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    Walmart takes a new concept to Bellevue

    The Walmart Neighborhood Market shows that Seattle hardly has a lock on latest in food and shopping.
    The Walmart Neighborhood Market in Bellevue.

    The Walmart Neighborhood Market in Bellevue. Ronald Holden

    Wines at the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Bellevue.

    Wines at the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Bellevue. Ronald Holden

    Have you been to Bellevue lately? Seattle's baby sister has grown up. Her skyline is, ahem, developed. Not long ago, it might have been clever to describe all  Eastsiders as Republican refugees from the gritty realities of a big city, but those days are long gone. Seattle's suburbs are increasingly diverse, ethnically and economically. And fertile ground — since there's more untrammeled ground available —f or adventurous steps in urban planning and land use.

    Where would you even put a Walmart in Seattle, assuming you'd want one, and that they'd want to be here? No such problems in Bellevue, where there will soon be two. On the horizon at Factoria, a traditional Walmart superstore. And at the 15-acre Kelsey Creek Shopping Center, as of last Friday (June 29), a new style of Walmart called Neighborhood Market, kinder and gentler, that's basically a 60,000-square-foot supermarket.

    Anyone who's been to the Fred Meyer in Ballard understands the concept: half the store is filled with groceries, including produce, fresh meat, and dairy, plus wine, beer, and liquor, the other half with toys, sporting goods, electronics, baby gear, pet supplies, health and beauty products, clearning products, home appliances, and a pharmacy.

    Walmart didn't get to be the world's biggest retailer by ignoring its press clippings. They understand that they've got a bit of a reputation problem (oafish, tone-deaf, destroyer of small town storekeepers). So they do what they have to: hire local PR, and tell the positive side of the story. The manager started as a 19-year-old temp, never finished high school, worked his way up. Ten years later, he's got 100 people working for him. At decent (though clearly not cushy) wages, $12.93 an hour. Walmart employs almost 18,000 people in Washington and spent $2.5 billion on merchandise and services (supporting another 100,000 jobs). The company is also a leader in “green” construction and operations.

    Bellevue's average household income is $80,000, compared to a national average of $50,000, but the highest incomes are concentrated in the Gold Coast west of downtown (Clyde Hill, Medina, Yarrow Point). The regions south and east of downtown, where the new Walmarts are located, are less wealthy and more economically diverse, according to a report by Hebert Research.

    Walmart already has Seattle surrounded, with stores in Renton, Lynnwood, Federal Way, Everett, and Bremerton, but its analysts apparently saw an opportunity in two “underserved” zip codes (98006 and 98007) in particular. Since launching the smaller “Neighborhood” store concept 15 years ago, Walmart found, not surprisingly, that they tend to generate community support rather than opposition and, even better, that they outperform the traditional superstores.

    The Kelsey Creek shopping center (at 152nd and Main streets in Bellevue) has a patient landlord, PMF Investments. They own seven shopping centers in Washington (University Place, Edmonds, Kennewick), most of them anchored by chain supermarkets. But Kelsey Creek struggled on without an anchor tenant for nearly a decade after K-Mart decamped. “The demand just wasn't there,” PMF Executive Vice President Brian Franklin told me at the Walmart grand opening Friday.

    Several projects (including a prototype Costco Fresh concept) stumbled on environmental issues relating to Kelsey Creek itself, which runs under the shopping center's parking lot. “We would have had to daylight the creek,” Franklin said. “Instead, for this project, we installed giant swimming pools underground as water vaults to keep runoff from the parking lot out of the creek.”

    It's not that Bellevue is lacking in grocery stores, mind you. Crossroads Mall is only a mile away, and it's several times the size of the Kelsey Creek shopping center. Whole Foods has been on 116th for eight years now. The old Larry's Market on 120th has just morphed into a Total Beverage superstore; if you want to know why some of us think that it's a good thing the state is out of the liquor business, just walk down the vodka aisles. It's not about the price, it's about choices.

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    Posted Mon, Jul 2, 7:57 a.m. Inappropriate

    $12.25 an hour qualifies a worker for food stamps. From the Pike Place Market to upscale Bellevue, the economic growth in the PNW is done on the backs of the working poor.


