receive a false-front from its current tenant, Lunardi's. (For comparison, SF hasn't had any of its six marinas demolished, though the 7th Avenue store is slated for replacement and there have been some out-there proposals around by city officials and community activists to demolish the Market Street and Mission stores in favor of a store with high-density housing, kinda like in downtown Bellevue.)

As for that guide of shopping centers you have, does it have any photos or anything like that? I'm assuming not for this shopping center in particular, but I know that Justin Karimzad posted in an earlier thread http://www.groceteria.com/board/viewtop ... ight=#4013 - that the Santa Clara County guides from that era did have photographs.
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Post by justin karimzad » 30 Oct 2006 23:02

I e-mailed the author of that website that exact question sometime back, and he replied that the Safeway did have an arched roof. As for the date, I know for sure that the Thrifty opened between May 1962 and April 1963, but the Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons spreadsheet listed that shopping center as having been designed in 1960. Maybe the Thrifty was added a little later? Or maybe that's when the whole shopping center was built?
The Westbrough Blvd. Safeway is actually a very late 1960s build, 1969 I'm almost sure. Yes the Santa Clara County Shopping Center guides in the California room of the San Jose library are amazing; they have information and photos of almost every shopping center in operation at the time in ALL of Santa Clara county, from Mountain View to Milpitas.

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Post by TheStranger » 30 Oct 2006 23:20

justin karimzad wrote:I e-mailed the author of that website that exact question sometime back, and he replied that the Safeway did have an arched roof. As for the date, I know for sure that the Thrifty opened between May 1962 and April 1963, but the Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons spreadsheet listed that shopping center as having been designed in 1960. Maybe the Thrifty was added a little later? Or maybe that's when the whole shopping center was built?
I think one way to answer this is to look at another example from the spreadsheet... We figured out that St. Francis Square in Daly City, with its mid-1960s marina (now Pacific Super), took several years to build. This may have been a similar case as well.
justin karimzad wrote: The Westbrough Blvd. Safeway is actually a very late 1960s build, 1969 I'm almost sure.
Safeway was still building marina prototypes at the time (Mission Street in SF opened that year)...I'm thinking that store and the Park Mall store in Pacific were two of the earliest, 1970s-style shake roof buildings.
justin karimzad wrote:
Yes the Santa Clara County Shopping Center guides in the California room of the San Jose library are amazing; they have information and photos of almost every shopping center in operation at the time in ALL of Santa Clara county, from Mountain View to Milpitas.
Which San Jose library branch is this? I may have to check it out when I'm back in the Bay Area during the holiday breaks and see if I can scan it and get some info for everyone here to enjoy.
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Post by justin karimzad » 30 Oct 2006 23:27

The main, or King, library in downtown San Jose, on the fifth floor. You'd like this; in addition to those shopping center guides, the California room has more indexed newspaper clippings than any other library I've been to. You can view articles on microfiche about virtually any Thrifty, Lucky, Emporium, mall, e.t.c. that opened in the area. They're pretty extensive, too, usually including the square footage and features of each store, and in some cases architectural descriptions.
Here's the main page;
http://www.sjlibrary.org/research/special/ca/
...and the page with the clipping file index. Supermarkets are listed, for the most part, under supermarkets, not grocery stores;
http://www.sjlibrary.org/research/databases/sjmn/

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Post by Groceteria » 30 Oct 2006 23:59

TheStranger wrote:As for that guide of shopping centers you have, does it have any photos or anything like that?
It's a text-only book published in 1964 listing centers all over the US and Canada. There are occasional innacuracies; I believe they relied on a mailed questionnaire for their data. I think it was designed for the real estate industry, and was published by something called the National Research Bureau, Inc.

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Post by justin karimzad » 01 Nov 2006 04:27

