Snoqualmie QFC on Ridge a no go

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SNOQUALMIE - The final dip in a year-long emotional roller coaster ride came Jan. 13 when QFC officially backed out of long running, yet elusive plans to build a grocery store in the Snoqualmie Ridge neighborhood.

William Low, director of real estate for QFC, did not state specific reasons for opting out of the deal in a letter to Snoqualmie Mayor Fuzzy Fletcher dated Jan. 10. Low wrote that the decision had been made "subsequent to the Dec. 13 City Council meeting," where he and Cliff Brown, QFC facilities director, gave the council an update on the project and announced QFC hoped to be under construction in 2005.

QFC's decision came as a surprise to city officials who recently accepted QFC's preliminary application that included a site plan and elevations for the store.

Fletcher said the move was a corporate decision from Kroger, QFC's parent company.

"I'm sorry that Kroger decided not to build in Snoqualmie, it seems they are changing directions mid-stream," Fletcher said. "We have been waiting for a grocery store for a while now. Everything happens for a reason and I'd like to think that there is another store ready to come to Snoqualmie."

Low told the Valley Record there was more than one reason Kroger decided not to build on the Ridge, but that he could not elaborate on those.

"There's a number of factors. I can't delineate all those, but it's a decision we've made at this time," Low said. "I'm not at liberty to understand all the nuances that go with that decision. I'd be reluctant to state there was one factor. As soon as we became aware of this decision we notified local authorities. We thought it would be important to make them aware when we found out."

Fletcher said he knows of two other grocers currently interested in building a store on the Ridge, but would not disclose the names of those businesses.

"I know there is a gentleman that spoke at a recent council meeting who said he is ready to go now, if the other folks involved in the site want to go," Fletcher said.

The next step, Fletcher said, is to work with Mark McDonald, the owner of the retail site, to find a builder and get their completed application to the city for review and approval.

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