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Amazon Plans to Open 2,000 Grocery Stores in the Next 10 Years

Amazon Plans to Open 2,000 Grocery Stores in the Next 10 Years


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Pilot stores slated for Seattle and New York City are in the works

Some branded groceries on AmazonFresh include coffee, nuts, and baby food.

Amazon doesn’t want to stop at branded groceries from its online grocery service, AmazonFresh, which launched in Seattle in 2007. Now, the online retailer plans to open brick-and-mortar grocery stores across the United States with up to 2,000 locations in the next 10 years.

Amazon’s pilot program consists of 20 locations to open by 2018 in Seattle, Las Vegas, New York City, Miami, and the Bay Area, Business Insider reported. During the pilot program, there will be two types of stores: One will act as a drive-thru to pick up online orders and one will be a traditional grocery store.

Amazon’s vision for a large number of brick-and-mortar grocery stores is ambitious considering potential future competitors Trader Joe’s and Walmart already have 453 and 5,000 stores in the U.S., respectively.

The question of whether the grocery stores will be open to the public or for Amazon members only has yet to be answered.


Opponents upend Whole Foods plan to open S.F. store in Western Addition

Whole Foods had been approved by the Planning Commission to occupy a long-vacant site at City Center.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Christopher Shields (left) shops with husband Shad St. Louis at the Whole Foods in the Castro in 2017.

Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

A sign for City Center, the neighborhood mall where Whole Foods wants to open, is seen next to Target and Chipotle.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Kate Brown, left, chats with Caitlin Landesberg, founder and CEO of Sufferfest Beer Company, and Danni Zuralow, as she tried free samples of their Epic Pilsner and Taper IPA beers at Whole Foods in Potrero Hill in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

A pedestrian wears a mask while walking past a sign for a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco in March. A different store proposed for the Western Addition neighborhood would be the city’s eighth Whole Foods.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press Show More Show Less

Grocery store Whole Foods&rsquo efforts to open in a retail space that has been empty for three years in San Francisco&rsquos Western Addition may be delayed for years.

The Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday night an appeal by opponents of the proposed store, which will require Whole Foods to undergo environmental review, a process that can take years. The Planning Commission had previously voted to exempt the store from the review, but will have to vote again on the project after it is complete.

Supervisors questioned the Planning Commission&rsquos conclusion that the Whole Foods project would have no or little environmental impact, despite more diesel emissions and larger truck and car trips to the store, once it opened. The supervisors called for further study.

The decision was met with outcry from many local residents who support the project at the San Francisco City Center, a retail mall in the Anza Vista neighborhood on the edge of the Richmond District near affluent neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and Laurel Heights. The store would have boosted the economy at a time when San Francisco is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and other retailers are imploding.

&ldquoWe are disappointed the Board of Supervisors voted against our proposal to bring Whole Foods Market to an empty retail space at City Center,&rdquo a Whole Foods spokesman said in a statement. &ldquoIn the middle of a pandemic, the project would have provided 200 new jobs, . $10 million in construction work and convenient access to high quality food for neighbors.&rdquo

Whole Foods opponents who filed the appeal include the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, and residents Julie Fisher and Tony Vargas. In addition to traffic concerns, they criticized the project because none of Whole Food&rsquos workers are union members, a &ldquograve concern&rdquo during the coronavirus pandemic when grocery workers are at high risk of being infected.

Some Whole Foods employees protested and refused to work earlier this year over safety concerns.

All chain stores with 11 or more U.S. locations are required to go through a longer permitting process to operate in most of the city&rsquos neighborhoods. The process can be prolonged if environmental reviews are involved. Recently, Safeway&rsquos Andronico&rsquos Community Markets division took around three years to get approval to open nearby, despite moving into a long-vacant site that previously held a grocery store.

Critics say the system is broken. Anna Marlene Cressman, a Richmond District resident, said the decision was &ldquopure red tape.&rdquo She said the time and money that goes into environmental appeals are lengthy and costly, and the appeal was &ldquoweaponized and abused&rdquo to block Whole Foods from opening.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, other residents who lived in the area called in with overwhelming support of Whole Foods. They say the location has sat empty for three years, creating a blight, and the grocer would bring more fresh food options and jobs to the neighborhood. Supporters also pointed out the difficulty of getting tenants as the retail sector continues to struggle &mdash its plight exacerbated by the pandemic.

In a letter filed to the Planning Commission this summer, Mark Wolfe, an attorney for the opponents, wrote that the store would create traffic congestion from truck deliveries and construction, leading to an increase in air and noise pollution around the mall location at 2675 Geary Blvd.

At the Tuesday meeting, Wolfe said the remedy to the situation was to order an environmental review.

Jim Araby, a UFCW representative, said before the meeting that grocery stores are more heavily visited than electronics shops and concerns around air pollution are real.

Julie Fisher, a local resident and member of the grocery union, said she welcomes a good source of food for the neighborhood, but not Amazon or Jeff Bezos, &ldquoand the way he makes money.&rdquo Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017. Some cautioned that the arrival of another Whole Foods store with nonunion employees and alleged that the grocer and its parent company have not been transparent, or taken care of workers properly during the pandemic.

&ldquoLow wages and low benefits is not what the community needs,&rdquo Fisher said.


