BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
The popular grocery store JJ&F Market is set to reopen in Palo Alto’s College Terrace neighborhood, five years after it closed to make way for the College Terrace Center development at 2100 El Camino Real.
Owner “Papa” Joe Khoury said at City Council last night (Aug. 27) that his family would be “back serving the community in the next couple of months, hopefully.”
The council chambers broke out in applause when Mayor Liz Kniss repeated the announcement a few minutes later.
“Please plan to shop there. Shop there often, because it’s really exciting to have this person back,” Kniss said. “It’s a wonderful, I think, announcement to make to the community, so save your grocery list.”
JJ&F operated in Palo Alto for more than 65 years before closing in 2013, two years after the Khoury family took it over at 520 College Ave. The Khourys also operate grocery stores in Half Moon Bay and Windsor in Sonoma County.
JJ&F’s final days
In August 2013, Patrick C. Smailey of PCS Realty Advisors told the Khourys that they needed to leave by Sept. 19, 2013 to make way for the 57,900-square-foot College Terrace Center, a development that includes office space, affordable housing and an 8,000-square-foot grocery store.
The Khourys knew they would have to close at some point because the city had approved a new development at the site three years prior.
Because the project meant the demolition of JJ&F Market, council had required the grocery store as a “public benefit” when it approved the development in 2010.
Property owner fined
Under an agreement with the city, if the store sits empty longer than six months, the property owner will face daily fines.
A new grocery store called College Terrace Market opened in the grocery store space last year, but closed in January after six months in business.
On Jan. 8, the owners sued grocery store operators Chris Iversen and Addison Wright, claiming they had fallen behind on their rent by more than $145,000 and didn’t reimburse the developer for two mechanics’ liens worth almost $315,000.
On June 28, an investor group headed by Brian Spiers sold the development to commercial real estate investment firm Blox Ventures.
Blox CEO Jason Oberman was a regular at JJ&F before it closed and said last month that he had been “aggressively” looking for the right tenants for the site and the community.
Last month, Interim Planning Director Jonathan Lait said that starting July 10, the city would fine Oberman and Blox $2,240 a day until the space is leased to an operating grocery store.