Sunday, April 22, 2018

Former Albertsons #4454 - Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Albertsons #4454
4407 Northlake Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens, FL - Northmil Plaza

    In our last feature post, we took a look at Albertsons #4364, which was located just a mile to the east of the Albertsons store that we'll be looking at in today's post. In 2001, after a few setbacks, Albertsons was finally ready to open their brand new replacement store for #4364. Albertsons #4454 was a very nice store from what I heard. I used to know someone who worked nearby this Albertsons way back when, and she always used to talk about how great this store was, and how it was one of the nicest Albertsons stores she had ever seen. This store was a fairly typical Grocery Palace era Albertsons store from what I understand, but with a slightly modified facade to make it look a bit classier. Even in its current form, the exterior is still essentially the same as it was when Albertsons occupied this building (unlike what we saw last time at the site of #4364). If you've been following the blog for a while, you may remember that Albertsons #4454 was already featured on the blog once before - way back in May 2015. That post was mostly a quick overview of the exterior thanks to some photos sent in by a contributor, whereas this post will be just a bit more extensive.

     While Albertsons was eventually able to get this store up and running in 2001, the path that Albertsons had to take to get this store open was a bit of a rough one. Plans for the construction of this store originally surfaced in 1996, which is why this 2001 built store ended up with a store number in the 4450s instead of the 4470s. When the plans were first announced about the construction of the new Albertsons store and accompanying shopping center, local residents began to fight the project. Residents in the area were concerned about how this new shopping center would increase traffic at the intersection of Military Trail and Northlake Boulevard, in addition to concerns about increased noise in the area from delivery trucks servicing the new Albertsons store and the other tenants of the new plaza. After some debate between area residents and the developer, the city of Palm Beach Gardens decided to deny the plans for the new Albertsons store in March 1998. Clearly, the developer was not happy about this decision. After the denial, the project developer sued the City of Palm Beach Gardens on the ground that all of the city's requirements had been met to get the project's approval, and that the grounds for the denial were unjustified. In 1999, a judge sided with the developer, and granted the developer the right to have their plans for the new shopping center resubmitted to the city. After a few more months of debate about the project with residents, the City of Palm Beach Gardens voted 3-2 in favor of approving the developer's plans in June 1999. The slim victory only came about after the developer agreed to a few stipulations for the new shopping center, such as putting in time restrictions on when deliveries can be made and when trash can be picked up (to address the resident's noise concerns), as well as requiring the developer to pay for a school crossing guard at the plaza's main entrance from Military Trail in perpetuity (to address some of the traffic concerns). In early 2000, construction on the new shopping center would finally begin, with Albertsons opening in their new store in 2001, five years after the plans for the project first came about.

      As nice as this store was, and even with all the hoops the developer had to go through to get this place built, Albertsons would only last 7 years at this location. This was one of four underperforming Albertsons stores closed in August 2008, just a little over a month after Albertsons announced they were also selling 49 of their Florida locations to Publix. By the end of 2008, Albertsons would be left with only 40 stores in Florida, a number which we all know continued to dwindle until the Albertsons name left Florida completely in 2016, with three stores left in the entire state. This former Albertsons store didn't sit empty for too long, as in 2010 the building was subdivided between Joseph's Classic Market in the left portion of the building, and HomeGoods in the right portion (which we saw a glimpse of in the first photo in this post). Joseph's and HomeGoods still occupy this space today.

     Joseph's Classic Market is an upscale Italian-influenced grocery store, and this is one of the two locations they operate (with the other being in Boca Raton). Joseph's main entrance is located where Albertsons' main entrance was, under the grand arch. The archway itself has not been altered since Albertsons left the building.

     Heading inside for a quick look at what Joseph's Classic Market is all about. The interior of this store was pretty dark, so many of these interior photos didn't come out so great (my old phone never took very good photos when the lighting dropped below a certain level). In both the Joseph's portion of the building and in the HomeGoods portion of the building, I didn't see any traces of Albertsons left behind. The photos in this post are actually a bit old (taken nearly 2 1/2 years ago), and back then if I didn't see too many traces of Albertsons relics left behind, I didn't take many photos. So therefore, our interior tour of Joseph's Classic Market is quite limited unfortunately.

     The photo above was taken upon first entering the store, where you are brought into Joseph's produce department. When Albertsons was here, I would have been looking toward the pharmacy island and Snack Central (with a view comparable to this one). Joseph's Classic Market takes up the portion of the building where Albertsons' deli, bakery, and produce departments would have been, in addition to Snack Central and Beverage Boulevard in the center store area.

     Looking down the side wall that divides Joseph's from HomeGoods. Joseph's uses a smaller portion of the old Albertsons building than HomeGoods, which takes up a good 2/3rd of the Albertsons building (with Joseph's in the remaining third). Beyond produce is the wine department, with the meat counter along the back wall.