Opponents upend Whole Foods plan to open S.F. store in Western Addition

Whole Foods had been approved by the Planning Commission to occupy a long-vacant site at City Center.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Christopher Shields (left) shops with husband Shad St. Louis at the Whole Foods in the Castro in 2017.

Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

A sign for City Center, the neighborhood mall where Whole Foods wants to open, is seen next to Target and Chipotle.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Kate Brown, left, chats with Caitlin Landesberg, founder and CEO of Sufferfest Beer Company, and Danni Zuralow, as she tried free samples of their Epic Pilsner and Taper IPA beers at Whole Foods in Potrero Hill in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

A pedestrian wears a mask while walking past a sign for a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco in March. A different store proposed for the Western Addition neighborhood would be the city’s eighth Whole Foods.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press Show More Show Less

Grocery store Whole Foods&rsquo efforts to open in a retail space that has been empty for three years in San Francisco&rsquos Western Addition may be delayed for years.

The Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday night an appeal by opponents of the proposed store, which will require Whole Foods to undergo environmental review, a process that can take years. The Planning Commission had previously voted to exempt the store from the review, but will have to vote again on the project after it is complete.

Supervisors questioned the Planning Commission&rsquos conclusion that the Whole Foods project would have no or little environmental impact, despite more diesel emissions and larger truck and car trips to the store, once it opened. The supervisors called for further study.

The decision was met with outcry from many local residents who support the project at the San Francisco City Center, a retail mall in the Anza Vista neighborhood on the edge of the Richmond District near affluent neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and Laurel Heights. The store would have boosted the economy at a time when San Francisco is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and other retailers are imploding.

&ldquoWe are disappointed the Board of Supervisors voted against our proposal to bring Whole Foods Market to an empty retail space at City Center,&rdquo a Whole Foods spokesman said in a statement. &ldquoIn the middle of a pandemic, the project would have provided 200 new jobs, . $10 million in construction work and convenient access to high quality food for neighbors.&rdquo

Whole Foods opponents who filed the appeal include the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, and residents Julie Fisher and Tony Vargas. In addition to traffic concerns, they criticized the project because none of Whole Food&rsquos workers are union members, a &ldquograve concern&rdquo during the coronavirus pandemic when grocery workers are at high risk of being infected.

Some Whole Foods employees protested and refused to work earlier this year over safety concerns.

All chain stores with 11 or more U.S. locations are required to go through a longer permitting process to operate in most of the city&rsquos neighborhoods. The process can be prolonged if environmental reviews are involved. Recently, Safeway&rsquos Andronico&rsquos Community Markets division took around three years to get approval to open nearby, despite moving into a long-vacant site that previously held a grocery store.

Critics say the system is broken. Anna Marlene Cressman, a Richmond District resident, said the decision was &ldquopure red tape.&rdquo She said the time and money that goes into environmental appeals are lengthy and costly, and the appeal was &ldquoweaponized and abused&rdquo to block Whole Foods from opening.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, other residents who lived in the area called in with overwhelming support of Whole Foods. They say the location has sat empty for three years, creating a blight, and the grocer would bring more fresh food options and jobs to the neighborhood. Supporters also pointed out the difficulty of getting tenants as the retail sector continues to struggle &mdash its plight exacerbated by the pandemic.

In a letter filed to the Planning Commission this summer, Mark Wolfe, an attorney for the opponents, wrote that the store would create traffic congestion from truck deliveries and construction, leading to an increase in air and noise pollution around the mall location at 2675 Geary Blvd.

At the Tuesday meeting, Wolfe said the remedy to the situation was to order an environmental review.

Jim Araby, a UFCW representative, said before the meeting that grocery stores are more heavily visited than electronics shops and concerns around air pollution are real.

Julie Fisher, a local resident and member of the grocery union, said she welcomes a good source of food for the neighborhood, but not Amazon or Jeff Bezos, &ldquoand the way he makes money.&rdquo Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017. Some cautioned that the arrival of another Whole Foods store with nonunion employees and alleged that the grocer and its parent company have not been transparent, or taken care of workers properly during the pandemic.

&ldquoLow wages and low benefits is not what the community needs,&rdquo Fisher said.


Opponents upend Whole Foods plan to open S.F. store in Western Addition

Whole Foods had been approved by the Planning Commission to occupy a long-vacant site at City Center.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Christopher Shields (left) shops with husband Shad St. Louis at the Whole Foods in the Castro in 2017.

Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

A sign for City Center, the neighborhood mall where Whole Foods wants to open, is seen next to Target and Chipotle.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Kate Brown, left, chats with Caitlin Landesberg, founder and CEO of Sufferfest Beer Company, and Danni Zuralow, as she tried free samples of their Epic Pilsner and Taper IPA beers at Whole Foods in Potrero Hill in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

A pedestrian wears a mask while walking past a sign for a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco in March. A different store proposed for the Western Addition neighborhood would be the city’s eighth Whole Foods.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press Show More Show Less

Grocery store Whole Foods&rsquo efforts to open in a retail space that has been empty for three years in San Francisco&rsquos Western Addition may be delayed for years.

The Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday night an appeal by opponents of the proposed store, which will require Whole Foods to undergo environmental review, a process that can take years. The Planning Commission had previously voted to exempt the store from the review, but will have to vote again on the project after it is complete.

Supervisors questioned the Planning Commission&rsquos conclusion that the Whole Foods project would have no or little environmental impact, despite more diesel emissions and larger truck and car trips to the store, once it opened. The supervisors called for further study.

