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Sobey’s

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

Complain to the Competition Bureau about the empty Sobeys lot

Are you sick of the empty lot on the corner of 137th Avenue and 97th Street? So are we.

The Griesbach Community League wants you, the residents of Griesbach and surrounding neighbourhoods, to tell the federal Competition Bureau what you think in hopes of finally getting this lot developed or, at the very least, sold to someone who will develop it.

This lot was originally purchased by Sobeys to build a grocery store. However, when Sobeys bought the Safeway grocery store chain in 2013, plans to develop that valuable corner lot came to a screeching halt.

There is now no incentive for Sobeys to build a brand-new store directly across the road from Safeway, the store it already owns in Northgate Centre.

Since then, the lot has remained vacant. By holding on to this corner lot, Sobeys is also ensuring that no other grocery competitor can build near its Safeway store.

To make matters worse, Sobeys has placed restrictive covenants on land adjacent to the vacant land. These restrictions prevent business that would compete with a grocery store from leasing space in Griesbach Square. That means bakers, butchers and even a flower shop may be prevented from leasing space in Griesbach Square.

The end result is a derelict and overgrown empty lot in a prime commercial location, fewer businesses in Griesbach Square and less choice for consumers in Griesbach and surrounding neighbourhoods.

After considering all options, the Griesbach Community League board members believe a co-ordinated campaign to complain to the Competition Bureau may result in action.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Download the attached Word Document.
  2. Read the instructions page.
  3. Fill in your personal information (the sections highlighted in yellow).
  4. Mail the document to the Competition Bureau OR attach as a file and submit it online (this process is a bit complicated, it might be easier to mail) OR drop the printed document off at the Griesbach Community League AGM on Monday, March 11 in the MGG School gym and we will mail it for you.
  5. Send us an email to competition@griesbachcommunity.com to let us know you submitted the form. This is so we can track submissions.

Griesbach-Square-complaint (Click here to download Word doc)