    Posted Tue, Jul 3, 1:30 a.m. Inappropriate

    Full time $12.25 per hour, 35% above the minimum wage in Washington (which is the highest minimum wage in the nation) represents wages of $1,960 per month before taxes and does NOT qualify a worker for food stamps in this state. If the worker has one child and the job represents the household's only income, then the household qualifies for $16 per month in food stamps. If the worker has two children, then the household qualifies for $99 per month.

    These obviously aren't great jobs but let's not pretend they're bad jobs either.

    Moreover, ever consider that by providing lower prices than their competitors, Wal-Mart is able to benefit food stamp recipients by giving them access to more food for their obviously limited resources?


    Posted Mon, Jul 2, 10:20 a.m. Inappropriate

    The funny thing is that the very same people who complain about the wages, are not willing to put their own capital at risk, start a competitive business and pay their employees what they FEEL they are worth.


    Posted Mon, Jul 2, 1:53 p.m. Inappropriate

    @Cameron, no... but I spend more of my money at stores like Trader Joe's that treat their workers better and don't give Walmart my business, or a local company like Costco which manages to run a warehouse concept without resorting to business practices I disagree with.


    Posted Mon, Jul 2, 2:08 p.m. Inappropriate

    Exactly. Best to shop at stores that pay well, or are run by their owners.


    Posted Mon, Jul 2, 3:44 p.m. Inappropriate

    Feel free to stay away, easier shopping for everyone else, you will not be missed.


    Posted Mon, Jul 2, 3:46 p.m. Inappropriate

    It looks like Trader joes pays about the same as Walmart



    Posted Mon, Jul 2, 3:48 p.m. Inappropriate

    Gee even Costco is at the same level



    Posted Mon, Jul 2, 9:43 p.m. Inappropriate

    Why lie Cameron?

    YOUR SOURCE says Walmart's hourly sales associate averages $8.82 while Trader Joe's "crew member hourly" is $12.40. I'm not a glassdoor member and couldn't access a third company, but PayScale says hourly cashiers are $9.64 to $21.40 and stockers are $7.39 to $21.70.

    You must think we're morons.


    Posted Tue, Jul 3, 8:03 a.m. Inappropriate

    Forgot to say that the PayScale info was about Costco. Obviously way higher than Cameron suggested.


    Posted Tue, Jul 3, 10:47 a.m. Inappropriate

    Allow me to point out that Walmart has updated its information regarding the average wage of its workers in Washington. It is $12.93 an hour.

    Posted Tue, Jul 3, 12:24 p.m. Inappropriate

    Pay $18 an hour (with benefits)and see how many applicants you get with degrees in womens studies and romantic languages. At that wage most of the Walmart employees working the line now would have never been hired. It's called job gentrification.

    Fact is, Walmart offers opportunities for folks to build skills that they can apply to future employment. There'll likely be a time when they'll beat out applicants with a degrees in english lit and no practical skills or experience.

    Posted Tue, Jul 3, 12:47 p.m. Inappropriate

    Ronald, that would presumably include a lot of salaried people, higher ranking hourly, etc. Also the floor would be lower due to our higher minimum wage.

    Either way, I'll shop at my mom & pop corner store, the Pike Place Market, and Met Market.


    Posted Tue, Jul 3, 2:56 p.m. Inappropriate

    Best part about this is how the "progressive" Seattle City Council is going to pave the way for Wal-Mart's entry on our side of the lake, by raising the threshhold for environmental reviews of new developments from 30,000 sq. ft. to 70,000 sq. ft.

    The "new urbanists" are for it, too. Isn't it great to be "progressive?"


    Posted Tue, Jul 3, 5:32 p.m. Inappropriate

    Nice Walmart cheer-leading...er, "reporting" there, Ronald! Walmart must be pleased Crosscut got the word out about their fine new location...


    Posted Wed, Jul 4, 8:08 a.m. Inappropriate

    Thanks for your comment, beno. If Walmart was happy, so be it. Would you rather not hear about new business ventures? Or just ignore businesses you don't like? For the record, I haven't been to many Walmarts, since I live in downtown Seattle. Borrrowed a car, in fact, to get to Kelsey Creek. No River Styx to be crossed, fortunately.

    Posted Thu, Jul 5, 2:14 p.m. Inappropriate

    - Touche!
    Actually, if you could only write about things I'm interested in, that'd be grrrrrreaaaaaat, thaaaaanks...
    Not worried about the Styx ;), more worried that - as a country - we crossed the Rubicon years ago. Thanks for your polite reply!