The decision was met with outcry from many local residents who support the project at the San Francisco City Center, a retail mall in the Anza Vista neighborhood on the edge of the Richmond District near affluent neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and Laurel Heights. The store would have boosted the economy at a time when San Francisco is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and other retailers are imploding.

&ldquoWe are disappointed the Board of Supervisors voted against our proposal to bring Whole Foods Market to an empty retail space at City Center,&rdquo a Whole Foods spokesman said in a statement. &ldquoIn the middle of a pandemic, the project would have provided 200 new jobs, . $10 million in construction work and convenient access to high quality food for neighbors.&rdquo

Whole Foods opponents who filed the appeal include the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, and residents Julie Fisher and Tony Vargas. In addition to traffic concerns, they criticized the project because none of Whole Food&rsquos workers are union members, a &ldquograve concern&rdquo during the coronavirus pandemic when grocery workers are at high risk of being infected.

Some Whole Foods employees protested and refused to work earlier this year over safety concerns.

All chain stores with 11 or more U.S. locations are required to go through a longer permitting process to operate in most of the city&rsquos neighborhoods. The process can be prolonged if environmental reviews are involved. Recently, Safeway&rsquos Andronico&rsquos Community Markets division took around three years to get approval to open nearby, despite moving into a long-vacant site that previously held a grocery store.

Critics say the system is broken. Anna Marlene Cressman, a Richmond District resident, said the decision was &ldquopure red tape.&rdquo She said the time and money that goes into environmental appeals are lengthy and costly, and the appeal was &ldquoweaponized and abused&rdquo to block Whole Foods from opening.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, other residents who lived in the area called in with overwhelming support of Whole Foods. They say the location has sat empty for three years, creating a blight, and the grocer would bring more fresh food options and jobs to the neighborhood. Supporters also pointed out the difficulty of getting tenants as the retail sector continues to struggle &mdash its plight exacerbated by the pandemic.

In a letter filed to the Planning Commission this summer, Mark Wolfe, an attorney for the opponents, wrote that the store would create traffic congestion from truck deliveries and construction, leading to an increase in air and noise pollution around the mall location at 2675 Geary Blvd.

At the Tuesday meeting, Wolfe said the remedy to the situation was to order an environmental review.

Jim Araby, a UFCW representative, said before the meeting that grocery stores are more heavily visited than electronics shops and concerns around air pollution are real.

Julie Fisher, a local resident and member of the grocery union, said she welcomes a good source of food for the neighborhood, but not Amazon or Jeff Bezos, &ldquoand the way he makes money.&rdquo Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017. Some cautioned that the arrival of another Whole Foods store with nonunion employees and alleged that the grocer and its parent company have not been transparent, or taken care of workers properly during the pandemic.

&ldquoLow wages and low benefits is not what the community needs,&rdquo Fisher said.


Opponents upend Whole Foods plan to open S.F. store in Western Addition

Whole Foods had been approved by the Planning Commission to occupy a long-vacant site at City Center.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Christopher Shields (left) shops with husband Shad St. Louis at the Whole Foods in the Castro in 2017.

Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

A sign for City Center, the neighborhood mall where Whole Foods wants to open, is seen next to Target and Chipotle.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Kate Brown, left, chats with Caitlin Landesberg, founder and CEO of Sufferfest Beer Company, and Danni Zuralow, as she tried free samples of their Epic Pilsner and Taper IPA beers at Whole Foods in Potrero Hill in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

A pedestrian wears a mask while walking past a sign for a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco in March. A different store proposed for the Western Addition neighborhood would be the city’s eighth Whole Foods.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press Show More Show Less

Grocery store Whole Foods&rsquo efforts to open in a retail space that has been empty for three years in San Francisco&rsquos Western Addition may be delayed for years.

The Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday night an appeal by opponents of the proposed store, which will require Whole Foods to undergo environmental review, a process that can take years. The Planning Commission had previously voted to exempt the store from the review, but will have to vote again on the project after it is complete.

Supervisors questioned the Planning Commission&rsquos conclusion that the Whole Foods project would have no or little environmental impact, despite more diesel emissions and larger truck and car trips to the store, once it opened. The supervisors called for further study.

The decision was met with outcry from many local residents who support the project at the San Francisco City Center, a retail mall in the Anza Vista neighborhood on the edge of the Richmond District near affluent neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and Laurel Heights. The store would have boosted the economy at a time when San Francisco is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and other retailers are imploding.

&ldquoWe are disappointed the Board of Supervisors voted against our proposal to bring Whole Foods Market to an empty retail space at City Center,&rdquo a Whole Foods spokesman said in a statement. &ldquoIn the middle of a pandemic, the project would have provided 200 new jobs, . $10 million in construction work and convenient access to high quality food for neighbors.&rdquo

Whole Foods opponents who filed the appeal include the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, and residents Julie Fisher and Tony Vargas. In addition to traffic concerns, they criticized the project because none of Whole Food&rsquos workers are union members, a &ldquograve concern&rdquo during the coronavirus pandemic when grocery workers are at high risk of being infected.

Some Whole Foods employees protested and refused to work earlier this year over safety concerns.

