Retail giants plan Issaquah stores

February 16, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Sports Authority, Best Buy coming soon

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 plans to open a store in the former Pacific Fabrics space along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast.

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

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

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.

Kathy Liebmann, a spokeswoman at La-Z-Boy headquarters in Monroe, Mich., referred questions to the Issaquah store, because independent franchisers operate the stores in the Puget Sound region. A representative at the Issaquah store could not be reached.

The former Pacific Fabrics storefront includes 22,565 square feet at the busy East Lake Sammamish 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.

Best Buy constructs new stores to eco-friendly LEED standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit trade group. Trimble cited the LEED standards as another bonus for bringing Best Buy to Issaquah.

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.

“Our folks are always out there scouting for new locations,” a T.J. Maxx spokesperson, who did not provide his or her name, wrote in response to e-mailed questions. “They very well might have been in your area, but as of today, I don’t have anything set as a lease hasn’t been signed yet.”

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.

“We are always looking for thriving retail areas, a chance to be in areas where shoppers are looking for fashion and accessories for themselves, their families and their homes,” the T.J. Maxx spokesperson wrote.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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