By Stefanie Donahue
A mid-size mystery grocery retailer has called off plans to build a 15,000-20,000-square foot storefront at the former site of the Blaine Municipal Airport, also known as the Gateway Parcel.
Few details about the decision were provided to city manager Dave Wilbrecht, who broke the news to Blaine City Council on January 22. In December, the council voted to allow Wilbrecht to sign a letter of intent with the grocery retailer’s representative, IDS Real Estate Group. In January, staff with the city hoped to sign a purchase and sale agreement with the firm.
“They lost interest,” Wilbrecht said after speaking with the firm’s VP, John Quinn. “I don’t think it’s a long-term thing, but they’ve told us that so we can continue to market the property.”
The name of the grocery retailer was never revealed by IDS Real Estate Group, which manages 27 million square feet of commercial property for more than 1,000 tenants in the US. However, a partial list of clients on its website listed only one grocery retailer – Trader Joe’s. Quinn told the city council in December that the project could potentially bring 50 jobs to Blaine.
“I had a long conversation with John Quinn,” Wilbrecht said. “I asked him if there was anything that we could have done differently and he said, ‘no.’” Wilbrecht added, “Quinn said, ‘we think you’ve got a great project; you’ve got a great piece of land. This particular developer, a grocery store, they have hundreds of stores and this is just one of their changes.”
Moving forward, the city will retain the services of Windermere real estate agents Mike Kent and Jeff Johnson to place the city’s Gateway Parcel property back on the market.
In December 2017, Chuckanut Bay Foods purchased 2.28 acres of the Gateway Parcel to build a new production facility and bring an estimated 80–125 jobs to Blaine. That same month, the city council voted to allow Wilbrecht to sign a purchase and sale agreement with Boblett Properties LLC, representing Yorkston Oil Co., to purchase and transfer land on the Gateway Parcel.