"For many San Franciscans, the prospect of a Wal-Mart in our fair city is unthinkable, and yet as Tesco — the parent company of the Fresh & Easy grocery chain — looks to sell off its stores, Wal-Mart may attempt to fill the void.
"Under The City’s planning code, because the Third Street location isn’t in a special commercial district, when one formula retail store that is smaller than 50,000 feet (like Fresh & Easy) gets purchased, the new owner can move right on in and operate — no special permission required.
"When stores in special commercial districts (like the Fresh & Easy on Clement Street) shut down, the new tenant usually has to get a special authorization to operate. But if the new company has purchased the old company, no authorization is required.
"One could hardly blame Wal-Mart for seeing the sale of Fresh & Easy locations as a golden opportunity to open the smaller, grocery-heavy version of its stores — called Neighborhood Markets — in San Francisco.
"Planning code or not, the town that has been fighting for six years over putting turf on a soccer field and five years fighting over tree frogs in Sharp Park Golf Course would generate serious opposition to any whiff of a Wal-Mart.
"Cohen made her position clear, saying, “I have no desire or interest in seeing Wal-Mart come into District 10 or any other part of San Francisco.”
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