Whole Foods Coming to Pinole?

The following article has been submitted to Life as I Know It by Pinole citizen, Tony Gutierrez. The comments and viewpoints expressed are those of Mr. Gutierrez.

wholefoods-academiabarilla Whole Foods in Pinole Anyone?

During a discussion of a CEQA Approval at the September 2nd City Council Meeting for two properties owned by the City, known as Gateway West (Plot of Land next to the Bowling Alley Across the Street from Kaiser) and Gateway East (Plot of Land next to Kaiser and along the Freeway Exit off of I-80), Council Member Green told the Pinole City Council that he had been approached by a second developer interested in purchasing the two properties. Apparently, City Manager Belinda Espinosa as well as City Attorney Ben Reyes had been notified by this second developer as well.

Well, just the next day, this second developer showed up and spoke at the Oversight Board Meeting (Board to the Successor Agency to the Former Redevelopment Agency) and asked if they could apply to purchase the two parcels of land. This developer also said that he was representing Whole Foods of Berkeley.

The initial Developer who is represented by Thomas Properties to date have not disclosed to the Public who they represent and what kind of store they would like to put on the parcels of land. All that is known is that it is a grocery outlet (probably not Safeway or Lucky’s because Safeway has plans to build a second store in Hercules and both Hercules and Pinole already have a Lucky’s store).

In any event the Whole Foods developer would potentially bring in $20 Million in sales receipts of which 15% would be returned back to the City Coffers. The initial developer would potentially bring in $3 Million in sales receipts and once again the City of Pinole would only receive approximately 15% of this. What followed was a testy exchange, with Council Member Green advocating to the Council that it would be prudent to entertain the proposal of the second developer because this was in the best interest of the City of Pinole.   Little Did Phil Green know that he would be faced with hostile and condescending comments from Council Members Long, Murray, Swearingen, as well as from Mayor Banuelos.

At the next City Council Meeting, September 16, 2014 at 6:00 PM you have an opportunity to voice your opinion prior to a closed session with Thomas Properties to continue ongoing negotiations that have taken place for over a year now. Also Thomas Properties will also be making a presentation on what they would like to put on the two parcels if they are allowed to purchase the properties.

It is not clear if the properties can be sold by the City of Pinole until the State of California Department of Finance approves the City of Pinole’s (as the Successor Agency to the Former Redevelopment Agency) Long Range Property Management Plan (LRPMP).

Please come to the next council meeting to voice your opinion and if you cannot make the meeting please call a Council member and ask them to put the needs of the people of Pinole above the petty politics.

Mayor Timothy Banuelos: tbanuelos@ci.pinole.ca.us, (510) 872-9646

Mayor Pro Tem Pete Murray: pmurray@ci.pinole.ca.us, (510) 222-1910

Councilmember Phil Green: pgreen@ci.pinole.ca.us, (510) 676-6172

Councilmember Debbie Long: dlong@ci.pinole.ca.us, (510) 684-3080

Councilmember Roy Swearingen: rswearingen@ci.pinole.ca.us, (510) 758-4720

2 thoughts on “Whole Foods Coming to Pinole?

  1. Once again a lack of transparency by the City Council or at least the appearance of such. Whole Foods makes sense, except a traffic study would need to be done since the traffic could have a negative impact in the area. It would be a good idea to see what this developer wants to do but they have been sitting on this property for a long time (the parking lot to no where) and from what I have seen Whole Foods doesn’t fool around. All of the options should be on the table not just the ones that feed expensive lunches and who knows what else to our Council members and the City (Lack of) Manager.

  2. I personally do not think a Whole Foods will last in Pinole. The prices are just too high and the location is too close to Trader Joe’s. A market is not a terrible idea though- I have heard many people in the Pinole/Hercules area say they wish we had a small market. I just don’t think a Whole Foods is the right answer to this request. I’m also curious how accurate the projected revenue report is. Are they basing these figures on Berkeley store sales? Berkeley and Pinole are very different cities.

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