The former Safeway supermarket in West Albany has been vacant for most of the last 18 years, and now the owners are negotiating with a potential new tenant that would put the property to a new use. It won't, however, be a grocery store.
Signs that the property was for lease disappeared in recent days, raising hopes among passersby that something might be going on. There is, I learned from one of the owners, though exactly what he was not at liberty to say because negotiations are still going on.
The Kampfer family, which started in the meat business in Albany and once ran a string of 16 meat markets along Highway 99 from Salem to Medford, has owned the property at 635 Pacific Blvd. since the 1940s. When Safeway wanted to move from downtown, the family built the Pacific store in the 1960s and leased it to the company. In 1999, Safeway closed the Albany store and moved to 14th Avenue, but it retained its lease and kept making monthly payments until about two years ago.
I checked with Lynn Kampfer, one of the principals in the Kampfer Family Limited Partnership, based in the Harrisburg area. He told me that yes, the family had taken the property off the market and was negotiating with a prospective tenant to get a new business into the building. He expected that something would be nailed down within a month.
The building needs some work, he told me, and that will have to be done as well. And then there's the permitting process with the city to go through.
Except for a brief period when it was a Dollar Store, the building has been vacant since the Safeway departure in 1999. Now it looks as though that long vacancy may be coming to an end. (hh)