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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Downtown’s New Grocery Store

posted by on August 30 at 10:09 AM

Downtown Seattle is getting a “full-sized” grocery store. Will at Horsesass cheers.

About time. About effin’ time. For downtown area residents, grocery choices are slim. There’s Whole Foods (too expensive), Pike Place Market (closes by 6pm every day), Dan’s Belltown Grocery (ok if you’re a AIS student, but I rarely shop there), Ralph’s (too fancy, expensive). A good grocery store can really tie a neighborhood together.

But Horsesass doesn’t point out the most interesting detail:

The store will have no parking facilities…. That means, “What you can carry is what you can purchase,” Myers said. To expand its service area, the IGA also will use small vehicles to make deliveries as far as the waterfront, Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square and the base of Queen Anne Hill.

That’s great—now let’s start building apartments and condos without parking facilities. Eliminating parking requirements for new developments will bring down rents, make condos more affordable, and move people on to mass transit. People that still wanted parking could opt to pay higher rents and higher prices for condos, of course, but the city shouldn’t make those higher rents and condo prices mandatory.

RSS icon Comments


No mention of Uwajimaya?

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | August 30, 2007 10:47 AM

Okay, look, I'm all in favor of mass transit. I take the bus to and from work every day (and it sucks). But I need somewhere to put my car. Mass transit isn't going to get me the 1500 miles back home for Christmas.

Posted by Ben | August 30, 2007 10:49 AM

Spoken like a man who doesn't drive, doesn't have back problems, and has enough $ to pay delivery fees.

Posted by Providence | August 30, 2007 10:50 AM

Well, Ben, you shouldn't live in a place that doesn't have parking -- but someone that doesn't have a car shouldn't be forced to pay higher rents for a parking space he or she doesn't use just in case you should rent the apartment 10 or 20 years in the future.

I'm not saying that all parking should be eliminated, all parking structures blown up, etc. Only that parking shouldn't be a requirement.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 30, 2007 10:56 AM

No mention of M St Grocery (8th & Madison) either? New store, free parking garage.

Posted by buffalo | August 30, 2007 10:56 AM

See, once again, Will/HA shows he wants MORE global warming not less.

This is why he hates the Sierra Club for standing up for the environment - on global warming, more net transit gain than single occupancy vehicle gain, more wetlands - by saying we have to vote No on RTID/ST2.

It's sad really.

And Uwajimaya is in the International District, by the way.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 30, 2007 10:57 AM

The Uwaj is expensive, even for Asian groceries (try 99 ranch) and doesn't stock "normal" western groceries. For example, no Ritz crackers, Jif peanut butter, etc.

Posted by Anon | August 30, 2007 11:01 AM

M Street is a great store, and has a pretty complete selection, but it is very small. I don't think it really counts as a full-sized supermarket.

Posted by Christian C. | August 30, 2007 11:06 AM

@5- m street sucks. Way overpriced to service the rich dumbasses that rented the outhouse sized apartments above them.

Posted by mongo like slog | August 30, 2007 11:08 AM


that is a nice store, in a stepford wives kind a way, which is an awful comparison.

A woman who worked at the Red Apple there before is now at the Madison Park Red A. I'd lived in the Sprite building next to I/5 on Madison 1999 during my intitial intro into in. What's the price for blackberries Lately?

Posted by Garrett | August 30, 2007 11:10 AM

Uwajimaya rules. That's where I get my chicken hearts! Yum!

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 30, 2007 11:14 AM

@4: Okay. I guess I read "now let’s start building apartments and condos without parking facilities," as "let's quit building places with parking," and not "why the fuck don't we just have both?"

Posted by Ben | August 30, 2007 11:19 AM

the Sprite building is being taken down this week to make room for a new office tower. Nostalgia aside, the demolition is pretty cool to watch in an 8 yr old fascinated with big machinery breaking stuff kinda way.

Posted by buffalo | August 30, 2007 11:24 AM

All you City Slickers. So Seattle is getting an IGA? Interesting, wonder why QFC or Safeway did not set up shop. IGA's (mainly rural demographics but I think there is one on South Hill in Spokane) are really really basic stores. The selection (even in the huge ones) is not all that great and prices are moderate.

It is a grocery store but honestly downtown would have been better off with Safeway or Alberston's.

Posted by Just Me | August 30, 2007 12:04 PM

You're insane, Dan.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | August 30, 2007 12:26 PM

I think this store will be great. Maybe it will help make the neighborhood less terrifying.

Posted by chris | August 30, 2007 12:37 PM

First get rid of free on-street parking. The entire city should require zone permits. $50-$1000 a year, depending on neighborhood.

Posted by DOUG. | August 30, 2007 12:49 PM

Aw, Spokane's South Hill. Memories. See, that place isn't all bad. But I never went to an IGA there.

Posted by fred | August 30, 2007 12:50 PM

First, get some parking for scooters and motorcyles downtown.

Posted by left coast | August 30, 2007 12:51 PM

Great news there'll be a full service grocery downtown. When I lived in Belltown, the options weren't amusing. I usually had to trek up to QA or Cap Hill to get groceries or settle on pricey sandwiches and packaged pasta (from glorified Quik-E-Marts, really) or take-out.

It's going to be a real challenge keeping the new store safe and presentable, I fear. That location (3rd & Union) is pretty gamy, and I can't imagine it being open after dark. But who knows? Maybe its healthier to just hope for the best and hope, too, that the owners are brave enough to be trend setters.

Posted by Bauhaus | August 30, 2007 1:05 PM

@19: That would be cool, but probably not Environmentally Correct because they're not carbon-neutral. My guess is the push will be for bicycle-only parking.

