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Mar 21, 2008 12:40 PM

Upscale grocery store at Eau Claie Mkt, Calgary?

In the Calgary Herald today there is talk of the above. Anyone clued in to who this might be?

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  1. It's way, WAY too early to think about leasing. For me I would be devastated of the space didn't include movie theatres. But as to grocery, I wouldn't be surprised, at all, of Whole Foods dropped anchor there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo

      The news the other night walked the market, the existing mall will be demolished in the next couple of months and an upscale condo complex will go up. Not sure which grocery store or lease spaces will be available. The news made it sound as if Eau Claire market has become a ghost town, attracting more rift raft to the area than anything. I was shocked...I had no idea! I always thought Eau Claire was so quaint and pretty, you can hear the river, beautiful walking paths.

      1. re: ChefsMenuTasting

        The problem is the market itself- and has to do with flaws in its design and execution, including embedding it in parking lots to the south. The problem is not "riff raff" even remotely- it's surrounded braced by expensive condos on both sides (with Waterfront developing to the east and a number of pricey projects like Princeton to the west); the issue is how to build out what's basically an enclosed mall made of ugly corrugated and windowless metal with too much suburban surface parking around it. It will comprise more than one condo project as well as at least one hotel and a massive retail component. I've seen the drawings and it looks magnificent, an incredible improvement over what is there now.

        Prince's Island Park and the surrounding pathways on both sides of the lagoon are just as you describe them, CMT.

    2. Heard it was going to be a Sobey's... similar concept to the Midtown Market Co-op.

      5 Replies
      1. re: a voce

        That would be okay, I think, but are you perhaps thinking of the Sobey's "urban market" going in at Vetro/Sasso condos? Not that there can't be more of them...

        1. re: John Manzo

          Sobey's is going into Vetro/Sasso? When does it open? We are going to have some choices now! Sunterra, Co-Op, Sobey's, Safeway (neh)

          1. re: sarah galvin

            shouldn't be that long since vetro is topped off- maybe by next fall?

            1. re: John Manzo

              That's how you spell it "riff raff". My Maritime accent forced me to end it with t's!

              1. re: ChefsMenuTasting

                didnn't mean to make it look like I was correcting you!

      2. I'd be very surprised if Whole Foods will open a store in Calgary at least for another 3-5 years. And when they do they will probably announce two at the same time. The problem is they don't run their own trucks at their Canadian stores, like they do in the U.S. Right now everything comes out of Vancouver and Toronto for distribution, go that guarantees stock, in Calgary it's not the case. If they had two stores here, they might be able to have a local warehouse or something.

        From my original understanding, the rumor was Urban Fare not Whole Foods for Eau Claire. Urban Fare is owned by Overwaitea Food (Save-On) which doesn't have a current presence in Calgary, they do however have their own distribution network and could make a store here work.

        7 Replies
        1. re: shaynek

          That would work- their store in Yaletown is absolutely beauitiful!

          1. re: John Manzo

            I hope that Urban Fare does not happen. Why pay for overpriced staples and a fair to middling selection of specialty products when there are great stores like Bite, etc.? It is a beautiful space, but the prepared foods there are terrible, the coffee is abysmal, and the pastries are a horror.

          2. re: shaynek

            Not sure I folllow the logic of this. The Calgary store would surely be serviced out of Vancouver for ambient goods, with local suppliers & independent distributors chipping in too for fresh, short shelf life & frozen. Look at the likes of Sunterra, Planert Organic, Community Natural Foods - all small stores who have no problem stocking their shelves without massive, internally owned distribution. Certainly when I put this very question to the top bods at one of the above grocers, they didn't see why it would be a problem for WF. The main issue I think for WF is finding the right location to meet the store siting criteria.

            1. re: tom arto

              Planet Organic and Community are smaller stores; not fifty thousand sq. foot ones and trust me there are major distribution issues within Calgary right now. I'm not saying a Whole Foods is out of the question here, I just think that they will continue to build their presence in Vancouver and Toronto, before they move into other markets with greater logistics issues. From what I know they have already purchased land here, so I doubt they will have that problem. They have already been courted by Deerfoot Meadows Village and the Currie Barracks redevelopment. Not sure if that's were they're going though.

              1. re: shaynek

                It's interesting Shayne - i do hope they come here - as one who works within the business imo what Calgary doesn't need is a Sobeys, Safeway or Overwaitea take on gourmet groceries. WF would be a breath of fresh air - but as you say we'll have to wait & see.

            2. re: shaynek


              That rumour makes sense to me. I was surprised that Urban Fare opened in the Crestwood area of Edmonton prior to Calgary where I would have thought something like Eau Claire with all of the condos in the area would have been a good fit.

              1. re: Bob Mac

                The Urban Fare didn't last long here in Edmonton - maybe 2 or a bit more years. It wasn't that interesting. Many of the items were already available at Save-On for less. They brought in $100/loaf bread from France, which I don't think sold too well. They also sourced desserts from a local cake shop (la Favorite) and sold them for a higher price than you could get them at the bakery.

                When they opened, they had an interesting meat section, with things like wild boar sausage, osterich, etc, but that stopped quite early on. I went a few times, but when they scaled the meat back to being just the same as a Save-On, I didn't see a reason to go back.

            3. This thread makes me miss Debaji's-too bad they didn't last longer. That was my favourite place to shop.

              2 Replies
              1. re: phoenikia

                Yes, but Debaji's was nowhere near Eau Claire. We need something in the core. LOTS more groceries in the core.

                Sunterra in Keynote will be nice.

                1. re: phoenikia

                  ah Debaji's...the one place that gave me hope for food in "Cowtown" when I first moved here. Wrayton's briefly replaced Debaji's at Northland and now it's a Designer Depot. Blech.