     Looking back toward the entrance with this overview of the produce department. This place had some of the most neatly stacked produce displays I've ever seen!

     A rather extensive selection of wine is located just beyond produce.

     A rather crummy photo of Joseph's meat counter, which is located approximately in the area where Albertsons' bakery would have been located. Joseph's Classic Market has a much larger focus on fresh and prepared foods and wines than dry groceries, with this store's small selection of dry groceries located here in front of the meat counter.

     For whatever reason, I neglected to get any photos of the left side of Joseph's Classic Market. Over there were the bakery and deli counter, as well as a large island with prepared foods. Like I said, back when I took these photos I was more interested in finding Albertsons artifacts than anything else, so I didn't care as much if I skipped an entire portion of a store if there wasn't anything from Albertsons to be found there! However, if you're curious about what the left side of this store looks like, I found this overview photo on Google that shows much of what I missed.

     Anyway, this last interior photo from Joseph's shows the store's front end, looking in the direction of the bakery. Back in the Albertsons days, the deli counter would have been located where the Joseph's bakery is now.

     Stepping outside once again as we make our way toward the HomeGoods side of the building. The walkway between Joseph's and Home Goods also serves as an outdoor seating area for Joseph's Classic Market, as they do not have a seating area for customers inside the store. Albertson's main exit would have been located just off to my left, but that was sealed up and covered over during the subdivision.

     With out tour of Jeoseph's Classic Martket out of the way, HomeGoods is our next stop. The archway located over HomeGoods' main entrance is an identical copy of Albertsons old main entrance. However, this arch is not original. This one was added when the building was subdivided, although you could be easily convinced by the design that Albertsons did this themselves!

     HomeGoods takes up the portion of the Albertsons where the Meat and Seafood Counter, Frozen Foods, Dairy, and the bulk of the grocery aisles would have been located. Much like we saw inside Joseph's Classic Market, nothing from Albertsons remains in here either. Home Goods even added a drop ceiling to cover Albertsons open ceiling. Typically in a remodel, it's more common to see the reverse of that! The above photo was taken looking into the front right portion of the store, toward the old pet department and frozen foods.

     The back of the store, taken from the area where the meats and seafood department would have been. Like I said, there wasn't anything terribly exciting in here, so let's go back outside and finish off our tour with a look at the former liquor store:

     Unlike most former Albertsons liquor stores, which tend to sit empty for years, this one actually found a new life as a bagel shop! The bagel shop kept the original entryway set up from the Albertsons liquor store, and even the inside of the bagel shop still has a slight Albertsons feel to it (probably because the lighting appears to be original to Albertsons). Looking through interior photos of this place, it's actually a pretty large bagel shop, complete with a large bagel production line and a spacious dining area.

     With our tour complete, it's now time to take a look at some satellite imagery of this former Albertsons store, starting off with Bird's Eye aerial images courtesy of Bing Maps:

Front - Bing Maps recently updated their imagery from this area, showing the building in its current state. However, in my original post on this store, the Bird's Eye imagery still shows this building as abandoned, so I'll copy and paste that image below since it's a bit more interesting:

Front (c. 2009) - Here the building sits waiting for a new life. When the building was eventually subdivided, HomeGoods carved out their entryway in the space where the front awning dips inward toward right side of the building.

Front (ca. 2007/2008-ish) - While that image of the abandoned building was interesting, I still wasn't satisfied, so I was able to track down this Bird's Eye image from when store #4454 was still open! It turns out I took a screenshot of this store as part of a project I was working on long before I even thought to start AFB. I had forgotten about this image until I started going through some of my old files, so I decided to throw this into the post as well.

Anyway, let's get back on track with the rest of the Bird's Eye imagery...

Right Side


Left Side

     And now for some historic aerial images, courtesy of Google Earth:

Former Albertsons #4454 - 2017

Former Albertsons #4454 - 2014

Former Albertsons #4454 - 2009 - The building was still abandoned at this point.

Albertsons #4454 - 2005

Albertsons #4454 - 2002 - Still pretty new here!

Future Albertsons #4454 - 1999 - The plans were ready to go for the new Albertsons store at this point, with the developer working out the final kinks with the city this particular year.

     And that's about all I have to say about former Albertsons #4454. It's always a shame to see these newer Albertsons stores that hardly lasted long at all, although at 7 years in operation, this was certainly not the shortest lived Albertsons store out there.

      To officially conclude this post, I will leave everyone with a final image of this store back when it was still open. The image was taken from above to show the entire shopping center, but you can still make out the old Albertsons building. The was the only other image I found of this store while it was still open when digging through my old files. I don't remember where I got this photo from, but it was more than likely one of the commercial realty sites out there (such as Loopnet). 

