WEDNESDAY MIDDAY UPDATES: See end of story for several updates
“It’s a kick to the schedule no one anticipated,” lamented architect Bill Fuller, as he and Safeway’s Sara Corn revealed a brand-new development in the timetable for building the new Admiral Safeway. As they started a scheduled briefing tonight for the Admiral Neighborhood Association, they said they’d just found out today that the City Council will not consider the required “alley vacation” until July 27th. Even if it wins approval, Safeway then must give workers a month’s notice, and so they’re now projecting the store won’t close till early September. More on tonight’s briefing, including a request for your opinion, ahead:
This isn’t what they’d expected, Corn acknowledged – the trailer that will serve as the temporary pharmacy during the 10-month store closure has been in place since last month, because they were expecting construction would start sooner. (Fuller said they’d been told the alley vacation – involving what is technically an alley, and therefore city right-of-way – would be considered in June.)
With the new timetable, they expect the store to close in early September, and if construction starts shortly thereafter, and proceeds without glitches, the new store would open in July of next year. That’s around the half-century anniversary of the current store’s opening, Corn said.
Before the alley vacation, they need City Council approval to rezone part of the site, including the southeastern part, where an old house sits now (it’s been for sale for months – in hopes someone will pay to move it to a new site). The rezoning comes before the council’s Committee on the Built Environment at 9:30 tomorrow morning, and then would move on to the full council as soon as next week. (No public comment will be taken, but the Safeway project team says it will be allowed for the alley-vacation hearing in July.)
Corn asked ANA members if they had thoughts about whether Safeway might try further stopgap measures during the closure, such as promotions for Safeway.com home-grocery-delivery. (She said opinions are welcome on whether those who use Admiral Safeway now might see value in the delivery service while it’s closed – so if you have any thoughts, post a comment.)
Otherwise, the briefing included a recap of the final approved design for the nearly 60,000-square-foot store (the current one’s about 35,000), including an overview of its interior and exterior features – one note regarding the latter, there’ll be five bike racks around the site, with five or six slots each, and on the California SW frontage of the store, there will be outdoor seating by the Starbucks entrance as well as by the 42nd/Lander corner entrance.
Inside the store, the bakery and deli – partly visible through lots of glass – will be along Lander, facing Hiawatha’s north side, while produce and floral will face onto the “shared street” in front of the store (its new main entrance will face north, as it does now), with some outdoor displays, as had been requested during the Design Review process.
The truck loading zone is still planned on the east side of the store – which Fuller pointed out is adjacent to the “back of the house” area with the “nasty, necessary service stuff.”
Two other tidbits: The Starbucks will have a 2-level fireplace; and Corn said, asked which entrances would be open which hours, “We don’t know if it’s going to be a 24-hour store yet.”
When the store’s open, Corn said it’ll have 100 more employees than the current store, and she promised that displaced part-timers will be offered fulltime jobs.
Asked about the residential/workspace project on the east side of the site, while it’s being handled by a separate developer, Corn said the latest update is that they’re expecting their permit in September, so the two parts of the project likely will be built at the same time.
Tomorrow’s City Council hearing will be live on Seattle Channel (streamed here). Meantime, tonight’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting tackled a few other topics, most notably a push for a pedestrian signal at 47th/Admiral, and that’ll be the subject of a separate report.
ADDED WEDNESDAY MIDDAY: A few notes from Safeway’s Sara Corn: The City Council committee approved the rezone today, which means the full Council vote is next. She also confirms: The new store WILL be open 24 hours; an anticipated date of closure for the current store “will be posted soon”; and one clarification re: new-store jobs:
With respect to store employees, all decisions are made by retail management. Typically, when Safeway replaces an existing store with a larger facility, it can offer its part-time employees more full-time positions. This decision, however, is made on a case by case basis. It is still certain that the new Admiral store will offer approximately 80-100 additional positions.