Grocery-focused real estate investment company pays $43 million for ‘an Entire City Block’ of Capitol Hill

(Image: Broadway Market)

(Image: Broadway Market)

A Jackonsville, Florida company that has grown into a $6 billion corporation by acquiring and operating grocery store-focused shopping centers now owns “an Entire City Block of Mixed-Use Property” on Capitol Hill.

Regency Centers Corporation announced last week it has purchased the Broadway Market shopping center home to business centered around one of two QFC grocery stores on Capitol Hill’s stretch of Broadway. The publicly traded real estate investment company paid $43 million for the 110,000 square-foot shopping center, property records indicate.

“Regency Centers Closes on an Entire City Block of Mixed-Use Property in Seattle, Washington,” the announcement on the deal boasts of the chunk of land it now owns at Broadway and Harrison.

“This is a tremendous addition to our Pacific Northwest platform, as we continue to grow our business through development, redevelopment, and acquisitions of highly productive urban and suburban grocery-anchored and mixed-use properties,” Regency VP Craig Ramey said in the statement. “Broadway Market already provides a densely populated community with needs that fulfill their lifestyles, and we will make subtle but important changes to enhance this experience and further connect with the community.”

The deal includes the more than 100,000 square feet of commercial space plus 30 residential units, “and 230 stalls of subterranean parking.”

Word of the property being put up for sale by owner Madison Marquette spread this fall as experts estimated the property to be worth around $50 million. Madison Marquette paid $15 million for the market in 1999. In 2011 Madison Marquette partnered with an investment firm to re-capitalize the space under a joint venture agreement.

The 110,000 square foot market has been a cornerstone of north Broadway culture since it opened in the 1920s through several iterations and redevelopments. In the 1980s and 1990s the market was home to dozens of merchant stalls that helped make Broadway the commercial heart of Capitol Hill. As Broadway declined in the late 1990s, many of those businesses left. In 2004, Fred Meyer vacated the building and QFC took over the primary grocery space.

In addition to the locally owned Harvard Market center at Pike and Broadway, Broadway Market will be joined in the next five years or so by major commercial development around the Capitol Hill Station light rail facility. There is also a plan to bring Whole Foods to the corner of Broadway and Madison by 2018 as part of a 16-story, mixed-use apartment project.

So, what did Regency like about Broadway Market? You. “As Washington state’s most dense market, Capitol Hill boasts nearly 28,000 residents per square mile,” the company’s announcement excitedly notes. It concludes:

In 2013 alone, Seattle grew faster than any other major American city by adding close to 18,000 residents. Broadway Market is located within walking distance of the major employment hubs of Downtown Seattle and just east of Amazon’s upcoming new 3.3 million square foot global headquarters.

Apparently, grocery-focused Regency isn’t yet worried about AmazonFresh putting the QFCs and Safeways of the world out of business.

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48 thoughts on “Grocery-focused real estate investment company pays $43 million for ‘an Entire City Block’ of Capitol Hill

  1. The Broadway Market QFC has to be one of the strangest grocery shopping experiences where you have to leave the store to go to another part of the store. This was supposed to be an improvement over the store that was razed across the street?

    • Maybe they are referring to that part on the ground floor where if you go to the deli/cheese section from bread section, you walk past the customer service, into the hallway (outside the store), and back into the deli. (Or the other way where you walk through the back registers that are never open without paying.)

      It just feels wrong…. but I do love fancy cheeses with my bread.

    • i’ve never had to leave the store to go to another part in that qfc. even going from the bread area, past customer service, past murray’s cheese, to the deli area, you are still in the store. you actually have to keep walking north, past the cheese island and the deli to leave the store into the gallery area.

    • The QFC has three levels but you don’t have to “leave the store” to get to the top and bottom one, you just have to take the stairs or use the store elevator. There’s another elevator for the building that’s outside the QFC entrance but that’s not meant for QFC shopping…

    • They have these new-fangled things called “stairs”. QFC has two sets of ’em inside. Try ’em out– they’re really cool.

    • E-L-E-V-A-T-O-R

      Mary mentioned it in her comment above. It’s next to the stairs. lower level, seasonal and candy stuff.. mid level, near the bread and customer service counter…. upper level by the wine.

      By virtue of building security, that’s the only place it goes.

    • This store is still very poorly configured since Kroger merged Fred Meyer and QFC…. I wouldn’t mind if the entire building were something else…

  2. Where else can you buy a shower curtain, contact paper, a fine microbrew, and salmon for dinner all in the same place. Smart investment by this company, esp with impending light rail foot traffic.

  3. I hope this new company will somehow improve the QFC and make it more user-friendly. It’s really gone downhill in the past few years, and this has prompted me to shop at the 15th Ave E QFC instead….it’s a much nicer and friendlier store, with much better customer service.

