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West Sacramento Safeway, Big Lots Stores Closing

WEST SACRAMENTO -- Think of the Cannery or Ice Blocks developments in Sacramento, and you'll have a glimpse of the kind of mixed-use housing and retail revamp that could be part of the future in West Sacramento.

As West Sac native Gary Gruber dries his clothes at the laundromat in West Capitol Plaza, he knows two of his go-tos -- Safeway and Big Lots are closing.

"I don't like it 'cause this is where I shop," he said.

The anchor stores have been part of the area's retail routine for years, with Safeway in town since 1958.

"It's a huge loss for this area 'cause that leaves only Raley's and Walmart," said Carol Rohde.

Representatives for Safeway told FOX40 via statement that the company has been evaluating store performance and that "it's occasionally necessary to close locations that aren't meeting company goals."

Big Lots did not respond to our request for a closure explanation.

"No urban property like this, of this size, 10 acres, right in downtown, right at the edge of the streetcar line has been on the market in the area for along time," said West Sacramento Mayor Chris Cabaldon.

He's hoping the private owners of the parcel attract new tenants for a combined housing, office, retail development.

"The current Safeway and Big Lots store together are about 50,000 to 60,000 square feet. The entitlements with the amount of retail space you could have there is 20 times as much," said Cabaldon.

With big change comes big speculation, like that the stores are leaving because of the homeless problem on surrounding streets.

"As far as we know the only reason for the change are the market needs with the size of the facility and where they are in the competitive environment that they're facing," said the mayor.

Another rumor?

"I already heard that they're going to put Section 8 homes in here," shared Gruber.

But Cabaldon says the owners have not yet applied to make any structural changes.

Many like Rohde want new things for their city, but not everything that may come with.

"It's too much traffic. They're putting too many people in small areas. It used to take me no time at all to hit the Tower Bridge to go to work. I don't even hit that now it is so congested with cars," she said.

Ironically, another new thing slated for West Sacramento -- the streetcar line -- could address some of the traffic Rohde blames on other new additions.

Safeway and Big Lots are expected to close by the end of the month.