He promised for quite a long time. Saad Hirmez kept telling people who asked that he planned to re-open his old Apple Tree Market in the former Bank of America building on Newport Avenue.
But people kept looking into the vacant cavern of a building at 4978 Newport but they didn’t see any signs of a market coming in.
Yet, it’s all true. Hirmez has announced that the Apple Tree will be moving into the old bank – which has had several apparitions since being a bank – a boxing ring, the Rock Scissors Paper store.
Hirmez has hired an architect, he says, and has begun the process of obtaining a conditional use permit for selling alcohol. Now that he is assured that he will not have any major competition in and around Newport – as it is clear that CVS Pharmacy is moving into the former Apple Tree – he feels comfortable in making his entry onto OB’s main drag with a food market.
His new place will only have about 9,800 square feet, or a little more than half the size of the old market. But he doesn’t know exactly when he’ll open. Hirmez told the U-T:
“We’re going to start our permitting process for construction and plans and all that, regardless of the conditional use permit, and we’re going to move forward, whichever comes first.”
This is all definitely good news for the folks of OB-central. They’ve been without a nearby good-sized food market – outside liquor stores and a few high-end small markets – since Apple Tree closed in 2011. And this has created a problem for low-income residents in finding decent and fresh food for that part of town.
Even though Apple Tree had its critics, its re-emergence in downtown OB will be a welcome sight. (If they could only control the smokers in the butchery.)