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.

Civilized Nature is next locally owned store to leave Sammamish

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Civilized Nature, the local pet store in the Sammamish Highlands shopping center, is the next locally owned store that will be leaving the City.

I confirmed today (Dec. 4) that the pet store will move because it won’t be able to compete with mega-chain Petco, which will move into the former Hollywood Video that has been vacant for a couple of years, and the Rancho Grande and Sushi restaurants whose leases weren’t renewed to make way for Petco.

Ace Hardware’s lease expires August 28, 2013. Petco is said to start construction in January and to open several months later. Civilized Nature did not tell me where it will move to, but since there is no commercial space in Sammamish that is available, Civilized is all but certain to move out of the city.

At the City Council meeting tonight, which was standing room only, I presented recommendations to rezone more land commercial to serve local businesses. I’ll be posting my remarks later.

The City is about to undertake a Comprehensive Plan Amendment process. Astounding as it seems, the City Administration did not put commercial rezoning on the agenda for the Council, even after the lack of commercial zoning outside the Town Center became clear and may be a death knell for Ace. In fact, the Staff report recommended against a rezone for Ace Hardware, for a number of complex reasons.

In more posts this week, I’ll publish various documents concerning the Ace situation.

Petco confirmed, coming to Safeway complex

The Sammamish Review has confirmed what was reported here earlier by a reader: Petco is coming to Sammamish. Here is the story.

Petco is moving into the vacant space previously rented by Hollywood Video. It’s also taking over space of the displace Rancho Grande restaurant, which was forced out due to a “leasing inconvenience.” Also displaced is the Sushi restaurant.

I’m still trying to confirm multiple reports that Trader Joe’s is what will displace Ace Hardware, whose lease expires in August 2013.

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.

Regency screws Ace Hardware

By now, many of you have heard that Regency, the owner of the Sammamish Highlands (Safeway complex), has screwed Ace Hardware, notifying owner Tim Koch that his lease won’t be renewed. He’s been in business here 20 years.

There is a Facebook page for Save our Ace.

Regency also owns much of the Issaquah Highlands and recently asked Issaquah for $3 million to fund changes there.

Regency is an arrogant organization, charging high pricing for the space at the Sammamish Highlands and the Pine Lake Center, which it also owns.

I don’t know that calling and emailing Regency will do much good–it has a monopoly on space here and unlike the consumer protest that rose up in arms against Bank of America over its debit card fees, Koch has little option going elsewhere. But here is the Regency contact:

Kalin Berger
503.603.4700
KalinBerger@RegencyCenters.com