Broadway state liquor store future fuzzy as winning bidder backs out

QFC Liquor, originally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.

Unlike the plans for the soon-to-be-former state liquor store at 12th and Pine, the Broadway store has faced a more uncertain future — there might be a more lucrative way to put the property to use than joining the new era of privatized spirits retailing on Capitol Hill.

The Washington Liquor Control Board announced this week that the winning bidder for the rights to the Broadway store has backed out on his bid making the store one of 18 in the state heading for another auction one week before the June 1st rollover to the new way of doing booze business:

On May 24, 2012, the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) will host a new live auction of the rights for 18 state liquor stores. Following the online auction that ended April 20, 2012, top-bidders representing 18 stateliquor stores did not pay their posted bid, sacrificing their deposit. Bidders representing 149 state liquor stores have already paid a total of $25.9 million in bid fees to the state.

“This has been a highly successful auction process,” said WSLCB Business Enterprise Director Pat McLaughlin. “We have already collected nearly $26 million in bids plus about one million more in fees.”

 Bids in the online auction that ended April 20 totaled $30.75 million. Following the live auction, the WSLCB estimates total bids and fees will exceed $31 million.

Live Public Auction Details

  • ·         Date:               May 24, 2012
  • ·         Time:               Registration at 9:00 a.m. Live bids at 10:00 a.m.
  • ·         Location:         WSLCB Distribution Center, 4401 East Marginal Way in Seattle
  • ·         Format:            Live public auction led by local auction company
  • ·         Bid deposit:     $10,000

Successful bidders will win the exclusive right to apply for a liquor license at the current location within its current footprint. All state liquor stores are below the 10,000 square foot threshold for liquor sales established by Initiative 1183.

Earlier, CHS reported that the rights to the store at 400 Broadway E had been won with a $255,000 bid by a man named James Hasty . CHS has attempted to contact Hasty to find out more about this plans — and find out if he’s the same James Hasty as the NFL great and Bellevue business man — but we our messages were never returned and the Broadway property’s owner say it had been fielding inquiries from “non-liquor store” tenants about the space. The winning bidders in the state auction only acquire the right to sell liquor at the existing store or at a nearby location within a one-mile radius.

While acquiring the state store rights could put the winner in the unique position of being able to operate a smaller-than-10,000 square feet liquor store in the heart of a major city, there is concern the spirits retailing business might not be as lucrative as it has been in the past with QFC across the street and many local bars and restaurants transitioning to the new booze economy. The Broadway store did more than $2.9 million in gross sales in fiscal year 2011, according to the state.

While it’s not clear if no deal could be brokered between the landlords and Hasty, CHS was told by the winner in an auction for another Seattle store that the 2nd Ave location’s buyer ended up backing out because he couldn’t settle on a lease with that location’s owners. We’ve checked in with the 400 Broadway E property owners to see if we can learn more about the situation and will update if we hear back. UPDATE: No leases have been signed for the space, CHS has been told, and landlords are open to working with the winning bidder should one emerge from the upcoming live auction.

Unlike employees at 12th and Pine who will retained, the new owner told CHS, the state liquor store workers on Broadway will, of course, lose their jobs if the space transitions into a new area of business.

In the meanwhile, you can add one more Capitol Hill store to the roster of those planning to deal booze in the post 1183 world. Last week, Central Co-op announced that its board had decided to apply for a spirits retailing license following a community process to gauge the cooperative members’ interest in adding hard liquor to the E Madison grocery’s offerings.

10 thoughts on “Broadway state liquor store future fuzzy as winning bidder backs out

  1. I hope the employees at 12th get some training in the product they are selling as retail now, or let go, because most of them don’t know fuck all about liquor. They never had to before, as their inexplicably kushy jobs were part of the state run prohibition monopoly. They were trained to prevent and limit, not to provide and sell.

    Asking a question about a specific kind of gin for sale should not be answered with “I have no idea, I haven’t had a drink in 30 years.”

  2. I hope someone can pick-up the liquor store spot on Broadway, the space at QFC is very, very small. They certainly won’t be able to 10% of what’s offered at the state store across the street today. Certainly there’s a market for more than what they’re going to stock on Broadway.

  3. The Broadway store clerk continued chatting to the other employee, last time I was a customer, and said nary a word to me. Other employee was way across the store, so it was both loud and jerky.

  4. This isn’t just a liquor store problem.

    You could pick a store on any block on Capitol Hill and find somebody who thinks they are too good to serve customers.

  5. I was not a frequent customer in that store, but when I was I always found the guy who usually worked there INCREDIBLY knowledgeable and friendly. Anybody can have an off-day, or miss you for 15 seconds…