All chain stores with 11 or more U.S. locations are required to go through a longer permitting process to operate in most of the city&rsquos neighborhoods. The process can be prolonged if environmental reviews are involved. Recently, Safeway&rsquos Andronico&rsquos Community Markets division took around three years to get approval to open nearby, despite moving into a long-vacant site that previously held a grocery store.

Critics say the system is broken. Anna Marlene Cressman, a Richmond District resident, said the decision was &ldquopure red tape.&rdquo She said the time and money that goes into environmental appeals are lengthy and costly, and the appeal was &ldquoweaponized and abused&rdquo to block Whole Foods from opening.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, other residents who lived in the area called in with overwhelming support of Whole Foods. They say the location has sat empty for three years, creating a blight, and the grocer would bring more fresh food options and jobs to the neighborhood. Supporters also pointed out the difficulty of getting tenants as the retail sector continues to struggle &mdash its plight exacerbated by the pandemic.

In a letter filed to the Planning Commission this summer, Mark Wolfe, an attorney for the opponents, wrote that the store would create traffic congestion from truck deliveries and construction, leading to an increase in air and noise pollution around the mall location at 2675 Geary Blvd.

At the Tuesday meeting, Wolfe said the remedy to the situation was to order an environmental review.

Jim Araby, a UFCW representative, said before the meeting that grocery stores are more heavily visited than electronics shops and concerns around air pollution are real.

Julie Fisher, a local resident and member of the grocery union, said she welcomes a good source of food for the neighborhood, but not Amazon or Jeff Bezos, &ldquoand the way he makes money.&rdquo Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017. Some cautioned that the arrival of another Whole Foods store with nonunion employees and alleged that the grocer and its parent company have not been transparent, or taken care of workers properly during the pandemic.

&ldquoLow wages and low benefits is not what the community needs,&rdquo Fisher said.


Opponents upend Whole Foods plan to open S.F. store in Western Addition

Whole Foods had been approved by the Planning Commission to occupy a long-vacant site at City Center.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Christopher Shields (left) shops with husband Shad St. Louis at the Whole Foods in the Castro in 2017.

Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

A sign for City Center, the neighborhood mall where Whole Foods wants to open, is seen next to Target and Chipotle.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Kate Brown, left, chats with Caitlin Landesberg, founder and CEO of Sufferfest Beer Company, and Danni Zuralow, as she tried free samples of their Epic Pilsner and Taper IPA beers at Whole Foods in Potrero Hill in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

A pedestrian wears a mask while walking past a sign for a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco in March. A different store proposed for the Western Addition neighborhood would be the city’s eighth Whole Foods.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press Show More Show Less

Grocery store Whole Foods&rsquo efforts to open in a retail space that has been empty for three years in San Francisco&rsquos Western Addition may be delayed for years.

The Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday night an appeal by opponents of the proposed store, which will require Whole Foods to undergo environmental review, a process that can take years. The Planning Commission had previously voted to exempt the store from the review, but will have to vote again on the project after it is complete.

Supervisors questioned the Planning Commission&rsquos conclusion that the Whole Foods project would have no or little environmental impact, despite more diesel emissions and larger truck and car trips to the store, once it opened. The supervisors called for further study.

The decision was met with outcry from many local residents who support the project at the San Francisco City Center, a retail mall in the Anza Vista neighborhood on the edge of the Richmond District near affluent neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and Laurel Heights. The store would have boosted the economy at a time when San Francisco is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and other retailers are imploding.

&ldquoWe are disappointed the Board of Supervisors voted against our proposal to bring Whole Foods Market to an empty retail space at City Center,&rdquo a Whole Foods spokesman said in a statement. &ldquoIn the middle of a pandemic, the project would have provided 200 new jobs, . $10 million in construction work and convenient access to high quality food for neighbors.&rdquo

Whole Foods opponents who filed the appeal include the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, and residents Julie Fisher and Tony Vargas. In addition to traffic concerns, they criticized the project because none of Whole Food&rsquos workers are union members, a &ldquograve concern&rdquo during the coronavirus pandemic when grocery workers are at high risk of being infected.

Some Whole Foods employees protested and refused to work earlier this year over safety concerns.

All chain stores with 11 or more U.S. locations are required to go through a longer permitting process to operate in most of the city&rsquos neighborhoods. The process can be prolonged if environmental reviews are involved. Recently, Safeway&rsquos Andronico&rsquos Community Markets division took around three years to get approval to open nearby, despite moving into a long-vacant site that previously held a grocery store.

Critics say the system is broken. Anna Marlene Cressman, a Richmond District resident, said the decision was &ldquopure red tape.&rdquo She said the time and money that goes into environmental appeals are lengthy and costly, and the appeal was &ldquoweaponized and abused&rdquo to block Whole Foods from opening.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, other residents who lived in the area called in with overwhelming support of Whole Foods. They say the location has sat empty for three years, creating a blight, and the grocer would bring more fresh food options and jobs to the neighborhood. Supporters also pointed out the difficulty of getting tenants as the retail sector continues to struggle &mdash its plight exacerbated by the pandemic.

In a letter filed to the Planning Commission this summer, Mark Wolfe, an attorney for the opponents, wrote that the store would create traffic congestion from truck deliveries and construction, leading to an increase in air and noise pollution around the mall location at 2675 Geary Blvd.

At the Tuesday meeting, Wolfe said the remedy to the situation was to order an environmental review.

