Mervyn's demise in Petaluma has been good for Safeway.
Since the clothing retailer filed bankruptcy and moved out of its Petaluma store three years ago, the building has remained vacant on the edge of an otherwise bustling South McDowell Boulevard shopping center.
About 100 yards south of the current Safeway, the empty Mervyn's storefront attracts beggars and drunks, residents have reported, and its large parking lot is largely unused.
But all that may change soon.
Safeway representatives confirmed this week that the grocery giant intends to move into the spot, more than doubling its current square footage. They are currently in talks with Petaluma planners and the state alcohol licensing agency to transfer the liquor license.
Safeway also took over a former Mervyn's in Campbell earlier this year, upgrading the building with energy-efficient refrigeration and lighting, creating a "Lifestyle Safeway" with a full-serve deli, self-checkout stands and a new Starbucks with outdoor seating.
The existing Petaluma Safeway was built in 1973 and underwent a "Lifestyle" remodel in 2006, company spokeswoman Susan Houghton said. It is about 27,000 square feet.
The old Mervyn's building is about 65,000 square feet.
Shoppers at Safeway on Thursday supported the move.
"It meets my needs," said Judy Vivas Hillery, who has lived in Petaluma since 1976. "If they don't have something, they'll get it for you."