Walnut Creek Approves New Shopping Center at Ygnacio & Oak Grove

June 25, 2014 8:00 am · 81 comments

The City of Walnut Creek has approved the plan for the Orchards Shopping Center, which will be located on the currently vacant lot at Ygnacio Valley Rd. & Oak Grove Rd.

So far, only a 55,000 square-foot Safeway is planned for the property, but according to the site plan, we can also expect to see retail, eating and fitness establishments, as well as a large senior housing facility.


Currently, Safeway is located across the street in the Encina Grande Shopping Center. There are plans for a Whole Foods to remodel that building and move into Safeway’s current location.

Anonymous June 25, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Nob Hill has already said they would go out of business if that Safeway went in. Thanks, Nut Creek, for further limiting my choices for good quality, reasonably priced grocery stores. I don’t like Safeway, and can’t afford Whole Foods. I am very, very disappointed.

Killjoy June 25, 2014 at 8:17 AM

The plans look great. Now if they can just pull it off and make the actual construction match the plans without any changes……

Typical comment June 25, 2014 at 8:21 AM

We have too many shopping centers already. They should put in an Olive Garden. And a Corn Snake petting zoo.

JET June 25, 2014 at 8:21 AM

As much as I am opposed to this land being developed (it is so nice to have some open space), they did a great job with planning of this shopping center. It looks like they are trying to keep as many of the trees as possible, and have open spaces incorporated into the master plan. Great job to whomever worked on this project! And, I’m very excited for a new Whole Foods near my house (the one in downtown Walnut Creek is very congested).

A Dad June 25, 2014 at 8:28 AM

I hope there is plenty of bicycle parking! Looks like a wonderful place for lunch breaks for all of us who work in Park Shadelands and surrounding areas. I have always thought that residents in this area needed a hub closer than downtown WC.

Scoob June 25, 2014 at 8:38 AM

It looks fantastic! I’m excited to have this complex in our great city. The Dublin Safeway is awesome – corporate experiments with new displays and new products there, and I really hope they will do the same with this store. My primary concern is that they put in enough parking – too many shopping centers have been built lately with a serious lack of parking – for example the 24 hour fitness parking lot on Main, the Sprouts center, and basically any other property built by the greedy builders on those projects. It will be great to have a Whole foods in the neighborhood too. All the kids that hang out at Encina can head across the street to this center (very nice kids for the most part). I’m sorry that my friends who opposed this center lost the fight, but change is the only constant. C’est la vie.

Pinto June 25, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Oh this is awful! How about they close Nob Hill and have Whole Foods move there and keep the vacant lot.

Silva June 25, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Terrific. Now it will take an hour to get to Walnut Creek instead of 30 minutes. Plplplpl.

ah June 25, 2014 at 8:49 AM

I hope they keep as many of the current trees as possible.

! June 25, 2014 at 8:59 AM

With all the bad news about Whole Foods lately, I won’t be shopping there anytime soon.

Janelle June 25, 2014 at 9:02 AM

The splash pad is the best part! I agree with other commenters about parking. I am worried about traffic in this already congested area. I hope those traveling from Limeridge/Crossings to Valle Verde and Northgate aren’t troubled any more than they already are with getting their kids to school on time. I hope they work on the traffic light timing on Treat and on YVR to accommodate. I know whenever work is going on at John Muir YVR traffic is rediculous, I hope this will be better. Looking forward to the grand opening!

Antler June 25, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Shoppers who have parked to shop at Safeway must walk a long way from their vehicles and must cross the primary vehicle road exactly at the Via Monte primary entrance into the shopping center. This would be dangerous for pedestrians, and also vehicles yielding to pedestrians in the cross walks would back up the line of vehicles attempting to enter the center. That in turn would lead to a traffic jam out on Ygnacio Valley Road. It would be exactly the same mess as Pleasant Hill now is having to correct so as to enable safe, efficient traffic flow into and out of the Kohl’s center onto Bushkirk.

In addition, the part of the parking lot most easily accessible to Safeway seems too small……about the size of that at the Concord Downtown Safeway. I also have the feeling that the “feel-good walking-path orchard emphasis” of the video was showing more trees than are actually drawn on the blueprint. The disappointing front elevations of the structures remind me of rows of self-storage spaces…except with plate glass on the fronts.

I am very much in favor of having a new commercial development at that corner, but please may it have more artistic style? Perhaps even a rustic Old West or Mission theme?

I do like the multiple almond and walnut trees indicated in the video. That will remind us old-timers of the time when those orchards were well-tended and healthy.

