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News / Business / Clark County Business

It’s official: Southeast Mill Plain Safeway will stay open

Store window sign announces new lease on life

By Anthony Macuk, Columbian business reporter
Published: November 9, 2018, 5:53pm

After two weeks with an uncertain future, it now appears the Safeway store at Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard and 136th Avenue will remain open.

The news was announced via a sign in the window at the entrance to the store at 13719 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., saying the store is staying open and thanking customers for their support. Checkout clerks confirmed to customers that the store would remain open.

“I’m glad they’re going to stay open,” said customer Jim Eoff. “I don’t know why they were closing.”

An employee at the Safeway referred media inquiries to the company’s corporate division, which confirmed on Friday that the store would stay open. The building’s landlord, John Beardsley of Beardsley Building Management, said the company’s lease had been extended, “but not for the standard time frame.” He did not elaborate on the statement.

The news comes after several weeks of back-and-forth announcements about the future of the store, which opened in 1993.

The store’s potential closure was first reported in May when Beardsley said Safeway’s corporate parent notified him that it would not renew the store’s lease, which was set to expire in December. Safeway declined to comment at the time.

Beardsley said he bought the building in 2015, taking over as the landlord in Safeway’s existing lease agreement for the site.

In the following months, the brokerage service Commercial Realty Advisors Northwest began to market the 68,000-square-foot building as being available at the beginning of 2019.

Safeway confirmed the closure in late October and announced that the store’s last day would be Dec. 1. At the time, Safeway corporate spokeswoman Jill McGinnis said the grocery chain had been unable to come to a lease agreement with the landlord and would be working to relocate all of its employees to nearby stores. Despite the initial news in May, the closure announcement still came as a surprise to some customers.

But the company apparently reversed course a week later. McGinnis said on Nov. 2 that the store was working with the landlord to try to extend the business at the location. Beardsley also confirmed that negotiations had resumed, saying that Safeway had resumed talks after previously ending them when Beardsley did not accept a request from the company to lower its rent by a third.

Neither party revealed the rent amounts under discussion, and both declined to say if there was a specific time frame or deadline date for the negotiations.

Beardsley did not reveal the exact details of the lease extension on Friday. But for customers at the location, the renewal simply came as good news.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said customer Patricia Salter. “I was almost really sad that I was going to have to shop at Walmart or WinCo.”

Columbian business reporter