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041318-adh-nws-Old Safeway-my

The old West Albany Safeway store is now fenced off as construction workers work inside.

Mark Ylen, Democrat-Herald

The old Safeway site at 635 Pacific Blvd. SW might not be vacant for much longer.

Plans to renovate the building for I-5 Sports, an ATV and motorcycle dealership with current locations in Albany and Corvallis, were turned in to the city of Albany on April 4.

The owner of the business was not available last week, said a representative of the company.

Drawings by Gary Day of Benchmark Architectural Services show the distinctive curved roof will remain above the facility, though handicapped parking will be added up front and other relatively minor changes will be made to the structure.

The plans, however, show no completion date for the work, though construction crews were inside the facility last week.

I-5 Sports has a location in Albany at 1290 S. Commercial Way SE that focuses on Polaris and Can-Am machines. Another site in Corvallis, at 1925 SE Third St., focuses on Honda vehicles.

The Safeway building has been mostly vacant since 1999, when Safeway moved to a new location in Heritage Mall. The structure was built in 1966.

After Safeway left, the company continued to lease the property and building for years.

There have been a series of businesses – none of them grocery stores that would have competed with Safeway — that briefly operated at the locale, including a discount store, garden produce and nursery stock sellers.

In 2015, city officials said Safeway’s lease had ended “recently” and the site was truly available for the first time in more than a decade. The city worked to try and attract grocery stores and other businesses to the property. City officials indicated that the building would be eligible for urban renewal funding from the Central Albany Revitalization Area, commonly known as CARA.

Albany recently had four vacant grocery store sites, but two of those locations have been filled this year.

Physiq Fitness opened in the old Albertson’s site near Waverly Drive and the Santiam Highway this winter. That came nearly four years after the supermarket closed in February 2014 after 32 years in business.

An IGA supermarket is set to open on Wednesday at the old site of Ray’s in the North Albany Village shopping center. Ray’s shut down in January 2014, after its parent company filed for bankruptcy.

The most recent large grocery store o close in Albany was Mega Foods, 2000 Queen Ave. SE, which shut down after 18 years in business in September.

Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

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