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Amazon Fresh grocery store making plans for 2020 opening in the Central District

(Image: Vulcan Real Estate)

With its city and its Central District neighborhood grappling with issues of equity and gentrification in a summer of Black Lives Matter protest, the new Amazon Fresh grocery coming to 23rd and Jackson will mark an interesting milestone when it opens later this year.

Typically secretive, the Seattle retail and tech giant has yet to confirm the Central District plans CHS unearthed in February describing a new 25,000-square-foot grocery store under construction in the massive Vulcan development underway at the corner where the neighborhood Red Apple and a collection of shopping center businesses used to stand.

But its latest permitting efforts confirm what the company’s PR department won’t — Amazon is opening a new grocery store at 23rd and Jackson.

Unlike the Amazon Go store that opened on E Pike earlier this year, industry analysts say the new Amazon Fresh concepts will resemble traditional groceries with aisles of goods, delis, and fresh produce, along with pick-up options for the company’s increasingly robust online grocery shopping options. They’ll also represent an alternative to the company’s Whole Foods chain which opened a store at Broadway and Madison in October 2018.

The Central District grocery options are increasing rapidly. Co-op chain PCC opened its CD store at 23rd and Union in June.

At 23rd and Jackson, the Red Apple was demolished in early 2018 to make way for construction of the Jackson Apartments, a set of seven-story buildings from developer Vulcan Real Estate with plans for 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 main retail space. Permits indicate a main floor of around 20,000 feet for the store with another 5,000 in the mezzanine, plus 2,400 square feet of kitchen.

Vulcan says a “public plaza and retail pavilion” at 23rd and Jackson will include “three micro-retail spaces.”

“Each space is approximately 520 square feet in size, but these small footprints will have a big impact,” the developer’s update reads. “Less costly to outfit and operate, micro-retail provides an option for small businesses to activate the plaza at Jackson.”

Vulcan says it is partnering with Seattle-based nonprofit Ventures, which provides business training and access to capital to “aspiring entrepreneurs with limited resources and unlimited potential.”

Jackson Apartments is a market-rate housing development but is making units available to low income renters. Affordable housing there will be available for incomes at 65 to 90% of the area’s median income. “Residents will enjoy ground-floor retail amenities including a grocery store,” the marketing materials note.

Meanwhile, part of this summer’s protests and rallies for Black Lives Matter causes has centered on Central District development and efforts to transfer city properties to Black-led organizations for redevelopment and to create a $1 billion “anti-gentrification, land acquisition fund.”

Amazon has also remained a target of “progressive revenue” efforts in the city as the Seattle City Council approved a new $200 million a year tax on big businesses as part of a package to help the city weather the COVID-19 economic crisis and build affordable housing. Part of that package will include at least $18 million year to fund the construction of new affordable housing in the Central District.

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35 thoughts on “Amazon Fresh grocery store making plans for 2020 opening in the Central District

    • Gentrification store? 🧐

      Amazon Fresh’s prices are much cheaper than that overpriced Red Apple and they have a wider and fresher selection of produce too.

      The one thing they won’t be able to match is the killer music that was always playing in the RA.

      • Hey Bellevue Brian, just because you can’t afford to live in Bellevue doesn’t mean you should keep trying to turn the CD into it.

      • Dang listen to that hate.

        If developing an underused parking lot into affordable and market rate housing and replacing an overpriced grocer with one that offers cheaper and fresher goods is Bellevue-esque, then well, sorry not sorry. 🤷‍♂️

      • “Bellevue doesn’t mean you should keep trying to turn the CD into it.”

        Bellevue is majority minority. The CD is majority white.

        What’s your point?

    • Certainly right. The neighborhood should stick to bodegas, quick marts and 7-11. You know the ones where the only fruit sold is single bananas, prices are high and nary a vegetable to be had. Keep those poor kids malnourished and obese! Full size groceries with good selections are for my neck of the woods. Wonder if they will have entry control requiring an Amazon account. Hope not as this would not be equitable for shoplifters who presently have no limits to where they may steal unimpeded by store staff or police.

    • I’m curious what you would consider a non-gentrification store. Amazon Groceries are no more costly than Red Apple. Cheap Groceries can be bought at Grocery Outlet. What is wrong with multiple options in the neighborhood?

      • A Winco Store would be great for a the service workers who live in the city. I have friends and relatives who live in the northern and southern suburbs who live near one. and I am so surprised by their prices. Winco is nothing like a Grocery Outlet as they are a full service supermarket. That would be a prime example of an affordable grocery store. Venture out to Edmonds or Kent to shop at one for yourself. I stock up on groceries when I venture to the suburbs.

