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Media release: GCL urges Competition Bureau to force Sobeys to sell or develop derelict lot

MEDIA RELEASE

Griesbach Community League urges Competition Bureau to force Sobeys to sell or develop derelict lot

Feb. 4, 2019, Edmonton, AB – Residents of Griesbach are sick and tired of an undeveloped, derelict commercial lot on the southeast corner of the neighbourhood and are launching a Competition Bureau complaint campaign in order to pressure the lot owner, Sobeys Inc., to sell or develop.

The Griesbach Community League believes that Sobeys Inc. is in violation of at least two sections of the federal Competition Act.

Background

Sobeys purchased the highly visible and commercially valuable lot on the corner of 137th Avenue and 97th Street NW to build a grocery store. When Sobeys bought the Safeway chain in 2013, plans to develop this lot stopped. There is now no incentive for Sobeys to build a new store directly across from Safeway, the store it already owns in Northgate Centre. By holding this corner lot, Sobeys is ensuring that no other grocery competitor can build near its Safeway store.

When Sobeys agreed to be an anchor-tenant, they were permitted to place restrictive covenants on the commercial land adjacent to the property. These restrictions prevent businesses that would compete with a grocery store—including bakers, butchers and flower shops—from leasing available commercial space in Griesbach Square. Sobeys clearly has no interest in becoming an anchor tenant. These covenants restrict competition and should be removed.

Sobeys has failed to act on concerns raised by the Griesbach Community League in the past. As such, the Griesbach Community League is now launching this campaign, asking residents to complain to the Competition Bureau about Sobeys.

“Sobeys has intentionally prevented business development in the southeast corner of Griesbach for more than six years,” says Griesbach Community League president Brad Tilley. “Consumers in Griesbach and surrounding neigbourhoods have less choice because of Sobeys’ actions. It is time for the Competition Bureau to act.”

Contact and more information

Brad Tilley, president, Griesbach Community League 780-720-2899

To read a copy of the complaint, go to griesbachcommunity.com/sobeys-lot

Download a PDF copy of this media release