Jim Araby, a UFCW representative, said before the meeting that grocery stores are more heavily visited than electronics shops and concerns around air pollution are real.

Julie Fisher, a local resident and member of the grocery union, said she welcomes a good source of food for the neighborhood, but not Amazon or Jeff Bezos, &ldquoand the way he makes money.&rdquo Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017. Some cautioned that the arrival of another Whole Foods store with nonunion employees and alleged that the grocer and its parent company have not been transparent, or taken care of workers properly during the pandemic.

&ldquoLow wages and low benefits is not what the community needs,&rdquo Fisher said.


Opponents upend Whole Foods plan to open S.F. store in Western Addition

Whole Foods had been approved by the Planning Commission to occupy a long-vacant site at City Center.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Christopher Shields (left) shops with husband Shad St. Louis at the Whole Foods in the Castro in 2017.

Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

A sign for City Center, the neighborhood mall where Whole Foods wants to open, is seen next to Target and Chipotle.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Kate Brown, left, chats with Caitlin Landesberg, founder and CEO of Sufferfest Beer Company, and Danni Zuralow, as she tried free samples of their Epic Pilsner and Taper IPA beers at Whole Foods in Potrero Hill in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

A pedestrian wears a mask while walking past a sign for a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco in March. A different store proposed for the Western Addition neighborhood would be the city’s eighth Whole Foods.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press Show More Show Less

Grocery store Whole Foods&rsquo efforts to open in a retail space that has been empty for three years in San Francisco&rsquos Western Addition may be delayed for years.

The Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday night an appeal by opponents of the proposed store, which will require Whole Foods to undergo environmental review, a process that can take years. The Planning Commission had previously voted to exempt the store from the review, but will have to vote again on the project after it is complete.

Supervisors questioned the Planning Commission&rsquos conclusion that the Whole Foods project would have no or little environmental impact, despite more diesel emissions and larger truck and car trips to the store, once it opened. The supervisors called for further study.

The decision was met with outcry from many local residents who support the project at the San Francisco City Center, a retail mall in the Anza Vista neighborhood on the edge of the Richmond District near affluent neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and Laurel Heights. The store would have boosted the economy at a time when San Francisco is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and other retailers are imploding.

&ldquoWe are disappointed the Board of Supervisors voted against our proposal to bring Whole Foods Market to an empty retail space at City Center,&rdquo a Whole Foods spokesman said in a statement. &ldquoIn the middle of a pandemic, the project would have provided 200 new jobs, . $10 million in construction work and convenient access to high quality food for neighbors.&rdquo

Whole Foods opponents who filed the appeal include the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, and residents Julie Fisher and Tony Vargas. In addition to traffic concerns, they criticized the project because none of Whole Food&rsquos workers are union members, a &ldquograve concern&rdquo during the coronavirus pandemic when grocery workers are at high risk of being infected.

Some Whole Foods employees protested and refused to work earlier this year over safety concerns.

All chain stores with 11 or more U.S. locations are required to go through a longer permitting process to operate in most of the city&rsquos neighborhoods. The process can be prolonged if environmental reviews are involved. Recently, Safeway&rsquos Andronico&rsquos Community Markets division took around three years to get approval to open nearby, despite moving into a long-vacant site that previously held a grocery store.

Critics say the system is broken. Anna Marlene Cressman, a Richmond District resident, said the decision was &ldquopure red tape.&rdquo She said the time and money that goes into environmental appeals are lengthy and costly, and the appeal was &ldquoweaponized and abused&rdquo to block Whole Foods from opening.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, other residents who lived in the area called in with overwhelming support of Whole Foods. They say the location has sat empty for three years, creating a blight, and the grocer would bring more fresh food options and jobs to the neighborhood. Supporters also pointed out the difficulty of getting tenants as the retail sector continues to struggle &mdash its plight exacerbated by the pandemic.

In a letter filed to the Planning Commission this summer, Mark Wolfe, an attorney for the opponents, wrote that the store would create traffic congestion from truck deliveries and construction, leading to an increase in air and noise pollution around the mall location at 2675 Geary Blvd.

At the Tuesday meeting, Wolfe said the remedy to the situation was to order an environmental review.

Jim Araby, a UFCW representative, said before the meeting that grocery stores are more heavily visited than electronics shops and concerns around air pollution are real.

Julie Fisher, a local resident and member of the grocery union, said she welcomes a good source of food for the neighborhood, but not Amazon or Jeff Bezos, &ldquoand the way he makes money.&rdquo Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017. Some cautioned that the arrival of another Whole Foods store with nonunion employees and alleged that the grocer and its parent company have not been transparent, or taken care of workers properly during the pandemic.

&ldquoLow wages and low benefits is not what the community needs,&rdquo Fisher said.


Opponents upend Whole Foods plan to open S.F. store in Western Addition

Whole Foods had been approved by the Planning Commission to occupy a long-vacant site at City Center.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Christopher Shields (left) shops with husband Shad St. Louis at the Whole Foods in the Castro in 2017.

Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

A sign for City Center, the neighborhood mall where Whole Foods wants to open, is seen next to Target and Chipotle.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Kate Brown, left, chats with Caitlin Landesberg, founder and CEO of Sufferfest Beer Company, and Danni Zuralow, as she tried free samples of their Epic Pilsner and Taper IPA beers at Whole Foods in Potrero Hill in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

A pedestrian wears a mask while walking past a sign for a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco in March. A different store proposed for the Western Addition neighborhood would be the city’s eighth Whole Foods.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press Show More Show Less

Grocery store Whole Foods&rsquo efforts to open in a retail space that has been empty for three years in San Francisco&rsquos Western Addition may be delayed for years.

The Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday night an appeal by opponents of the proposed store, which will require Whole Foods to undergo environmental review, a process that can take years. The Planning Commission had previously voted to exempt the store from the review, but will have to vote again on the project after it is complete.

Supervisors questioned the Planning Commission&rsquos conclusion that the Whole Foods project would have no or little environmental impact, despite more diesel emissions and larger truck and car trips to the store, once it opened. The supervisors called for further study.

The decision was met with outcry from many local residents who support the project at the San Francisco City Center, a retail mall in the Anza Vista neighborhood on the edge of the Richmond District near affluent neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and Laurel Heights. The store would have boosted the economy at a time when San Francisco is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and other retailers are imploding.

&ldquoWe are disappointed the Board of Supervisors voted against our proposal to bring Whole Foods Market to an empty retail space at City Center,&rdquo a Whole Foods spokesman said in a statement. &ldquoIn the middle of a pandemic, the project would have provided 200 new jobs, . $10 million in construction work and convenient access to high quality food for neighbors.&rdquo

Whole Foods opponents who filed the appeal include the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, and residents Julie Fisher and Tony Vargas. In addition to traffic concerns, they criticized the project because none of Whole Food&rsquos workers are union members, a &ldquograve concern&rdquo during the coronavirus pandemic when grocery workers are at high risk of being infected.

Some Whole Foods employees protested and refused to work earlier this year over safety concerns.

All chain stores with 11 or more U.S. locations are required to go through a longer permitting process to operate in most of the city&rsquos neighborhoods. The process can be prolonged if environmental reviews are involved. Recently, Safeway&rsquos Andronico&rsquos Community Markets division took around three years to get approval to open nearby, despite moving into a long-vacant site that previously held a grocery store.

Critics say the system is broken. Anna Marlene Cressman, a Richmond District resident, said the decision was &ldquopure red tape.&rdquo She said the time and money that goes into environmental appeals are lengthy and costly, and the appeal was &ldquoweaponized and abused&rdquo to block Whole Foods from opening.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, other residents who lived in the area called in with overwhelming support of Whole Foods. They say the location has sat empty for three years, creating a blight, and the grocer would bring more fresh food options and jobs to the neighborhood. Supporters also pointed out the difficulty of getting tenants as the retail sector continues to struggle &mdash its plight exacerbated by the pandemic.

In a letter filed to the Planning Commission this summer, Mark Wolfe, an attorney for the opponents, wrote that the store would create traffic congestion from truck deliveries and construction, leading to an increase in air and noise pollution around the mall location at 2675 Geary Blvd.

At the Tuesday meeting, Wolfe said the remedy to the situation was to order an environmental review.

Jim Araby, a UFCW representative, said before the meeting that grocery stores are more heavily visited than electronics shops and concerns around air pollution are real.

Julie Fisher, a local resident and member of the grocery union, said she welcomes a good source of food for the neighborhood, but not Amazon or Jeff Bezos, &ldquoand the way he makes money.&rdquo Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017. Some cautioned that the arrival of another Whole Foods store with nonunion employees and alleged that the grocer and its parent company have not been transparent, or taken care of workers properly during the pandemic.

&ldquoLow wages and low benefits is not what the community needs,&rdquo Fisher said.


Opponents upend Whole Foods plan to open S.F. store in Western Addition

Whole Foods had been approved by the Planning Commission to occupy a long-vacant site at City Center.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Christopher Shields (left) shops with husband Shad St. Louis at the Whole Foods in the Castro in 2017.

Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

A sign for City Center, the neighborhood mall where Whole Foods wants to open, is seen next to Target and Chipotle.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Kate Brown, left, chats with Caitlin Landesberg, founder and CEO of Sufferfest Beer Company, and Danni Zuralow, as she tried free samples of their Epic Pilsner and Taper IPA beers at Whole Foods in Potrero Hill in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

A pedestrian wears a mask while walking past a sign for a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco in March. A different store proposed for the Western Addition neighborhood would be the city’s eighth Whole Foods.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press Show More Show Less

Grocery store Whole Foods&rsquo efforts to open in a retail space that has been empty for three years in San Francisco&rsquos Western Addition may be delayed for years.

The Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday night an appeal by opponents of the proposed store, which will require Whole Foods to undergo environmental review, a process that can take years. The Planning Commission had previously voted to exempt the store from the review, but will have to vote again on the project after it is complete.

Supervisors questioned the Planning Commission&rsquos conclusion that the Whole Foods project would have no or little environmental impact, despite more diesel emissions and larger truck and car trips to the store, once it opened. The supervisors called for further study.

The decision was met with outcry from many local residents who support the project at the San Francisco City Center, a retail mall in the Anza Vista neighborhood on the edge of the Richmond District near affluent neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and Laurel Heights. The store would have boosted the economy at a time when San Francisco is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and other retailers are imploding.

