Murmured about for awhile, it's now confirmed: the much-derided Vons grocery store at Santa Monica Boulevard and Barrington is meeting the bulldozer in 2011 to make way for a shiny new Pavilions. At a community meeting yesterday, Vons officials provided renderings for the new store (attached) and informed the community that the big parking lot-facing Vons will close for 10 months in 2011 to make way for a more pedestrian-friendly Pavilions—the store is expected to open first quarter 2012. The West LA store is being built in the model of the WeHo Pavilions that recently went up at Robertson—both stores will be open 24/7, feature asshats, and offer rooftop and surface parking mostly hidden from street-view (West LA will have about 250 spots).
There was talk of this stores having a mixed-use component, but that's not part of the current plan, according to Carlos Illingworth, manager of public affairs for Vons. He also tells us the new store will be 53,000 square feet, almost double the size of the current Vons.
Neighbors seemed mostly happy about the changes, but some voiced concern over rent going up because of the fancy new store. There were also the usual traffic worries. Illingworth said that a handful of little stores attached to the old Vons will be closing, so that may mitigate traffic in and of itself. Others voiced concerns that the old Vons would be closed for 10 months, and worried about access to other grocery stores (some in the crowd didn't have cars).
Vons officials said they considered a temporary store on the property but health issues made that impossible. They hope to move construction along as soon as possible so the store is not closed more than the allotted time.
With this new one, the Pavilions just up the street at Wilshire and Stoner will likely close in the next few years, according to officials. The Pavilions project on Santa Monica Boulevard comes on the heels of two recent mixed-use projects in this area, so it looks like gentrification is rearing its head even during the Great Recession.