Watch CBS News

Locals angered over plans to close Fillmore District Safeway store to build housing

Closure of Safeway in SF's Fillmore District blasted by community
Closure of Safeway in SF's Fillmore District blasted by community 04:15

Residents in San Francisco's Fillmore District are dismayed at the sudden announcement that the Safeway store that has served the historically black neighborhood for four decades is closing to make way for housing. 

Bettye Cooks has owned Joann's Beauty Boutique on Fillmore Street since 1976. She says losing her local Safeway is going to make life difficult. 

"I think we need a grocery store more than we need more housing right in this little area," said Cooks.

She told KPIX that a majority of her neighbors are seniors who rely heavily on the grocery store.

"They did all that remodeling...for what? They wasted money," Cooks said.  

Mayor London Breed says the change is an opportunity to "add a significant number of new homes in this part of our city. And although we are losing a grocery store in the community, there is also a new Trader Joe's opening nearby and an opportunity for a new market on site."

KPIX asked city officials for more clarification as to whether the new housing development would offer affordable housing, but haven't heard a response as of Friday evening.

President of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP Dr. Rev. Amos Brown said the closure is a case of history repeating itself in the Filmore and will create a food desert.  

"This community has been economically deprived for 50 years, and its time we stopped this kind of exclusionary and gentrifying activity," said Brown.

He said he has worked with Safeway in the past regarding safety and crime and that the closure came as a complete surprise to him.

"We thought we were friends and neighbors, but this does not exhibit that at all," said Brown.

Cooks hopes that Safeway will listen to the neighborhood's call to reconsider the closure.

"I think you should stay there and think about the community," Cooks said.

Brown said the next step is for the community to unite. He will be hosting a townhall at the Third Baptist Church where he is pastor this Sunday to discuss this matter in more detail.

District 5 San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston released the following statement about the planned closure.  

"We are extremely concerned with the potential loss of this grocery store in the heart of the Fillmore, and especially the possibility of losing it as soon as March, which we view as unacceptable," the statement read. "We welcome housing development on this large surface-level parking lot, but this should not be an either/or situation. We have reached out to Safeway and the developers to learn more about the plans, discuss the timeline, and explore the possibility of including a grocery store as part of any planned development at this site."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.