    Posted Tue, Jul 3, 10:32 p.m. Inappropriate

    look...I'm no WalMart lover but how do folks ignore that this storefront sat empty for 10+ years and no other commercial entity could figure out how to make a "go" of things? Let's just say you're on the leftish, pro-environment, pro-labor side of things - - - Costco, and others, bailed on this place 'cause the environmental remediation costs were too high for their spreadsheets. (and I luv Costco).

    its not realistic to think the property owners were going to return this asphalt parking lot to the nearest representation of virgin forest - jus' not happenin' ...and if that was your desired outcome and you thought it might happen then please, please, please will you share with me some of your happy drugs? please?

    So WalMart figured out how do to development that was, according to the urban planners, careful of and respectful to the local environment. God forbid "LA Fitness" moved in next door and you know we just have to hate them 'cause they have "LA" in the name and there is spandex in what those people wear!!

    Look...I get hatin' on WalMart 'cause they turn farmland into parking lots and ruin the town centers of places in Kansas, Nebraska, and rural Michigan. But Kelsey Creek in Bellevue ain't that! And so what if they are competing with QFC, Safeway, or Albertsons for grocery business? who cares? respectively those are all super corporations HQ'd in Cincinnati, Pleasonton (CA), and Boise. Not like they are putting local companies out of business!

    personally I am gonna' go check out WalMart this week. they couldn't possibly be worse than my local Albertsons where the employees are nice and the groceries are expensive and pretty sub-par. and please don't get me started about Whole Paycheck...please!

    Posted Tue, Jul 3, 10:36 p.m. Inappropriate

    and...ohhh...@ mhays: we don't have mom-n-pop stores here. The evil BelSquare developers and their political minions, starting in the 1950's, made sure of that. You can't get a cup of coffee over here without driving two miles. You don't dare walk - there are no sidewalks.

    Posted Wed, Jul 4, 5:45 a.m. Inappropriate

    Mhays works for developers...just not Walmart developers. He likes density, no parking and forced transit usage. I look forward to his leading protests at the new Bellevue Walmart, fighting employment competitive wages and free enterprise one store at a time. Tell us again how the average wage you stated for a Walmart employee is less than the minimum wage at the Bellevue store in Washington State?


    Posted Wed, Jul 4, 12:11 p.m. Inappropriate

    Cameron you're a pathological liar.

    I don't work for developers. I work for a general contractor. You know this yet keep repeating it.

    I've never argued for no parking, though I have argued that it should be up to the developer to decide, in some neighborhoods.

    As for Walmart, I'm sure those with a pulse can figure it out.


    Posted Wed, Jul 4, 12:14 p.m. Inappropriate

    And "forced transit usage"? Name a time I said that or anything remotely like that.

    Cameron, have you ever posted a non-lie?


    Posted Thu, Jul 5, 6:36 a.m. Inappropriate

    If you can't park a car, you force transit usage. Who does your General contractor work for...Developers? Distinction without a difference. As for Walmart, they will do just fine in Bellevue without you.

    So tell us all again how quoting an hourly average wage that is below the Washington State minimum wage for the Bellevue store, Misrepresenting it as what is being paid, is not a lie?
    "YOUR SOURCE says Walmart's hourly sales associate averages $8.82"

    From the author "Allow me to point out that Walmart has updated its information regarding the average wage of its workers in Washington. It is $12.93 an hour."


    Posted Thu, Jul 5, 6:45 a.m. Inappropriate

    Is this you mhays?

    mhays Says:

    November 3rd, 2009 at 12:36 pm
    Realistically, Seattle can do with traffic as the UW has done with parking — in the face of population growth (or student/staff growth at UW), we simply don’t add road capacity, much as the UW didn’t add more parking. Meanwhile Seattle should continue to add transit (more agressively than we are now) and support density rather than sprawl (again, mirroring the UW’s approach). Over a certain period (mid-80s to mid-90s?), the UW grew from a daily 40,000 people to 50,000, without adding parking. This reflected a dramatic shift in travel modes.

    Gas prices will rise as usage grows with the economy, and demand will fall long-term in response. However, much of this will be fuel efficient cars, not different modes or closer workplaces. Those will be factors, but not on even remotely the scale of 99. I suspect that reduced miles will simply offset our population gain.

