uvillageCrate.jpg
People are still crazy enough to drive to this place?
There's the city of Seattle we like to think we live in--the place where progressive

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Expansion of University Village Shopping Center Making it Impossible to See All the Places to Shop

uvillageCrate.jpg
People are still crazy enough to drive to this place?
There's the city of Seattle we like to think we live in--the place where progressive urban ideals are creating walkable communities in which people choose (as the bumper sticker says) to Be More, Consume Less.

And then there's the reality, as embodied by the latest fight over expansion--yes, another expansion--at the University Village shopping center.

Right in the heart of Northeast Seattle, where enlightened attitudes about recycling and transportation reign, the owners of U Village find they just cannot supply enough new stores and new parking spaces. Barely five years after the last major redevelopment at the center--which added a 32,000-square-foot Crate & Barrel and an 820-stall parking garage (seen above)--U Village put forward yet another expansion plan in 2008. This one would more than double the shopping center's total square footage and include, among other things, six stories of parking, adding 500 new spaces.

Last time around, the developers' plans were opposed by nearby residents whose views would be blocked by the new garage.

This time the opposition comes from other retailers, who say consumers' view of them will be blocked.

The Seattle Times reports that QFC has sued the U Village developers, complaining that the big new structures proposed for in front of their grocery store will basically throw them into the shadows. The six-story parking will result in "serious negative impacts to the QFC store," they contend. Personally I was unaware that the QFC was not part of U Village, but apparently they're separate, with a long-running agreement to work together.

It was probably inevitable that the explosion of retail at U Village would start to obscure retail itself. QFC--which is actually looking to expand at the site, too, according to the Times--should just be thankful there's nothing like the Dubai Towers going up yet. Because it's only a matter of time.

 
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