In August 2015 it was confirmed by City of Snoqualmie Community Development Director Mark Hofman that a developer wanted to build a large grocery store-anchored retail center in the Snoqualmie Ridge Business Park – across from the Snoqualmie Police Station on Douglas Street.
Over the summer the developer submitted development applications, along with a site plan for the 7.4 acres of vacant land that is zoned as Mixed Use, which gives the city flexibility to make changes regarding what can be built on it.
The plans, though, do call for amendments to the Snoqualmie Ridge Mixed Use Plan and Development Standards, as well as a Binding Site Improvement Plans, which the city council would have to approve before the project could move forward.
The proposed retail center application triggered a city review process that is currently underway, including a Public Hearing that was held on October 19, 2015. According to Hofman, the meeting went well, with many supporters of the project in audience.
The City of Snoqualmie Planning Commission was charged with recommending to city council if the amendments should be made, which would in part expand the allowable uses for the business park land parcels to include more retail – making the development possible.
The Planning Commission finished deliberating on some remaining issues at their November 2nd meeting and according to a City Council meeting agenda staff report, recommended the council approve the amendments.
Hofman anticipates the proposed amendments and a draft Development Agreement to go to the City Council [probably] on December 14th. The developer wants to begin construction in 2016.
Proposed Retail Center Components
The proposed retail center would be anchored by a 43,400 sq. ft. grocery store – or about twice the size of the Snoqualmie Ridge IGA – and also include drive-thru retail, drive-thru fast food, retail without a drive thru and a fuel sales element associated with the grocery store.
Hofman said it’s too early to confirm which grocery store would anchor the new retail area, but he did say in an effort to ensure the grocery store “indeed gets built,” the Development Agreement would “specify the timing of the full service grocery versus other uses to ensure the community gets a full-service grocery in relation to other new land uses such as drive-thrus.”
Essentially, Hofman explained that although ideally all development components would be built and opened together, the city “may require timing to reflect construction of the grocery first so it opens before any drive-thrus could open.”
Need for More Retail
The push to add more retail in the City of Snoqualmie is in part due to prior retail and economic studies showing that 73% of retail purchases made by Snoqualmie residents are leaked to stores and businesses in surrounding communities – like Issaquah and North Bend.
About decade ago a different developer was interested in building a large grocery in the same location, but the City Council tabled the topic over worries there weren’t enough homes to support two [grocery] stores in Snoqualmie.
After a population stall during the recession, Snoqualmie Ridge is estimated to be built out in 2017, and city officials say the new population demographics can now support additional retail within the community.
In 2015 Snoqualmie had about 13,000 residents versus 8,400 residents when the recession began in 2008.