The PCC Natural Markets store will be part of a development that also includes 75 apartments.
A PCC Natural Markets grocery will take the place of City People’s Garden Store in Seattle’s Madison Valley in a planned development that faces opposition from some neighbors.
The PCC store will occupy 25,000 square feet of a mixed-use building being developed by The Velmeir Companies.
The building will also include about 1,600 square feet for another, yet-to-be-determined retailer, as well as 75 apartments and an underground parking garage with 156 parking spaces, the Michigan-based developer said.
Velmeir plans to break ground in early 2017 and open the retail and apartment spaces in 2018, according to a news release.
A group of Madison Valley residents, however, opposes the development, saying it’s too big for the neighborhood and will bring in too much traffic.
“We want the neighborhood to be safe and livable and walkable. All those things would be undermined with something at that scale,” said Kevin Murphy, a Madison Valley resident.
Murphy is part of a recently formed group called Save Madison Valley, whose first gathering month drew about 75 people.
A “destination retailer” such as PCC would exacerbate traffic in a neighborhood already packed during rush hours and on weekends, he said.
The group is also concerned about large trees in the green space behind City People’s that will be cut down, especially given that the area is prone to flooding.
Geza de Gall, a vice president at Velmeir, said he’s sympathetic to concerns and is committed to working with neighborhood groups.
The development is planned at 160,000 square feet, which includes two levels of underground parking, he said.
It will be about 47 feet high at its tallest, but the side facing single-family residences will be “stepped back” from the building edge, he said.
The company will “most likely” apply to a program that offers tax breaks for setting aside about a quarter of its units for moderate-income renters, de Gall said.
As for traffic, City People’s already attracts people from a wide area, he said, and the new development may mitigate some of the traffic woes by putting its loading zone in the underground garage.
Velmeir is working with civil engineers to make sure the development and surrounding land is stabilized, he added.
Meanwhile, the plight of City People’s, an institution in Madison Valley for some 28 years, had caused considerable sadness among neighbors and longtime customers. Some City People’s employees have worked there for more than 20 years.
The garden store will close at the end of this year.
The owners of the property on which the store sits — some of whom are also owners of the store — are retiring and decided to sellthe property.
Dianne Casper, who owns a stake in both the property and City People’s, said the property owners chose PCC as the anchor tenant because “they share a similar philosophy in terms of being environmentally responsible, community oriented, local as opposed to a national chain, and organic and health focused.”
Steve Magley, who’s a co-owner of City People’s but not one of the property owners, said he’s ambivalent about PCC taking the place of his store.
“I like PCC. I think it’s a great company,” he said. “But it’s displacing my company. So there are mixed feelings.”
The owners are trying to find another site for City People’s but it’s “a little bit up in the air,” Magley said. “Now that we know for sure [that PCC is moving in], we’ll accelerate our efforts.”
PCC CEO Cate Hardy said she had fond recollections of shopping at City People’s Mercantile on Capitol Hill years ago and is sad the Madison Valley one will close.
But “we were delighted when we were approached by Velmeir to consider being the retailer that would move into the new location,” she said.
Madison Valley embodies a lot of the attributes PCC looks for when deciding on a location, including strong support for locally run businesses, a vibrant food scene and commitment to social and environmental standards and practices, Hardy said.
PCC currently has 10 stores in the Puget Sound area, with the 11th scheduled to open in Bothell this summer.