Once an ambitious development, Promenade 23 sale to large Texas trust pending

Aspirations for the Promenade 23 shopping center at 23rd and Jackson once included a two-block development complete with sky bridge. This vision was lead by a young Jimmy Sumler, who owned the property along with his father in the 50s and 60s, according to George Staggers of the Central Area Development Association (CADA). Today, the shopping center may not have a sky bridge, but it is an economic hub of the Central District. It is also on the verge of being sold to Weingarten Realty Investors, a large real estate investment trust based out of Houston, Texas.

After costs for a shopping center soared, David Best joined Sumler as a partner in Promenade 23. The section of the center south of Jackson, which now houses Red Apple, was developed in the late 70s. However, the development of the north section would not get moving until the early 90s, after John Miller joined Sumler and Best as a partner in the 80s.

The shopping center then developed into what it is today. Along the way, the Starbucks on the northeast corner of 23rd and Jackson became the first standalone Starbucks in the country, said Staggers. CADA, which formed in 1994, is now a 1 percent owner of the property.

But at the start of the new century, ownership of the property began to change. Sumler passed away, and his interest in the property was split among his heirs. A few years later, Best passed, as well. For the past couple years, Promenade 23 has been looking for a buyer.

Weingarten owns 70 million square feet of property in 21 states, according to their website. In Seattle, they own Rainier Square Plaza at Rainier Ave and S Charleston St. in the Mt. Baker/Columbia City area (where Safeway and Ross Dress For Less are located). The acquisition of Promenade is set to close at the end of March.

There were local buyers interested in the property, and it is unclear how much emphasis was placed on selling locally. CADA is asking residents to let the new ownership know what they would like to see from the shopping center. Attempts to contact Weingarten and Promenade 23 Associates have been unsuccessful.

0 thoughts on “Once an ambitious development, Promenade 23 sale to large Texas trust pending

  1. not sure how long red apple is locked in on their lease, but getting rid of red apple and replacing it with a metropolitan market would be a great start to more upscale businesses.

    the SBUX and Walgreens are great existing anchors.

  2. Seems like I’m always jumping in to defend the Red Apple…

    I know it’s not Met Market or Whole Foods. Those places are great. I’m not blind to the difference. But I’ve always found the Red Apple to have 90% of what I want, and it’s staffed by friendly people who will happily order specialty items if you ask. The produce, despite what folks might say, is fine–and they have a passable organic section, too. If you shop there often, you’ll see some customers using platinum credit cards, and some using WIC coupons. I like that it feels like a neighborhood store, not a glossy upscale chain.

    Red Apple is not> upscale, that’s true. It’s a little grittier than the Laurelhurst QFC. Maybe it’s keeping the shopping center from becoming Wallingford South. Still, let’s not lay all of Promenade 23’s problems at the foot of the Red Apple, anchor tenant or no. (Has the fancy Safeway at 23rd and Madison brought in a lot of small retail and made that corner a destination?)

  3. Oops. Sorry about the underlining above. I screwed up and meant to turn if off. Oh well.

    Tom, or some admin, maybe in a spare minute you could go close my underline tag…

  4. Unfortunately, editing comments can’t be done. If you register an account, you will be able to edit your future comments.

  5. I have to agree with Neighbor, the people who work in the Red Apple are very nice, they have a decent selection, they keep it clean and if there’s criminal activity in that area I can’t see how the Red Apple is in any way responsible for it. How can you rag on the Red Apple when we have the “Gross Out” in the same ‘hood? Now that is a certified non-upscale scene…which is just fine, we are a diverse neighborhood and we need diverse grocery stores.

  6. I agree with Neighbor as well. Red Apple is a good, convenient neighborhood grocery, with nice employees and fantastic music. That said, I would like an awesome grocery store somewhere nearby. QFC, my old standby, has been Kroger-ized. Can’t go there anymore. Safeway is still Safeway, and is where I now do my main shopping, but the selection and quality is lame for a store that size. What we need, far more than a Metropolitan Market (even though they are great) is a Town and Country Market. A big one. Amazing quality and selection for a decent price.

  7. There are two thread on this.
    I am not necessarily advocating for Red Apple be replaced and am advocating for a more organic choice to be available.

    While Madison Market is not too far and is pretty good, it is small. There are some interesting choices in the International District. Still the areas of 23rd and E. Union and S. Jackson should be able to offer more choice, especially in organic food for the area. At least Promenade already has the Starbucks where people congregate. Now it seems like the challenge is to find a list of businesses that fit together to make it a destination for different types of shopping and errands during a time that many businesses are shrinking the number of stores that they want to operate.

