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There’s a 25,000-square-foot grocery coming to 23rd and Jackson — and it might just have Amazon’s name on it

Coming later this year to 23rd and Jackson

Bubbling to the surface years before this week’s opening, the first clues CHS discovered that retail giant Amazon was planning a new grocery store on Capitol Hill were small: city paperwork with project manager names and shell companies.

In the days leading up to the debut of E Pike’s Amazon Go Grocery, CHS started looking into a similar new set of bubbles that has started in the area — 23rd and Jackson in the Central District.


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There, where the neighborhood’s Red Apple was demolished in early 2018 to make way, construction continues to create the Jackson Apartments, two seven-story buildings from developer Vulcan Real Estate with a combined 532 apartments, a whopping 44,000 square feet of commercial space, a massive amount of underground parking with room for more than 500 vehicles, and, yes, a 25,000-square-foot grocery store.

And, yes, in that paperwork is the name of an Amazon senior project manager and a shell company we’ve seen involved in Amazon’s grocery efforts — Prime Now, LLC.

Vulcan has confirmed that a grocery tenant is lined up for the project but Amazon has not yet responded to our inquiry about the project. Local tech news site Geekwirewhich beat us to the punch over the same permitting clues — got the same treatment.

The real estate firm best known for reshaping South Lake Union told CHS it was acquiring the six acres of Central District commercial property for $30.9 million in 2016. As it was lined up for demolition, the Red Apple’s place in the neighborhood was remembered as another sign of the changes underway around the Central District and the loss of Black residents and community. Some of the area’s grocery needs might be soon met by the arrival of PCC at 23rd and Union. But, if the permit filings are any indication, it will be up to Amazon to fill the gaps left behind along S Jackson.

 

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54 thoughts on “There’s a 25,000-square-foot grocery coming to 23rd and Jackson — and it might just have Amazon’s name on it

  1. “The area” already has multiple grocery stores, from the Central Co-Op to Trader Joe’s to Grocery Outlet to Safeway, and QFC if one goes just a little farther afield. Whole Foods on Broadway, for that matter. I’m not sure “needs” is necessarily the term I’d use for a new store at 23rd/Jackson – and certainly an Amazon store is a far, far cry from what the Red Apple did for the neighborhood when it was there.

    • Central Co-Op, Trader’s Joe’s, PCC, Whole Paycheck and QFC are all higher priced groceries for people with cars and plenty of dough. There is a need, not however for an additional expensive option like Amazon Go.

    • None of those options are truly accessible if you don’t have a car. I live blocks away from 23rd and Jackson. If I didn’t have a car I wouldn’t be able to get groceries.

      • I don’t have a car, so I have been busing to Grocery Outlet, which is a pain and they don’t have good produce. If an Amazon store opens here then I will continue to bus to Grocery Outlet and supplement from Walgreens until they tear down walgreens too. The closest grocery store (Grocery Outlet) to this intersection is a mile away so I hope the one that goes in the old red apple spot is affordable.

      • I am in favor of neighborhood groceries and low cost ones at that, but groceries can be bought without a car. It’s just a pain, but it’s what lots of us do.

    • As someone who lives very close to 23rd and Jackson, I’d say there is a need. Qfc, the yet to be opened PCC, the grocery outlet are all long walks.

      I don’t have the exact figures, but there are currently three separate housing developments under way on Jackson, that’ll add thousands of units. They’ll be the bodies to support another grocery store.

  2. @JS, have to disagree with ya. The neighborhoods east of 23rd along with the ones south of James are woefully underserved by grocers. We have one full grocer in Safeway, a discounted grocer in Grocery Outlet, and soon to be a boutique-y grocer in PCC. All of these are on the north end of the area between Union and Madison. It’ll be great to re-gain such a large space on the south end.

    Look at the development on 23rd/Union and 23rd/Jackson over the last 5 years – our neighborhood is gaining thousands of new residents, which is great! However, over that same period of time our grocery options have shrunk not increased.

    • Totally agree. safeway and the Grocery Outlet are the only stores that reall serve the CD at the moment and the Safeway is a stretch. Red Apple was my go to location after Rogers Thriftway(GO location) went away. I’m thrilled to have two more options close by.

      • Lol. Anyway we’re all excited and can’t wait for the store to open. It’s been a drag not having a convenient grocery store.

      • You don’t have to be a member to shop at the Amazon grocery stores. And you don’t speak for the entire community.

        Grocery is an industry operating with razor thin profit margins so it could be that Amazon was the only grocer that even wanted to open a store at this location. Crime, and other factors likely kept Safeway and QFC from wanting to open a store there. But you don’t have a say in them occupying the space unless you bought it from Vulcan.

  3. I really hope the old Red Apple isn’t replaced by an Amazon store. I don’t have a car so I take the bus to Grocery Outlet or to the QFC in capitol hill to grocery shop and it is not very convenient. I used to be able to walk just a few blocks to Red Apple, but I will not shop at the new grocery store if it is expensive or if I have to buy an Amazon membership to go to the store. CHS, please keep us updated. If there is any way for the community to be involved with what store goes in then I would be happy to voice my opinion/protest/whatever. Hopefully it is a QFC or something else affordable.

    • I hated the smelly, over-priced Red Apple with horrible produce, but it was my walk-to grocery store. I miss having a grocery store I can walk to (I don’t drive.) But I checked out the new Amazon grocery store in Pike this week, and all of the prices were surprisingly lower than normal grocery stores. You don’t have to buy a membership, you just have to have a regular free Amazon account and the app, where they charge you for your groceries.

  4. You go in to buy eggs at Amazon Go and you’ll be scanned more thoroughly than the eggs. Amazon will have video of your every move all stored in its cloud server.

