Joe Downtown: East Fremont getting its grocery store … sort of


Developers have submitted plans to city officials for a grocery store/restaurant at 611 Fremont St. Here’s an artist’s rendering of the building’s exterior, from a northeast perspective.

It finally looks like something of a grocery store is coming to east Fremont Street.

Plans for a combination grocery store/restaurant at 611 Fremont St. were submitted to the city and will be considered Tuesday by the Planning Commission.

A Mexican restaurant and a deli/market used to share the 6,500-square-foot spot until they were forced to move last year; Downtown Project became the new tenant after their leases expired.

Over the last month or so, workers gutted the interiors of the two buildings. Downtown Project representatives will seek Planning Commission approval for three special-use permits to proceed with the project.

Grocery in the works

According to the plans, the project would encompass 6,700 square feet, including 200 square feet outdoors to seat 15 people. Seating for 23 would be inside, where “natural, organic and conventional groceries” would be sold along with package liquor.

Plans say the store would likely be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday.

A Fremont Street grocery store has long been considered a linchpin for the ongoing downtown redevelopment. While many bars and a few restaurants have opened, stores that provide day-to-day amenities have been sorely lacking – a fact some consider a drawback to hopes for high-density residential construction in the area.

Last summer, sources said the grocery store would be similar to a franchise called Royal Blue, which operates in Austin, Texas, and has been described as a “scaled-down Trader Joe’s.”

Sources had said prices would likely be higher than in a typical supermarket, but the store would sell ready-to-go sandwiches and meals.

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