    Fred Meyer would be offer some interest for many items but not in the grocery department. Something like Madison Market or PSC or even Whole Foods would give the need diversity of offerings.

    A substantial survey would help to determine the other stores. I also notice that a number of places ask for a zip code when you shop there. I am wondering if that helps the business determine locations that might be of interest. The store that offers specific products primarily serving the African American community definitely has a substantial clientele.

  8. Lets not allow this project to get hijacted and potential needed development ruined which happened at the goodwill site. We need a good food store, and other retail amenities. I go with Wholefoods, or a Fred Meyer like the one in Ballard.
    Can’t wait to hear the results of this post.

  9. I agree in general, but I’m fine with Fred Meyer groceries. They could add special sections geared to local taste.

  10. I shop at Red Apple occasionally, but only because it is convenient; prices are higher than you’ll find at Safeway or Trader Joe’s (my haunt for everything but produce). I wouldn’t hold my breath for Whole Foods; even with gentrification, too much of the CD can’t afford it.

    Weingarten is a big business with stockholders. That gives me hope that it will do something other than stand pat and watch space like Hollywood Video sit vacant.

  11. different from Red Apple? It has been a long time since I even looked at Food at a Fred Meyer and usually shop Fred Meyer for other items and so am having a difficult time understanding the ask for Fred Meyer for groceries. Madison Market, QFC, Safeway, PCC, Whole Foods, Grocery Outlet and sometimes Trader Joe’s are the places I think of for groceries. I don’t like all the packaging at Trader Joe’s.

  12. Fred Meyers has pretty good quality, reasonable prices and the Ballard store has a good organics section.

  13. Basically the same grocery wise, your customer card will work at both places, and get your $.10/gal discount at Shell stations. :)

  14. Fred Meyer would presumably want to have the full concept – groceries, clothing, garden, etc. Current Red Apple footprint is too small, but with redevelopment of the whole site it could work. The indoor spaces under the stairs are useless and could be eliminated. Adding the non-foods to the neighborhood would be great.

    Personally because my routine takes me to Shoreline frequently, on grocery shopping day I come south on Hwy 99: Costco, Central Market, Pike Place Market, and sometimes West Seattle [Metropolitan mkt and Bakery Nouveaux]. But nice to have Red Apple when needed.

  15. “The store that offers specific products primarily serving the African American community definitely has a substantial clientele”
    Here is a shocker for you Joanna, African Americans like the same good food that all other races like! This comment is patronizing. I remember when the Red Apple store first took over from Tradewell ( a great store years ago). The little red neck from Kent who was the new store manager told a group of community members that they would be selling primary “African American food” like fried chicken and watermelon. A prominent African American woman stood up and said that she prefered organic foods, excellent wine and cheese selections,a large varied meat and seafood market and a large imported foods section. The group appaluded and the manager did not know what to say next. He did admit to a few of us that it would be a “food stamp” store and that is what it is. High priced bad produce and limited variety of foods and all the earmarks of racist sterotyping and price gougeing of those who have needed financial assistance. The sooner Red Apple is out of there the better. Go visit the Fred Meyer in Ballard. Excellent organic and non-organic produce and foods at a very afforable price.

  16. What would be really wonderful for the world at 23rd and Jefferson – if when and if this site gets re-developed – if the owner thought… wow.. we could get a lot more customers if we had the street car coming to this corner of the world, so they work with SDOT and throw down some serious $$$ to get the street car extended from 17th and Yesler to this site. Yes; that would be wonderful.

  17. Why not ask a question about which store I mean? I don’t mean a grocery or other store. There is a hair supply type store in Promenade that has a substantial clientele and should probably remain. If I failed to acknowledge that all people want good fresh food and many of the same things I apologize. Please ask which store I meant rather than jumping to conclusions. I won’t say anything more on a blog as it is the discussion would work better one on one.
    The store that offers specific products primarily serving the African American community definitely has a substantial clientele”

  18. Eyes, why not ask a question about which store I mean? Maybe I picture you as a white male who would be unaware of this store. I don’t mean a grocery or other store. There is a hair supply type store in Promenade that has a substantial clientele and should probably remain. If I failed to acknowledge that all people want good fresh food and many of the same things I apologize. Please ask which store I mean rather than jumping to conclusions. I won’t say anything more on a blog as it is the discussion like this go better in oral conversations.
    re:”The store that offers specific products primarily serving the African American community definitely has a substantial clientele”

  19. I’ve joked about Red Apple being a store that serves a quasi captive population in that only those that are transportationally challenged would shop there for higher priced goods and substandard produce when better quality can be had for less at Safeway a couple of miles down the road.

