At noon today, Baker County Economic Development Director Greg Smith received word from executives at Albertsons that they will soon be announcing both Albertsons and Safeway stores will open in Baker City.

"This is exciting news for Baker City," Smith said. "This is a project that we have been working on for more than a year, and I am pleased to announce that we have been successful in this effort."

Smith said this afternoon that Albertsons officials told him they plan to re-open in the former location on the north side of Campbell Street, directly across the street from Safeway.

In a press release, Albertsons officials said they expect the Baker City store to open in early fall of this year, with 50 to 80 employees.

Smith said officials from Albertsons, which merged last year with Safeway, have been working for the past few months with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to receive approval for the merged company to own two stores in the Baker City market.

Concerns about a potential monopoly prompted the FTC last year to require the merged company to sell one of its two Baker City stores. That resulted in Albertsons selling its Baker City store to Haggen, a grocery chain based in Bellingham, Washington. Haggen opened in the former Albertsons store in May 2015, but soon thereafter declared bankruptcy and closed the Baker City store in November 2015.

Smith said Albertsons executives will soon release a press release regarding the announcement. For more information, contact Smith at 541-377-0000.

See more in the May 11, 2016, issue of the Baker City Herald.