Crews demo old Haggen/Albertsons/Lucky store. What’s coming next?

Since the Haggen supermarket in East Long Beach’s Plaza neighborhood closed in 2015, just a few months after opening that year, rumors and wish-lists have swirled around with nearby residents declaring what would or should replace the grocery store.

In earlier incarnations, the site at 6235 E. Spring St. had been anchored by a Lucky and, later, an Albertsons supermarket, and residents speculated, some citing informed sources, others just voicing their preferences, about Winco, CVS Pharmacy y Mas, El Super, Northgate, Grocery Warehouse, workout centers, batting cages, a homeless shelter, a children’s zoo, a health food store and, yes, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

Meanwhile, interested parties, including those directly involved as well as city employees and elected officials, have been muzzled by nondisclosure agreements, leaving me to go “All the President’s Men”/Deep Throat on the subject.

I told a dependable source, who knows what’s going to be opening at the spot, that I had narrowed my semi-educated guess down to two prospects: a Grocery Outlet Bargain Market. “No, not them,” said my NDA-muzzled source. OK, good. No Grocery Outlet. I don’t slave away over a hot laptop all week just to buy cut-rate food.

My second guess: Whole Foods. Crickets on the other end of the line. Time passed. Finally, the person said, “It’s best not to put anything out, because people will get disappointed if it doesn’t happen.” And, the mysterious voice added, “You might want to find out why there were a dozen amazon.com trucks parked at P2S Engineering this week. Goodbye.”

Kevin Peterson, president and CEO of P2S Engineering, unfortunately had a reasonable, non-Whole Foods-related answer, which was Amazon has been offloading six to eight trucks a week for at least six months at the parking area at 6000 E. Spring St., which is owned by Jamison Properties. The offloaded products are taken to distribution centers. So, that was a merry little chase.

Anyway, I’m putting every dime I have on a Whole Foods moving in, even though the city is starting to pile up Whole Foods stores these days, with a Whole Foods 365 nearby at LBX on Lakewood and full-size store about to open at the eponymous 2nd+PCH center. Or it could be some other cockamamie amazon.com venture, though certainly not a distribution center, because whatever it is, it’s going to be selling alcohol, which right away is a win for those of us who drink responsibly.

And then there’s always the extraordinarily slim chance that I could be wrong; sometimes Deep Throats try to throw reporters off the scent with some cunning misdirection, such as crickets and trucks. If that’s the case, and the former Haggen turns out to be a homeless shelter, don’t be disappointed.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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