City Council could delay part of Central Issaquah Plan

December 12, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 12, 2012

City leaders recommended Tuesday to delay the implementation of important development rules in a long-term plan to transform the business district from strip malls and parking lots to a dense urban hub.

In the last public meeting for the proposed Central Issaquah Plan before the document reaches the City Council for consideration, a council committee called for more time to refine and review the design and development standards outlined in the 30-year blueprint for redevelopment.

The design and development standards set rules for buildings, community spaces, landscaping, signage and more.

Overall, Council Land & Shore Committee members forwarded to the full council the four pieces of legislation to enact the Central Issaquah Plan. The full council is scheduled to consider the legislation and listen to public input Dec. 17.

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Issaquah Trader Joe’s halts liquor sales

December 11, 2012

Trader Joe’s suddenly pulled spirits from store shelves not long after reopening at the Issaquah Commons last month.

The store at the open-air retail center meets the threshold — 10,000 square feet — to sell liquor under state law. Customers said store employees referred to a problem with the lease as the reason liquor disappeared from store shelves.

Trader Joe’s and the property owner offered few details about the change.

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Trader Joe’s opens at Issaquah Commons

November 20, 2012

Trader Joe’s reopened Nov. 14 in a location large enough for the California-based grocer to offer spirits under the state’s revised liquor laws.

The grocer relocated to 975 N.W. Gilman Blvd. from a smaller space at Pickering Place, and renovated 11,000 square feet at the Issaquah Commons for the store.

Trader Joe’s carries domestic and imported foods and beverages, in addition to basics, such as eggs and milk.

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Trader Joe’s opens Issaquah Commons store

November 15, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. Nov. 15, 2012

Trader Joe’s opened Wednesday at the Issaquah Commons in a location large enough for the California-based grocer to offer spirits under the state’s revised liquor laws.

The grocer relocated from a smaller space at Pickering Place, and renovated 11,000 square feet at the Issaquah Commons for the just-opened store.

Trader Joe’s carries domestic and imported foods and beverages, including artisan breads, coffees ground from Arabica bean, frozen entrées, fresh crop nuts, and vitamins and supplements, in addition to basics, such as eggs and milk.

The store meets the threshold — 10,000 square feet — to sell liquor, in addition to beer and wine, under state law.

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Big Lots opens, donates to Issaquah school

November 13, 2012

Big Lots is opening at Pickering Place, and the closeout retailer is donating $2,500 to Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

Columbus, Ohio-based Big Lots opened in the space last occupied by Leathers Gallery, a local furniture store. Leathers moved to a space across the parking lot, and Big Lots renovated the former furniture store.

Big Lots plans to donate to the school during the store’s ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. Nov. 16.

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Costco looms large in race between Barack Obama, Mitt Romney

October 30, 2012

Pundits claim the presidential contest could hinge on so-called Walmart moms, but another discount chain is often mentioned on the campaign trail, too.

Jim Sinegal

Both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney embraced Issaquah-based Costco on the stump, albeit for different reasons.

Support from Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal allows Obama to highlight a business success in a feeble economy. The affluent Romney’s affinity for Costco allows the former Massachusetts governor to project a more down-to-earth image.

“Costco’s story is the American story,” Sinegal proclaimed to delegates and dignitaries in a September speech at the Democratic National Convention focused on job creation and the economy.

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Issaquah store is unaffected in Tully’s Coffee tumult

October 16, 2012

Tully’s Coffee filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Oct. 10, but the chain founded by Issaquah High School alumnus Tom Tully O’Keefe does not plan to close its local store.

The chain announced the filing and the closing of underperforming stores in Seattle, Kirkland and Redmond, plus plans to renegotiate leases for the remaining stores.

Tully’s operates a local store in Pickering Place, 1171 N.W. Sammamish Road.

O’Keefe founded Seattle-based Tully’s in 1992, just as rival Starbucks Coffee started to whet consumers’ appetites for specialty coffee. Tully’s struggled for years to earn a profit and stand out in a crowded coffee marketplace dominated by Seattle-based Starbucks.

O’Keefe stepped down as Tully’s CEO in 2001 and retired as board chairman in June 2010.

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Tully’s Coffee files for bankruptcy protection; Issaquah store is unaffected

October 10, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 10, 2012

Tully’s Coffee filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, but the chain founded by Issaquah High School alumnus Tom Tully O’Keefe does not plan to close its local store.

The chain announced the Chapter 11 filing and the closing of underperforming stores in Seattle, Kirkland and Redmond, plus plans to renegotiate leases for the remaining stores. Executives said rising commodity prices and challenging lease economics contributed to the bankruptcy decision.

“The company will continue to have a formidable presence in the Puget Sound area, focusing on our core mission of serving the highest quality coffee in a warm and comfortable environment with outstanding customer service,” CEO Scott Pearson said in a statement.

Tully’s operates a local store in Pickering Place, 1171 N.W. Sammamish Road.

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City hosts open house, hearing on Central Issaquah Plan

September 25, 2012

Residents can learn more about the proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 in the decades ahead at Oct. 4 public meetings.

The municipal Planning Policy Commission’s Central Issaquah Plan open house runs from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and focuses on development and design standards. Then, the commission hosts a public hearing from 6:30-9 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

The long-term Central Issaquah Plan is meant to guide redevelopment from shopping centers and low-rise office buildings to a taller neighborhood meant for businesses and residences.

Central Issaquah encompasses 915 acres — including retail destinations, such as Pickering Place, and the Meadows and Issaquah Commons shopping centers. The area does not include historic downtown.

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Offer input on projects to relieve Issaquah traffic woes

September 11, 2012

The city could join other landowners to address traffic congestion and upgrade roads near bustling businesses in North Issaquah.

Before city leaders act, citizens can offer input as planners host a Sept. 18 open house to discuss the proposed transportation changes.

The proposal under consideration calls for the city and other landowners — including Issaquah-based Costco, the largest employer in the city — to form a local improvement district. Landowners in the affected area then shoulder the costs for road improvements, supplemented by state and federal grants.

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