|Oliver’s staying put in Cotati
Grocery store signs 20-year lease to remain in current location on East Cotati Ave.
Oliver’s Market of Cotati has announced they’ve signed an agreement with owners of the East Cotati Avenue shopping center they anchor to remain there for another 20 years. The announcement came from Steve Maas, founder and owner, and Tom Scott, managing director of all three Oliver’s Markets (they have two markets in Santa Rosa).
Maas started out as a small market owner in San Francisco and then moved to Sonoma County and took over an existing supermarket where they’re presently located. Part of the new agreement includes remodeling of the store, with center owners signed on to improve the parking lot and upgrade its landscaping.
The shift to a 20-year pact means an end to a proposed plan for Oliver’s to move to property it owns at Cotati’s Northern Gateway at Highway 116 and Old Redwood Highway. The fate of this parcel is unknown. It used to be the home of Tubby’s Diner, but they moved to the shopping center where Oliver’s will be for the next two decades. Now only Peet’s Coffee remains as part of Cotati’s northern entry on to Old Red.
Oliver’s was also involved in a controversial ballot measure which limited any new supermarket to 40,000 sq. ft. or smaller. It won by a few votes.
There were also rumors of Oliver’s opening a supermarket in Petaluma at North McDowell and Rainier avenues. But the 20-year pact probably pushed this idea to the back burner.
Instead of proceeding with their plans to build a showcase $18 million mixed-use development on the vacant lot they had already spent $3.6 million for, Oliver's will leave this parcel vacant. It will likely remain vacant for years.
The fault rests squarely on Cotati city staff and Cotati city council, who have bungled the traffic planning for this area so badly that Oliver's was not able to proceed with any confidence that they could open their new store before their current lease ran out.
So Oliver's has expressed their view of the city's competence in the clearest way. In less than two weeks, voters will get to do the same, when they vote Yes on Measure U and put a stop to the city's one-lane roundabout plan once and for all. It's just a shame this could not have happened earlier, so Oliver's could have built something genuinely worthwhile in that sad area.