Some Chandler residents are concerned they may end up with empty buildings in their neighborhood after the City Council approved a development that may result in three grocery stores at one intersection.
The council approved a preliminary development plan last month submitted by Vestar Development Co. to construct a commercial development on the northeast corner of Alma School and Queen Creek roads. The development, Ocotillo Town Center II, will include a variety of retail shops where a grocery store may become part of the mix.
Many residents who live near the intersection say another grocery store would be one too many since there is already an Albertson’s on the southeast corner and a Bashas’ on the northwest corner. Many residents say they fear the result of three supermarkets on one corner would be one or more going out of business, resulting in a large, empty building in their neighborhood.
Councilman Phill Westbrooks cast the only dissenting vote in the decision to allow the development.
"I believe it’s a bad idea," he said. "We don’t have three grocery stores on any other corner in Chandler. We did that once before and two of them (the grocers) closed. I believe that there are only two or three locations in the entire Valley that have three grocery stores on one corner and they’re in Phoenix."
Some residents, as well as Westbrooks, said a specialty grocer such as AJ’s or Trader Joe’s wouldn’t be so bad, but another "traditional" grocer is too much.
"It’s absolutely overkill," said Jan Fiakas, who lives in Carino Estates next to the development.
Doug Ballard, director of planning and development for the city, said the council didn’t have the authority to prohibit a grocery store at the location because it was allowed under current zoning.
"What the council was looking at was the design, not use," he said.