    Red Apple… are you reading this? You were my first grocery in Seattle until I bought a car and could go elsewhere.

  20. Not hating on Red Apple But I think they should put a Winco Food Store there so you do not have to drive all the way to Kent to go grocery shopping. Winco has the best prices on most of the grocery items.

  21. you can’t be serious – if that is what you want go to the Grocery Outlet on Pike/Pine & MLK. Let us try and make the area better – not worse.

    Fred Meyer – while that would be nice, don’t count on it – many of the same folks that didn’t want that goodwill project to go on Rainier will object to something of a Fred Meyer on 23rd & Jackson. I don’t understand peoples’ tunnel vision and fear when it comes to development. Don’t be afraid of development welcome it – look at Columbia City 10 years ago that area was a pit, now it is a hub and dare I say destination.

  22. I agree with Jay about the Winco (yuck). Those of us that would like to see some postitive development need to be as vocal as those that didn’t want the Goodwill Development. Give me a grocery store with fresh produce and extensive chease meat and fish department and I would be happy. Maybe Top Food/Haggens would venture down south. Not as nice as whole foods but I think better than QFC and a local Bellingham Company.

  23. 14th & Jackson you mean? Current route would have it turning there to loop around Gatzert and go up to Broadway on Yesler. You’d want a line that ran east on Jackson to 23rd, or MLK.

  24. Jay, you’ll note Columbia City doesn’t have a Fred Meyer. And seems to be doing really well.

    It’s not fear of development. It’s a particular *style* of development, which is what the Goodwill project would have been. Big box retail (and the all-in-one Fred Meyer is basically that) depends on a whole host of things based on cheap energy that aren’t going to last.

  25. I’m not being facetious. Why would a big chain (Fred Meyer, Top Food, Whole Foods, etc.) want that location? Look at the surrounding demographics ($) and the relative proximity of a bunch of other options. Seriously, give me a business plan for one of these outfits to want that Red Apple space. Just because you *wish* they would come…

  26. Winco is AWESOME for we poor people trying to feed our children. Grocery Outlet is only so-so. One cannot by any means do all their shopping there, while at Winco one can, and for 1/3rd the price. If you want high-end grocery stores there are plenty on Cap Hill and in Mad Park.

  27. Fred Meyer beats the pants off the prices for groceries at Trader Joe’s, QFC, Safeway, PCC, etc.

  28. And since their other stuff is great, it’s easier, cheaper, and greener to buy it all, including groceries, in one stop.

  29. Perhaps some want a Fred Meyer so they can drive there and get all their shopping done in one trip.

    I would prefer a shopping district that includes many restaurants, services, and retail options. A destination that we could walk to so that we could get dinner, do some shopping, maybe a cocktail. Isn’t this what Columbia City has? or Broadway on Cap Hill? Even 12th Ave is getting their act together. A place that people go to to be out in the community?

    Here in the CD we can’t get past getting our lettuce for $.25 less or finding a place that we can drive to.

    Its time to re-imagine the CD and think of 23rd and Jackson as a hub of community, not just a place we drive to so we can get home quicker with our pop tarts…

  30. A Top Food/Haggen development would be unlikely. They’ve been closing a lot of stores in the last year. I don’t see that happening.

  31. Do not let the person, and it really just one, try to stop it. Majority rules and if a majority want Fred Meyer we will get it. Just make sure the hearing examiner knows that those who try and stop it are in the minority. We can not let our neighborhood be held down by fanatics!

  32. Yes look at the demographics. If you did any reserach you will see that the area has changed dramatically. the income level has changed dramatically and is at par with the surrounding lakeside communities.

  33. Who said anything about driving! We can walk bike ride. We need a Fred Meyer type development we are not Capitol Hill. You sound like the person who opposed the Goodwill Development and further ruined our neighborhood. Save the pop tart and lettuce guilt crap it does not work anymore, idiot.

  34. Hey John S

    If you look at sustainable developments a big box development does not have to be a carbon loading energy suck. There are examples of large stores that are supported by both PV cells, geothermal and/or wind power and are not car centric. Big box can be a starter that grows smaller retail around it. A great example is the famous west harbor area of Malmo Sweden. I have toured that carbon neutral development and guess what, they have a big box that supports retail needs. The car centric issue is the primary carbon loading fear of these type of retail developments. Given the context of the site and the direction DPD is heading on parking requirements a good LEED design can make this big box development of a Fred Meyer very sustainable.