    • What’s wrong with the Broadway QFC? It’s a bit annoying to have to go up and downstairs when you have a cart but otherwise it gets the job done. I wouldn’t mind going to the 15th Ave store instead (their parking is so much easier) but their selection is so small!

    • I agree with this. I prefer the Broadway QFC for their selection – especially their beer and wine selection!

      I think both QFCs are equally nice and friendly, both with good customer service.

    • There’s never more than one cashier on the registers, even when the lines are long. They seem to be pushing people to self-service, but I don’t have any intention of doing that.

    • Yes, that’s just one example of what I mean by poor customer service. And the managers make very little effort to call up another cashier when the line gets long.

      At the 15th Ave E store, there are now two great employees who formerly worked at the Broadway store. They transferred because they were fed up with management issues at the Broadway store.

    • I was there last night, three cashiers were working in the full service registers. The “fast service” island, however, never seems to be open.

    • I’ve noticed that too….you wonder why they even have the “fast service” section. It’s another example of why I’ve stopped shopping there.

    • Thank you for not using the self checkout, JC. They are absolutely pushing people toward it, and waiting for full service is the only way to let them know your preference. I am always amazed by the number of people who tell me they hate self checkout but continue to use it. If you want your cashier’s full attention, if you want a human experience, if you want to preserve jobs, you must not use self checkout.

    • The landlord isn’t going to have any say in the layout of the QFC, that’s up to QFC. I’m not really sure why people think it’s really all that strange of a layout anyway. It’s a vast improvement over the old tiny one that used to be across the street.

    • Unfortunately, the 15th Ave E QFC doesn’t have the same selection as either the Broadway Market QFC or the Harvard Market QFC.

    • OMG, you couldn’t pay me to shop at the 15th Ave QFC. Broadway Market QFC has a bigger and fresher produce and fish section, and pharmacy.

      I just hope the new BUILDING owners (they did not buy QFC, so they are not going to change anything about QFC) figure out a way to make the upper level of the market building (home to gold’s gym, a salon, and massage envy) better utilized. And too bad the purchase comes after the renovation and addition of yet another bank occupying prime corner real estate. Broadway needs more SMALL retail spaces the support local retail businesses.

    • Gold’s is about to take over a much bigger portion of the 3rd floor than they’re using now, as soon as construction is done (very soon). For smaller retail — there have been several small spaces on the 3rd level that have sat empty forever. It’s lack of foot traffic that kills off the 3rd floor, not store size. I can’t see that foot traffic changing much.

    • and that corner where Massage Envy sits has NEVER really seen a tenant last. they come, they go. Massage Envy has expanded to take more of the space, but it doesn’t look like they have it all yet.

    • There was a QFC on the same side of Broadway as the current one–on the north side of Republican until the QFC moved into Broadway market (early 2000s). That’s where the Joule apartments are now.

      The Safeway was on the other side of Broadway–i can’t remember what new apartments replaced it…

  4. This post and its comments have reminded me just how much the North end of Broadway has changed. I had forgotten about the dingy QFC with the Taco Bell next to it and old Safeway, both imposing their voids of blank street frontage and parking lots.

    I do miss the old Broadway market from back when I moved here in the 90’s. Fondly remembering how I would browse books and magazines while waiting for a movie upstairs. I guess we will have to wait and see what will change next.

  5. I too miss the old Broadway market. It was the heart of the hill. Now bit by bit broadway seems to be loosing its soul as its just an over sized food court.

  6. I’d like to note that QFC is owned by Kroger which is a mammoth sized company that also owns Fred Meyer so these new owners would have to go through them to do anything with that QFC. Also since this is a Kroger flagship store where it combines Fred Meyer housewares and QFC grocery so its a hybrid.

  7. I actually like the Broadway Market QFC. Maybe it’s just familiarity. The home section downstairs is a great alternative to having to drive out to Target or Costco.

  8. That QFC is hands-down the worst grocery store that I have been to in Washington state. I say that because their meat selection, and selection of everything else is dismal at best. With the amount of money on the hill, it’s really surprising that there aren’t any high-end grocery stores or anything even close.

    • ….and that person that said the Broadway QFC has a good fish selection doesn’t know anything about seafood because every time I have tried to shop for seafood there, I have been greatly disappointed. My boyfriend got sick from eating a steak he bought there. I would never buy fish or seafood at that QFC.

    • I agree….the seafood department is marginal at best. A favorite fish of mine is called “corvina” (try it….really delicious!)…..it is hardly ever available at the Broadway store, but the 15th store carries it on a regular basis.

  9. I work at this Qfc thx for all the comments. I will bring some of the poems to management and see if we can improve the shopping experience for all you customers

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