&ldquoWe are disappointed the Board of Supervisors voted against our proposal to bring Whole Foods Market to an empty retail space at City Center,&rdquo a Whole Foods spokesman said in a statement. &ldquoIn the middle of a pandemic, the project would have provided 200 new jobs, . $10 million in construction work and convenient access to high quality food for neighbors.&rdquo

Whole Foods opponents who filed the appeal include the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, and residents Julie Fisher and Tony Vargas. In addition to traffic concerns, they criticized the project because none of Whole Food&rsquos workers are union members, a &ldquograve concern&rdquo during the coronavirus pandemic when grocery workers are at high risk of being infected.

Some Whole Foods employees protested and refused to work earlier this year over safety concerns.

All chain stores with 11 or more U.S. locations are required to go through a longer permitting process to operate in most of the city&rsquos neighborhoods. The process can be prolonged if environmental reviews are involved. Recently, Safeway&rsquos Andronico&rsquos Community Markets division took around three years to get approval to open nearby, despite moving into a long-vacant site that previously held a grocery store.

Critics say the system is broken. Anna Marlene Cressman, a Richmond District resident, said the decision was &ldquopure red tape.&rdquo She said the time and money that goes into environmental appeals are lengthy and costly, and the appeal was &ldquoweaponized and abused&rdquo to block Whole Foods from opening.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, other residents who lived in the area called in with overwhelming support of Whole Foods. They say the location has sat empty for three years, creating a blight, and the grocer would bring more fresh food options and jobs to the neighborhood. Supporters also pointed out the difficulty of getting tenants as the retail sector continues to struggle &mdash its plight exacerbated by the pandemic.

In a letter filed to the Planning Commission this summer, Mark Wolfe, an attorney for the opponents, wrote that the store would create traffic congestion from truck deliveries and construction, leading to an increase in air and noise pollution around the mall location at 2675 Geary Blvd.

At the Tuesday meeting, Wolfe said the remedy to the situation was to order an environmental review.

Jim Araby, a UFCW representative, said before the meeting that grocery stores are more heavily visited than electronics shops and concerns around air pollution are real.

Julie Fisher, a local resident and member of the grocery union, said she welcomes a good source of food for the neighborhood, but not Amazon or Jeff Bezos, &ldquoand the way he makes money.&rdquo Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017. Some cautioned that the arrival of another Whole Foods store with nonunion employees and alleged that the grocer and its parent company have not been transparent, or taken care of workers properly during the pandemic.

&ldquoLow wages and low benefits is not what the community needs,&rdquo Fisher said.


Opponents upend Whole Foods plan to open S.F. store in Western Addition

Whole Foods had been approved by the Planning Commission to occupy a long-vacant site at City Center.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Christopher Shields (left) shops with husband Shad St. Louis at the Whole Foods in the Castro in 2017.

Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

A sign for City Center, the neighborhood mall where Whole Foods wants to open, is seen next to Target and Chipotle.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Kate Brown, left, chats with Caitlin Landesberg, founder and CEO of Sufferfest Beer Company, and Danni Zuralow, as she tried free samples of their Epic Pilsner and Taper IPA beers at Whole Foods in Potrero Hill in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

A pedestrian wears a mask while walking past a sign for a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco in March. A different store proposed for the Western Addition neighborhood would be the city’s eighth Whole Foods.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press Show More Show Less

Grocery store Whole Foods&rsquo efforts to open in a retail space that has been empty for three years in San Francisco&rsquos Western Addition may be delayed for years.

The Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday night an appeal by opponents of the proposed store, which will require Whole Foods to undergo environmental review, a process that can take years. The Planning Commission had previously voted to exempt the store from the review, but will have to vote again on the project after it is complete.

Supervisors questioned the Planning Commission&rsquos conclusion that the Whole Foods project would have no or little environmental impact, despite more diesel emissions and larger truck and car trips to the store, once it opened. The supervisors called for further study.

The decision was met with outcry from many local residents who support the project at the San Francisco City Center, a retail mall in the Anza Vista neighborhood on the edge of the Richmond District near affluent neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and Laurel Heights. The store would have boosted the economy at a time when San Francisco is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and other retailers are imploding.

&ldquoWe are disappointed the Board of Supervisors voted against our proposal to bring Whole Foods Market to an empty retail space at City Center,&rdquo a Whole Foods spokesman said in a statement. &ldquoIn the middle of a pandemic, the project would have provided 200 new jobs, . $10 million in construction work and convenient access to high quality food for neighbors.&rdquo

Whole Foods opponents who filed the appeal include the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, and residents Julie Fisher and Tony Vargas. In addition to traffic concerns, they criticized the project because none of Whole Food&rsquos workers are union members, a &ldquograve concern&rdquo during the coronavirus pandemic when grocery workers are at high risk of being infected.

Some Whole Foods employees protested and refused to work earlier this year over safety concerns.

All chain stores with 11 or more U.S. locations are required to go through a longer permitting process to operate in most of the city&rsquos neighborhoods. The process can be prolonged if environmental reviews are involved. Recently, Safeway&rsquos Andronico&rsquos Community Markets division took around three years to get approval to open nearby, despite moving into a long-vacant site that previously held a grocery store.

Critics say the system is broken. Anna Marlene Cressman, a Richmond District resident, said the decision was &ldquopure red tape.&rdquo She said the time and money that goes into environmental appeals are lengthy and costly, and the appeal was &ldquoweaponized and abused&rdquo to block Whole Foods from opening.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, other residents who lived in the area called in with overwhelming support of Whole Foods. They say the location has sat empty for three years, creating a blight, and the grocer would bring more fresh food options and jobs to the neighborhood. Supporters also pointed out the difficulty of getting tenants as the retail sector continues to struggle &mdash its plight exacerbated by the pandemic.

