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January 7, 2022

After pandemic delay, Rainier Square's PCC store will finally open

Real Estate Editor

Photo by Brian Miller [enlarge]
In advance of the store’s opening, the sidewalks of Fourth are bare on a rainy Thursday.

Downtown shoplifters take note: The long-anticipated but delayed PCC at Rainier Square is set to open on Jan. 19. The store at 1320 Fourth Ave. was announced four years ago, during the tower's construction. Now that Wright Runstad's 58-story building has opened, with 189 luxury apartments above offices, at least some of those daytime workers and 24-7 occupants will have a convenient place to graze and nosh.

PCC Community Markets says the 20,000-square-foot store will be its 16th location. Its manager will be Jai San Miguel, who previously ran PCC's fairly new store at 23rd and Union. San Miguel said in a statement, “As the anchor grocery source for a vibrant Downtown, we are excited to be a part of the revitalization of the neighborhood and are committed to becoming a trusted member of the community where people come to enjoy a cup of coffee, catch up with a friend on a lunch break and pick up dinner.”

At a time when many grocers and retailers are struggling to find workers, PCC is hiring for the new downtown store. The co-op is a union shop, with workers represented by UFCW Local 21. PCC says that 40% of its current management came up through the ranks.

Amid the pandemic, PCC's Suzy Monford abruptly stepped down last year as CEO; succeeding her on an interim basis is board member Brad Brown. There's been no announcement as to a permanent replacement.

Wright Runstad is certainly happy to have a flagship tenant open. Its Greg Johnson said in a statement, “PCC will be a great addition to the property and the entire downtown community.” And the leader of the Downtown Seattle Association, Jon Scholes, chimed in: “This is an exciting opening for thousands of people who live and work in downtown; and it comes at a critical time as we look to welcome more office workers back, and more residents call downtown home than ever before.”

PCC's debut comes well over a year after the Kress IGA grocery store closed on pandemic-afflicted Third Avenue. Since then, the Target on Second Avenue has been the only downtown grocer in operation — though with much less selection than a full-service food store. But Target and drug stores on Third have been plagued by aggressive shoplifters, broken windows and the need for full-time security at all doors. How PCC contends with such retail challenges remains to be seen.

Wright Runstad says it expects to announce more retail tenants this year. It's still unclear if Equinox will open the gym it once announced; there is no signage to indicate it's coming. Real Retail is brokering the remaining commercial/retail space on two levels.

At the top of the tower, the Residences at Rainier Square are now 60% leased, says the developer. Rents range from $3,450 to more than $27,000 per month.

The subleasing effort for Amazon's abandoned office space is being led by JLL's Jim Allison and Cleita Harvey. The last tally of available space, from Broderick Group in the third quarter, indicated that about half the 722,000 square feet has been claimed. But that estimate is now over three months old.

NBBJ designed Rainier Square, which was built by Lease Crutcher Lewis. Update: MG2 says it’s designing the store for PCC.


Brian Miller can be reached by email at brian.miller@djc.com or by phone at (206) 219-6517.

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