Though QFC has bailed on Capitol Hill’s 15th Ave E as part of its beef with the Seattle City Council, the chain’s parent company continues to invest in the neighborhood with a new produce project planned for the busy Harvard Market store at Broadway and Pike.
The “Q Fresh” project will overhaul a portion of the store’s deli area and reconfigure its entire produce section, according to construction permits.
The $200,000 construction project inside the Pike and Broadway store follows parent company Kroger’s shutdown of the neighborhood’s 15th Ave E store as part of two closures in Seattle over the city’s $4 an hour COVID-19 hazard pay.
On the Eastside, the chain has tested setups that allow stores to “hydroponically grow cilantro, kale and crystal lettuce.”
A QFC representative did not respond to CHS’s inquiry about the project.
Over recent years, Kroger has quietly overhauled much of the Harvard Market store in a series of construction projects including about $1.65 million of work in 2019. Another recent $250,000 project added “a new adult beverage area with a security curtain.” The company’s Broadway Market QFC on the north end of the street has also undergone a few upgrades including new checkout and security infrastructure. That building is also being upgraded including a new HVAC system by grocery-focused real estate investment company Regency Centers which paid $43 million for the property in 2015.
In 2018, Kroger also made an investment across both Broadway stores, spending a few thousand to close off their Harvard Ave entrances over concerns about shoplifting and disorder.
Despite closing the 15th Ave E location, Kroger remains engaged in a battle with a fast moving new rival for Central Seattle grocery spending. A Whole Foods opened at Broadway and Madison in 2018 before the Amazon takeover. A smaller, no checker Amazon Go Grocery opened on E Pike in early 2020. And a more traditional style Amazon Fresh grocery is set to open soon at 23rd and Jackson in the Central District.
A check of permits for the old 15th Ave E QFC store, meanwhile, reveals no new activity at the 17,000-square-foot retail space and surface parking lot.
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