    Andrew, I suspect you mean 2,900 buses for $3 billion, assuming a little over a million each. We should dramatically expand bus service in Seattle through a Seattle-only measure. In general, buses work if Downtown streets aren’t dominated by traffic headed from Tukwila to Green Lake.

    Sounds like no parking and forcing people on to transit to me.


    Posted Thu, Jul 5, 10:51 a.m. Inappropriate

    You seem to have a cognitive issue.

    Even the UW has parking. When I've ridden with people driving to the UW, parking is easy. Per the 2010 U-Pass report, there was a higher percentage of unused spaces then vs. before the U-Pass.

    I already addressed the Walmart wage issue. Did you not see the part about the larger figure including managers, etc.? As for the minimum wage, that only means the floor is a little higher. Even you must be able to grasp that this would affect all firms, and there can still be a large disparity between firms.

    As for the 2009 post, more cognitive problems for you. A lower parking ratio doesn't mean no parking. Since my topic then was road capacity (arguing to keep it rather than reduce it...over your head apparently) it's sort of like the fact that roads still exist even when we're not building more of them.

    Think first. You might like it.


    Posted Fri, Jul 6, 6:08 a.m. Inappropriate

    Bottom line, you are for no additional parking and forcing people on to transit, it's clear to everyone who reads your writings. Are you still insisting that Walmart is paying, on any average using any group/groups of employees at the Bellevue Washington store, less than the State minimum wage? LCL must be proud.


    Posted Fri, Jul 6, 6:16 a.m. Inappropriate

    You really do have a pattern of supporting little or no parking ( particularly for poor people and students apparently)

    "mhays 1 comment

    Seattle is moving in the right direction. Downtown doesn't require parking, and hasn't for a long time. In 2006, the City reduced parking requirments in certain other districts also. Developers will still build parking, but they'll limit it to roughly the number they think the residents will want -- they have strong incentive to get the ratio right. In a high-end building that might be 1.2 or 1.5. In mid-priced buildings it might be 0.5 or 0.8. Low-income housing often has no parking.

    Bob, if the spots were roomy, they'd cost more.

    A Like Reply 4 years ago 0 Like "
    F .


    Posted Fri, Jul 6, 8:15 a.m. Inappropriate

    Use your brain Cameron.

    I'm for parking. Just not forced requirements. Try again.


    Posted Fri, Jul 6, 10:50 a.m. Inappropriate

    "we simply don’t add road capacity, much as the UW didn’t add more parking." Were you wrong then, or now?


    Posted Fri, Jul 6, 11:14 a.m. Inappropriate

    You're not going to understand, and other people presumably do. So not much point in reiterating.


    Posted Fri, Jul 6, 4:14 p.m. Inappropriate

    I'd say Cameron won that little exchange. mhays is obviously one of the developer-shill urbanistas who hates cars and wants to force people onto mass transit.


    Posted Fri, Jul 6, 10:41 p.m. Inappropriate

    Like minds think alike? Can't be!


    Posted Sun, Jul 8, 8:25 a.m. Inappropriate

    Whatever is good for Developers is good for Lease Crutcher Lewis.


    Posted Sun, Jul 8, 8:27 a.m. Inappropriate

    Like minds think alike? Can't be!


    Posted Sun, Jul 8, 12:43 p.m. Inappropriate

    Interesting exchange, but I like WalMart because I can find those Extra Plus Plus Plus sizes there. No more tent and awning stores for me!

    Posted Sun, Jul 8, 2:45 p.m. Inappropriate

    And who are you Cameron? Still hiding your identity? That's normally fine but since you're focusing on mine...


    Posted Mon, Jul 9, 12:24 p.m. Inappropriate

    mhays, he's not "focusing on your identity." Face it, you've been whipped. Maybe you like it, given that you're coming back for more.


    Posted Tue, Jul 10, 2:27 p.m. Inappropriate

    Says the guy from the same team.

    And Cameron is still hiding.


    Posted Fri, Sep 28, 7:19 p.m. Inappropriate

    I visited this Walmart 3 times this week. STAY AWAY! Their customer service sucks! Customer service and store employees will not help you when you ask for help. I have never experience employees like these at other Walmart.

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