Business & Real Estate

Raley’s to build supermarket at longtime Arden auto dealership site

A rendering of the planned Raley’s store at Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard.
A rendering of the planned Raley’s store at Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard. Raley’s

West Sacramento-based Raley’s, which has been closing stores of late, announced Thursday that it was going to build a new one at one of the busiest traffic intersections in Sacramento.

The local grocer said it will build a new Raley’s supermarket at Howe Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard, the longtime site of the former Hubacher Cadillac auto dealership. The chain plans a “moderate-sized,” 36,000-square-foot store at the Arden-area site. Construction is set to begin in mid-2016, with a target opening date of the second quarter of 2017.

“This is our first new store in six years,” said Kevin Konkel, senior vice president of operations for Raley’s. “We like the area, and we like that it’s close to California State University, Sacramento.”

In partnership with Sacramento’s Stafford King Wiese Architects and Armstrong Development Properties, Raley’s said it plans to build a “state-of-the art (store) with a focus on the most sustainable features.” Konkel said the supermarket’s relatively small size will equate to “a quick, convenient experience” for shoppers.

Currently, the nearly 7-acre site is being bulldozed and graded, clearing space for what eventually will be a retail center, with Raley’s as its anchor. One other tenant, a CVS pharmacy, has been disclosed for the site.

With a steady stream of traffic and a sweeping yield-only right turn off Howe Avenue onto Fair Oaks Boulevard, ingress/egress issues at the northwest corner of the intersection have been a concern for some Sacramento officials. Konkel said current plans for the site have relieved those concerns.

Thursday’s announcement comes on the heels of recent Raley’s moves to streamline operations and close stores that have not performed at a high level. Last week, Raley’s announced that 29 workers were laid off at various Raley’s operations overseen by the company. The eliminated jobs were nonstore positions and represented 2 percent of the company’s nonstore personnel.

At that time, Raley’s also said it would close its market in Winnemucca, Nev., effective Sept. 1. Last weekend, the company closed the Raley’s Supermarket at 4551 Mack Road in south Sacramento. In recent weeks, Raley’s also closed its Nob Hill Foods store in San Jose and its Raley’s supermarket in Newark.

In December, the Sacramento office of commercial real estate services firm CBRE announced that escrow had closed on nearly 6.5 acres at 1 Cadillac Drive, originally the home of Hubacher Cadillac. Longtime Sacramento dealer Elmer Hubacher, who died in 2009, opened Hubacher Cadillac there in 1972. He later added Saab imports to his inventory. In 1981, local dealer Lee Castonguay partnered with Wayne Kuni to acquire Hubacher Cadillac when Elmer Hubacher retired.

In 2007, auto dealer Brian Castonguay announced plans to turn the site into a “General Motors superstore,” but he subsequently set up Kuni operations along Fulton Avenue’s “Auto Row.”