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Originally published March 22, 2012 at 5:43 PM | Page modified March 23, 2012 at 6:20 PM

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PCC grocery could be part of Columbia City project

Seattle developer Security Properties has proposed a six-story apartment and retail building on Rainier Avenue South that may be anchored by a PCC Natural Markets grocery.

Seattle Times business reporter

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I've been wanting either a PCC or a Trader Joe's at this location for the longest time!... MORE
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Seattle developer Security Properties has proposed a six-story apartment and retail building in Columbia City that may be anchored by a PCC Natural Markets grocery.

PCC has signed a letter of intent to lease the 25,000-square-foot ground-floor space at Rainier Avenue South and South Edmunds Street, according to several sources.

Tom Monahan, PCC's marketing manager, wouldn't confirm that. "We have interest in that neighborhood," he said, "but no lease in hand."

The 1.5-acre property, considered ripe for redevelopment, is now the site of Columbia Plaza, a retail mall built as a supermarket in the 1950s. Security Properties is in the process of buying it from HAL Real Estate of Seattle, which acquired it in 2007.

HAL had development plans of its own, initially proposing a 306-unit apartment complex with 8,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

But, since the property is in the Columbia City Historic District, new construction requires approval from the city's Landmarks Preservation Board. And its members agreed last spring that the bulk and scale of HAL's project conflicted with the neighborhood's character.

HAL and Security Properties starting talking about a sale last summer and signed a contract last fall, said John Marasco, Security's chief development officer.

Security's proposed project has fewer apartments — only about 200 — and more retail, nearly 30,000 square feet. Parking for about 260 vehicles would be provided, according to preliminary paperwork filed with city planners.

Marasco said he's confident his company can succeed where HAL failed with historic-preservation advocates. "The biggest difference is, we've actually got the benefit of all those [board] meetings with HAL," he said. "We think we can give them what they're looking for."

Security hopes to have its design approved this summer and start construction early next year, Marasco said.

He declined to discuss PCC's involvement. PCC's only outlet in Southeast Seattle now is a small store — less than 10,000 square feet — in Seward Park, Monahan said.

Another Seattle developer, Harbor Urban, is building a 124-unit apartment complex, called GreenHouse, in Columbia City a few blocks south of Security Properties' site. It is scheduled for completion late this year.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com

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