      • WinCo stores are great but sadly just like DQ they’ve decided not to enter the Seattle market.

        Gotta leave the city grab those summer time blizzards.

  1. This is even worse than the Whole Foods I was expecting. Looks like I will continue to drive to QFC and grocery outlet rather than walk to the Amazon grocery store.

    As far as I know you need an Amazon account to shop here and they won’t take cash or food stamps, right? Completely inaccessible to the community and a slap in the face to those of us who loved the Red Apple for its community feeling and variety of foods for the different cultures represented in the area. Imagine living in a low income unit above this store (if they even have those) and not being able to shop below. I hope there is a way for us to fight this.

    • Good grief…. there’s a lot of assumptions flying around here, most of which I’m pretty sure are incorrect.

      It’s not just a big Amazon Go – I get the impression it’s being envisioned as a cheaper alternative to their own Whole Foods brand…
      Like Whole Foods, you won’t need an Amazon account and it’ll have regular checkouts, so everyone upstairs will be able to shop there if they desire. Amazon intends for it to compete with stores like Kroger (aka QFC out here), so it doesn’t sound like it will be super expensive.

      There should be one open in Woodland Hills, California by now, but it appears that COVID has delayed it a bit, but it may be fairly soon that you could get a peek at how the business will operate.

  2. I am surprised to learn that you can use your EBT card at Amazon Fresh, and you don’t need a Prime account. It sure won’t have the old Red Apple vibe, though. I miss them.

  3. So let me get this straight: a grocery store that is centered around Amazon’s facial recognition technology will be opened in the Central District. The very same facial recognition technology that works “best on middle-aged white men’s faces, and not so well for people of color, women, children, or the elderly. The federal government study concluded the rates of error tended to be highest for Black women.” How is it a good idea to open a grocery store that centers around this racist technology in the Central District?

    When Amazon says Black Lives Matter, you know they’re lying.

  4. Don’t like Amazon? Don’t shop there. Problem solved. And get off your computer while you are at it, as your computer or phone, and the associated software is the pinnacle of global and regional capitalism.

  5. This is the epitome of mass gentrification when the Mayor, the developers the City Council and the Governor are all complicit in allowing this travesty to go unchecked. Jeff besos builds his own Amazonian empire on our blood sweat and tears,dream properties that once held community hope before Red Apple ever set foot on the land.How is it you can take our tax dollars, never pay your own tax and build your own edifices? Overshadowing God’s house to create man’s house? By the way least we forget our city government is allowing this massive over reach by changing and ignoring building codes. Aiding and abetting the crime of displacement of our seniors and small businesses run out of the promenade. This is also happening at 23rd and Union and they want to extend this mass overreach to SOIC and CASC. Where does white privilege and it’s dream killer’s stories end in 🇺🇸? Please feel free to share. I am a native of Seattle and the CD and I do care about the big footprint of mass gentrification has stolen away the hopes and dreams of our AA children and their children of the hood to create suburban legacies for their children’s children. Land ownership is wealth building. Leasing from the property owners is not wealth building. We see the dilemma our native brothers and sisters of the Duwamish playing out in real time where they red line, mis align, steal and confiscate your houses and land by devaluing it and using marginalization tactics, then buying off all the politicians black and white before reevaluating and re pricing the land. I warned the Odessa Brown Clinic not to sell 21st and Yesler again! I reminded Coach Lenny Wilkens, Children’s Board member Bob Flowers and Dr.Ben Danielson who took heed of that properties resale history. It was a property that before OBCC, use to be a black owned Grocery co op that supported black farmers like New Hope Church and their clean greens program. I rallied our inner circle to put pressure on our brothers and sisters to push back on leveraging our blood, sweat and tears OBCC property located at 21st and Yesler. They listened and to my knowledge, did not sell out that prime property to get the larger South end clinic built. We must not allow every brick and mortar and all the land in between that holds our parents and grandparents footprint to become Seattle’s new Jim Crow or to resemble the same hypothetical horror of Tulsa’s black wall street only without the flames. Save our community members who are still holding on to the once promising black owned and inhabited CD. No justice, No peace.Winona Hollins Hauge.Central Area Senior Center, Africa Town, SOIC,Re claim 23rd Union from yet another plantation owner who is also building and buying up all the churches and surrounding properties. Why does he get a pass? Why is he allowed to apease Africa town by being the exception? Posing as a BLM friend who sells legal forms of mind altering DRUGS that keep our minds relaxed, laid back, and thus we push pause on our dreams and live on cruise control. Enough! already wake up his business is the biggest most silent threat to our youth and their future’s. Remember my Daddy a long time business and home owner often reminded us that a wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf. No justice No peace!

