Jul 30, 2014

Could a Wal-Mart Grocery Store Replace Diamond Bar Ralphs?

The company that recently bought the Ralphs-anchored shopping center mentioned the major grocery retailer in a news release about the sale but now is mum.

Could a Wal-Mart Grocery Store Replace Diamond Bar Ralphs?

The Diamond Bar Town Center, anchored by the shuttered Ralphs supermarket, has new ownership.

Could a tenant for the vacant grocery store be on the way soon?

In December, Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. announced in a news release that it had a binding contract to acquire the center at Diamond Boulevard and Grand Avenue for $27.8 million.

Ashley Bulot, a spokeswoman for the company, said by email this week that the deal went through but was mum on details about the company's intentions for the Ralphs site.

"We have closed on Diamond Bar, but at this time we are not at liberty to disclose what our plans are and who the anchor tenant is," she said.

However in the December news release on the sale, the investment company revealed that it had a major national retailer for the spot.

"The shopping center is approximately 107,000 square feet and is anchored by Wal-Mart, featuring Wal-Mart's new grocery-store format," officials said. "The property is located in Diamond Bar, California, within the Los Angeles metropolitan area and is currently 91.2% leased."

Wal-Mart officials did not return email requests for comment.

The retail giant's neighborhood markets are much smaller than the traditional Wal-Mart and typically feature a grocery store and pharmacy.

Marsha Roa, a Diamond Bar spokeswoman, said the city has not received any information about a new tenant movng into the old Ralphs location.

Under the city's regulations, a grocery chain wanting to open at the Ralph's location would not need to go before the Planning Commission for approval of a conditional use permit if the use remains the same, Roa said.

However, the new business would be required to get a city business license and possibly city issued permits for renovations, she said.

"Whether any project would require Planning Commission or City Council approval is always dependent on the specifics of the project," she said.

The Ralphs closed in August 2011. 

“Multiple things happened there that led to the closing of that location, it wasn’t just one issue,” said Ralphs spokesperson Kendral Royel after the closure, adding that an “inadequate sales performance" probably was one of the reasons.

Ralphs owns most of its stores, but in Diamond Bar's case, the chain had rented its space, Royel said.

A property spec sheet the city provided Patch last year shows that the 40,755 square foot Ralphs building has 60,000 vehicles pass by daily, and is a five minute drive from 22,463 residents. A business that would go in there would pay no city utility taxes, no city user fees, no city impact fees, and a low city business license fee, city officials said.

Would you like to see a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market where the shuttered Ralphs is? Tell Us in the Comments Section.

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