Seattle commerce giant Amazon won’t be the only commercial tenant calling the Central District’s new mixed-use Jackson Apartments home.
CHS reported here on the the start of hiring to open a new Amazon Fresh grocery at the corner of 23rd and Jackson in the new mixed-use development from Vulcan.
Part of the project includes a “public plaza and retail pavilion” along S Jackson with “three micro-retail spaces” — QueenCare, a Black and woman owned body-care company from an area resident will be part of the mix thanks to a partnership with with the developer and Seattle entrepreneurial empowerment nonprofit Ventures.
“Opening our flagship location at the Jackson Apartments represents my story full circle,” owner Monika Mathews said in an announcement of the new lease from Vulcan.
“When I moved to the Central Area, I was to the point that people probably thought I was going to be a statistic,” Mathews said. “But I was able to learn and grow, and acquire the skills of entrepreneurship, many of which I learned through Ventures.”
Mathews called the opportunity “a great example of equity in action.”
QueenCare provides “luxury body-care products” made with “natural ingredients and crafted to nourish the skin and mind through aromatherapy” and will also carry “home items, wearables and unique gifts. The business was founded in 2018 and is headquartered at its Columbia City store.
Vulcan says the “micro-business” opportunities at Jackson Apartments came from community feedback during the development process. “Through meetings with leaders and residents of the Central Area scheduled throughout the development process for the Jackson Apartments project, opportunities for minorities and people of color were established as a priority outcome,” the announcement reads.
The three micro-retail spaces will stand in front of the 25,000-square-foot Amazon grocery at 23rd and Jackson in the development’s “retail pavilion.” “Each space totals 500 square-feet and is designed to be move-in ready, requiring minimal upfront capital from tenants,” Vulcan says.
Vulcan says it is filling the spaces through its partnership with Ventures. To find owners for its Jackson spaces, Vulcan worked with Ventures to distribute a request for application to its program graduates. Small business owners that had completed the necessary business development prerequisites were invited to apply, Vulcan says.
The development is opening amid a wave of efforts to reshape mixed-use projects in the Central District to better address concerns around equity and gentrification in the neighborhood. The affordable Liberty Bank Building is one model with equitable development principles that emphasized including BIPOC contractors and business owners and reaching out to communities to encourage Black residents to become part of the building. A new push will come at 23rd and Spring where Africatown hopes to make further inroads on issues of Black ownership in the Central District with its development of a 7-story project with about 130 affordable housing units.
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