According to Ridgefield City Manager Steve Stuart, in the city’s 2015 Community Survey, a grocery store was identified as the number one priority for enhancing quality of life in Ridgefield.
“The key is quality,” Stuart said. “The city worked with a national retail recruiting firm – Buxton – to identify and recruit grocers who fit the unique quality that our residents expect – both in product and design. Rosauers was at the top of our list.”
On Feb. 28, the City and the Port of Ridgefield together announced that a new retail development center that includes the Rosauers Supermarket will move forward on a portion of the port’s Discovery Ridge property at the southeast corner of the roundabout at 45th and Pioneer streets.
Rosauers Supermarkets is a wholly-owned subsidiary of URM Stores, headquartered in Spokane, Wash. There are 21 Rosauers stores in the region. The Ridgefield location will be the company’s first store in western Washington.
According to a news release from the City and Port of Ridegefield, President and CEO of Rosauers Jeff Philipps said he believes area residents will enjoy having a local grocery store that offers a full complement of products and services.
“In addition to national and store brand groceries, you’ll find a pharmacy with a drive-thru option, scratch bakery, full-service meat counter, and a fresh deli/bistro with natural and organic salads, meats and cheeses, as well as prepared home-meal offerings and brick oven pizza,” Philipps said.
He added that the stores also carry a full selection of traditional and organic produce, and have a separate department called “Huckleberry’s” focused solely on natural and organic refrigerated, frozen and packaged goods.
“We’re also big on service, and creating an outstanding customer and grocery shopping experience that will include on-line shopping and curbside grocery pickup,” Philipps said.
At a regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 28, the Port of Ridgefield Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a Purchase and Sale Agreement between the port and holding company Discovery Ridge LLC, for around nine acres of the 30-acre site, paving the way for the development of the 53,000-square-foot, full-service Rosauers grocery store with a fueling station. Discovery Ridge LLC will contract the project to FDM Development, owned by Ridgefield-based developer Dean Maldonado.
Maldonado said that the retail development center that includes the grocery store has come from years worth of work, and they are hoping to break ground on the project this coming June.
“The city has been great to help us expedite this thing,” Maldonado said. “We’ve had several pre-construction meetings with them already. We need to get through the 45-day SEPA period and public comment, but we’re hoping during the first couple of weeks of June to start moving dirt.”
Maldonado said he is hopeful that the Rosauers store will be open sometime during the first quarter of 2019. The grocery store isn’t all that will be included in the new retail development, though. Maldonado’s project goals also include additional phases of a larger retail project, with the longer term goal of acquiring and developing all but seven acres of the port’s 30-acre parcel in subsequent phases, pending port approval. One acre of the port’s seven retained acres will be leased to Rosauers for its fuel station.
“There will be four stages, four buildings,” said Maldonado, who is responsible for several other local projects , including Tri-Mountain Plaza and Battle Ground City Hall. “Our intent is to work with the port, we will be doing a lot of private/public work. People don’t want to build unless they have services. With the private/public, I can bring services and residential development and then I can bring you (the city) office and other basic-wage jobs.”
Once the new retail development is complete, Maldonado said there will be offices available, additional financial institutions, coffee shops, medical/dental offices, space for investment businesses and insurance businesses and more.
Maldonado, who is a Ridgefield resident himself, said that he understands how growth works in small towns, having grown up in small towns all of his life.
“You’re not going to stop growth, so let’s do this as a group,” Maldonado said. “It’s coming, so let’s make sure we do it together. We can do this as a community and I really think it (the new retail development) is going to help. Right now, I have to go seven miles either way to get groceries. This (new grocery store) pacifies some of the traffic. You won’t have people zipping down the highway to go get their groceries. It pacifies your growth and also brings something local – it’s your café, it’s your pub.”
The benefits of growth
Nelson Holmberg, vice president of innovation at the Port of Ridgefield, emphasized how important these kinds of retail developments are to economic and job growth.
“With the pace of growth in Ridgefield, a shopping complex with a grocery anchor like this was really needed, for obvious reasons,” Holmberg said. “But it’s also important to recognize that site selectors for companies looking for a new place to land businesses heavily weigh things like a community’s amenities. These kinds of features are as important to economic and job growth as premier schools, affordable housing and outstanding infrastructure are. Features like a top-notch grocery store and shopping options within the community attract qualified workforce that does not want to sit in traffic on the interstate when they commute to and from work.”
Stuart said this new retail development project will bring 250 direct on-site jobs during construction; 50 jobs at businesses located in the center with full occupancy; an estimated $3.2 million in one-time sales tax revenue, primarily benefiting the state of Washington but with close to $320,000 received by the city – over the multi-year period of development; and an estimated $2.2 million per year in added property and sales tax revenues to affected jurisdictions, including nearly $220,000 to the city of Ridgefield (as estimated in 2017 dollars).
“This project helps implement the city’s vision,” Stuart said. “The 45th and Pioneer Subarea Plan identifies the area for high-quality, neighborhood-oriented services, transitioning east to broader employment uses, and transitioning west, north and south to residential neighborhoods. The port property is a key piece of delivering both retail and broader job development in the subarea.”
Work on an additional mixed-use development will be going on right across the way from the retail development that includes the grocery store, as a project that will develop approximately 40 acres at the southwest corner of the roundabout at Pioneer Street and 45th Avenue begins this year.
The development, spearheaded by developer Ron Edwards, will include about 300 apartments, a new city park and a commercial development aspect. Edwards said he and his development partner, Tom Files of Braley-Gray in Vancouver, are both working equally to put the commercial project together. He said they hope to break ground on the project later toward the end of this year. Files and Edwards are currently calling the development Pioneer Village.
Edwards said the commercial aspect of this project will include a fitness studio, hair salon, offices that will be used for insurance companies, medical, etc. There will be a drive-thru coffee business, as well as a bank and small tower building micro-apartments above commercial space. They are also planning on having a farmers market building where they will hold a year-round farmers market. Edwards also said they have already had a restaurant/bar that has signed a letter of intent. An indoor sports complex is also something that will most likely be a part of the development.
Edwards said they are thinking the project will probably be in several phases, with the first buildings completed in mid 2019.
“As a developer, you see it’s (Ridgefield) an underserved market for services,” Edwards said. “Tenants are expressing an interest to go there and they have no place to go. As a developer, you want to go where there’s a market. In Ridgefield, with as many houses going up as there are, there’s an increase in density and encouraging the density in that center hub will bring the area back to that urban feel.”