Downtown Vancouver's newest Safeway grocery store opens this week

May 20 2020, 10:26 am

Queues outside grocery stores in downtown Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood could become shorter following the opening of a new Safeway.

Sobeys, the operator and owner of Safeway Canada, confirmed with Daily Hive that it will open its new Safeway Davie store at 1641 Davie Street on Thursday, May 21.

This is a newly completed redevelopment of the former Safeway store at the location. With about 44,000 sq ft of floor area, the store size is roughly identical to Safeway Robson and about a third larger than the location’s previous store size of 32,000 sq ft. The old store was demolished in 2017 to make way for the project.

The company says shoppers can expect a large Starbucks kiosk with extended in-store seating, an expanded bulk food section, a full-service salad bar, a live crab and lobster tank with streaming capabilities, and a full-service floral department.

But due to current health safety restrictions, of course, some of these features will not be available for the foreseeable future. For the same reasons, this new essential service addition is having a soft opening instead of the usual grand opening fanfare typically associated with these occasions.

Store operators also had the unique opportunity of being able to prepare their health safety measures prior to opening, including the installation of plexiglass shields for the cashiers.

Construction progress on 1181 Bidwell Street (left) 1641 Davie Street (right) in downtown Vancouver’s West End, including Safeway, as of April 25, 2020. (Anders Falk / submitted)

1641 davie street vancouver safeway

July 2019 construction progress on 1641 Davie Street, Vancouver. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

The store is within a new mixed-use complex developed by a partnership between Westbank and Crombie REIT, which owns the commercial space and has a 50-50 partnership with Westbank on the rental residential component.

Designed by Henriquez Partners Architects, the redevelopment, occupying most of the city block, consists of 21- and 22-storey residential towers with about 330 market rental homes, spanning 253,000 sq ft of floor area.

The parcel that bookends the western end of the city block, 1188 Bidwell Street, is a newly completed 22-storey tower with 108 market rental homes, but it was separately developed by Reliance Properties and designed by DIALOG.

Both developments are made possible by the municipal government’s West End Community Plan. Altogether they add about 440 units of market rental housing to the neighbourhood.

In February of this year, Fresh St. Market opened a 15,000-sq-ft store location within the commercial base of the nearby Vancouver House.

1641 davie street

Artistic rendering of 1641 Davie Street, Vancouver. (Henriquez Partners Architects / Westbank / Crombie REIT)