Safeway eyeing Capitol Hill store — and its huge parking lot — for redevelopment

Regional grocery giant Safeway is readying plans to redevelop one of the most prime plots of Capitol Hill land atop the Hill at 15th and John.

Capitol Hill’s “Store 1551” was left out of summer announcements about the company’s plans to develop new mixed-use projects on a handful of Seattle store properties and overhaul many of its area stores. But people familiar with its plans say Safeway has begun to organize community outreach strategies to help shape a mixed-use development to replace the giant store and parking lot at the top of E John. A new grocery would, naturally, be at the middle of things. Continue reading

Major QFC Harvard Market overhaul planned with big Amazon grocery coming to E Pike (and, hey, there’s going to be an Amazon Go First Hill)

Signage permit information for the First Hill Amazon Go

Amazon has announced it is indeed opening a new store on the Hill… First Hill!

Meanwhile, CHS has learned about a major project planned by QFC to prepare its Pike at Broadway Harvard Market store for competition from Amazon’s so far unannounced but under construction supermarket down the street. Continue reading

A Prime Day visit to Amazon’s coming soon Capitol Hill grocery store — UPDATE

In March, CHS showed Amazon was, indeed, a “Go” on E Pike. In July, Seattle-based tech news site Geekwire gave us the best look yet at what is to come in the 500-block, 10,000-square-foot retail project in the ground floor of the seven-story AVA development built on the auto row bones of the block’s Mercedes Benz dealership: “an unusually large space for a potential new Amazon Go store… the first in a residential area.”

For Prime Day, CHS is giving you the first peek inside. Yup, looks like an Amazon grocery store. Continue reading

‘Zero waste’ Scoop Marketplace makes Earth Day debut at The Works on 12th Ave

(Image: The Scoop Marketplace)

(Image: The Scoop Marketplace)

12th Ave DIY community, class, and retail provider The Works has sprouted a new friend to help with your zero waste ambitions this Earth Day. The growing 12th Ave class and retail space is now home to Scoop Marketplace, a grocery dedicated to efficient and package-free shopping.

The new market debuts Monday with a sale, giveaways, along with The Works hosting an Earth Day plant swap.

“Scoop Marketplace was founded out of a need for a grocery store that facilitates low impact living,” Scoop founder Stephanie Lentz says. “Our family was always naturally inclined toward environmentalism, but we didn’t realize just how much thoughtless consumerism we were taking part in. Once we embraced the zero waste lifestyle, we were eager to change our family routines, and eliminate waste. The changes definitely haven’t happened overnight, but the slow process has helped us better understand our relationship with food, possessions, and the things we throw away.” Continue reading

With Tacoma expansion set to open, Central Co-op names new CEO

Last winter, Central Co-op marked 40 years on Capitol Hill. This year as spring approaches, the co-op has a new leader.

Catherine Willis Cleveland has been hired as the cooperative’s new CEO.

“Central Co-op is a model for building sustainable communities and a hub for celebrating healthy food,” Cleveland said in a statement. “When I was growing up my mother coordinated a cooperative produce buying club off our front porch and I have carried those cooperative values with me ever since. I am thrilled to be taking this leadership role at Central Co-op and to help guide this community-grown grocer into the future.” Continue reading

Amazon a ‘Go’ on E Pike

(Image: Amazon)

Through dozens of permits and pages of planning updates, CHS has found the first documentation that global retail giant Amazon is, indeed, opening a new cashier-less grocery store on Capitol Hill.

An otherwise innocuous conveyance permit required for elevator work in the AVA Capitol Hill building is the first document filed with the city over the past four years for the 600 E Pike project to include the name “Amazon.”

“No comment,” an Amazon spokesperson offered when CHS confronted the $855 billion and change company with its latest Washington Post-worthy, Watergate-level reporting on the store. Continue reading

Amazon Capitol Hill grocery project back in motion on E Pike

A flurry of updated permitting and construction crews at work in the space indicate the Amazon-linked grocery project on E Pike is gearing up for a 2019 opening.

CHS has been reporting on the large, 10,000-square-foot retail space since 2015 when we first dug up permits indicating a large retail project was afoot much to the chagrin of local development watchers and neighborhood property owners who had hoped developer Avalon Communities would stick to its commitment to break the space up across multiple retailers. Continue reading

CHS Pics | The new ‘selfie’-checkouts at the Broadway Market QFC

There is a new terror of modern life at the Broadway Market QFC: a clear, digital view of your own face.

