Third Place Books Coming to Seward Park PCC Space

Third Place Books Coming to Seward Park PCC Space

PCC Natural Markets (PCC), the nation’s largest natural foods retail cooperative, has announced the sale of the building and property currently occupied by its Seward Park store to Ron Sher of Third Place Books. The sale precedes PCC’s move from the property to a larger site in the nearby Columbia City neighborhood in summer 2015.

Plans for the 7,200 sq. ft. building, located at 5041 Wilson Avenue South in southeast Seattle, include a full service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, cafe and beer and wine bar in the basement, and bookstore with gathering places for community and non-profit groups, neighbors and friends.

Most neighbors welcomed the news, although some are also concerned about the effect a new bookstore/cafe will have on existing small businesses, such as Caffe Vita and Bookworm Exchange, which recently reopened in Hillman City after closing its Columbia City store in 2012.

“We are concerned of course about competition for Caffe Vita and Bookworm Exchange, but we hope that an additional offering in our business district brings more business to the community overall,” wrote Lakewood Seward Park Community Club president Jeannie O’Brien. “We will mourn the loss of our neighborhood grocer for sure [but] are so thankful to PCC for recruiting Third Place Books and paving the way for what we believe will be a good investment in our neighborhood.”

Sher is purchasing the Seward Park land and with the intention of operating a book store, restaurant, and possibly a pub, similar to the project the company developed at the former PCC location in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood.

“PCC is delighted to have reached an agreement with a trusted developer that assures the offering of a new gathering place for Seward Park neighbors and visitors,” said Randy Lee, PCC’s Acting CEO. “Having a community-oriented successor at our property was extremely important to us, and based on our prior experience in working with Third Place Books, we are hopeful that the property’s new purpose will be welcomed by the local community.”

For nearly two years, since it was revealed that PCC planned to vacate the space, south-end residents have wondered what would become of the beloved grocery store and valuable destination location for the tiny business district.

“We appreciate that Seward Park residents are reluctant to lose the Seward Park PCC which has served them well since 1985,” added Ron Sher, owner of Third Place Books. “We are committed to creating a new neighborhood asset and are moving towards opening the Seward Park Third Place Books by year-end 2015”

For many years PCC had tried to remain in its current location but was unable to upgrade the existing building and parking in a way that would adequately meet growing demand. In January 2013, PCC announced it would move from the Seward Park neighborhood to a new 25,000 sq. ft. site in Columbia City, about one mile from the current store. The new store will enable PCC to offer shoppers more product choices as well as triple available parking.

In 2015, PCC will move from its Seward Park location to a much larger mixed-use building in Columbia City. Photo/PCC


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