Is it or isn’t it an Amazon Fresh? Public mulls mystery tenant in Emeryville

The identity will be revealed in the spring

It looks like an Amazon Fresh, it acts like an Amazon Fresh, but no one is copping to it being an Amazon Fresh.

Despite the signs pointing to Emeryville’s Bay Street mall’s anchor grocery store being an Amazon Fresh grocery store, both the developer, CenterCal Properties, and Emeryville Mayor John Bauters have denied Amazon’s involvement, the San Francisco Business Times reported

The grocery tenant’s identity has been shrouded in secrecy for over two years, fueling local speculation. The 48,500-square-foot store at 5621 Bay Street is part of the mall’s revitalization efforts under CenterCal Properties, which acquired the mall in 2021. 

The distinct green trim of the store and efforts to maintain confidentiality have only piqued curiosity, with speculation that Amazon Fresh might be the anchor.

But CenterCal’s Vice President of Development Scott Bohrer, citing a nondisclosure agreement with the tenant, said it’s not the case.

“We can confirm Amazon Fresh is not the grocer opening at Bay Street Emeryville,” read a statement from CenterCa, according to the outlet. “At this moment, the identity of the new grocer at Bay Street remains confidential. We appreciate your patience, and we look forward to sharing more information with the community once available.”

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Adding to the mystery is that the secrecy surrounding the tenant’s identity mirrors Amazon’s approach in developing its Amazon Fresh stores. The Emeryville grocery store is also similarly using intermediaries for various dealings. 

Despite the similarities and Amazon’s ongoing experimentation with cashierless technology, those involved with the Emeryville store are resolute that it is not an Amazon Fresh outlet.The tenant’s future plans, such as obtaining a liquor license, also remain a secret. 

While Amazon Fresh’s expansion plans are uncertain in Emeryville, the company is testing updates in Chicago and Southern California, aiming for a wider merchandising assortment and improved cashierless technology. 

Last year, the company hit the pause button on building new stores.  The pause in development has raised questions, with lawsuits from landlords in Seattle and Philadelphia markets alleging lease commitment issues. 

Several Amazon Fresh stores in Northern California, including Elk Grove, Arden Arcade, and Roseville, are in limbo with no specific opening dates provided.

— Ted Glanzer

Recommended For You