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News / Business / Clark County Business

Mill Plain Safeway might not close after all

Landlord, company in talks; closure had been set for Dec. 1

By Anthony Macuk, Columbian business reporter
Published: November 2, 2018, 4:49pm
3 Photos
Talks are underway that may keep open the Safeway grocery at 13719 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd. A Safeway spokesperson said last week the store would close Dec. 1, but said this week that may not happen after all.
Talks are underway that may keep open the Safeway grocery at 13719 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd. A Safeway spokesperson said last week the store would close Dec. 1, but said this week that may not happen after all. Nathan Howard/The Columbian Photo Gallery

The Safeway grocery store on Mill Plain Boulevard might not be closing after all, according to a corporate spokeswoman. The company is currently negotiating with the store building’s owner to try to reach a new deal to allow the store to stay open.

“We are currently working in good faith with the landlord, and are excited at a potential opportunity to extend our business at this location,” Safeway spokeswoman Jill McGinnis said in an emailed statement on Thursday.

News of the ongoing negotiations is a change from last week, when it was announced that the store would close by Dec. 1. At the time, McGinnis said that the company had been unable to reach a lease renewal agreement and would be working to relocate the store’s employees to nearby locations.

The potential closure of the store was first reported in May when John Beardsley, whose company Beardsley Building Management owns the building, said that the grocery chain had opted to not renew its lease. The store opened at the Mill Plain location in 1993, and Beardsley said he bought the building in 2015, taking over as the landlord in Safeway’s existing lease agreement.

Beardsley said this week that Safeway had resumed negotiations after previously walking away when Beardsley did not accept the company’s request that its rent be lowered by a third. He said a store representative had argued that Beardsley had previously raised the rent substantially — an assertion which Beardsley denied. The last rent increase was in 2013, he said.

Beardsley did not reveal the rent amounts under discussion. McGinnis did not respond to an email sent last week with a request for comment on Beardsley’s assertion.

When asked if negotiations could potentially continue up to Dec. 1, McGinnis and Beardsley both declined to offer a specific time frame.

“Nothing is signed yet,” Beardsley said.

Despite the initial news in May, the announcement last week of the Dec. 1 closure came as a surprise to many of the store’s shoppers. Employees were notified about the closure date Tuesday, but there were no signs about the closure posted at the store last week.

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