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Kirkland’s three state-run liquor stores auction for combined $700,000
Kirkland’s three state-run liquor stores have sold for nearly $700,000, to three different bidders, thanks to a month-long auction that ended Friday. The state will take in $30.75 million for the 167 state-run liquor stores as individual bidding outperformed the highest bid, $4.6 million, for all the state-run liquor stores combined.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board awarded 121 bidders license application rights for the 167 individual stores. The winning bidders earned the exclusive right to apply for a liquor license at the current location. The WSLCB started the auction on March 15 and had 551 registered bidders. Three Kirkland residents won auctions for other stores around the state.
Winning bidders will have to secure their own lease in their current location. If they cannot they can sell their rights or request an alternative location within a one-mile radius of the existing location.
The Houghton neighborhood liquor store located at 10609 N.E. 68th St. will go to Tanveer Bhinder of Surrey, BC. The highest bid was $325,200, according to the state liquor control board.
“This is no big thing,” said Bhinder, who has never been to Kirkland. “I owned a liquor store in England for 15 years.”
He said that he will attempt to negotiate a new lease with the current land owner.
“I don’t want to move it, I want to keep it in the same space,” said Bhinder.
The Juanita neighborhood liquor store, located in the Safeway parking lot, was sold for $315,550.10 to Sung Lee Kim of Issaquah.
The Reporter left a message for Kim.
Dennis Duryea of Bellevue won the bidding for the Totem Lake liquor store on the west side of 405. Duryea will pay just $56,100 - one of the lowest bids in the state - for the store that sits in the QFC parking lot.
The Reporter attempted to contact Duryea Monday afternoon without success.
The WSLCB recorded a flurry of activity on the final day of bidding, increasing the final total by $23.7 million.
The sale was required with the passage of Initiative 1183 last November, which privatized the sales from hard alcohol, or spirits. The initiative directed the WSLCB to auction the state store properties at their current location. However, the state leases the properties, not owns, creating a unique circumstance for the auction.
All of the state store properties are below the 10,000-square-foot threshold established by the initiative.
The WSLCB ran two simultaneous auctions to achieve “maximum reasonable value,” as stated in the initiative. The first was for each individual store. The second was for all store locations available for a single bid, with the state taking the higher of the two. The sum of individual bids exceeded the all-store high bid by a nearly seven-to-one ratio.
The highest winning bid was $750,100 for a store in Tacoma and the lowest winning bid was just $49,600 for a store in Spokane. Twenty-eight individuals won multiple auctions. The auction took in 14,627 bids overall.
The online auction was hosted by the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services. The agency has used the online auction site Public Service since 2009 to manage the sale of state goods.
Privately-owned liquor retailers may begin selling hard alcohol or spirits on June 1.