PORTLAND -- New Seasons Markets is making plans to build a new store in the Eliot neighborhood on property that straddles the line that separates North from Northeast Portland.
The 30,000 square-foot store will occupy nearly three acres. The area is NE Fremont to the north, N. Vancouver Avenue to the west, NE Cook Street to the south, and N Williams to the east.
It's an investment of $7 million for the popular grocer. The site is the former home of the Wonder Bread bakery. It's been vacant for years.
Julie Martin commutes to buy groceries to the Lloyd District. She's happy to know change is coming.
"I've been over here for 22 years and this area used to be run down," she said.
New Seasons Market CEO Lisa Sedlar said the company had plans to build a store in the neighborhood years ago, but the economy got in the way.
"There's no grocery store in this neighborhood and it's very under served," Sedlar said.
The new store will be the thirteenth for New Seasons, and will be located not far from the company's headquarters.
For years the city has been trying to work with grocery chains to put a store in this neighborhood. It's part of the Portland Plan, helping neighborhoods that have seen better times.
"This is tremendous news," said Mike Warwick. He heads the land use and traffic committee for the Eliot Neighborhood Association.
The project will mean lots of construction jobs and 160 in-store positions.
The new store is welcome news to most residents, but there are still some concerns over growth and traffic.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams dismisses those critics who say it's gentrification. He says the project is not displacing anyone.
"As part of the overall development, it includes affordable housing," said Adams.
New Seasons said it welcomes input from the community on the design of the new store, and will address traffic and bicycle issues. The store will have more spots for bike parking than cars.
No date has been set for the groundbreaking, but the store will open sometime in 2013.
The Eliot store is part of a larger expansion plan by New Seasons. In 2011, the company opened a new outlet in the Progress Ridge shopping center in Tigard, plus its first store in Vancouver. Also, 700 new jobs were added last year.