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Fred Meyer confirms it will remodel – not redevelop – Greenwood store

First on PhinneyWood: Fred Meyer Public Affairs Director Melinda Merrill just told PhinneyWood that the department store plans to do a major remodel of its existing Greenwood Fred Meyer store, rather than redevelop it into a retail and residential project.
The Seattle P.I.com broke the news on Monday that Fred Meyer had told the city that it was looking at remodeling instead of moving forward with the massive development that would have covered the entire site between 85th and 87th streets and 1st and 3rd avenues. In that article, Tom Gibbons, Fred Meyer’s Director of Real Estate, said the retailer hadn’t decided what to do.
Merrill tells PhinneyWood that Fred Meyer had planned to hold community meetings first to announce the plan, but that someone leaked the information.
“We’re very sorry that the information came out this way,” she said. “We really wanted to meet with the community first.”
Merrill said the latest design of the new store, which would have been built on a series of pilings to minimize disturbing the Greenwood Peat Bog, put the project about $13 million over budget. She said brand new stores – such as the one they built in Snohomish a few years ago – typically cost about $30 million. She said the price tag for the new Greenwood Fred Meyer was budgeted at about $54 million. (That doesn’t include the cost of about 250 housing units that developer Lorig & Associates planned to build, which would have brought the total amount to about $95 million for the entire development.)
The current Fred Meyer store will have a down-to-the-studs remodel and will house apparel and groceries. The building currently housing the Greenwood Market – whose lease ends in a few months at the end of 2011 – will also have a major remodel to house a Fred Meyer home and garden center. The remodel will cost about $15 million.
“We’re going to remodel the current store and look at this (redevelopment) again in eight to 10 years,” Merrill said. “It will be the coolest Fred Meyer around. It will have a lot of high-end products, a lot of cool things.”
Merrill said Fred Meyer will notify the community soon of public meetings about the project, as well as a remodeling schedule. She said Fred Meyer wouldn’t begin remodeling until at least the first of the year (which would give it a November 2011 opening), but that it could begin as late as the beginning of 2012, with an anticipated opening date of June 2012.