TheStranger wrote:Safeway was still building marina prototypes at the time (Mission Street in SF opened that year)...I'm thinking that store and the Park Mall store in Pacific were two of the earliest, 1970s-style shake roof buildings.
Actually, even some Safeways from deep in the 1960s that conformed to their shopping center's architectural style had the shake roof front, although in the 1960s it was usually hut shaped.
There was one at 727 1st st. in Gilroy from 1964 (currently Grocery Outlet, now with the exterior renovated, but with the interior unremodeled and still sporting the wood cross beams). This one even has a flat roof like the W 7th st. Reno Sav-On. However, it never had high windows on the front like a true flat gable. Instead, the ceiling lowers along the sides and front, and only the middle of the ceiling gets higher, much like looking up into a hut. The front was a bulging hut-shaped shake roof.
There's the Safeway in the Sharon Heights shopping center in Menlo Park that opened in 1966 (that's still intact inside and out, and recently converted to the lifestyle format and expanded slightly) that has a slight, hidden Marina arch inside, but a hut-shaped shake roof on the outside.
The Willow Glen Safeway at 2306 Almaden Rd. in San Jose from 1967 had a hut-shaped, shake roof originally, but the exterior got remodeled in the early 2000s. As stated in previous posts, the inside decor has only received a paint job since it opened and it has the original wall lettering, so needless to say the interior architecture is still the original. This one is unlike the others in that it has a suspended ceiling instead of one with wood beams. But, the ceiling gets higher in the middle, much like the former Gilroy Safeway.
In Santa Clara, there's a Safeway at 2605 The Alameda that had a shake roof when it opened in April 1968, but the exterior has since been changed and the store expanded slightly, while the inside still has the original ceiling with crossbeams.
There's also a true shake roof Safeway from December 1967 at 160 1st St. in Los Altos that's still very much original.
The Los Gatos and Santa Clara Safeways seem to follow a prototype in place at the time, with cross beams that follow the shape of the hut roof. It's hard to explain, and worth seeing.
There are pictures of the Willow Glen and Gilroy Safeways in the Santa Clara County shopping center guides.
As for the Westborough Square Safeway, it's actually possible that it opened in 1969 just as much as it is possible that it opened in 1970. I have confirmed that the Walgreens there opened in 1969, but the Safeway could have opened a little later. For instance, the Thrifty in the Willow Glen shopping center opened in July 1967, but the nextdoor Safeway didn't open until November 1967.

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Post by justin karimzad » 01 Nov 2006 04:27

TheStranger wrote:Safeway was still building marina prototypes at the time (Mission Street in SF opened that year)...I'm thinking that store and the Park Mall store in Pacific were two of the earliest, 1970s-style shake roof buildings.
Actually, even some Safeways from deep in the 1960s that conformed to their shopping center's architectural style had the shake roof front, although in the 1960s it was usually hut shaped.
There was one at 727 1st st. in Gilroy from 1964 (currently Grocery Outlet, now with the exterior renovated, but with the interior unremodeled and still sporting the wood cross beams). This one even has a flat roof like the W 7th st. Reno Sav-On. However, it never had high windows on the front like a true flat gable. Instead, the ceiling lowers along the sides and front, and only the middle of the ceiling gets higher, much like looking up into a hut. The front was a bulging hut-shaped shake roof.
There's the Safeway in the Sharon Heights shopping center in Menlo Park that opened in 1966 (that's still intact inside and out, and recently converted to the lifestyle format and expanded slightly) that has a slight, hidden Marina arch inside, but a hut-shaped shake roof on the outside.
The Willow Glen Safeway at 2306 Almaden Rd. in San Jose from 1967 had a hut-shaped, shake roof originally, but the exterior got remodeled in the early 2000s. As stated in previous posts, the inside decor has only received a paint job since it opened and it has the original wall lettering, so needless to say the interior architecture is still the original. This one is unlike the others in that it has a suspended ceiling instead of one with wood beams. But, the ceiling gets higher in the middle, much like the former Gilroy Safeway.
In Santa Clara, there's a Safeway at 2605 The Alameda that had a shake roof when it opened in April 1968, but the exterior has since been changed and the store expanded slightly, while the inside still has the original ceiling with crossbeams.
There's also a true shake roof Safeway from December 1967 at 160 1st St. in Los Altos that's still very much original.
The Los Gatos and Santa Clara Safeways seem to follow a prototype in place at the time, with cross beams that follow the shape of the hut roof. It's hard to explain, and worth seeing.
There are pictures of the Willow Glen and Gilroy Safeways in the Santa Clara County shopping center guides.
As for the Westborough Square Safeway, it's actually possible that it opened in 1969 just as much as it is possible that it opened in 1970. I have confirmed that the Walgreens there opened in 1969, but the Safeway could have opened a little later. For instance, the Thrifty in the Willow Glen shopping center opened in July 1967, but the nextdoor Safeway didn't open until November 1967.

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Post by justin karimzad » 01 Nov 2006 04:29


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Post by TheStranger » 01 Nov 2006 04:31

I'm wondering: Would the hut then be considered a completely seperate prototype from the "flat gable" and should the flat gable be classified with them instead?

I want to say that the Fairmont Center Albertsons (ex-Lucky, ex-Safeway) would fit this sort of "hut" shape as well, though nowhere as strongly as the examples you've brought up.
Chris Sampang

foxskyline

Re: Former Safeway (Westborough and Skyline) site, San Bruno

Post by foxskyline » 12 Nov 2006 01:40

TheStranger wrote:http://www.angelfire.com/ab8/foxskyline/ talks about a shopping center in San Bruno, at the intersection of Route 35 (Skyline Boulevard) and Westborough, that closed in 1984 or so, with Safeway as a tenant during much of the place's existence. (I've actually been to the apartment complex that replaced this shopping center, but I had never known about its past until today.)

