BELLINGHAM - WinCo is making another run at putting a grocery store in Bellingham.
According to a building permit application filed at the city earlier this month, WinCo will spend $7 million remodeling the former Joe's Sporting Goods building at 300 E. Bellis Fair Parkway. That's across Meridian Street from Bellis Fair mall.
The Boise-based company has 18 grocery stores in Washington, including Marysville. The company made a bid to put in a store in the West Bakerview Road area near the Fred Meyer shopping center, but a request for a rezone of that area was rejected by the Bellingham City Council in 2008.
A phone message left for WinCo spokesman Mike Read was not returned.
The employee-owned company also was interested in putting a store in Mount Vernon, but that project never materialized.
The former Joe's building has about 103,000 square feet of space. It's been vacant since 2009. In 2011 the building went through a design review process that included a transportation impact analysis for the anticipated traffic associated with a discount supermarket. WinCo was not listed as a potential tenant on the application, which was approved in August 2011.
According to its website, a typical WinCo store is around 94,000 square feet, is open 24 hours a day and offers groceries in a variety of departments, including a bakery, bulk foods, deli, meat, produce and seafood. The company's focus is to be a supermarket low price leader. According to previous store opening announcements, WinCo hires around 200 people per store.
The company has 85 stores in seven states and more than 14,000 employees.
If WinCo does put in a store, it'll mean the filling of a key piece of property in what had been an underused area. Last year Value Village moved into the former Toys R Us spot, a 46,000-square-foot nearby building that had been vacant since 2006.
Value Village's old building on East Bellis Fair Parkway is in the early stages of being converted into offices for Whatcom Educational Credit Union. The nearby Good Guys! building hasn't had a non-seasonal tenant since Good Guys closed in 2005.
Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at email@example.com or call 715-2269. Visit his business blog online at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/business or get updates on Twitter at twitter.com/BhamHeraldBiz.