Construction to begin on QFC this winter

After a four-year hiatus, construction of a new QFC store at 3920 Stone Way N. will begin this winter.

At the end of September, the city issued a permit for construction of a five-story, mixed-use building. The building will consist of a 31,394-square-foot grocery story, 26 residential units and two levels of structured parking for 156 vehicles.

Outstanding traffic issues

QFC originally applied for a permit in 2002 and was granted a land-use permit in August 2003, but did not proceed with construction. Since then the lot has sat unused, and QFC has paid more than $110,000 in property taxes for the land, according to county records.

Wallingford residents voiced concerns with the original plans, including locating parking entrances on North 39th and 40th streets and Stone Way North and increases in traffic volumes.

Traffic volumes are still a matter of concern in Wallingford. Some of these concerns are being addressed in the city's $6.7 million Fremont Circulation Project. The intersection of Stone Way North and Bridge Way North is among those the project aims to improve traffic flow through. Seattle's Department of Transportation is pushing a road "diet" for Stone Way North, and the Wallingford Community Council backs the plan.

A traffic signal is being installed at the intersection of Stone Way North and North 39th Street to ease traffic flow to and from the QFC, saidSeattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) project manager Lorelei Mesic. The signal is scheduled to go up in early 2007, after construction on the QFC has finished.

QFC is paying $20,000 for traffic-calming devices, according to Department of Planning and Development spokesperson Alan Justad.

The Wallingford Chamber of Commerce has no official position on the supermarket's construction, said co-president Kara Ceriello. But she said, "We're all happy something's going to happen there."

Mixed-use development would benefit the neighborhood, she said, by bringing in more people and more business.

QFC has no specific timeline for when construction will begin, said Kristin Maas, a spokesperson for the company. She expects it will take approximately 18 months to complete the building.

Making concessions

Since renewing the project, QFC has not received any comments from the community, Maas said.

The company welcomes community input, she said: "Part of it is working through the public process."

The Wallingford Community Council opposed QFC's initial proposal in 2002 but reached a compromise with the company at the time, according to councilmember Greg Hill. Concessions included setting back the residential units from the property line rather than overhanging it.

"There comes a time when you have to figure what are you going to get," Hill said, "and the council determined that we weren't going to get any more.

"There is no plan to deal with increasing traffic that's going to come with increasing development," he added.

Road-diet update

If Stone Way North is not "dieted," SDOT plans to remove crosswalks at North 38th, 41st, 47th and 48th streets, as they do not comply with current federal recommendations, according to SDOT.

The city has never been sued for removing crosswalks but has been successfully sued for having a crosswalk in an unsafe location, according to SDOT's Greg Hirakawa.

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