Anyway, more Albertsons coming at you in two weeks! So until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Strangled by a Loop Ramp

     We were first informed here at the blog about a highway construction project that could potentially spell doom to the last operating Gooding's store last year, shortly after I did my full post about this store. Apparently, news recently broke that the construction project mentioned at that first link is all but official, as the Florida Department of Transportation has begun the process to purchase the Crossroads Shopping Center, the plaza where the last Gooding's is located, for $146 million. The DOT is giving all tenants in the shopping center 18 months to leave the premises, after which point the plaza will be demolished in order to make room for a new loop ramp and a large retention pond. So if you really want to experience the last Gooding's store in operation, be sure to plan around this deadline. Looking at the diagram of what going to go here, it seems like a bit of a waste to turn what is probably one of the most prime pieces of real estate in all of Orlando into a giant pond. When this project was first proposed, the DOT had some other plans that would have spared most of the shopping center, but the plan you see at the link is the one they seem to insist on. I guess like they say, you just can't step in the way of progress. I know that Gooding's current form isn't the most glamorous operation anymore, but it's sad to see this iconic brand now has an expiration date hanging above it. While there is a slim chance Gooding's may relocate, I highly doubt that will happen. I'm sure the other (mostly restaurant) tenants in this plaza are going to be unhappy about having to close or relocate, as I was told many of the restaurants in this plaza are some of each chain's top tier locations in terms of sales due to the shopping center's proximity to Disney property and a high concentration of tourists. Anyway, I'll be sure to keep everyone informed on this topic as I get more information in, including an exact date for the closing of this store (which will probably fall sometime in late 2019). This is a good article explaining the current situation in regard to the future of the Crossroads Shopping Center (in which the author of that article even quoted a piece from my original blog post on this store). I guess now we'll just have to wait and see what happens here over the next year and a half as the DOT's plans begin to solidify more.

Anyway, that's all I have to share for now. Until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Former Albertsons #4364 - Lake Park, FL

Albertsons #4364
3950 Northlake Boulevard, Lake Park, FL - Northlake Commons

     The former Albertsons store that we'll be looking at today is another one of those stores you would have never known existed if you didn't know what you were looking for. From the current look of the exterior, you'd never guess this building once housed an Albertsons store, but I assure you there was one here nearly 20 years ago. The former Albertsons store we'll be taking a look at in this post is located in a rather busy shopping center at the southeastern corner of Interstate 95 and Northlake Boulevard in Lake Park, Florida. Between Interstate 95 and US Highway 1, Northlake Boulevard is home to a rather busy retail and commercial district, with most of the big box stores clustered near the Interstate and the intersection with Congress Avenue. In 1987, Albertsons opened their new Lake Park store as one of two Northern Palm Beach County Albertsons stores to open that year, the other new store being the ill-fated #4365 in Jupiter. Unlike the Jupiter location, the Lake Park store was far more successful. This store lasted a total of 14 years in this location before packing up and moving to a more modern building about a mile to the west at the intersection Northlake Boulevard and Military Trail (the new store, #4454, will be the subject of the next post, so I won't go into the details about it now).

     With store #4454 just down the road, and the fact that its original location was remodeled beyond recognition, store #4364 mostly faded into obscurity over the years. In 2003, Albertsons #4364 was remodeled to the look you see now, with Ross Dress for Less in the right half of the Albertsons building and Off Main Furniture taking up the left half of the building. Off Main closed in 2008, with their space becoming a CompUSA location in 2009. All remaining CompUSA stores were rebranded to TigerDirect in 2012, with TigerDirect remaining at this location until early 2015, when that company closed all of its remaining physical locations in order to become an online-only retailer. TigerDirect's closure led to the left half of this former Albertsons sitting empty once again. In late 2015, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts announced they would be opening a new store in the former TigerDirect space, with the new Jo-Ann store (which had yet to open when I took these photos) opening here in April 2016. So as you can tell, while the left half of this former Albertsons has been through a lot over the last decade, the right half still is home to Ross Dress for Less.

     More than likely, the Lake Park Albertsons would have been an exact copy of store #4365 in Jupiter, which looked like this. There is a slight chance that angled awning nestled between Ross's entrance and Jo-Ann's entrance could have been left behind from the Albertsons days, as store #4365 has something similar on its exterior. However, the grand exteriors over the front of Ross and Jo-Ann were added back during this building's subdivision in 2003, as can be seen in the satellite imagery later in this post. However, with the way Ross's and Jo-Ann's entrances are designed so symmetrically, and located in the area where Albertsons' entrances would have been, the current design of the building almost looks like it could have been a fancy Superstore Albertsons exterior!

