ALMA VILLAGE ON TRACK .... Although Palo Alto's Alma Village center had a rocky start last April when anchor tenant Miki's Market went out of business after six months, the development at 3445 Alma St. is now back on track. Its new tenant, Berkeley-based discount grocer Grocery Outlet, is expected to open its doors in the old Miki's space in the spring.
The company is waiting for a final nod from the city in the form of a design review, which spokeswoman Melissa Porter said she expects to come through on Dec. 16. "We're very excited about this. We believe Palo Alto could use a great discounter. And I think people will be surprised at the quality of our products," she said.
Also painting a rosy picture for Alma Village is the news that all 37 homes built on the property have now been purchased, developer John McNellis said. In addition, the 14 below-market-rate housing units for low-income families are all occupied. Those units, mostly one-bedrooms, are on the second floor of the grocery building on Alma Street.
But even though all 51 dwellings are now spoken for, Alma Village remains eerily quiet and the parking lot is wide open between the vacant grocer and the 37 homes. "We've only met four of our neighbors and we have lived here for a year," said Kasha Flojo, who moved into one of the corner BMR units with her sister and mother. "It's a little like a ghost town around here."
Flojo said she is looking forward to having Grocery Outlet as her downstairs market. "I never shopped at Miki's. Too expensive. But I'll definitely go to Grocery Outlet," she said.
DELFINA DELAYED ... It will be about two more months before the opening of Pizzeria Delfina at 651 Emerson St. in Palo Alto. Owner Craig Stoll originally anticipated a grand opening in the fall, but "We're on track for a mid-February opening in Palo Alto," said Delfina spokesperson Ashley Bellview.
The restaurant, which has been a mainstay in San Francisco's Mission District for 15 years, has taken over and gutted the former Empire Tap Room. When completed, it will seat a total of 100 customers, 62 on the side patio. Delfina is also busy building in downtown Burlingame, ready to open its pizza restaurant there later this month, Bellview said.
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