Sports Authority gears up for spring opening; Best Buy plans to open by next winter

February 10, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

UPDATED — 12:08 p.m. Feb. 10, 2010

Sports Authority will open a store in the Northwest Gilman Boulevard space last occupied by Joe’s — the defunct sporting goods chain — by late spring.

Meanwhile, Best Buy has expressed interest in the former Pacific Fabrics space along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. City Senior Planner Jerry Lind said city officials continue to work alongside Best Buy to resolve signage issues before the electronics retailer opens a store there.

Best Buy — headquartered in Richfield, Minn. — plans to open the Issaquah store in the fall or early next year, spokeswoman Jill Nezworski said Wednesday.

Sports Authority operates several stores in the Puget Sound region, with the Crossroads Mall store in Bellevue as the closest outpost to Issaquah. The chain is based in Englewood, Colo.

Doug Brown, a commercial real estate broker with property manager First Western Properties in Kirkland, said workers started upgrades to the 42,500-square-foot space before the Sports Authority announcement. He said the chain acted on the site after the former tenant closed.

“They came to us right away when Joe’s went out,” Brown said.

Joe’s closed last spring after the venerable Pacific Northwest chain went bust. The store opened in August 1999.

Dick’s Sporting Goods — a national chain based in Pittsburgh — also considered the site.

Officials said Best Buy has submitted a proposal to open in the defunct fabric store. The proposal also includes space next door now occupied by La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries.

City Economic Development Manager Dan Trimble said he did not know if La-Z-Boy planned to move to another Issaquah location if the Best Buy plan moves ahead. A spokesperson from La-Z-Boy headquarters in Monroe, Mich., could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Officials said Best Buy had yet to set a target opening date for the store. The former Pacific Fabrics storefront includes 22,565 square feet at the busy East Lake Center shopping complex anchored by Fred Meyer and The Home Depot.

Trimble described the signage-related discussions between the city and Best Buy as routine.

“They tell us what they want, we tell them what the code allows and it gets worked out,” he said.

The retail additions could also boost the bottom line for the city, because similar big-box stores generate between $50,000 and $100,000 annually in sales tax revenue for the city.

Trimble said new stores also make Issaquah more attractive to other businesses, as well as to potential residents.

Lind also met with representatives from discount retailer T.J. Maxx in December. He said scouts eyed the former Linens-N-Things space in the Pickering Place complex and seemed interested in the possibility. Trimble said the city had not yet received any updates from T.J. Maxx executives.

The empty Linens-N-Things space includes 37,500 square feet. A seasonal retailer rented the space last fall to sell Halloween costumes and other holiday supplies.

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