A merger between New Seasons Market and Good Food Holdings means plans to open a new store in the Central District have been canceled, leaving Lake Union Partners with a built-out grocery space and no immediate plans for how to fill it.
New Seasons Market and subsidiary New Leaf Community Markets announced the merger on Dec. 10. Good Food Holdings, which was acquired in 2018 by South Korean retail company E-mart for $270 million, has three grocery brands on the West Coast: Metropolitan Market, Bristol Farms and Lazy Acres Natural Market.
The result of the merger is that Metropolitan Market will be the Seattle region’s exclusive brand for Good Food Holdings by mid-2020.
That means canceling plans to open New Seasons in the East Union building at 23rd and Union in the Central District, closing the Ballard New Seasons, which just opened last year, and converting the Mercer Island New Seasons to a Metropolitan Market.
Lake Union Partners principal Patrick Foley tells MPT the grocery space has been built out for a New Seasons, and the developer is now assessing next steps.
“We are extremely proud of our Ballard staff for their excellent service and unwavering support of the community,” said Forrest Hoffmaster, New Seasons and New Leaf CEO, in a news release, “and are thankful to the community partners that have been working with us in the Central District.”
New Seasons coming into the Central District was not well-received by a faction in the neighborhood upset about the company’s anti-union sentiments and union-busting actions, which also drew the ire of District 3 Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. Also challenging New Seasons' entry into the Seattle region was the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 union.
“We never want workers to lose their jobs. We wanted New Seasons to respect workers’ rights and industry standards that grocery store workers have fought for and won over the last three decades,” said UFCW 21 president Faye Guenther in a news release. “ UFCW 21’s goal now is to make sure every Ballard New Seasons worker has a good quality job and that every worker lands on their feet. UFCW 21 hopes all workers someday have a union job with a written contract that ensures workers have health care, a pension they can rely on and a voice at work. In the meantime, labor and our community partners will do everything we can to assist New Seasons workers.”