Regional grocery giant Safeway is readying plans to redevelop one of the most prime plots of Capitol Hill land atop the Hill at 15th and John.
Capitol Hill’s “Store 1551” was left out of summer announcements about the company’s plans to develop new mixed-use projects on a handful of Seattle store properties and overhaul many of its area stores. But people familiar with its plans say Safeway has begun to organize community outreach strategies to help shape a mixed-use development to replace the giant store and parking lot at the top of E John. A new grocery would, naturally, be at the middle of things.
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Safeway officials have not yet responded to inquiries about any project on the site and a person working on organizing community outreach efforts declined to comment for this article.
This summer, the Seattle Times reported on Safeway’s “imminent plans” to remodel half of its Seattle locations and do “complex redevelopments” at three of them — at the U-District, Upper Queen Anne, and Magnolia stores. Add Capitol Hill to that list.
Acquired for less than $1 million in 1993 according to King County records, the 15th and John Safeway land is nearly 100,000 square feet of property dominated by the large grocery store and the larger surface parking lot. Competing with three QFCs within walking distance, Safeway #1551 has mostly stuck to the basics with few changes over the years. Meanwhile, the QFC at Broadway Market saw a recent facelift and another is planned for the company’s Harvard Market store.
The major changes envisioned for the E John Safeway won’t be the only major grocery related development along 15th Ave in coming years. In 2017, Capitol Hill developer Hunters Capital purchased the property home to the 15th Ave E QFC with longterm plans for mixed-use redevelopment.
Meanwhile, the area around 15th and John will also see more change across the street where Kaiser Permanente is planning a $400 million renovation.
In the summer of 2006, old timers might remember, Safeway marked another big change in the neighborhood when its Broadway store was torn down to make way for the Brix condos.
While imminent, any change on the Safeway side of things will be a long time in coming. There is currently nothing on file regarding any redevelopment permitting or design review planning with the City of Seattle. And, so far, there have been no publicly announced community outreach efforts that will precede formal reviews and comment periods.
But when the line does start moving, this part of Capitol Hill should be ready for the largest development in the neighborhood since the soon-to-be-completed work around Capitol Hill Station.