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Developer purchases Bothell Safeway, plans $50 million retail/residential development

This aging Safeway store in Bothell is slated to be replaced by a $50 million residential/retail development with construction starting early next year.  - TOM CORRIGAN,  Bothell-Kenmore Reporter
This aging Safeway store in Bothell is slated to be replaced by a $50 million residential/retail development with construction starting early next year.
— image credit: TOM CORRIGAN, Bothell-Kenmore Reporter

A Puyallup developer has purchased the roughly two-acre site of the Bothell Safeway store near the intersection of state routes 522 and 527 with plans to convert the space into a mixed residential and retail development.

President of Pacific Northern Construction, Bryan Park said the project carries a $45 million to $50 million price tag.

Pacific's plans call for roughly 250 residential units and approximately 10,000 square feet of street-level retail space. The retail area could grow to double that figure depending on the final configuration of the property and a few other factors, Park said.

As for the residential units, Park added his firm will be partnering with the Senior Housing Assistance Group, or SHAG, on the project.

Park said there is not yet a formal agreement between Pacific and SHAG, but the SHAG board of directors has approved such an agreement. Housing costs at the Bothell development will vary from market rate to a number of lower-priced affordable units, Park continued.

The new project also will include two levels of structured parking in the center of the development, surrounded by the retail level.

If Pacific Northern sticks to its current timetable and starts construction early next year, it likely will be leading the long-talked about redevelopment of Bothell around the intersection of the its two state routes.

"It wouldn't bother us to be first," Park said.

"This is an exciting opportunity for high-quality development that will bring new people and energy to our downtown," said Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb.

He noted the price Pacific Northern paid per square foot for the property was substantially more than what the city paid the Northshore School District for neighboring land just a few years ago and contended that was a good sign for Bothell.

The Safeway sale price was reported as $3.5 million.

"Park's purchase proves that Bothell's vision is rock solid in terms of attracting development to downtown," said Bothell Economic Development Director Terrie Battuello. "Quality developers know that, in Bothell, they have a predictable and efficient pathway to building desirable developments."

As for Safeway, it is building a new, larger Bothell store on SR 527 north of its current location. Park said the grocery chain plans to keep the existing store open through the later part of this year. He anticipates starting construction on his project in the first quarter of 2012 with completion arriving 16 to 18 months later.

According to Park, Bothell's current Safeway is the only existing building connected with the project and eventually will be demolished. He said his planners expect to lose some frontage on their property to Bothell's plans to transform a stretch of SR 527 into a multi-lane boulevard. In exchange, he expects to take over some city property adjacent to the Safeway site. He envisions ending up with a triangular property with southern frontage along what could be an extension of Main Street.

Park said his firm has developed roughly 27 similar properties; some larger, some smaller. A good number were done in cooperation with SHAG, Park added.

While he described the conversations as preliminary, Park said he already has seen interest in the proposed complex from at least one retailer, something he added is a good sign for the overall project. He offered that his firm greatly would prefer consumer-oriented retail outlets rather than office space for the Bothell development. Any reasonable type of retail will be welcome at the location, Park continued, though he said that by contract, Pacific cannot offer space to any grocers or similar businesses that might compete with Safeway. Restaurants are OK.

In terms of the retail space, Park said Pacific could be working with a developer interested in property to the north of the current Safeway. He did not offer any details.

Should Pacific's retail space not be expanded beyond the currently envisioned 10,000 square feet, Park talked about the possibility of some town home-style residential units on parts of the ground floor.

"We're keeping that part of it very flexible," he said.

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