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Planners move forward with Barbur Safeway redevelopment

New store to feature podium design
by: Submitted Graphic Once completed, Safeway’s redeveloped Barbur location will measure 55,000 square feet, making it larger than the company’s average store.

MULTNOMAH - Barbur Boulevard's Safeway is about to receive a major facelift - one that the company says is long overdue.

'We're very excited,' said Dan Floyd, director of public affairs and government relations for Safeway. 'We're (ready) to get going.'

Overhauling the current structure, Safeway will be breaking ground on an innovative new design concept.

The building, designed by Group MacKenzie Architects, will feature a 'podium' design, one that's new to Safeway's Oregon and Southwest Washington division of 117 stores.

Its ground level will act as a parking structure, and its second floor will house the store.

Stairs, elevators and escalators designed to accommodate shopping carts will connect the two levels.

With this podium layout, Floyd said the new store, located at 8145 S.W. Barbur Blvd., will measure at 55,000 square feet, larger than the average Safeway.

'This could be something we use in other locations going forward,' he said.

Floyd said the biggest problem with Safeway's current building is that 'it's just too small.'

'With the (proposed) design of the store, we're able to expand adequately to address the customers' needs and provide a lot more products and a lot more services,' he said.

Floyd said he expects the store to close by the end of 2011 and construction to break ground in early 2012. On this proposed timeline, the new store would be open to customers by next Thanksgiving.

Aside from its footprint, Floyd said other aspects of the proposed plan are still open to revision.

'With all of our store locations (that are extensively remodeled or rebuilt), we try to have continuous feedback,' he said. 'These are our future customers, so we have a responsibility to listen and to accommodate as much as we possibly can, within reason.'

Safeway representatives presented their design concept to Multnomah neighbors at an April 25 community interest meeting, and Floyd said additional public outreach meetings will be scheduled for the coming months.

He's also in the process of creating a project website to answer frequently asked questions and provide information and design renderings to interested customers.

'It'll be a good resource for neighbors and customers to go take a look at things,' he said.

So far, Floyd said most of the concerns he's heard from neighbors of the Barbur Safeway store can be taken into consideration and addressed during the design and building process.

Floyd said, that, so far he's fielded questions about tree removal and traffic but hasn't heard any serious concerns with the store's design.

At the April 25 meeting, neighbors questioned the security of the store's ground-level parking area and the impact the store's redevelopment will have on area traffic.

Safeway is working with the city of Portland's Bureau of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Transportation to address these effects, especially along Southwest Barbur Boulevard.

It has also commissioned Kittelson and Associates, a transportation engineering and planning consulting firm, to conduct a travel study of the site.

Currently, draft plans would add new sidewalks around the property along with a new driveway on Southwest Multnomah Boulevard.

Representatives from Kittelson said the store's frontage said one goal is to minimize the number of pedestrian crossings with traffic interactions.

Possible remedies for increasing pedestrian and bicyclist safety along Barbur include adding a bike lane as well as a separate bus pull-out.

Whatever the decision regarding transportation zoning around the new store, Floyd said Safeway will take into consideration the opinions of neighbors, and the plan will be approved by both PBOT and ODOT.

'It's not just a Safeway decision,' he said.