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QFC expanding downtown
Downtown Bellevue’s QFC supermarket is getting a $7-million, 6,000-square-foot expansion and remodel next year that will include adding a wine tasting bar and natural foods section pending final permitting from the city.
“Our Bellevue downtown store is one of our highest-volume stores and one of our flagship stores, because it’s attached to our corporate headquarters,” said QFC spokeswoman Amanda Ip. “We really felt like an expansion was necessary to keep up with our demand.”
The QFC store on Northeast Eighth Street will grow to more than 63,000 square feet with the expansion, and also include a lobby between the supermarket and entrance.
“They’re having some kind of issues with wet weather and wind blowing into the store,” said Rick Utt, architect for the project with Cornerstone Architectural Group. “They’re actually redoing and updating most of their departments.”
The Starbuck’s inside the store will be relocated to near the wine tasting bar where customer seating will be available. Utt said this is in keeping with a trend for retail grocery outlets to add more sociable amenities to their store layouts.
“Bellevue is definitely an area where we felt a wine tasting bar would be very beneficial, so that’s why we decided to add one at the store,” Ip said. “Natural food (and) produce, those are both really big items for our customers, and so it’s a big deal for them, and we want to bring them the biggest variety that we can in our bigger stores.”
QFC has invested $25 million in 2012-13 on major store remodels, not including minor renovations and repairs, she said, and the downtown Bellevue location will be a major remodel for 2014.
“These capital investments can’t just go away because the economy is in bad shape,” Ip said.
The Bellevue store will remain open throughout the remodel with expansion planned to occur first before upgrading existing departments. The supermarket will also expand its food selection.
“We’re just expanding the product selection that we have in our store that our customers want,” Ip said.
Utt said construction is anticipated to begin in early 2014.
“We’re hoping to start construction when we get a permit by the first part of the year,” he said. “That could be January or February or somewhere in there.”
The Land Use Division of the City of Bellevue’s Development Services Department has approved the QFC expansion, however, the Building Division is continuing its review of revised plans and a permit has not yet been issued, said Liz Stead, city urban design planning manager.