Work began this week in Windsor to clear the way for a new Oliver’s Market, which will add a much-anticipated supermarket to the west side of town.
A new grocery store next to Windsor’s Town Green is something officials have sought for years to help bring more business to Town Green Village shops and as a convenience for nearby residents.
The 34,000-square-foot Oliver’s is part of the first phase of Bell Village, one of the largest mixed-use, residential-commercial projects to be approved in Windsor.
“It’s pretty big news — the work has finally begun on that site,” said Windsor Planning Director Ned Thomas.
Oliver’s general manager Tom Scott said Wednesday the store is expected to open next summer, by August or September.
“We’re excited about it. And the feedback we’re getting from residents of the area, they’re really excited we’re coming,” he said. He added that someone calls the company’s business office on an almost daily basis to inquire about the Windsor store, whether it’s to ask when it will open or about job opportunities.
Bell Village, which includes 387 apartments and 83,500 square feet of commercial space, including Oliver’s, offices, and a restaurant, is expected to help provide a “24/7” vibrancy to the downtown.
The project is on 25 acres that formerly comprised Windsorland mobile home and trailer park, located just west of Highway 101 and east of Old Redwood Highway.
Some redwood trees were cut down last winter to make way for street improvements associated with the shopping center and residential project.
Now clearing and demolition work is beginning on the site for the commercial portion, which is being developed first.
“The old RV foundations are being cleared out,” said David Hunter, the construction manager for the developer, Oakmont Senior Living.
The company is known for building retirement communities. It plans to relocate its offices adjacent to Oliver’s on the second floor of a new building, with other tenants occupying the first floor.
Oakmont Senior Living sold its interests in the residential portion to a Southern California developer who is planning to build the apartments, according to Planning Director Thomas.
This week, asphalt from the old Windsorland roads, along with curbs and gutters, are being ground up around protected trees.
“We have an arborist on the site making sure everything is done properly,” Hunter said.
Next comes grading work, followed by underground work installing sewer, water and power lines.
Hunter said the utilities work is expected to take two to three months. Construction is expected to begin on the Oliver’s building toward the end of the year, but he said completion could depend on the weather and rainy season.
While there is a Safeway and a Raley’s on the east side of Highway 101, Oliver’s will provide more choices and be closer to west-side residents.
Oliver’s touts the high number of locally produced foods that it carries — about 5,000 products from Sonoma County growers and manufacturers, and its selection of both natural and conventional groceries.
“Our mix of goods is significantly different,” Scott said. “Our kitchens produce things you can’t find in Windsor right now.”
Oliver’s opened its first store in Cotati in 1988 and added two more locations in Santa Rosa. It has 783 full- and part-time employees, according to Scott.