     As interesting as it is to think about how the building's current look could have been used for an actual Albertsons store, I don't think the Albertsons that once operated here was anything fancy from the exterior. But anyway, enough of that. Here is a close-up of the entryway into Ross. Like I said before, in this area would have been Albertsons' right side entrance when they still occupied this building.

     Looking down the walkway toward Ross, we can see where the front of the store juts out into just a bit. The two windows you see directly in front of me would have been where Albertsons' original entry doors were located. The other half of the building also has this set-up, just mirrored. Even with the building so heavily modified, it's still nice to find at least one somewhat obvious clue from Albertsons lurking around this place!

     Going inside Ross, it looks like every other Ross store I've been to. No clues of Albertsons to be found in here. The above photo looks down the building's right side wall, looking from Albertsons' former deli/bakery space toward produce.

     As there really wasn't anything exciting to see in this place, the above photo was the only other interior picture I got inside Ross. This photo looks across the back of the store, in the area where the old meat department was once located.

     This is the walkway that lines the front of the old Albertsons building, connecting Ross to Jo-Ann. I doubt the walkway looked this fancy back in the Albertsons days, with much of the column detailing and classy light fixtures added during the subdivision.

     Getting closer to the left half of the building, we find the papered over windows that once looked into the TigerDirect store.

     The announcement of Jo-Ann moving into this space must have come not long before my visit here. No work had started on the space yet for Jo-Ann's arrival, but a banner banner had been hung announcing that Jo-Ann would be coming soon.

     The location of Albertsons' old left side entrance, similar to what we saw over on the Ross end of the building.

     I was able to reach above the paper and get this photo of the interior of the old TigerDirect store. As expected, nothing you see here was from Albertsons. This half of the building would have housed the pharmacy and health & beauty departments in the Albertsons days.

      I don't know how I managed to do this, but I completely forgot to get a photo of the old liquor store here! The liquor store at this former Albertsons was tucked off to the left side of the building, as can be seen in the Google Streetview image above. Currently the former liquor store space is empty, although I can't say for certain if that space has been empty since Albertsons closed in 2001 or if something had came and left from that space since. From the looks of it, the former liquor store space appears to have gotten some alterations when the rest of the former Albertsons space was remodeled, including new windows and doors. While that may suggest not much from Albertsons remains in there either, my luck, the old liquor store probably still has a bunch of old Albertsons remnants in it! Oh well, I don't know what I was thinking this day. The above streetview image also managed to capture the left half of the building back when CompUSA was still around, in case anyone was interested in that.

      That's really all there is to say about this place, as like I said before, there isn't anything too exciting about this building anymore in regard to its past life as Albertsons. Above is one final overview photo of the store before we begin to wrap up this post...

     The Northlake Commons road sign, as seen from the plaza's main entrance at Northlake Boulevard. At the time True Treasures (a furniture and antique store located elsewhere in the plaza) was able to get their name on the main sign after TigerDirect closed. However, once Jo-Ann opened, True Treasures got bumped from the sign so Jo-Ann could have their logo placed there.

     Before moving on to the satellite images, here is a quick photo of Northlake Common's other anchor tenant, Home Depot. Home Depot has been the main anchor to this plaza since it was built in 1987.

     Anyway, now it's time for some Bird's Eye aerial images, courtesy of Bing Maps:

     Front - From the sky, it now becomes pretty clear from the shape of the building that this was once an Albertsons store. The shape of this building is what originally tipped me off to this being a former Albertsons location way back when.

Right Side


Left Side

And now for some historic satellite images, courtesy of Google Earth and

Former Albertsons #4364 - 2017 - An overview of the entirety of the Northlake Commons shopping center. The former Albertsons is the large building in the strip seen in the left portion of the photo, with Home Depot at the bottom.

Former Albertsons #4364 - 2009

Former Albertsons #4364 - 2004

Former Albertsons #4364 - 2002 - The former Albertsons building is vacant at this point. I'm not sure if there is construction going on along the front of the building when this image was captured, or if that's just the blurriness of the image.

Albertsons #4364 - 1999 - This is the best image I have of the Albertsons building before it was altered to its current look.

Albertsons #4364 - 1995

Future Albertsons #4364 - 1979 - Nothing but an empty lot next to the semi-new stretch of Interstate highway.

     This wasn't the most exciting former Albertsons store in the world, but as always, at least the building was still standing so there was something to document about Albertsons' time at this site.

     Next time we'll jump across Interstate 95 for a look at Albertsons store that replaced the one we just took a look at. Above is a map showing the location of the two stores, as well as the competition. Pretty much for this store's (and its replacement's) entire existence, Albertsons was competing against that Publix and Winn-Dixie you can also see on the map. Both the Publix and Winn-Dixie are still there today, however (obviously) Albertsons is long out of the picture! Anyway, more on the replacement store coming in two weeks...

So until the next post,

The Albertsons Florida Blogger