By Carol Merriman
Retail Opportunity Investments Corporation
In October 2016 Retail Opportunity Investments Corporation purchased the Bridle Trails Shopping Center in Kirkland, where Red Apple Market operates and will be closing in early 2018.
ROIC is a retail-focused shopping center company, with shopping centers that typically have a grocery store or drug store as the primary retailer. ROIC has numerous shopping centers along the West Coast and a large presence in the Pacific Northwest, including 15 shopping centers in the Seattle metropolitan region.
Shortly after ROIC purchased Bridle Trails Shopping Center, the company reached out to leaseholder Unified Grocer to find out what interest they would have in renewing their lease at the shopping center. Unified Grocer declined at that time to renew the lease. ROIC began the search for a new grocer, and talks began with grocery retailer Grocery Outlet. Prior to committing to a lease with Grocery Outlet, ROIC once again contacted Unified Grocer, who confirmed they were not renewing their lease. ROIC then committed to a long-term agreement with Grocery Outlet. ROIC plans to spend $2 million in 2018 on upgrading the Bridle Trails Shopping Center with fresh paint, enhanced landscaping and merchandising, bringing in a few new stores including the Grocery Outlet store.
ROIC will be reworking and dividing the space currently occupied by Red Apple to fit the Grocery Outlet store format, using 18,000 square feet. Grocery Outlet currently operates 25 locations in the greater Seattle area. Each market is operated as an independent business, with most operators as multigenerational family members working together in the business. Becoming involved in the community is a key attribute of a Grocery Outlet operator. Grocery Outlet will be investing in excess of $1 million to modify the vacated grocer space to accommodate their store needs.
In the last few months ROIC has been contacted by, and in contact with, shoppers and interested parties seeking information about the center. Some inquiries to ROIC have asked about the long-term plans for the center.
“ROIC plans to have Bridle Trails Shopping Center be the vibrant, neighborhood shopping center the Kirkland community has come to know,” said ROIC COO Richard Schoebel. “ROIC is committed to being a real estate company focused on the retail sector; we have no plans to make the center a mixed-use residential, retail, office center as some have inquired.”
ROIC CEO Stuart Tanz added, “As shopping patterns change in Kirkland and its surrounding communities, we are constantly looking for retailers that supply a product the neighborhood will support, seek out retailers and service providers that mutually support each other, which will aid in increasing the number of customer visits and keeping Bridle Trails Shopping Center a vibrant mainstay within the Kirkland community.”
ROIC is finalizing details for a lease with a retailer for the remaining 10,000 square feet, which will be vacated by Red Apple Supermarket. Kirkland residents can also expect to see in 2018 another well-known retail store to be built on vacant space at the front of the center along 132nd Avenue Northeast.