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Second Store Update

This month I hope to help you understand and inform you of the process the Co-op is going through to get to the actual building stage of the second retail store. The Co-op is leasing the retail space intended for the second retail site from a developer—this is an added layer that we have not had to work with in previous expansions. We are working in conjunction with the developer and the condominium association of Metropolitan Place II to achieve agreeable solutions for each stakeholder. This is a different process than when the Co-op relocated from 1202 Williamson in 1999 where the Co-op played the role of developer and there were fewer players to coordinate. The punchline is that this is a complicated process and has taken longer than originally anticipated. We are roughly two months from where we had hoped to be when the Letter of Intent was signed.

City approval and securing permits
In early October, a PUD-SIP (Planned Unit Development Specific Implementation Plan) minor alternations plan was submitted to City for approval. This approval is generally a 10 to 14 day process. Once that approval is granted, a foundation/early start permit will be requested from the City to begin exterior concrete work. After that, an additional building permit is needed for the interior construction phase of the project.

The building permit is issued based on a complete set of plans presented to the City for review—this set will include electrical, plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), reflective ceiling, and finishes. These plans are similar to constructing a layered cake—each individual plan makes up one layer and once all the plans are stacked—voilá, we have a set of plans to present to the City. The development and design plan work needed to get to the City approval stage to obtain a building permit has taken several months to accomplish.

Three units
The Co-op has leased three separate units in the Metropolitan Place II facility. The largest unit is the retail space—roughly 12,400 square feet. This unit will house the grocery store operations, front end office, and seating area. In addition to this retail space, offices will be located in the basement of the facility directly under the rear portion of the grocery retail. Finally, the Co-op has also secured an additional first floor retail space—roughly 4,000 square feet. This space is slated for sub-lease to a complimentary business. The Co-op will be working with a listing agent to secure a tenant for the space.

At this point, we are expecting that construction will begin this month, and progress throughout December, January, and February. Assuming things go according to plan the store is scheduled to open in late March.

The Co-op entering into the build process after the majority of the building has been built has been a challenge. To design an efficient retail space using green building practices with limited funds has not been easy. I greatly appreciate the efforts the developer and the condominium association are making to meet our needs.