Nature Lover June 25, 2014 at 9:03 AM

While the planned development is attractive I don’t think the city properly evaluated the traffic impact.

Antler June 25, 2014 at 9:07 AM

N.B…….. Our own Ancient Mariner really KNOWS about designing such things as efficient traffic patterns. I hope he will weigh in here!

Dwight Schrute June 25, 2014 at 9:09 AM

@Silva, then you can drive on the freeway!

KenInConcord June 25, 2014 at 9:12 AM

I didn’t see any little ground squirrel grave sites in the video, must have been a oversight!!

Armydadca June 25, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Why is the lady in the green tank top angry at so many people and a wall?

JET June 25, 2014 at 9:22 AM

@Armydadca – LOL! I noticed that too….. also wondered how they left out the fat people? Everyone in this video is in extremely good shape! Must be the new gym they are building? LOL

Traffic June 25, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Nice. Looks great. Of course, traffic will go to hell in the local area (as if it’s not already jammed!). Walnut Creek allowed development of the old Co-op and put in a Sprouts, Freebird, Habit Burger…. very nice. But at Treat and N. Main…it is now HORRIBLE to even try to drive thru there. And we hear a very large Progressive Insurance building is being build up next to US Bank, by the old Piedmont Lumber site. Factor in 24 Hour fitness and Chick Filet…

See, Walnut Creek is smart. Keep the money coming in….tax tax tax.

SF_CityGirl June 25, 2014 at 9:39 AM

I work/live in this area, I welcome the plans. Looks real good!

frank June 25, 2014 at 9:41 AM

I’d like to give this architectural firm the entire Downtown Concord Redevelopment Area to design. See what they come up with.

Silva June 25, 2014 at 9:42 AM

@15, What freeway? I drive my Grandson from Clayton Valley on YVR to school on Walnut Blvd along with thousands of other people every day. YVR is the freeway.

Traffic Mess June 25, 2014 at 9:42 AM

So of course there will be a Bucks or Peets in one of the outlying buildings. So AM traffic is going to back up as everyone makes a RIGHT from YVR to get into the lot (sleepily and without signalling), right where folks coming from OG are accelerating to merge into YVR traffic (having picked up their coffee and are sorting out their setup). Won’t that end well for everyone.

And I notice that the seniors don’t have any way to come directly into the shopping buildings, they need to treck all the way around to the front in 100-degree weather. Perhaps one of those smaller buildings should house some first-responders….

Dr. Jellyfinger® June 25, 2014 at 9:42 AM

I was going to be a real stinker & wait until construction was well underway, but I’ve decided to go ahead & mention the Indian burial grounds on that site right now.

anon June 25, 2014 at 9:42 AM

To all the naysayers, vote with your wallet. Some of the other shopping centers need a face lift too. As for traffic, there will always be a lot of traffic. Enjoy the slow drive thru Walnut Creek, and feel the love of the area.

Silva June 25, 2014 at 9:44 AM

I’m sorry for Nob Hill, and I still will never shop at Safeway, ever.

Josh June 25, 2014 at 10:25 AM

I live in Mountain View and Safeway did some similar redevelopment of the San Antonio Shopping Center on El Camino and San Antonio Rd, and though the center is beautiful and much better than what was there before, the traffic nightmare that has now been created and all the construction trucks that tore up the road is horrible. Why don’t they just remodel the old Safeway on the other corner of Oak Grove and YV Road and redevelop the open space as a PARK with a lake and trails.

Chester E. Kitty June 25, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Too bad … I feel sorry for Nob Hill. And for the record, I hate Safeway!

anon June 25, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Seriously people?! Safe way was already across the street. It’s not like they are putting a new business in. Safeway is just simply moving across the street. I don’t even know why I care. I don’t live in this community anymore. After reading most of the unintelligent remarks I’m glad I moved.

Same old June 25, 2014 at 10:35 AM

I’d take Nob Hill over Safeway any day. I don’t shop at Safeway. Aren’t there already enough of them around? I hope Nob Hill doesn’t close. I think they will find that they will have the business they do today whether or not Safeway opens across the street.

Sharon Stafford June 25, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Our house is a mile from this planned development, we’ve lived here for 41 years and I’m wondering how this is going to effect the value of our homes.

WC June 25, 2014 at 10:45 AM

@Silva #26, Thanks for not adding to the traffic 🙂

Cassie June 25, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Not really sure why there are so many that love Nob Hill. I went there one time last year and could not believe how much higher the prices were for the same things sold at Safeway, as well as the poor customer service I received there? Good riddance Nob Hill! You won’t be missed if you close.

