By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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The Fred Meyer store would include 1,000 square feet of frontage on Highway 101, said Hunts Point resident and developer Fred McConkey, co-owner of what city officials call the Burrowes property, named for co-owner Mark Burrowes, who could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
“We are elated,” McConkey said Wednesday in a telephone interview, adding that the company would buy between 16 and 20 acres of the parcel.
“It's wonderful. We've just got to get it done.”
City Manager Steve Burkett said the company has done traffic studies and evaluated the cost of water and sewer services.
“Our reaction was, if they are spending money on engineering to do a rough site plan, they must be serious,” Burkett said.
Access to the store would be gained from a side street off Sequim Avenue, McConkey said.
City officials will meet Aug. 14 with consulting engineers to review the preliminary site plan, said Chris Hugo, Sequim director of community development.
Topics will include road access, the building footprint, the parking lot and “could this site accommodate something of this scale,” Hugo said.
Topics also will include possible “environmental constraints” such as wetlands on the property and the course of Bell Creek, which runs through the parcel, Hugo said.
McConkey said the land, formerly a horse pasture and “basically just an open field now,” is zoned for mixed use and would need to be rezoned for retail use.
Portland, Ore.-based Fred Meyer opened its first store in 1922 in Portland and its 131st store in Wilsonville, Ore., in 2011, according to the company website, www.fredmeyer.com.
A pioneer in one-stop shopping, Fred Meyer combines food, health and beauty care, clothes, home products and electronics under one roof, the website says.
“We've been looking at Sequim for a long time,” said Fred Meyer spokeswoman Melinda Merrill.
“At this point, we are just looking at it. We don't have anything committed,” she added.
“We want to talk to the city about what the possibilities and the feasibilities are.”
Plans were dropped in 2004 to possibly include a Fred Meyer store in a shopping center — the Bell Farm Center — at the same Highway 101-Sequim Avenue site, McConkey said.
Company officials renewed their interest in the property in 2006 and 2008 but never proceeded with a project, he said.
“For a number of reasons, they did not do it,” McConkey added.
A major hang-up was that Fred Meyer Co. and Quality Food Centers Inc. (QFC) in Sequim are both owned by The Kroger Co., which has balked at building a second store that sells food in the same general area, McConkey and Burkett said.
McConkey said the issue has been resolved, making the company “dead serious” about moving to Sequim.
“They seem to have resolved to keep QFC open as well as [building] a Fred Meyer,” McConkey said.
“They've done a market study that's shown that there's enough market there that they can do very well.”
If the property is rezoned and the project approved by the city, the company would conduct a financial feasibility analysis of the cost of the project, and it would be considered for approval by Kroger's board of directors, McConkey said.
“It's looking really good, but you never know until you get to the Kroger board of directors,” he said.
Burkett discussed the project Wednesday at a Sequim Association of Realtors meeting.
Association board member Mike McAleer said Wednesday he is “very positive” about the prospect of Fred Meyer's arrival.
“I just think the timing is right,” he said, recalling that the company has wanted to build a store in the Sequim area since 1995.
“The lending market may be able to support something like this.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.