  35. While there was legitimate concern and opinions on all sides, no one person really stopped the development. Funding simply was not available. I have very mixed feelings about big box retailers with the necessary parking etc. Often they feel dominate in a smaller neighborhood and rather suburban. Maybe because this is urban, the design seems like it should include something that is appealing as a walking destination, along with some parking, of course. On balance people want some an anchor or two which tend to be larger but do not have to be the very big box retailer, but as a complement then something that will attract the neighborhood to spend some time is nice. I remember enjoying 15th Avenue when the the People’s Garden and Hardware store was there. Really I don’t think anyone wants mainly stores that attract people to drive in and drive out and sort of make the neighborhood in general seem to be a a drive through. This was an issue when Starbucks arrived, and they listened and designed the shop as a place to stop, not as a drive through.

  36. After the community worked out a plan and legal agreement with Ravenhurst Development for the Goodwill site to be developed, one person came up with a different community name and took the developer back to the hearing examinier and tied up the project. The economy tanked later but who knows if the deveolpment would have been sucessful. This person does not play well with others, opposes whatever they do not like and has the financial ability to do it. We can not have our chances for economic development destroyed, like the Goodwill site, on some whims of one person.

  37. JohnS

    I am not in favor of a Fred Meyer, but if it is between FM and Red Apple, I favor FM. You are correct, Columbia City doesn’t have a big box retailer and it is doing great – the 23rd & Jackson area doesn’t need a big box retailer, but it does need some improvement. Why not another Columbia City bakery | Macrina somewhere along 23rd & 29th. All Purpose Pizza could you some help with other “higher” end establishments. Taco del Mar and Subway (I eat and love both places), but one cannot live on wraps and subs alone.

    Those parents who are dropping off their kids in the morning at Washington Middle and Seattle Girls School would love an alternative to SBUX in the mornings, I am pretty sure of that.

    That area may not be the right place for a big nat’l box retailer, but for a Metro Market or even PCC, Madison Market – there IS a market for those places. As far as demographics go – I am sure Madison Valley, Madrona, Leschi residents east of 29th would frequent such markets – even dare I say Madison Park b/c the Red Apple at Madison Park is no better than the one at 23rd & Jackson.

  38. The Goodwill development being thrown into this discussion is like comparing apples and oranges – unless anyone really sees a developer trying to shoehorn something in there that doesn’t fit into the space without significant design departures and that would rely on regionally drawing huge volumes of car traffic in in order to stay afloat. As a neighbor I followed the Goodwill issue closely, and I did not see unnecessary obstruction of appropriately scaled development on the site. Unfortunately for the Goodwill, the development (which, as Joanna mentioned, was largely stopped by the economy) was really not appropriate for the site – and I attended a couple of meetings at which the intransigence was coming from the developer more than from those holding his toes to the fire in design review meetings and on the land use code. Getting back to the point – everyone who was involved in the Goodwill issue seemed to agree that development is necessary for our neighborhood – and that, in particular, quality grocery options nearby would be a great thing. This would be something that people could walk to, bike to, drive to – but that would not require tens of thousands of additional car trips into our neighborhood per day to make happen. The problem at the Goodwill wasn’t the neighborhood amenities like grocery stores – it was the vast square footage of other chain stores (the likes of which are already located nearby, downtown) that came along with them.

  39. There were alot who thought the development proposed for the site WAS appropriate. Revenhurst gave into alot of requests. you seem to be twisting the truth. Yes and diffrence in scale but the same issue of what the CD neighborhoods need and shallow reactionary NIMBY power trips to hijack any development plans remain. Your comments clearly show that!

  40. And someone needs to figure out how that gets paid for. Sound Transit’s line won’t do it. The City’s erstwhile streetcar network has other higher priorities (Fremont, Ballard, U District) and no $$.

  41. Jay, I don’t disagree that there’s a lot of potential for 23rd/Jackson, and I’m definitely curious to hear what the new owners want to do. The current design is auto-centric to a fault – and I don’t share eyes’ optimism on parking requirements, based on way too much time spent on that issue in the past. Anything that goes in there should take advantage of what’s left of the neighborhood going up to MLK, and attempt to become more of a destination, IMO.

  42. So what if it’s not as new and fancy as Safeway or Whole Foods? You can get anything there that you can get anywhere else, MINUS the crowds, pretension and parking lot mess. We, personally, LOVE Red Apple and do much of our shopping there. The checkout people are wonderful, friendly and courteous – the only other place we go is Trader Joe’s. All you anti-Red Apple people need to get a grip and see things other than the exterior. Could it use a makeover? Sure. Does that really matter? Not in the least. To suggest a Target, Fred Meyer or other fancy chain is absurd.