I'm The Urban Spaceman June 25, 2014 at 11:06 AM

I hope Morucci’s opens a second shop here…

Mimi (original) June 25, 2014 at 11:21 AM

I agree with the posters who noted that the “new” shopping center with the Sprouts, etc. is a HORRIBLE set up! You can’t get in, you can’t get a place to park, and if you’re lucky enough to GET a place to park, you can’t get out!! The design is horrendous – and we’re stuck with it!

foonman June 25, 2014 at 11:42 AM

I am pro-business and think they have thought it out. Of course, I wouldn’t want it next to me, and I understand that, however its hard to stop progress.
If it brings about new jobs I’m for it. This nation runs on business and we must understand that too. Otherwise, we all will wind up working for a government agency of some sort. Lets see, whats that called?

Idiocracy June 25, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Most people living close to YV near this greed pit do not want it. Many protested it! Im appalled by the City’s greed and total lack of foresight. This is a traffic jam in the making, not to mention all the extra vagabonds and lowlifes it will attract. Thanks Democrat ran WC, thanks for listening to the ppl and flat out ignoring us for that safeway cash that they bribed you with. I’m sure if any DA wants to make a name he can investigate this corruption and maybe start a good political career busting the greedy council memebers that ignored the woodlands community as well as the foothill community. This should of been up to the people not old corrupt politicians who worship greed. Shame on you

Idiocracy June 25, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Vote out all WC Incumbents that Ok’d this bye bye time to get a your real qualified jobs greeting people at walgreens

livininconcord June 25, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Didn’t Safeway just sell out to a Grocery Outfit from back east who is much more in to the base product line. No fru fru.. No starbux, no gas tanks. etc. So, we will have 1 dead safeway on Ygnacio Valley, and one that will never open across the street, – we will just have removed all the natural land and placed down pavement, and have an empty building. Great progress.

well... June 25, 2014 at 12:22 PM

I can just see it now. 20 people waiting in line with their carts trying to get in the elevator to go up to the parking lot above safeway. Some soccer mom will be in a hury, her ice cream will be melting because it’s summer and 100° and all hell will break loose. I hope there are plenty of cameras so we can watch the stupidity! !

Shopping Sam June 25, 2014 at 12:25 PM

We need a Lucky’s store so tired of Safeway always out of everything with rotting produce and Whole foods ripping us off.

Sacto Rob June 25, 2014 at 12:25 PM

What a lovely video. Everybody’s White, thin and all the women have big boobs. No homeless people, skateboarders or cars in the parking lot, or any of those Brown People who btw are now the largest ethnic group in the state.

Oh Goddy.... June 25, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Safeway can not have a monopoly in the Claycord area…..How freakin lovely. I agree with Chester Kitty – I HATE Safeway

Dr. Doc, PHD June 25, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Steve Elster is a NIMBY. He “led” The Woodlands HOA in an attempt to kill the project. PENCIL HEAD!

Dwight Schrute June 25, 2014 at 12:54 PM

@Silva – if you don’t like the traffic your grandchild could always go to school in your own ‘hood! 🙂

Dwight Schrute June 25, 2014 at 12:56 PM

@ Antler – if you were so concerned why did you not come to any of the planning meetings? There will be plenty of parking…there should be rooftop parking in addition to the parking in the lot shown. What concerns me is not having a pedestrian bridge to allow people from the neighborhood access to Safeway across Ygnacio

Just me June 25, 2014 at 1:12 PM

I think the plans look great. I hate Nob Hill and their snotty workers and way too high prices. Whole Paycheck is just a NO. I hope a Starbucks will go in as there is no coffee in that area. Encina Grande is a pit that is old and totally needs remodeling/updating. Cant wait for it open.

Anon Redux June 25, 2014 at 1:14 PM

It appears this will create a new mini-downtown. I have mixed feelings. I really like the parkways the fitness center.

The traffic is likely to be really bad. It might help to build a pedestrian bridge across YV road (like the one on Treat near BART). I would also like to see a light rail to WC BART.

ClayDen June 25, 2014 at 1:14 PM

The architecture looks “industrial” without much character, and I wonder how much use the open space/park areas will actually get. BTW, around the 7:15 point in the video there is a Renault parked there.

Regarding disliking Safeway and wanting to protect Nob Hill: we live in a free market capitalist country, so you are free to shop wherever you want. Some win, some lose, but we have choices.