Unfortunately, I'm not sure about the details: the page itself has a few inaccuracies, talking about the Westborough Blvd. Safeway in South San Francisco (a 1970s build) as having closed in the 1980s, when it closed in 1997. And one of the two photos of the center only shows a small edge of the store on the far left:

http://www.geocities.com/exclectic/FSP1.jpg

Having said that, the roof seems to start to curve upward there, making me think this might be a marina building...

Anyone have any more information on this site?

I get google notices on any mention of the websites I create. I can get a photo of the former Safeway there and post it here, I was just too cheap to get one when I created the site. Pacific Aerial Services in Oakland, has an extensive library of Bay area locations and will sell me an aerial photo of this area for 400. Whenever I have 400. maybe I will buy one! The Safeway at this defunct center, I clearly remember, It was an arched roof design, similar to the former Safeway down the road, (now Lundardies), and at St. Francis Square (now Pacific Market). The City fathers of SSF at the time were very hands on and demanded a design for Westborough Square that was consistent for the rest of the center. I don't think it really fits any mold. Back to Fox Skyline: The photo the guy has was like the week they were tearing it down, it was vacant for a very long time. The Safeway at Fox Skyline center closed in the early 70s, I seem to remember it closing about the same time as Westborough Square opened.
As for the exact date of Westborough closing, remember they put a Pak in Save in the former K-Mart, (owned by Safeway) and I think it was soon after the Pak n Save opened, during the 80s, that the Safeway there closed, but I'm not 100 percent sure of that. I knew people who worked there, most got tranfered to other safeways.

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Re: Former Safeway (Westborough and Skyline) site, San Bruno

Post by TheStranger » 12 Nov 2006 01:56

foxskyline wrote:
I get google notices on any mention of the websites I create.
Welcome! :)
foxskyline wrote:I can get a photo of the former Safeway there and post it here, I was just too cheap to get one when I created the site. Pacific Aerial Services in Oakland, has an extensive library of Bay area locations and will sell me an aerial photo of this area for 400. Whenever I have 400. maybe I will buy one! The Safeway at this defunct center, I clearly remember, It was an arched roof design, similar to the former Safeway down the road, (now Lundardies), and at St. Francis Square (now Pacific Market). The City fathers of SSF at the time were very hands on and demanded a design for Westborough Square that was consistent for the rest of the center. I don't think it really fits any mold.
I would say that that general look is pretty common for 1970s Safeways (Chestnut Avenue being one, LaPlaya in SF another, and the marina false front at Orinda from 1982 being yet another example)...though not as dominating of a design as the marina had been.
foxskyline wrote: Back to Fox Skyline: The photo the guy has was like the week they were tearing it down, it was vacant for a very long time. The Safeway at Fox Skyline center closed in the early 70s, I seem to remember it closing about the same time as Westborough Square opened.
As for the exact date of Westborough closing, remember they put a Pak in Save in the former K-Mart, (owned by Safeway) and I think it was soon after the Pak n Save opened, during the 80s, that the Safeway there closed, but I'm not 100 percent sure of that. I knew people who worked there, most got tranfered to other safeways.
I am 100% sure that the Westborough Square store closed in 1997: I went to it in 1996 and it had the 1970s decor up on white walls as well as the circle S signs on each wall. I still am annoyed at myself for not taking any photos of it then.

Before that, PNS and that Safeway co-existed for about a decade and a half; first time I went to PNS was around 92 or 93 with my dad (when our family stopped going to the QFI location once the Bell name change came through) and many times we went there, we would take Westborough and drive by that Safeway first. (It took me a while, as a kid, to realize that the two stores were connected.)

I think I had my mom take me to the Westborough Square Safeway simply because I wanted to see the Circle S sign in person for the first time (Chestnut's circles were already converted to the 1980s logo by the time I first saw them) and my mom liked their floral section, too. But it was about a year later that the store was closed, with paper notices at the doors directing customers to PNS instead.

---

Oh yeah, Justin, here's a live local shot of that Gilroy store you had mentioned:
http://tinyurl.com/ybqlvm
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Post by justin karimzad » 12 Nov 2006 03:50

Semi off topic but the Safeway on Chestnut ave. opened in 1973. There's a plaque with the sidewalk concrete company and the date on the sidewalk in front of the store.

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Post by justin karimzad » 12 Nov 2006 04:01

Just a little sidenote, my brother told me that the Westbrough Square Safeway had the same interior decor package as the Safeway in Belmont from 1968 that was facing Emmett ave. had up to the end. This was demolished and rebuilt in 1996, and it is now facing El Camino Real. This store was also not a Marina store, and was closer to the shake roof style. I personally remember the facade of this store having log-cabin-like beams jutting out from the front, above the overhang. How odd that the newer Belmont Safeway would be reconstructed, while the gable store from 1964 at 2100 Ralston Ave. lived to see a Lifestyle remodel.

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