Civilized Nature to move to Issaquah Highlands

Civilized Nature will be moving to Issaquah Highlands around next fall.

I previously wrote how this locally-owned pet store will be the next victim of Regency’s drive to nationalize the Sammamish Highlands shopping center with the addition of Petco. I’ve learned from Nature that the local Regency rep actually went to bat with Corporate to make a move to Issaquah Highlands possible.

Petco is planned to open around June; Nature hopes it can survive the overlap until its own lease expires.

City to small business: not a word about you

There is absolutely no sense of urgency or problem-solving for locally owned, small businesses in the City Council packet going to the Council tonight.

It’s as if small businesses, other than Ace Hardware, do not exist in the City’s mindset. These are left to the whim of Regency, the absentee landlord who has made it clear our locally owned small businesses can go to hell.

Despite the loss of several small businesses at the Sammamish Highlands center, and the doomsday countdown for Civilized Nature now started, there is nothing in the council packet to suggest the Administration is looking for solutions and alternatives to help small business.

I find this lack of foresight to be appalling. The Administration last week pretty much said everything can wait to the 2015 Comp Plan rewrite, three years away. Implementation of a rewrite would not happen until the following year, four years away. This leaves small businesses entirely at the mercy of Regency.

Our City Council must step in and fix this. But will it? It’s hardly shown much foresight, either.

Ace is slipping away

The clock is running out on Ace Hardware’s effort to find a place to build and stay in Sammamish.

The lease expires at the end of August 2013. So far, every effort to work with the City of Sammamish to find a new location and clear the path to build has failed. It’s not for not trying.

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First Ace Hardware, now Rancho Grande

As just about anyone who reads anything in Sammamish knows, Ace Hardware lost its lease and would have had to move by September 2012. A public outcry, and pressure from the city, got the property owner, Regency, to extend the lease one more year.

But now Rancho Grande, two stores down from Ace, lost its lease and has closed last week. A sign on the window blames a lease issue.

A reader commented on another of our posts that Petco is supposed to take over the old Hollywood Video and the Rancho Grande space. The reader also claims Trader Joe will take over Ace’s space. Neither is confirmed.

I did talk with a doctor at Swedish Pine Lake Medical Center. Swedish had wanted the Ace space, but, the doctor says, it’s no longer available.

If the Petco story is true, this will essentially force Civilized Nature out of business.

Regency doesn’t seem to care one whit about our local businesses.

Update on Ace Hardware

Regency continues to ignore Ace Hardware and efforts to extend its lease, according to reliable information.

Meantime, other tenants in the Sammamish Highlands (Safeway) complex fear that they are next on the Regency hit list. Tenants in the Pine Lake Center (QFC complex) ought to be worried, too.

Ace’s owner, Tim Koch, continues to seek a solution, including buying land and building, but with a lease termination in September 2012, doing a new-build means almost certainly Ace will close unless Regency extends the lease for at least a year.

City Staff is trying to find a solution for Ace as well.

Koch faces a greater challenge: if he wants to buy-and-build, the cost of doing so may be tough. However, I think that if other Regency tenants, with solid reason to fear for their future, combine with Koch, maybe there is a business case to present to Sammamish citizens to invest in a commercial structure that can lease space to the “Regency refugees.”

Residents in Pt Townsend did something similar when the city’s only general store closed. Residents invested in a new business (I do not know the business structure) to reopen a general store.

It is time for creative thinking and solutions.