Safeway opens shopping center in Bothell

  • Written by Deborah Stone
The new lifestyle shopping center recently opened next to Country Village. Courtesy photo.
The old Safeway site on NE Bothell Way has had a colorful past dating back to the early 1900s. From 1913 to 1920, there was a Craftsman bungalow located on the property, which was the residence of Bothell’s first postmaster, Gerhard Ericksen and his wife Dorothea.

The local man, who was also a store owner in town, was reputed to have given Bothell its name.

Story has it that when Ericksen became postmaster in 1888, the Seattle postmaster asked what the post office should be called.

In response, Ericksen said, “There are so many Bothell’s in town and that’s a good name, so let’s call it Bothell.”

The bungalow changed hands several times over the years and in 1938, it was used as a funeral home.

Then in the late 40s, the Avon Theater moved in nearby, bringing the silver screen to Bothell. Its inaugural show was “Angel and the Badman,” starring John Wayne and Gail Russell.

Old Safeway
The old Safeway in downtown Bothell has closed its doors. Courtesy photo.
Eventually, both the house and theater were demolished when Safeway (which had previously been located on Main Street) took over the property in 1962 and built a new store.

For the next five decades, Safeway continued to serve the residents of Bothell.

Last month, however, at midnight on November 10, the store shut its doors for the last time, leaving the property in the hands of its new owners, Senior Housing Assistance Group (SHAG), developers of affordable retirement housing.

The next day, with much pomp and fanfare, the grocery chain opened a new lifestyle shopping center next to Country Village.

It’s one of only four new shopping center developments that Safeway’s development company, Property Development Centers, has opened in the country.

At 154,788 square feet, the center is anchored by a new 55,000-square-foot Safeway and 35,000 square feet of retail space. It is ideally situated between the city’s growing residential community, booming business sector and the new downtown development.

“As Bothell has continued to grow over the years, Safeway’s desire to offer its customers a larger, more dynamic store has also increased,” says Safeway Store Manager Brett Hintz. “We knew we didn’t’ just want to remodel the old store. It was necessary to build a new lifestyle supermarket to best serve the transforming Bothell community.”

The store features subdued lighting, wood floors, an expanded organic foods department, on-site sushi chef and one of the largest, elite wine collections in the state.

“We plan to host wine tastings as a nod to Bothell’s growing winemaking community,” adds Hintz.

In addition to the new store, the center will include various businesses, such as a bank, fast food restaurant, dry cleaners and other local retailers who have owned businesses in Bothell for years.

“We have more potential tenants than space,” explains Scott Blakenship, president of Brokerage Services for Wallace Properties. “Retailers are looking at Bothell as a smart place to invest. It’s why Safeway chose Bothell to create this new retail center.”

The project’s phase one, which cost $46 million, will eventually also include a fuel station to be built on the south entrance corner of the site.

Phase two could potentially add another 30,000 square feet of retail space in the coming years, based on market demand.

“Safeway’s major investment demonstrates the strength that our city’s economic proposition offers retailers and developers,” comments Terrie Battuello, economic development manager for the City of Bothell. “Our community’s consumer power has continued to grow since 1980, outpacing population growth in both King and Snohomish counties, as people have embraced our balance of quality lifestyles and affordable home values.

“To complement this growth, Bothell has identified and zoned areas appropriate for higher-density quality retail operators, and we’re welcoming them with open arms.”

Safeway’s grand opening coincided with Veterans Day and to honor the 258 veterans of its local division, as well as veterans in the Bothell community, there was a presentation of colors and a performance of the National Anthem by the Bothell High School Jazz Choir.

Local dignitaries spoke, as well as representatives from the Bothell American Legion and Wounded Warrior Project.

The event concluded with the Seahawks Blue Thunder Drum Line leading the crowd into the store where Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb and others cut the ribbon, officially opening the store to the public.

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