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‘Very early’ but City Market property being lined up for new E Olive Way mixed-use project — UPDATE

City Market (Image: CHS)
(Image: @officialcitymarket)

They had better include a giant wall for the City Market poster sign maker to continue their impressive body of work.

Early filings with the City of Seattle show plans are in motion for a “Olive + Bellevue” project, a planned seven-story “multi-family building with ground floor commercial space” to rise along E Olive Way above the property currently home to City Market and its laundromat sibling.

Developer Barrientos Ryan and architect Caron have begun the process of planning the new project. Charlie Bauman of Barrientos Ryan tells CHS his firm is “very early in this process.”

“We will be starting a community outreach process in the coming weeks and will have a good amount more information at that time, in addition to holding a public meeting to get feedback on the project,” Bauman said.

UPDATE 10/9/2019 9:25 AMDeveloper says return of City Market in the plans for seven-story E Olive Way development

The property remains held by the Gietzen family who operated the grocery prior to its current ownership. Now it appears the family is ready to move forward on a sale and redevelopment plan.

Kurt Vold, owner of the market and Crystal Clean Laundry, also one of the last of its kind on the Hill, has not responded to our inquiries about the planned project. An employee at City Market tells CHS the store will be open for the foreseeable future — probably for years as the long development process plays out. We’re not sure how long Vold has owned the market. The company he formed to manage the business was registered in 2005.

The Daily Journal of Commerce has also reported on the early permit paperwork for the project.

City Market is operated as an independent market and deli with a mix of groceries including a selection of produce, daily necessities, plenty of beer and wine, and random must-haves like vape products, Halloween candy, snow shovels, and corn dogs. The 5,073-square-foot building dates to 1919, according to King County, and was originally built for the Ajax Rubber Company. “They gave it a couple of display windows for retail and a garage door to pull the cars in for new tires,” CHS wrote about this particular curve of auto row history. “Cantilevered windows provided ventilation as well as plenty of sunlight to work on the cars.”

While Capitol Hill’s small groceries and corner markets are mostly becoming things of the past, the grocery industry remains a major driver of new commercial development. Korean grocery chain H Mart’s 16,000-square-foot store will be at the center of new development around Capitol Hill Station set to open in 2020. Meanwhile, the industry might drive some new housing development, too. Safeway is eyeing its property home to its 15th and John store and large surface parking lot for possible redevelopment.

Uncle Ike’s coming “Capitol Hill West” marijuana shop, meanwhile, is currently under construction on the next block.

As for City Market’s future, we’ve asked the developer if there are any plans to preserve any of the auto row structure and about any plans that might make it more likely City Market or another similar grocery to return to the address after construction. We’ll update if we hear back.

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7 thoughts on “‘Very early’ but City Market property being lined up for new E Olive Way mixed-use project — UPDATE

  1. Oh no! City Market was my first job ever in Seattle back in 1994. Ugh that was a rough corner back then. Sometimes the police would just park outside around closing time just in case we had trouble stopping alcohol sales.

    And of course because it was such a part of my life it must never be torn down and made relevant to modern times!

  2. Is it even Capitol Hill without City Market??? Appreciate the heads up on this. I have been going there for over 20 years and really appreciate the store and its staff. The posters outside make my day. I very sincerely hope that any redevelopment allows City Market to continue on.

  3. I’ve been shopping there since Malstroms. Pre City Market was Malstrom’s Grocery. Please stay around until I’m dead. It’s not gonna be that long!

  4. Damn… I know that it’s prime real estate being used by a single-story building but it feels like developers are like hunting for beloved, well-used institutions to demolish and not (for instance) decaying ’80s two-story apartment buildings or run-down single family homes that would cost a fortune to fix.

    I love City Market and hope this doesn’t actually happen.

  5. knowing the developer and people interviewed – this shit is gonna suck. get reaady to hear a lot of fake equity and shit

  6. This will improve the area for all its residents. I hope the city doesn’t mess it up……let the current owner and the devolved make market driven improve,nets for all.

  7. Gentrification marches on. Soon there won’t be a building on capital hill any shorter than 4 stories. Less and less sunlight will reach the ground. The buildings will get taller but the rents will still continue to rise as will the homeless population. The future does not bode well.