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No Walmart, but developer plans to split Red Apple Market property at 23rd and Jackson

A vision of a pedestrianized 23rd and Jackson

A vision of a redeveloped, “pedestrian zone”-friendly 23rd and Jackson

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.”

The Rise in Vancouver (Image: The Urban Land Institute)

The Rise in Vancouver (Image: The Urban Land Institute)

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.

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13 thoughts on “No Walmart, but developer plans to split Red Apple Market property at 23rd and Jackson

  1. Thank you, CHS for continuing to report on the CD even after CD news ended. I live right in the the thick of this area and I have been worried about losing our one and only grocery store in the area. It says the existing Red Apple will remain standing, but can you confirm that it will remain a grocery store? I really hope that the new retail that goes in caters to the people who live here, unlike the stupid crossfit down on Jackson which doesn’t seem to have many CD residents at its classes. I hope the community services center stays (that’s where we pay our bills!) and that more community-focused places open up…like a post office! Please let us know if the developers will be hosting community meetings to hear from those of us who live here. I certainly hope that they do.

    • The Central Area Land Use committee has made numerous overtures to Weingarten Realty, the owners of the property. Their representative has met with us on a couple of occasions over the last several years, however he has told us that there are no plans to present, as Weingarten has not secured an anchor tenant for the project. Only then will they proceed to something more concrete. When they do so, I can assure you, the LURC will set up a public meeting and broadcast it far and wide.

      • This is just to respond to you re: Crossfit. All of us who go there live in the CD! In fact, most live within walking distance. I’m a Seattle native and have lived in the CD for five years, and I’m active in our community. You may think this bc some of us drive there — I live on the edge of the CD and the ID so I prefer to drive because sometimes the workouts kick my butt!

        There are some sad misconceptions about Crossfit — as a former collegiate athlete, I’m happy to have found a place that fits what I want for fitness. To each their own, okay? People could have the same sentiment for any other business that they don’t like (brewery, marijuana store, corporate coffee shops), but it’s not fair to judge folks on what they do to keep themselves healthy and happy.

        (FYI there are a range of athletic levels at the gym, so folks who are curious shouldn’t be afraid to give it a try. The gym is also not into forcing the paleo doctrine, which works for me! Your first workout is free.)

      • How can you tell whether a complete stranger is a paleo-crossfitter?

        Don’t worry, they’ll tell you right away.

  2. Yes, that Red Apple with a massive parking lot fit for a community in Kent is what needs to stay. I suppose the owners of that Red Apple live much closer than the 1-3 people who own an operate that cross-fit gym at that once defunct\useless lot have destroyed the community.

    What we need is some more National brand chains like Auto-zone, Wallgreens, Papa Murphys, Taco Del mar…

    — end rant

    Besides the Starbucks on 23rd, there is nothing local or neighborhood feeling about any of those big chain brand stores. The coolest part of that Red Apple are the people that work there.

    A post office? How out of touch with modern times can you be?

    • I have a feeling we agree more than disagree.

      I want Red Apple to stay because I and many other people in the area without car access shop there every week, if not multiple times a week. As a grocery store, it is pretty bad (although I’m glad they engage with the community with their annual backpack drive, holiday parties, etc.) and their staff is definitely the best part of the store. A more affordable grocery store with better produce would be even more welcomed. The parking lot could certainly be downsized. Imagine if we had a community garden there instead! Additionally, I would be happy to see all of those chain stores go, except Walgreens, because it’s important for people to have a place to get vaccines and prescription meds, etc.

      I don’t think crossfit has destroyed anything. I just don’t think they’re serving anyone in our neighborhood. I got a flyer from them on my door when they moved in and the prices were way out of my range, which I’m sure is the case with most of our neighbors. Wouldn’t it be better to have a crossfit in a neighborhood where people can actually afford it? It’s certainly better than nothing in that parking lot.

      I hope that some black-owned and local-owned business can move in. It would be cool to see this area become an incubator for up and coming entrepreneurs that focus on the community.

      Just because you don’t use the post office, it doesn’t mean other people don’t. It would be nice to have some P.O. boxes available for residents and local businesses. Additionally, we have a large immigrant population. Snail mail is key for people with family over seas. I used to use the post office at 23rd and Union, but that no longer exists.

      • The post office at 23rd and Union does still exist. It’s only the PO boxes that are gone. And you don’t need a PO box to *send* mail to Somalia, Ethiopia, or wherever.

      • Good to know, thanks. Ever since I saw the Smash Putt sign go up, I assumed they had expanded into the rest of the post office area and I couldn’t send packages anymore so I’ve been busing downtown for mail stuff. Would still be nice for the Jackson area to have P.O. boxes to receive mail…

      • The retail counter of the post office is located right next to the liquor store in the corner of the same bldg. It has been there for quite a while, certainly much longer than Smash Putt.

    • Autozone may not be the prettiest or coolest of tenants but it serves a real need. People still have cars and need things like gaskets, filters, bulbs and wipers. Its nice to get those locally without having to drive down Rainer to get them or wait for online deliveries.

  3. While they’re at it, why don’t they start planning an extension of the streetcar line out Jackson now. We need to connect the CD and this neighborhood to the transit options. The Eastlink light rail station will be too far away to help this growing retail and pedestrian area, so hopefully the streetcar will indeed be extended this direction.

    I know there are plenty of streetcar detractors out there (and I’m none too happy about the delay myself), but let’s wait and see how it pans out first, ok? I firmly believe this is a good opportunity to build on to what we have and serve an additional, growing neighborhood. Imagine if it looped all the way down 23rd back to Madison, or even down MLK to Madison Valley. This would help alleviate cuts to buses in the area AND connect more people onto the streetcar/light rail transit systems. Now let the anti-streetcar rant begin…

  4. I am so happy that a Walmart will not be going into this development. We do need a better option for groceries, but Walmart is not the answer. Their ethics are poor and they are really tacky. If a large chain is what the developer needs as an anchor, a Fred Meyer would be better. Their quality seems decent and their prices are moderate.

    The Red Apple and Walgreens are not the greatest stores, but I do shop at both and appreciate that they are there. It is a long walk for me to get to 23rd and Jackson from my house, but I if I need something I can get there without getting the car out of the garage or dealing with the extreme hassle of using Metro. I like the staff at both stores, and the other customers are pretty cool too. It is nice that both businesses are willing to be in an underserved neighborhood.

    That being said, the Red Apple has horrible produce and baked goods. Additionally, their prices are unreasonably high on some items. My complaint about the Walgreens is their low stock. They are always sold out of key items.