New stores likely coming to former Garden Home Thriftway site
The Lamb's Garden Home Thriftway may be gone, but new stores could soon occupy the site.
On Jan. 28, Portland's Bureau of Development Services approved a proposal for exterior facade improvements, bike parking, signage and rooftop mechanical upgrades to the commercial building in the Ashcreek neighborhood that previously housed the Garden Home Marketplace grocer.
The permits signal new retailers are on their way in, but exactly which stores will set up shop is still unclear.
Eight months prior in May 2020, the city's building department was approached about improvements to the former Thriftway site "for a new grocery store."
Residents have long speculated that a Trader Joe's would move in to the plaza, but property owners, the city and the grocery chain itself have stayed mum.
Requests for information in December and again in February from Trader Joe's were not returned.
In January, Evan Lamb of Garden Home Enterprises, the company that owns the shopping plaza, declined to comment on the future tenant.
It might not all be wishful thinking for those eager to stock up the grocer's signature Charles Shaw, AKA "$2 buck Chuck" wines and cheap produce.
About a year ago, the Portland Business Journal reported the grocery chain confirmed plans to open another Trader Joe's store in Portland, but stopped short of saying where the new store might go or what the timeline would be.
Zac Horton of Faster Permits, the company that handled the application paperwork for the property owner , said the design review was just approved and the space will likely be subdivided to house two new stores.
"They're dividing the interior space into two tenant spaces," Horton explained, but noted neither his company nor the city knows who the new tenants will be.
Site renderings submitted to the city show signage for an Ace Hardware in the plaza, but the site improvement plans don't list specific retailers.
The shopping plaza lost its anchor tenant in fall 2019, when the Garden Home Thriftway closed, along with several Thriftway stores in Oregon. The closures stung, leaving all Thriftway employees without a job and cutting down on fresh grocery options for Southwest Portlanders.
While the design review phase has wrapped up to allow for new signage and exterior modifications at the existing building, that doesn't mean new stores are ready to open.
Portland's Development Services bureau cautioned that the recent land use approval is not a permit for development. Additional permitting could still be required.
The commercial plaza is in Washington County. In 2017, the site was valued at $4.5 million, according to city records.
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