Abandoned Haggen stores attracting homeless, graffiti

Posted at 11:30 PM, Jul 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-26 02:30:09-04

Many abandoned Haggen grocery stores are still languishing nearly a year after the grocer left San Diego.

Now, neighbors say they're attracting homeless and graffiti - and they're wondering when they'll reopen as something else. 

"I have told my wife, as she comes home in the future, I might come out to meet her because we want to be safe," said Daniel Johnson, who just moved to Hillcrest with his wife Sasha . 

The two live down the block from an abandoned Haggen on Washington Street. 

"Being a woman, you want to be safe," Sasha said. "I like to go to a library, a coffee shop, and seeing random people just sitting there and yelling is not a good sign."

Haggen closed dozens of stores across the county last year after a failed expansion in the southwest.

Customers complained of high prices and long lines. While Haggen sold off the locations to a variety of grocers, many are still dark and boarded up. 

A North Park Haggen was overrun with graffiti and trash before it reopened as a Smart and Final earlier this year. 

A spokesman for Albertson's says the chain has reopened in four of the five Haggen locations it took over, but the final one, in the Highland Village shopping center near Rancho Penasquitos, won't open for another few months. 

Bristol Farms is scheduled to open a store at the Washington Street location. CEO Kevin Davis says it could happen as soon as October but as far away as February. The grocer still hasn't submitted plans to the city. 

Meanwhile, the only recent activity in the Hillcrest strip mall is the Subway shuttering two doors down from the former Haggen. Now, the last business there is Presidio Cleaners - and the owner said it has been hard. 

Daniel Johnson said whatever does fill the space, it'll be better than what's there - or not there - now.