    You pay Amazon for expensive groceries and Amazon gets to monetize you as well. Double win for Amazon.

    • I’ve got news for you: you’re tracked everywhere.

      The idea that the Go stores are somehow worse than others is laughable.

      One can only say: “ok, boomer, you keep thinking no one is customer profiling you without your knowledge.”

      • Amazon’s real strategy is surveillance technology, and they get us in places where we need to go, without our informed consent as to what they do with the data, and by luring us with ‘deals’ that financially strained people find hard to refuse. You can say ‘ok boomer’ (which is actually an ageist slur and a form of hate speech…) but anyone who rationalizes that by saying ‘you’re tracked everywhere’ fails to recognize the difference between your purchasing data being tracked and your unique genetic traits (facial features, palm, eye) being stolen and sold to the highest bidder.

      • @Cat,

        A lot of the data that these Amazon Go’s collect is the same data that most larger grocers are already attempting to gather.

        Safeway, Kroger, Albertsons, etc. have their free opt-in cards that incentivize customers to sign-up for/use by giving lower them prices at the register when they enter a phone # tied to the card. What you buy, the time/dates you check out, the frequency you shop there, the frequency you buy each product, etc. is captured onto your customer profile when you use those rewards cards.

        Costco, Amazon Go, Sam’s Club, etc all have a membership model. They collect all that same data but it’s automatically tied to the customer’s membership account.

        The major iteration with Amazon Go is that their “surveillance” gives them additional data on customer product interaction. They now can track what isles/sections are the most frequently trafficked, time spent on isles, what items are the most picked up and put back/versus purchased, etc. A lot of this information is useful for vendors who want to ensure that there’s customer engagement with their goods and who then will develop ways to optimize it. Amazon is just first to market with this surveillance technology but most grocers are already piloting their own versions of this.

        To me, the biggest knock against the Amazon Go’s is accessibility. It offers those of us with a membership a pretty amazing experience – would like to see them improve upon their current model to include shoppers that don’t have an Amazon membership and/or smartphone.

        FWIW my top choice for that space was a Fred Meyer.

    • The new Amazon grocery store on Pike is cheaper than the other grocery stores, and you don’t need a membership, just a regular (free) Amazon account for payment information.

  5. Hope they are branching out and at least offering a more normal style of grocery store that allows people without smartphones to shop there and actually employees people from the neighborhood. Creating a grocery store in the CD that excludes anyone without a smart phone and Amazon account would just be…yikes…

  6. This better not happen

    Please put Red Apple back !

    I am black in the CD and Amazon places will attract more white folks and it’s already hard enough for my family to afford the area we were once redlined into

  7. Red Apple Grocery stores are independent and part of the Unified/Northwest Grocery coop umbrella. As an independent, in one of the most expensive grocery markets in the country, it’s unlikely they could afford to locate there at market price.
    (As an index: Fred Meyer had the cheapest groceries in Seattle for decades, but recently Kroger has steadily increased prices on brands, and replaced manufacturer branded items with house brands.)
    The only way an inexpensive grocer could likely be located there (like a Winco) is with a price break on rent.

  8. Man, nothing gets people as fired up on this site as a new grocery store. Store X announces plans at Location Y and everyone says “to the barricades!”

    You do not need to have a *paid* membership to shop at Amazon Go. You only need an Amazon account, which only requires an email address or phone number. This is similar to QFC and Safeway club cards (yes, you can shop at those places without a club card, but the prices will be terrible.)

    With respect to the smartphone requirement, yes, you do need to have one and that’s kind of a bummer. But, around 80% of the overall US population has one and over 70% of people with incomes under $30K have one (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/05/07/digital-divide-persists-even-as-lower-income-americans-make-gains-in-tech-adoption/) What these people frequently don’t have is a mobile data plan, but the Amazon Go stores will have free WiFi. All that said, I would not be surprised if Amazon figures out how to provide “loaner” shopping devices for customers without smartphones…they won’t be willing to exclude 20% of potential customers over the long-term.

    If you hate the surveillance thing, the fact that pretty much all other retailers are trying (and mostly succeeding) at getting the same data isn’t going to make you feel any better. I get it, but I would also say don’t hate the player, hate the game.

    Lastly, with respect to prices, Amazon did not get where they are today by having bad prices. Quite the contrary. Whole Food prices are certainly high, but they are trying to sell different products to different people. Amazon Go Grocery is a strong indication that Amazon thinks that they need a more mainstream grocery option to go along with Whole Foods. I think it’s likely that their prices and selection will be as good or better than a QFC or Safeway. And if they’re not, then they deserve to fail.

    • Unless Amazon accepts paper coupons, I don’t see how their prices can be that great. Both QFC and Safeway also have websites where customers can load deals and digital coupons.

      Many shoppers want to look at the items and prices at checkout so they know they are charged correctly. I will try the store just to see but I won’t be back unless I see good deals that week.

    • Absolute crap. AmazonGo is not the same as QFC & Safeway. First of all QFC and Safeway are not allowing their workers to be maimed and killed in their facilities. Amazon has a long history of human rights abuses that have been exposed by leading news outlets but the company’s power is so great that they can continue to litigate and throw PR resources to operate with impunity. Why would anyone want them in their neighborhood or in their city for that matter. The best thing that could possibly happen is for Amazon to leave Seattle altogether.

      • OMG stop embarrassing yourself. Half the people that post here work or have worked for Amazon. They are your neighbors and they wouldn’t support a company that maimed its employees.

      • killed and maimed? Can you please share some proof of this claim? Otherwise it is unsubstantiated fake news.

  9. 23rd & Jackson is an absolute NEED.
    Not one store between Union and McClellan. Red Apple was a CD staple.
    Walgreens and Seven Star bleeding Jackson residents dry! SHAMEFUL!

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