Long-expected redevelopment plans around 23rd and Jackson appear to be getting underway as the area’s biggest landowner has applied to break up one of the corner’s two major properties.
Weingarten Realty is seeking to subdivide its Red Apple Market property into three parcels, though the existing supermarket building is slated to remain standing, according to city permit records. The subdivision will allow the property owner greater flexibility to secure retailers, a Weingarten spokesperson told CHS.
“We believe this subdivision will help us preserve and enhance long term value for the property as we continue to weigh the different options to eventually remodel or redevelop the property.” said Weingarten’s Carrie Murray.
Subdividing the plot comes as welcome news to groups like the Central Area Land Use Committee, which have been advocating for smaller-scale development around 23rd and Jackson.
“Smaller building footprints create a more diverse urban environment, which is more pedestrian friendly and creates better streetscapes,” said Central Area LURC’s Jonathan Konkol. “I’d prefer to see more buildings, phased over time. That would create some variety and allow the buildings to age separately, rather than as a monolith.”
Konkol pointed to the Fred Meyer in downtown Portland the The Rise-Vancouver as two recent mixed-used developments that successfully incorporated larger retailers into dense, walkable neighborhoods.
In addition to the Red Apple property and its massive parking lot, Weingarten also owns the parking lot and shopping plaza across the street that includes Starbucks and Auto Zone.
In May, the City Council backed Central Area LURC’s proposal to add a “pedestrian zone” designation to Jackson between 23rd Ave and MLK Way as part of legislation that would expand the zones across the city. The designation, which seeks to keep an area’s “main street” vibe, was long sought by neighborhood activists who feared new development, if done improperly, could kill the opportunity to create a thriving pedestrian corridor.
The corner has been under a microscope of sorts as neighbors and community groups watch for what direction developers will take in the area. A few years back, there were real concerns about a Walmart coming to the neighborhood.
A smattering of empty storefronts and independent shops populate the Jackson St. blocks east of 23rd Ave, including Two Big Blondes consignment and Standard Brewing. At MLK, Seattle Fire Station 6 and the Quick Pack Food Mart, an unassuming shop that some say serves up the best fried chicken in the city, mark the end of the corridor.