  43. inthecd, I’d say you have it about right. It’s not about “shallow reactionary NIMBY” anything. I know you can build big box retail that at the store level isn’t a carbon suck, but the model typically depends on car trips (and we won’t talk about cheap stuff shipped from China). None of that is sustainable. If we’re going to see new development in the neighborhood – and no doubt that can bring lots of new things!! – then let’s try to make sure that what we get will still make sense 20 years from now.

    The developer at the Goodwill site had experience with suburban shopping malls, and that was one of his biggest flaws. He never really got the neighborhood, urban design needs and constraints, or housing.

  44. Why is everybody hating on putting a winco in the cd the working poor and less fortunate or those who rely on ebt would love it to get there grocerys at a good price. If you want whole foods or trader joe’s go to capitial hill or the north end this is the cd we are talking about here. I think WINCO FOODS would be great for the area and it is not even close to grocery outlet.

  45. I want to love Red Apple but they frequently sell expired perishable food products. I’ve seen piles of rotting tomatoes with fruit flies buzzing over them, which I had to alert the manager to. I’ve also seen expired milk, yogurt, etc. lining the shelfs. I agree the staff is friendly but would prefer a store that offered greater selection and better managed their perishable food products.

  46. I’ve seen expired yogurt and similar items at QFC too, but only occasionally, and of course I did tell the manager.

  47. Your right, Red Apple is what I stated earlier and a previous manager stated, a food stamp ghetto store that sells out dated and rotting food at high prices. A typical raciest example of a store that preys on those who can ot travel far and have limited finances. We need a real store for all. Fred Meyers is one that fits the need.

  48. …for something other than Safeway (crap parking and limited selection), QFC on rainier (crap parking, not really CD, and better, but not by much, selection), or the Red Apple (great parking but sub-par produce and don’t even get me started on the meat/deli options) within a mile or two of my CD house.

    Whole Foods, while a delicious but expensive fantasy, isn’t right for the neighborhood. Met Market would be the best option for this area in my opinion and could cater to residents of every financial make up. The one in West Seattle is by far my favorite grocery store in town – great selection, amazing deli and prepared foods, awesome wine, and priced better than Whole Foods.

    An anchor like that would draw a really strong following for other retail businesses that could meet the needs of the very diverse community that calls the CD home.

    Red Apple is just languishing. The money, and the jobs that could come from that money being spent, is leaving our neighborhood our community is worse for it.

    I’m hoping for the best with the new owners of this property and am anxious to see how quickly they will redevelop. Worst case scenario is they sit on it as-is for several more years. Not sure their track record with rehab style projects on existing developments out of state.


  49. You are right, they would not locate to 23rd & Jackson – some folks just don’t get it. Like those that are pro-Winco, come’on – it would be another Grocery Outlet.

    Here here for Metropol. Market – now, how do we get their attention?

  50. If Fred Meyer is not possible, Metropolitan Market would be my second choice.

  51. Metropolitan Market would be something awesome – I am a big fan of the one in lower QA. I agree it would cater to all the demographics from the high end Denny Blaine and Valley people to working stiffs like me that live only a few blocks in small modest homes blocks away from the site.

  52. Just put a WINCO FOODS THERE and problem solved it is a locally employee owned company why not support them quit hating on WINCO it would be a great fit in the CD. Especially for the poor and less fortunate people who cannot afford the “HIGH END STORES” like Trader Joe’s , Whole Foods , And Met Market. IF none the less then put an Alberson’s there has they are so far away for everybody.

  53. Actually their own brand 360 degree is quite reasonable and less expensive than most of the other organic brands available. I don’t know WINCO, but from other comments I my perception is that it would not have anything to offer beyond what is already available.

  54. I agree – I love the diversity of foods stocked to match the diversity of the neighborhood – (including organics). The prices are comparable to other grocery stores – sales prices are always better than full price at all of them. It is the perfect size/scale for the area, too. Why not work with Red Apple to improve their selection?

  55. How is WINCO different or an improvement over Red Apple? My thought was that the group was desiring to know which of the current businesses are supported and what types of services and retail should be added. Red Apple has a following. Why would it not remain?

  56. Trader Joes “high end”. Have you ever been there???!!?? They are very resonable. I have been to a Winco and they are awful! Demographics have changed we can afford better.

  57. I would support a Metropolitian Market. The west Seattle one is great just too far to travel. It would bring other small businesses to the area as well!