PictureThe future home of Sprouts Farmers Market at 209 Flamingo Ave. in Tam Valley. Courtesy photo.

Nearly three years after Tam Valley residents lost their grocery store, the owners of the 23,000-square-foot space in Tam Junction have inked a deal with Sprouts Farmer Market, a fast-growing, “independent natural foods grocery store chain” based in Arizona.

Citing lease contingencies, a Sprouts spokesperson declined to comment on the details, saying only, “We are thrilled to come to Mill Valley.” The company has yet to identify an opening date in 2014, she said.

The move is likely a welcome relief for Tam Valley residents, who have been without a local grocery store since December 2010, when location Delano’s IGA Market closed its store at 209 Flamingo Road, one of five DeLano’s markets in Marin and San Francisco that shut down at that time.

Two years later, as San Jose-based retail chain Orchard Supply Hardware prepared to open a store in the space, a pair of petitions from Tam Valley resident Mark Marinozzi successfully sought to dissuade OSH from doing so and they pulled the plug on their plans. One of those petitions invoked the community’s need for a grocery store in the 23,000-square-foot space at 209 Flamingo Road, while the other urged one prospective grocery tenant to move into Tam Valley. OSH filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June.

At that time, Robert Knez, CEO of HL Commercial Real Estate in San Rafael and the agent for the building’s owners, the Parrish Trust, noted that while the building had been vacant for two years, Kroger Co., which owns the Cala Foods/Bell Market chain, had subleased the Tam Valley space to DeLano Retail Partners. That firm’s lease on the space did not run out until April 2012, so the Parrish Trust was getting revenue from the vacant building for 16 months after DeLano’s closed.

Stay tuned for more info on Sprouts’ plans to open a grocery store in Tam Junction.

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