This post has been updated since its original posting.
According to multiple reports (link), Kroger – the parent company of QFC – announced today that it would close two stores in Seattle, one of which includes the store in Wedgwood on 35th Ave NE and NE 85th Street. According to these reports, these two stores are “underperforming,” but the company took the decision to “accelerate” their closure due to a new $4/hr hazard pay requirement imposed by the City Council which took effect earlier this month. The stores will remain open until April 24th.
Update 1: Adding a tweet from KOMO reporter, Charlie Harger, with QFC’s statement.
QFC/Kroger announces shutdown of two Seattle stores. Company blames, in part, city council’s decision to give workers $4/hr hazard pay. pic.twitter.com/PT0lYwXWJb— Charlie Harger (@KOMOCharlie) February 16, 2021
The closure of QFC could mark the end of grocery service at that location since 1952 with the arrival of Tradewell. The history of grocery in Wedgwood is beautifully told by our local historian, Valarie, on her excellent blog: Wedgwood in Seattle History.
This would be a major unanticipated change to the 35th Ave NE Business District and Wedgwood more broadly (our understanding is that QFC had many years left on a new lease at this location). But, between 2012-2015, a unique community-led neighborhood planning process was undertaken to anticipate this type of change and articulate a shared vision for the future. The plan was formally referred to as the Future 35th Ave NE Plan and included recommended upzoning (largely incorporated into citywide rezone in 2019), supplemental design guidelines, and streetscape guidelines. Yes, the plan itself only provides guidelines and not requirements. However, due to the level of community participation and engagement over the 3-year process, it represents the greatest shared aspiration for our business district as it evolves.
The WCC unanimously supported the Future 35th Ave Plan in 2015 and, regardless of future development or change in Wedgwood on 35th Ave NE, will advocate for the plan. Through this, the WCC and its land-use committee intend to be constructive partners with all parties who share the same vision for 35th Ave NE as described within the Future 35th Ave NE Plan.
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UPDATE 2: Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, citywide) issued a statement in response to Kroger’s announcement today and their claim that the city council’s new hazard pay requirement was responsible for the store closures.
UPDATE 3: Councilmember Alex Pedersen (District 4) posted about this QFC store closure on his blog.