In a letter filed to the Planning Commission this summer, Mark Wolfe, an attorney for the opponents, wrote that the store would create traffic congestion from truck deliveries and construction, leading to an increase in air and noise pollution around the mall location at 2675 Geary Blvd.

At the Tuesday meeting, Wolfe said the remedy to the situation was to order an environmental review.

Jim Araby, a UFCW representative, said before the meeting that grocery stores are more heavily visited than electronics shops and concerns around air pollution are real.

Julie Fisher, a local resident and member of the grocery union, said she welcomes a good source of food for the neighborhood, but not Amazon or Jeff Bezos, &ldquoand the way he makes money.&rdquo Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017. Some cautioned that the arrival of another Whole Foods store with nonunion employees and alleged that the grocer and its parent company have not been transparent, or taken care of workers properly during the pandemic.

&ldquoLow wages and low benefits is not what the community needs,&rdquo Fisher said.


Opponents upend Whole Foods plan to open S.F. store in Western Addition

Whole Foods had been approved by the Planning Commission to occupy a long-vacant site at City Center.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Christopher Shields (left) shops with husband Shad St. Louis at the Whole Foods in the Castro in 2017.

Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2017 Show More Show Less

A sign for City Center, the neighborhood mall where Whole Foods wants to open, is seen next to Target and Chipotle.

Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Kate Brown, left, chats with Caitlin Landesberg, founder and CEO of Sufferfest Beer Company, and Danni Zuralow, as she tried free samples of their Epic Pilsner and Taper IPA beers at Whole Foods in Potrero Hill in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle Show More Show Less

A pedestrian wears a mask while walking past a sign for a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco in March. A different store proposed for the Western Addition neighborhood would be the city’s eighth Whole Foods.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press Show More Show Less

Grocery store Whole Foods&rsquo efforts to open in a retail space that has been empty for three years in San Francisco&rsquos Western Addition may be delayed for years.

The Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday night an appeal by opponents of the proposed store, which will require Whole Foods to undergo environmental review, a process that can take years. The Planning Commission had previously voted to exempt the store from the review, but will have to vote again on the project after it is complete.

Supervisors questioned the Planning Commission&rsquos conclusion that the Whole Foods project would have no or little environmental impact, despite more diesel emissions and larger truck and car trips to the store, once it opened. The supervisors called for further study.

The decision was met with outcry from many local residents who support the project at the San Francisco City Center, a retail mall in the Anza Vista neighborhood on the edge of the Richmond District near affluent neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights and Laurel Heights. The store would have boosted the economy at a time when San Francisco is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and other retailers are imploding.

&ldquoWe are disappointed the Board of Supervisors voted against our proposal to bring Whole Foods Market to an empty retail space at City Center,&rdquo a Whole Foods spokesman said in a statement. &ldquoIn the middle of a pandemic, the project would have provided 200 new jobs, . $10 million in construction work and convenient access to high quality food for neighbors.&rdquo

Whole Foods opponents who filed the appeal include the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, and residents Julie Fisher and Tony Vargas. In addition to traffic concerns, they criticized the project because none of Whole Food&rsquos workers are union members, a &ldquograve concern&rdquo during the coronavirus pandemic when grocery workers are at high risk of being infected.

Some Whole Foods employees protested and refused to work earlier this year over safety concerns.

All chain stores with 11 or more U.S. locations are required to go through a longer permitting process to operate in most of the city&rsquos neighborhoods. The process can be prolonged if environmental reviews are involved. Recently, Safeway&rsquos Andronico&rsquos Community Markets division took around three years to get approval to open nearby, despite moving into a long-vacant site that previously held a grocery store.

Critics say the system is broken. Anna Marlene Cressman, a Richmond District resident, said the decision was &ldquopure red tape.&rdquo She said the time and money that goes into environmental appeals are lengthy and costly, and the appeal was &ldquoweaponized and abused&rdquo to block Whole Foods from opening.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, other residents who lived in the area called in with overwhelming support of Whole Foods. They say the location has sat empty for three years, creating a blight, and the grocer would bring more fresh food options and jobs to the neighborhood. Supporters also pointed out the difficulty of getting tenants as the retail sector continues to struggle &mdash its plight exacerbated by the pandemic.

In a letter filed to the Planning Commission this summer, Mark Wolfe, an attorney for the opponents, wrote that the store would create traffic congestion from truck deliveries and construction, leading to an increase in air and noise pollution around the mall location at 2675 Geary Blvd.

At the Tuesday meeting, Wolfe said the remedy to the situation was to order an environmental review.

Jim Araby, a UFCW representative, said before the meeting that grocery stores are more heavily visited than electronics shops and concerns around air pollution are real.

Julie Fisher, a local resident and member of the grocery union, said she welcomes a good source of food for the neighborhood, but not Amazon or Jeff Bezos, &ldquoand the way he makes money.&rdquo Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017. Some cautioned that the arrival of another Whole Foods store with nonunion employees and alleged that the grocer and its parent company have not been transparent, or taken care of workers properly during the pandemic.

&ldquoLow wages and low benefits is not what the community needs,&rdquo Fisher said.