Thursday, February 15, 2007

Scouting Tesco's Future Glassell Park Home

Thanks to Curbed L.A.'s breathless coverage of all things Tesco, I'm getting excited about the British grocery chain's impending Southern California blitz.

I'm also intrigued because Tesco gets name checked by Lily Allen on one of my fave 2006 tracks, "LDN." And even more importantly, one of the first Tescos in Southern California will be opening in Glassell Park, right around the corner from our Adams Hill home.

Above, no sign of Tesco yet at the abandoned Albertson's. By the way, as Curbed and others have noted, Tesco won't be called "Tesco" in the U.S., despite that catchy name. Here, it will be known by the more generic moniker "Fresh and Easy."

Meanwhile, the Glassell Park Improvement Association notes that only about half of this Albertson's store will actually be used for the Tesco/Fresh and Easy outpost. Apparently the company is looking to sublease the other half. That's because the Fresh and Easy stores will be smaller than your average supermarket -- more in line with a Trader Joe's. They write:

Tesco stores will typically be the size of a Trader Joes -- about 15,000 square feet with roughly 75% of that space devoted to the actual shopping area for customers. This jibes with Tesco's applications with the City Planning department for the former Albertson's store. They have applied to use only 15,000 square feet of the property on Eagle Rock Blvd. at El Paso, and one would speculate they are looking for a sub-tenant. The GPIA has written a letter to Tim Mason, Tesco's U.S. Chief Executive, asking him or representatives, to meet with the Community, to hear from us about the kind of sub-tenant (a nice, sit-down restaurant, perhaps?) we would like to see on that site, as well as what product mix we would like to see in their stores.

The association also references a December piece in the L.A. Times about Tesco's move here:

It seems like Tesco is trying to roll out a boiler-plate prototype that would not deviate from location to location. But we won't know for sure until we get the opportunity to start a dialogue with the retailer. According to The Times' article, "The company plans to push into underserved urban areas that need to be re-energized." USA C.E.O. Tim Mason describes the Tesco stores as smaller, simpler grocery stores that would allow shoppers to quickly pick up what they need without having to make multiple trips to a variety of stores, including packaged goods and packaged prepared meals...Tesco plans to emphasize the freshness of its food by building...a speedy, efficient distribution system.

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