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April 20, 2016

75 apartments, PCC grocery uproot garden store

Image by Studio Meng Strazzara [enlarge]
City People’s Garden Store has operated on the site since 1988 and will close at the end of this year.

The Velmeir Companies expects to break ground early next year on a mixed-use complex in Madison Valley with 75 apartments and a PCC Natural Market at 2925 E. Madison St.

City People's Garden Store has operated on the site since 1988 and will close at the end of this year.

Studio Meng Strazzara is designing Velmeir's project, which is set to open in 2018.

Barghausen Consulting Engineers is the engineer and landscape architect, and Terracon is the geotechnical engineer. No contractor has been selected.

Units will be one, two and three bedroom. The complex will range from 30 feet to 40 feet high because of the zoning.

PCC grocery will occupy 25,000 square feet, and there will be another 2,000 square feet of retail and 157 underground parking spaces — with 81 for residents, 76 for shoppers.

The developer, which is based in West Bloomfield, Michigan, said in a press release that the complex will have a green roof, rooftop terrace and street side plantings as well as wider setbacks than required by code.

PCC Natural Markets is a Seattle-based organic cooperative with annual sales of $250 million and an active membership of more than 56,000 households.

PCC CEO Cate Hardy said, “There is such a passion for food in Madison Valley that can be seen in the restaurants, cafes and bakeries that thrive along Madison Street as well as the continued success of Central Co-op on Capitol Hill.”

Velmeir said PCC and Central Co-op have a relationship dating back to 1978 when PCC helped it open for business on Capitol Hill. Today, Central Co-op is a community-owned natural foods cooperative and grocery store. Dan Arnett of Central Co-op said, “We're happy to welcome PCC to Madison Valley, and excited to form a deeper partnership in the coming months.”

Dianne Casper is one of four women who opened City People's Garden Store on the one-acre site they bought in 1988. The garden store owners have changed, but the same women own the property.

“Basically we bought the land as an investment as well as really wanting to do the store,” said Casper. “And we thought one day it would help us retire, and we're in our sixties and the day has come.”

Casper, who is still an owner of the store, said the land sale is expected to close at year's end, but she can't disclose the price due to terms in the contract.

“We've been approached by developers pretty much from the minute we bought the property,” said Casper.

“We know the garden store will be a loss for the community,” Casper said, but she said they are excited to have PCC anchor the new project, which will also add more housing in a city that needs it.

She said PCC is environmentally conscious, socially responsible and a good employer. “We're known their management for years, and think they do a fabulous job,” she said.

Steve Magley is the majority owner and general manager of City People's Garden Store. Casper said he and employees are looking for a site to reopen the store somewhere south of Madison Valley, including Seward Park, Georgetown and Mount Baker.

The Velmeir Companies specializes in retail and mixed-use, and has developed projects across the country.

In Seattle, Velmeir is constructing a 34-unit mixed-use apartment complex at 531 Queen Anne Ave. N., which is set to open in June. DDG Architects and Sierra Construction are on the team.

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