The Safeway store on Barbur Boulevard and Capitol Hill Road will be closing on Sept. 15 to make room for an all-new store slated to open next year.Rendering of the new Safeway store on Barbur Blvd.

Pending demolition permits, the store will be demolished sometime between October and early next year. A new store, designed by Group MacKenzie Architects, will be built in its place at 8145 S.W. Barbur Blvd. around Thanksgiving 2013.

The change has been a long time coming.

“We’ve had a store there since 1942, and the current store … has been there since 1968. It’s a very old store,” said Dan Floyd, Safeway director of public affairs and government relations. “Of the 116 stores in our division, it’s really one of [the last] two that needs to be replaced.”

Floyd said that out of 615 stores in the nation, the new Barbur Safeway will be one of the first to adhere to a so-called pedestal model, with parking accessible from street level and the actual store above it.

“It will allow for a much better shopping store experience,” Floyd said. “Sitting, relaxing and having lunch…will be much better than you would get at the current store. You’re going to do a lot more than you would at your current Barbur store.”

The new Safeway, located at 8145 S.W. Barbur Blvd., will be 56,000 square feet. Thanks to changed zoning approved by the city of Portland in January, the new Safeway will feature a much bigger parking lot. It will also accommodate alternate transportation, with parking for cyclists, a wider sidewalk for pedestrians and a wider, improved bus pullout.

Proposals for a new store were first submitted to the Portland Bureau of Development Services in September 2009. There has been some concern that construction will add to traffic problems on Barbur, not just from community members, but Floyd himself.

I don’t think it’ll disrupt traffic dramatically on Barbur, but it does have the ability to disrupt traffic on the streets directly surrounding the store,” Floyd said.

However, Floyd said that this would serve as a means to an end. “We are making improvements to the store that are going to improve traffic both for vehicles and for pedestrians, so there probably will be a temporary disruption that will serve an overall gain.”

In the process of making the new store bigger and better, Floyd said helping employees of the old store maintain employment within Safeway will be a top priority.

A temporary pharmacy will be opening Sept. 17 at 8948 S.W. Barbur Blvd. Employees who have been relocated to other stores may reapply or ask to be transferred to the new store.

However, because the new store will be more than twice the size of the current 21,000 square foot building, “Even if all of ’em come back … we’re still going to at least double the workforce,” Floyd said.

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