Posted by Orv | August 30, 2007 1:14 PM

When I lived on First Hill, back in the late 70s, there was a funky little IGA there, right on 8th and Marion. There's a huge condo tower under construction there now. I used to do my basic shopping there, and once a month or so, I'd take the bus up to the Safeway on 15th and John and get the things I couldn't get at the IGA.

As to condos without parking - I'm surprised the big condo and apartment complexes haven't started charging extra for parking spaces. The condos my husband is working on have a number of owners who live within walking distance of work. He says they all have parking spaces, most have nice cars, and the cars virtually never leave the garage. Those people could probably learn to live car-free. I did, when I lived on First Hill - there wasn't a whole hell of a lot I needed a car for. If I needed to go out of town, I took the bus or the train. It's amazing how much cheaper it is to live without a car.

Of course, now I live in East Armpitistan, and can't do a damned thing without a car, which sucks. But I can't afford to buy in Seattle anymore.

Posted by Geni | August 30, 2007 1:14 PM

The Seattle Municipal Code does not currently require parking for residential uses downtown.

Posted by city land user | August 30, 2007 1:16 PM

If they don't have parking it will just end up like New York City where you have to drive around for like 5 hours in order to secure an on street spot. If you can afford a pricey condo, you can sure as hell afford a parking spot. If you don't like paying for it, then rent it out to someone else or something. Plus, some people need cars or vans because they are disabled. Why should they have to pay more for everything? I just don't really get how having ample parking spaces can ever be a bad thing?!?

Posted by Kristin Bell | August 30, 2007 1:54 PM

Parking isn't a requirement. There are buildings out there without parking and not building parking isn't going to lower rents for anyone. Buildings with parking charge extra for spaces (although I have lived in one building that included a space with rent).

Posted by Clint | August 30, 2007 2:20 PM

@24: Because cars are inherently evil. Haven't you been listening to ECB's sermons?

Posted by Orv | August 30, 2007 3:04 PM

Dan, don't be silly. If they built condos w/o underground parking, the current residents who have to park on the street would NEVER stop bitching about how the condo-people done stole their parking.

Posted by Katie B | August 30, 2007 3:10 PM

We've been doing mostly fine without a car for about a year and a half, when the spouse's finally gave out. We use Flexcar (neat, but not perfect), take the bus (if we happen to be on a route that Metro seems to consider important and the bus actually shows up), and will use a cab in a pinch.

Still, we can't enjoy the nightlife in Ballard without a helpful friend, or hefty cab fares. Too expensive to take the Flexcar for the whole evening.

If we go out of town, we use rental cars, trains, or airplanes.

I think it's ridiculous to own a car if there are other reasonable options and you're in walking distance of most of what you need. They're expensive, wasteful, and except for a few rare vintage or luxury cars very hideous to look at.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | August 30, 2007 3:30 PM

The International District is considered part of downtown. So, in my opinion, is First Hill west of Broadway. (It's much more characteristic of downtown in terms of use, density, and orientation than it is of, say, the CD). Both those neighbourhoods have full-service grocery stores, so yes, that fact was overlooked in the article.

However, those areas are on the eastern and southern fringes of downtown, respectively. Whole Foods is expensive, and on the northern fringe. Pike Place Market sells trinkets, or closes at 6pm. Lots of residential buildings (whether or not for the wealthy) are being built within walking distance of the planned IGA store, which in future will probably attract more residents beyond just serving those who are already there. I don't know about you folks, but I watched "Field of Dreams". Build it, and they will come! (I believe there actually is a market-rate building on Third and Pine. And the older buildings in the ID are CHEAP. People forget that.)

So it seems like a perfect location for a new full-service grocery store: it fills in a gap downtown, since the fringes are being served well. Workers, residents, and visitors all will use it. Now, if only Belltown had its own full-service grocery store. I envision one located around Second and Bell. Well, its day will come.

Here's a good question: why in the world is none of these stores open twenty-four hours a day?? Almost all suburban and neighbourhood stores are. Isn't the city touting downtown as vibrant (active) and vital (lively) 24/7? Well part of vibrancy and vitality is buying condoms, tampons, baby food, or Tylenol for splitting headaches at 3am in the morning, not just watching James Bond films on the base of Rainier Square. Personally, I think this new store should be open twenty-four hours a day. If they're afraid of the riff-raff around Third and Pine, they can hire security guards to work the graveyard shift. Besides, the city is supposedly putting more police officers in the area. We won't reduce crime by pessimistically letting it run rampant.

Posted by Brandon | August 30, 2007 5:00 PM

IGA is a notoriously cheap and filthy grocery chain that settles in urban areas, promotes loitering and a decline in property value.

Have fun buying food from a place that narrowly escapes being shut down by health inspectors!

Posted by Shelby | August 30, 2007 7:45 PM

hooray on all fronts.

as for parking-
you know what would be awesome?

eliminate ALL on-street parking and then reduce parking fees for garages and the like.

Posted by frequency ass bandit | August 30, 2007 8:03 PM

one of those interesting little facts . . . anne vernez-moudon at UW has, with her students, studied the # of bags people carry out of grocery stores. I forget the actual number, but well over 50% of people are only carrying one bag. The mythology of needing the car to do shopping seems to be false. And then there's car sharing and el autobus.

Posted by brice | August 30, 2007 9:37 PM

We still need parking spots for our horses too. I mean, in case you don't like cars.

Posted by Kristin Bell | September 1, 2007 8:44 AM

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