PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Some west Phoenix residents are disappointed with plans to turn the remains of a burned-down Safeway store into a gym.

The Safeway near 35th Avenue and Northern caught fire July 11, 2018, when monsoon rain damaged an electrical system in the building.

[WATCH: People are not happy about Phoenix Safeway being replaced by gym]

“Now we have to go either all the way to 43rd for Fry’s or down to Glendale for Food City,” says Debra Edwards who lives near the Safeway.

[RELATED: Gym to replace west Phoenix Safeway that was destroyed in 2018 fire]

Traveling an extra mile to get groceries might not sound like a big deal to some, but for Edwards and other individuals who do not have reliable transportation, it’s a major challenge.

Residents also say the loss of the Safeway created a barrier between low-income residents and access to healthy and affordable food.

“We got a certain income,” says Perry McCantz who uses a power chair to get around because he is unable to walk long distances.


Yesterday a developer announced plans to build a gym where the Safeway once stood. It’s part of an $18 million investment to revitalize the mostly-vacant plaza and attract more stores and services.

[SLIDESHOW: Massive fire erupts at a Safeway in west Phoenix]

The City of Phoenix says a developer can open any type of business at the site as long as it meets zoning requirements.

Edwards says a gym will not solve any problems.

“It doesn’t matter what it is, just like, not a gym,” says Edwards. “We need some food source going on around here.”


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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(9) comments

Phillup Witgas

SafeWay also closed the store at 59th Ave and TBird. Now we are stuck with the old stinky Frys across the street. There are absolutely no other grocery stores in this area. That SafeWay always had people in it, and they just closed it up. This really sucks.


"This community misses Safeway"? That community doesn't deserve a Safeway. Fix that area, get rid of the filth, the drugs, the criminals and maybe then you can have better stores to shop in. You people let it happen in your own neighborhood and should have put a stop to it before it became prevalent, h3ll, Metro Center became a ghost town because of the situation in that area. Now you have a monstrous task in your hands if you want to fix the mess that has over run that area. I'm tempted to advise to "White flight and let'em have it" but that let's them have the victory of 'conquering' yet another once nice area. Ultimately it's better to stay and fix your community. Make your community undesirable to the 'undesirable' who currently plague it. Get involved with the city council and state rep for your area as well as the police, be wise and strategic in demanding that major improvements be made.

TRUMP supporter

Sounds like maybe the people in this hood should get a job and move. Gym's don't take food stamps.

JF Conlon

That neighborhood is not a slum (yet). That particular Safeway was always so clean and well-stocked, the emplyees friendly and helpful. I don't live near there, but went out of my way to shop there. Many of the Fry's in north Phoenix are still the old Smitty's and are are as appealing as an El-Rancho-Southwest-Superdooper.


Perhaps at the end of the day, it comes down to simple profit/loss risks for these chains. They do extensive demographic studies prior to moving forward with new locations and naturally will only try to select profitable sites.


And there demographic study results told to build a gym at 35th Ave and Northern? I believe your data is a bit skewed. What's the average life span of a gym? It's much easier to go to a store to buy cake and ice cream then it is to go work out at a place you use to get your cake and ice cream, News Year's resolution, how'd those work out for you


Who knows why or why not? Guess businesses can't be placed exactly where people want them. All I'm saying is, they might not build/expand into a particular area/location for financial reasons, host of other reasons possible as well.


p.s I don't me 'you' you

Otis C

Gyms replacing grocery stores in low income areas is happening all over the valley. My neighborhood Fry’s,Albertsons and Safeway all closed due to high theft,according to the employees I spoke to. All were replaced, one with a goodwill and the others with gyms. Less chance of theft I guess. Jack in the box,long John silvers,wendy’s and Burger King are gone too, all replaced with taco shops.

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