    • “No justice No peace!”

      Well, until they pay you off with money for some dead end, non-profit for the kids.

      By the way, using paragraphs is not “white supremacy”.

  6. I found an app that tries to find the cheapest grocery store for what you’re buying, I added basic staples to it to compare the prices, including fresh produce playing around a bit to see if adding certain perishable items effected the price (not sure how accurate it really is, but probably good enough).

    Consistently Grocery Outlet was the cheapest, then Target, and if you made a trip Dollar Tree, followed by WinCo. RedApple never came on top, however surprisingly Amazon Fresh and PCC did have prices that were the lowest for produce in some cases. However the way grocery stores often make money is by figuring out the right price combinations based on what people buy to make up losses on one product with another based on your habit (this is the point of the club cards to figure out this puzzle basically).

    Here’s the app:

  7. Amazon’s branding of their grocery offerings is a disaster and is leading to rampant confusion.

    For those of you with an open mind who want to understand the different offerings, here’s a summary.

    Amazon Go: this is a small format store that is more like a convenience store than a grocery store, but this is the store where you can checkout without visiting a checkstand. You do need to have the Amazon Go app. These stores do not accept cash or EBT/Snap right now, but they are testing this in New York (according to the app), and I think it is likely they will roll this out nationwide once they work out the kinks. They may also need to get permission from the states and/or the USDA.

    Amazon Go Grocery: this is a larger format store that is a full-selection grocery store, but also where you can checkout without visiting a checkstand. Again, you do need to have the Amazon Go app, and they do not accept cash or EBT/Snap right now, but they are testing this in New York (according to the app). There is one of these on Capitol Hill.

    Amazon Grocery: note the “Go” is missing, which means you do NOT NEED THE APP. This is going to be much more like a traditional, mid-range grocery store to compete with QFC, Safeway, etc. and will be different (and cheaper) than Whole Foods. I think it is likely that Amazon Grocery will take EBT/Snap from the start. THIS IS THE TYPE OF STORE THAT IS COMING TO 23RD & JACKSON.

    Whole Foods: I think people know what this is…it’s expensive. They do take EBT/Snap but obviously this store is not targeted at lower-income customers.

    Amazon Fresh: This is Amazon’s online, grocery delivery service that includes fresh food (not just pre-packaged food). Typically, you do need to be a paid Amazon Prime member to use the Amazon Fresh service, but AMAZON WAIVES THIS REQUIREMENT FOR CUSTOMERS SHOPPING WITH SNAP/EBT. Amazon is piloting acceptance of SNAP/EBT in coordination with the USDA in select states. Note that customers can also use SNAP/EBT to buy non-perishable, pre-packaged food on Amazon’s regular non-Fresh website. More details can be found here:

  8. A lot of misinformation is being spread here. Amazon does in fact take EBT and this store will be open to everyone, not setup like an Amazon GO, so no membership/app needed. Besides, if you don’t like it then speak with your wallet and stop yelling in the comments section. BC honestly, the rest of us are sick of the Sawantees and the Trumpsters bogarting platforms with the bullshit. Perhaps both groups should plan a get together, you might find you have a lot of hate, oh I meant in common.

  9. The Anti-Sawant troll starter pack:

    Blame her for everything and anything that bothers you about Seattle

    Call her supporters ‘minions’ even though the majority of actual D3 residents voted her into office

    Compare her supporters in with Trump supporters (again this is the majority of D3 voters)

    Claim you voted for her but now regret it


  10. I like Amazon. I strongly dislike Sawant. I live on the Hill and have for well over 30 years. I am one of those who are questioning the math of how Sawant seemed to come up in her vote count in the last 48 hours of the election by if memory serves, about 8 percent. With same day registration as voting, and the mobility of homeless individuals, am wondering how many “voters” were enticed to move the week or day of election.

    I also am amazed at the ongoing victim stance of those who claim that they are entitled to see only people who look like them in a given neighborhood. The number of African Americans in King County is about 7%. Repeat that number, 7%. Many of the properties that were in the CD that are now being “gentrified”, whatever that means, were sold by minorities for the largest offer. I suppose that had the potential buyers been limited to minorities, the sellers would have gotten a much lower price, but that is not how a free market works. Nobody owns a neighborhood, including the extortionist “Africatown” folks. Don’t like Amazon, don’t shop there plain and simple. Don’t like Sawant, don’t vote for her as so many now regret having done. I am on her mailing list to see what she is up to and I will say that she is REALLY good at getting her message out and inspiring followers. Opponents will need to learn from her to defeat her.

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