The self-serve checkout kiosks at the Kroger Co. super market chain’s northern Broadway outlet recently began featuring new screens that display a live, full frontal view of each shopper as they go about the grim business of scanning and paying for their items.

“Recording in progress,” they promise.

It’s not pretty. And it’s not really that much different than what is going on in most modern retail environments where security cameras cover most every customer move. Continue reading

‘Single family home neighborhood’ — the Madison Valley PCC mixed-use battle

An $85 filing fee — and lots of billable hours — is holding up a Madison Valley mixed-use apartments and PCC grocery project but the long, drawn out Seattle process to develop the property might finally be set to move forward.

Conflict between a community group attempting to use the State Environmental Policy Act as a defensive blanket and developer Velmeir Companies will come to a head by December as the city’s Hearing Examiner is slated to make a decision on an appeal against the project.

Save Madison Valley, a group aimed at maintaining the area as a “single family home neighborhood,” has been working, it says, to ensure that Velmeir commits to mitigating the environmental impacts of its 82-unit, mixed-use six-story development at 2925 E Madison.

The project passed through the first stage of the design review process finally in January 2017 after a relatively rare three sessions in front of the board. The design from Meng Strazzara was fully signed off on last September — but the project isn’t yet close to breaking ground.

Save Madison Valley is asking the Hearing Examiner to reverse the design review decision and the city’s determination on the project’s environmental impact and require the development to undergo new rounds of costly, time consuming review. It’s a strategy cut from similar cloth to the legal fight holding up Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability program that has cost the city plenty in legal fees — and maybe 717 affordable apartment units.

But Velmeir may not have to wait for December to move forward. Continue reading

After ‘positive’ talks, New Seasons and community groups opposing new store set for Central District agreement — UPDATE: ‘Disappointed’

UPDATE 11/19/18 12:30 PM: Despite hopes of an agreement from representatives on both sides Friday, Monday, activists and community groups who have been engaged with New Seasons said they are “disappointed” that officials “gave no indication the company is committed to change.”

“We can’t wait around while New Seasons’ corporate leadership thinks a little more about respecting our community’s values, and we’re not going to stop calling on them to respect workers’ rights,” the group writes in a statement sent by the Good Jobs Coalition.

“We’re not going away,” the group writes, “and we call on other community members to join us…”

The full statement has been added at the end of this post.

The grand opening of New Seasons in Ballard included this group of protesters

Original report: Unlike what happened at its May opening in Ballard, you probably won’t see protesters greet New Seasons when it opens at 23rd and Union in 2019.

A company spokesperson said it plans to meet Friday’s deadline for a response after positive talks with community groups aligned to push back on the Portland-based grocery chain’s labor practices and its ownership’s anti-LGBTQ politics as it readies to open in the Central District.

Friday’s deadline is part of a community coalition’s demands for the chain:

During their meeting, organizers gave New Seasons co-president Kristi McFarland and other local reps a list of demands. If the demands are met, they said, their campaign against the company would stop. Among other things, they asked New Seasons to sign a neutrality agreement to let interested workers unionize, disclose workforce demographics, let low-income customers use Fresh Bucks to buy produce, stock affordable staple foods, and donate some of their local profits to affordable housing projects and community land trusts.

Nicole Keenan, executive director of Puget Sound Sage, an advocacy group dedicated to low-income people, communities of color, immigrants and refugees, has been part of talks with New Seasons and also categorized the negotiations as positive in a conversation with CHS Friday afternoon. Keenan joined reps from groups like the Squire Park Community Council in the discussions with New Seasons.

While we don’t yet know the specifics of the New Seasons response, the community campaign against the store which has included a “newseasonstories.com” website and neighborhood yard signs, appears to be approaching a fruitful conclusion.

UPDATE 3:40 PM: A New Seasons representative sent over the company’s response to the community groups. We’ve added the full letter at the end of this post. A company representative also provided the following statement:

At New Seasons, we are proud of our established track record as an active civic partner that is committed to directly engaging in building community in a way that reflects our shared progressive values. We’ve been working with a Central District Advisory Council made up of business leaders, local nonprofit representatives and neighborhood council members to understand the needs of the neighborhood, but when we were contacted by this group we wanted to hear their perspective as well. At the meeting, we shared our commitment to championing higher wages, comprehensive benefits for all kinds of families, an inclusive culture, as well as using our voice to stand up for affordable housing, hunger relief and other important social justice and workplace issues that affect everyone. We also took away some valuable ideas from our conversation that we will be exploring further.

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