Jojo potato June 25, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Read the article. “The only thing planned is the … Safeway”. The rest is just fantasy. Just like the idea that the WC council listens to any citizen input.

Elwood June 25, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Stamp out progress!

Protect failing businesses!

When you pull your head out it will give you a whole new perspective on things.

Silva June 25, 2014 at 1:46 PM

#45, We love Walnut Avenue Christian Playschool even more than I hate traffic, but thanks for the suggestions.

down and out June 25, 2014 at 2:02 PM

#1 anonymous:

I think Raleys can hold its own against Safeway! Also, there is a Trader Joe’s nearby, which is less expensive than Raleys, and still offers high quality food.
I personally am thrilled about the new Safeway (the other one is too small/old) and Whole Foods.

Silva June 25, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Sacto Rob, Yes it’s true. No cars, everyone’s white, and all those mature trees! That’ll be a large outlay of $$. Or maybe it’ll look like that in 20 years or so.

The Berkeley Bowl in West Berkeley has an ample parking lot UNDER the store which works very well, and it’s all shaded.

I really just hate to see all the truly open space disappear, but so it does.

Dwight Schrute June 25, 2014 at 2:06 PM

@Silva, then there is your choice…traffic as well as that drive go hand in hand in the am

KJ June 25, 2014 at 2:07 PM

I was just hearing about how shopping malls across the country are going under. People are either buying online or not buying at all. And just what kind of stores, besides Safeway, will be there? More Dollar Stores?

We certainly have our share of underutilized malls in our area, so why build another? What are they going to do about the ones we already have that are going to seed (Bel Air Shopping Center comes to mind!)?

down and out June 25, 2014 at 2:09 PM

@well… no. 40:

using the elevator to the parking at safeway will NOT be a problem. they have an elevator to the parking garage/mezzanine dining level at whole foods in novato, and there is never a problem.

down and out June 25, 2014 at 2:21 PM

@mimi (original) #35:

i didn’t watch the video. is there a new sprouts opening there too?

BagsFlyFree June 25, 2014 at 4:00 PM

@KJ #56 The Bel Air Shopping Center needs a revival.. A complete overhaul is really needed at this point to really take advantage of the space the center has.. Concord is at the mercy of long standing property owners who have never been pressured to modernize as the town grew around them. Unfortunately people are still patronizing those businesses keeping the leases paid up.

Have cities organized/picketed/boycotted commercial centers forcing owners to sell to inject new capital into areas?

ClayDen June 25, 2014 at 4:27 PM


Most of the parking at Whole Foods in Los Altos is underground, and it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

It also seems that having rooftop parking enables more open space, which is a good trade.

Off Pine Hollow June 25, 2014 at 4:35 PM

I really don’t understand why people are being so negative about Safeway moving across the street. It’s ALREADY there! Nob Hill is a dump and over priced, even compared to Safeway. I am really looking forward to having a closer Whole Foods as well. I think traffic will be exactly how it is now. This center is due for an upgrade.

clg June 25, 2014 at 6:54 PM

I’ll be so happy to see Nob Hill Foods close their doors when the time comes.
All of their produce is disgustingly old and you can smell the old rotting fish
when you walk in the store. Safeway has it all over that dump Nob Hill.

mohairs June 25, 2014 at 8:59 PM

hopefully all those cute little squirrels are captured and taken somewhere nice where they will be happy again, have plenty of nuts and able to run free.

Killjoy June 25, 2014 at 9:24 PM

When I worked in Berkeley, I walked to the Berkeley Bowl West just about every day for lunch. Right past the underground parking.
I believe if you watch the video all the way through, there is parking on the roof. It also shows the elevator so you can get your carts to the roof.
I guess it’s no different in the rain than of you were out in any old open lot.

Antler June 25, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Because I am not a resident of Walnut Creek.

Because being at a series of planning meetings truly has little influence over hackneyed architectural decisions.

Because sometimes a dispassionate analysis of a rendered elevation can cause an architect to do a forehead slap and make adjustments.

Because we live in earthquake country, so overhead parking lots frighten me. This concern is increased when I see such designs as the recently-announced center in Dublin, in which the parking lot is actually on TOP of the retail spaces….and the outer walls of the bottom spaces are almost solid plate glass.

scooter June 25, 2014 at 10:55 PM

What a bunch of sniveling WHINERS and nut jobs! Damn people, its a frickin shopping center, and it looks beautiful- get over your damn selves and put your energy towards something meaningful.

