It has been 12 years since this block of Broadway gave up its cluster of small, independent retailers to make way for the construction of Capitol Hill Station. Some moved to new locations. Some faded away.
Today, six years following the opening of the underground light rail station, the centerpiece in the project’s mixed-use development on the Sound Transit land above the facility finally served its first customers.
Capitol Hill finally has its H Mart — though it comes in the form of the company’s “urban convenience” concept M2M. To start, the “morning to midnight” grocery will operate on 8 AM to 9:30 PM weekdays, 9 AM to 9:30 PM on weekends. Capitol Hill is not yet fully awake from its pandemic slumber.
The selection in the 11,000-square-foot grocery is tightly packed but doesn’t lack in H Mart-style snacks and goodies. There are fruits and vegetables, frozen goods, and fresh meats. Upstairs on the mezzanine, a new food court is coming.
Part of the Korean–American supermarket chain operated by the Hanahreum Group based in New Jersey, the new M2M arrives with little fanfare after years of anticipation. So far, there have been no press releases sent to CHS and representatives have not responded to inquiries about the new store and its structure. Just weeks before its opening, H Mart company officials formed a new limited liability company behind the new store. We’ll keep asking representatives about the structure of the company and how it relates to issues like Seattle’s pandemic hazard pay requirements, tax, and labor issues. Workers at M2M are not unionized like those at QFC and Safeway.
Meanwhile, there were launch day hiccups including a delayed opening Friday morning and the store was reportedly not accepting Electronic Benefits Transfer cards, a situation said to be a short-term issue.
The new Capitol Hill grocery has a new Capitol Hill neighborhood to serve.
Development above Capitol Hill Station includes 428 residential units, thousands of square feet of new commercial space, 216 parking stalls for cars, and 254 parking stalls for bikes, and the AIDS Memorial Pathway Plaza.
In August 2016, Sound Transit signed a 99-year lease with Gerding Edlen to develop the properties it had acquired surrounding the station. The Portland-based developer led the project with designs from Hewitt and Capitol Hill’s Schemata Workshop. Community Roots Housing developed and operates the affordable housing component of the projects. CHS reported here on the 20 years of community engagement it took to make the development — and the new grocery store — a reality.
M2M will now be part of a community of new businesses. Nékter Juice Bar was the first to open in the development in November. Seasmith cafe from the owner of Burien Press and Moonshot Coffee is coming. And Capitol Hill brunch legend Glo’s is crowdfunding its move to join the new center of activity on Broadway.