New bloom in Beaverton food desert
They've been watching the construction and wondering what would go in the old boarded-up building across the street from their Redwood Creek apartment.
T.J. Holman and Crystal Gorton are so relieved it will be a grocery store.
The couple is expecting their second child in July — just in time for 99 Ranch Market to open.
Gorton said grocery shopping has been a real challenge in their area for a while.
"We've had to take the bus clear across town and then haul all the groceries back. It can sometimes be an all-day thing," she added.
"This will be so nice and convenient to have a place close to home to go," Holman said. "We've been stuck on the bus and that gets really tough with a 5-year-old and a baby on the way."
The Greenway area has been a food desert of sorts since the last big grocery store, Haggen's, moved out. Prior to that, the store was an Albertson's for many years. The large building has been boarded up for about two years, leaving only an Arby's in the vast parking lot and Greenway area residents with few close-by options for grocery shopping.
Now the parking lot is abuzz with activity as contractors prepare the building to become a 99 Ranch Market, the largest Asian supermarket in the United States.
"It will be nice to have a store such as this in the neighborhood," Greenway resident Floyd Gerstenfeld said. "Our household does a lot of Oriental-inspired cooking, so I'm glad there will be a store so close, where we can purchase those ingredients."
Gerstenfeld added that the remodel likely will improve the look of the corner on Southwest Hall Boulevard and Greenway, which has had a blighted appearance in the last year or so.
MAJ Development recently acquired the building. Tenant improvement plans are underway for the nearly 43,000-square-foot building, which soon will become home to 99 Ranch Market.
Beaverton resident Joanie Stuckenschneider-Ching watched the Albertson's building being erected in 1983. She lived right up the street and began working there on its opening day when she was a teen.
"I worked there for 17 years and now it's been 17 years since I worked there. Recently when I drove by, it looked kind of like a ghost town," Stuckenschneider-Ching said. I can't drive by without feeling a bit nostalgic and having memories. I spent so much of my life in that building."
Since Stuckenschneider-Ching noticed the construction underway, she has been wondering what's been going on inside and what would become of the property.
"It's so nice to hear that it is going to be a 99 Ranch Market," Stuckenschneider-Ching said. "I hope it does well. I will personally appreciate that it is going to be an Asian market, because my husband is Chinese and Hawiian. So, we'll check it out for sure. It's close to home — literally and figuratively. It will be awesome to see the evolution of this place. I still probably won't be able to walk through there without thinking about Albertson's and remembering the anatomy of the place."
Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle said, "We are so excited about 99 Ranch Market coming to Beaverton. Having the largest Asian supermarket chain join our city is one more reminder of what a diverse community we have become and the Greenway neighborhood will greatly benefit from this local community asset."
The 99 Ranch Market is based out of California and is expanding into new markets. The Beaverton location will be the first in Oregon. The expected completion and store opening is projected for July this year, according to MAJ Development.