Tommy DeVito June 25, 2014 at 11:33 PM

Yo! Henry, Looks like we gotta move Billy Batts somewheres else.

excuses, excuses June 25, 2014 at 11:34 PM

I don’t live in WC, so what? If it affects you so much go to meetings not whine on Claycord. Like Claycord is going to solve anthing. And do you know, maybe WC citizens like it this way and actually went to those useless meetings.

KAD June 25, 2014 at 11:58 PM

I hate to see that lot being “developed” because of the wildlife living there. And they will cut down all of the trees. But again, wildlife lived where I lived now. I wish it could be turned into a park.

Antler June 26, 2014 at 12:14 AM

#46 and another commenter mentioned a pedestrian “fly-over” crossing Ygnacio Valley Road. I really doubt a great many residents living south of Ygnacio Valley Road would actually walk that far just to shop for a bag of groceries and then lug it up and down the walkway stairs (or up the high archway and over). Maybe so. But that still leaves the expense. Didn’t the walkway over Ygnacio Valley Road for the Iron Horse Trail cost between $6-10 million?

DingDong June 26, 2014 at 2:01 AM

The largest walnut trees in CCC from my experience are in the lot.
Idiots. My daughter and I love looking at the hawk sitting in the dead tree looking down on the ground squirrels and the flowers in spring.

Probably the last flat piece of ground in central CCC. For what? another Safeway? WTH?

Marissa June 26, 2014 at 7:42 AM

lol why ll the long faces, it’s just another way of getting your money spent…

Silva June 26, 2014 at 7:57 AM

Killjoy, I saw that, it reminded me of the Berkeley Bowl’s underground lot. I like the idea of making use of the space for parking except for the scorching heat.

Silva June 26, 2014 at 8:04 AM

Safeway’s too cheap to put parking underground. Believe me, I know.

Dwight Schrute June 26, 2014 at 11:34 AM

@ Antler – if you make it a priority then you can get the developer of the property to foot the bill, like the Bart Transit Village developer paid for the new bridge on Treat.

You would be surprised, but families do ride bikes, and like to go out with their families and this would facilitate this…you just have to make it a priority when the developer has the resources to make this happen.

Antler June 26, 2014 at 1:31 PM

If you are one of the bicyclists who will be working on getting this sort of corporate backing and/or government grant…..then good luck. Keep in mind that you will need to show that said bicyclists need to cross the road specifically to go to the shopping center …… if you expect one dime from the developers, that is.

Guess for bicycles you don’t want a fly-over with stairs, so you need a great deal of “lead in” on both ends of the bridge for a gradual height-gain to such a tall structure. But the lead-ins would block entrances to the service station and shopping center on the other side of Ygnacio Valley Road (if the span is built on the west side of the intersection). And the lead-ins would interrupt traffic to access executive buildings…(or apartments? ….. sorry, can’t recall what is on the northeast-corner acreage at the intersection)….if the bridge is built crossing Ygnacio on the east side of the intersection.

Perhaps you would like to traipse over to the Whatever thread to see whether Ancient Mariner has opinions and design advice? I do know he has just been adding to the fun on the Traffic Jammer’s column this week, so maybe you could post your comment there as well. Surely there are some civil engineers on here?

SpiderWayne June 26, 2014 at 6:48 PM

Last week I was over there and I took some photos of the squirrels and one almost looked like he or she was praying. So I took a photo and posted on my Facebook page calling it Squirrel Praying To Keep His Home. Well I guess that isn’t going to happen. If you want to see the photo I posted it here on my Flickr page https://www.flickr.com/photos/spiderwayne/14515381462/

Cautiously Informed June 26, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Is anyone really surprised here that this passed. The politicians have all been payed off.

Besides the next closest Safeway is just so so far away!

Cowellian June 26, 2014 at 9:58 PM

Saying “payed (sic) off” doesn’t sound very informed.

rw June 26, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Unfortunately, the Walnut Creek City Council had pretty much made up their minds to approve this project regardless of the vocal opposition by local residents. The best thing for people who oppose this project is to simply boycott the new Safeway and other businesses that operate in the new development. Patronize Nob Hill and Whole Foods. We certainly have enough shopping centers in WC and there simply isn’t a need for another one.

Mar June 28, 2014 at 2:17 AM

Dwight Do you live by or in Clayton ? If you have to drive YV road each day .maybe you would understand Most of us ! Most of the time it takes me over 1/2 hr just to get to WC even at 11am .With this new Center I don’t even what to think about it .I didn’t choose to live over the Hill So far from the Freeway But some of us have to live where we can afford it .

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