Safeway tasked SGPA with conceptualizing and developing its first true urban market, directly across from San Francisco’s AT&T Park.

This upscale store was designed to complement it’s host city’s atmosphere; the bustling, eclectic and energizing metropolis of San Francisco. This two-level urban market forms the base of a multi-story residential/office building and became a focal point of the larger mixed-use Mission Bay development in downtown San Francisco. 

This project was one of the first of its kind for urban retail grocery markets. Due to its location, its design does not follow the typical suburban grocery store paradigm with linear alignment of departments and aisles, but rather, it features a flexible concept in which an affiliation of individual shops can respond to shifting demands of on-the-go commuters throughout each day. Shoppers at Safeway at Mission Bay likely do not have the luxury of driving to the store and selecting items for a week’s worth of meals and necessities; Typical shoppers at this location rely on the store for their day-to-day needs and errands that require easy and quick access from the city streets. A Safeway at Mission Bay shopper might stop in the store to pick up a birthday card for a coworker, a deli sandwich for lunch, run in for reading material before their commute home, or perhaps browse bouquets of fresh flowers to offer at an evening dinner party. 

The Safeway at Mission Bay shopper may first gaze into this retail store through tall, glass facades that surround the perimeter. They may enter fresh from the street, Caltrans station, or the underground parking garage to an open, boutique-style market, where smaller vignettes house different specialty shops: produce, wine, pharmacy, flowers, etc. The separation of specialties yields a defined but cohesive retail approach, giving the impression of multiple stores under one roof, and complemented with smaller operation-styles. Interior finish treatments and defining partitions separate functional areas and create shopping neighborhoods that radiate from internal streets in the market. High ceilings, expansive exterior glazing at three sides of the building, integration of specialty fixtures, signage, varying floor finishes and the clustering of merchandised areas collectively evoke the experience of shopping in a market hall within the muscle-memory familiarity of a grocery store. 

Our retail design team worked diligently with fixture and merchandising consultants to develop alternatives that addressed the store’s urban setting and mixed-use building systems and adjacencies. One of the biggest challenges was the large amount of continuous glazing that was to be preserved on three sides of the store, and the desire of the development to view into the store from the sidewalk areas. SGPA developed concepts for Safeway that broke down their larger store into a series of smaller vignettes of shops that activated both the exterior as well as the internal street aisles. Moving around the store, pedestrians can view the cafe, newsstand, flower shop, produce shop, natural foods, pharmacy and other formats within the store. Multiple entrances and pay-points allow quick and convenient shopping while an indoor/outdoor cafe adds to the urban streetscape and links the usually introverted market to the exterior. Regularly scheduled meetings assured brand conformance through the entire design process, resulting in an innovative design solution that the Safeway brand was thrilled to call its own and has since continued to apply to several urban markets. 

Completed in 2005, Safeway at Mission Bay is located at the busy intersection of Fourth and King Streets, directly across from Caltran’s San Francisco terminal and San Francisco Giants AT&T Park.