B-TOWN BIZ: Empty storefronts starting to fill as businesses move into Burien


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The interior of Start Fresh Market & Bakery is looking close to opening on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. Photo by Scott Schaefer.

The interior of Start Fresh Market & Bakery is looking closer to opening. Photo by Scott Schaefer.

by Ralph Nichols

Empty storefronts in Burien – and their impact on local business activity and city tax revenues – have been a major source of concern since the start of the “great recession” five years ago.

But a reversal of fortune is beginning to take place around downtown Burien, bringing with it a gradual increase in economic development.

Five small businesses – four of them eateries – are now open or soon will be:

  • Black Zia Cantina
  • The Greek House
  • The Maven Mercantile
  • Start Fresh Market and Bakery
  • Lucky You

And two major chains are coming to town – CVS Pharmacy and LA Fitness.

“We have seen an increase in the number of businesses moving into Burien or wanting to get pre-application meetings,” said Dan Trimble, the city’s economic development manager.

“There is more interest in vacant commercial space with more business activity,” he noted. “Some businesses have already signed leases and are doing tenant improvements.”

What is the attraction for the new businesses in Burien?

“I believe there is an interest in small businesses as a unique and authentic experience that’s different from a shopping mall,” Trimble added.

Plans for a CVS Pharmacy at Five Corners on the old Herr Lumber site, which will become the closest drug store to Highline Medical Center, are currently under review by the Burien Community Development Department (read our previous coverage here).

LA Fitness will move into the former Saar’s Market location, which is now being renovated, behind Bartell Drugs and just south of SW 148th St. The exercise facility is expected to open for business in late spring or early summer 2014 (read our previous coverage here).

Lucky You, a high-end women’s consignment shop, is now open for business at the old beads store located at 915 SW 152nd Street in Olde Burien (206-930-2067).

Opening soon in Olde Burien will be Start Fresh Bakery, Deli and Natural Market, offering fresh, organic foods at the corner of SW 152nd St. and Ambaum Blvd. SW (206-420-7383). Catherine Barashkoff is the manager (read our first report here).

The Maven Mercantile at 641 SW 152nd Street (206-295-8454), with an anticipated opening date of Oct. 1, will offer “rustic, organic” gourmet-style Northwest foods, together with a catering service. It will feature ready-to-go bistro-style meals.

Long the location of Sal’s Deli, 15252 6th Ave. S. is the new home of the Black Zia Cantina (206-930-3869; Facebook Page here), which will offer Mexican and “classic American” food with “vegan variations, along with cocktails, live music and pool” (read our first report here).

The Greek House Restaurant and Lounge at 133 SW 153rd Street (206-257-1016), located in a former pet supply store that is nearing the end of a remodel, will also open soon. Its is billed as “Greek tradition at its finest.”

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Comments

12 Responses to “B-TOWN BIZ: Empty storefronts starting to fill as businesses move into Burien”
  1. tonya says:

    I’m excited for Black Zia Cantina to open! Sounds delicious!

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  2. Renatta says:

    AND…. Burien Arts will be opening up their brand new gallery starting in October in Olde Burien across from Armoire Chocolate!

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  3. BurgerMeister says:

    Does anyone know what’s happening next door to the Start Fresh Market, in the old B-Town Burgers & Shakes location…?

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  4. PanderBear Jack says:

    Come on Ralph! What kind of reporting is this!?! You’re ruining the narrative that Burien is on the brink of joining Atlantis – lest certain people save the city!

    Come on!!!

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  5. Elizabeth says:

    Very excited for The Greek House to open soon on 153rd.

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    • Jeff says:

      Me too Elizabeth. It will be great to have some good Greek food in the area. I wonder what the lounge is all about? It would awesome if to have some better nightlife options in town! Can’t wait to check it out!

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      • Cheryl Fry says:

        Our friend Philip owns this new establishment. We are SO excited to dine there this weekend!!!!

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  6. goingaway says:

    I wonder how long it`ll be before Burien runs them out.

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  7. kex says:

    “But a reversal of fortune is beginning to take place around downtown Burien, bringing with it a gradual increase in economic development.”

    All of those new businesses will be taking the place of businesses that recently failed. Meanwhile, the brand new retail space in the Bartells building and in the Town Square remain vacant, except for the new Subway. In what way does the opening of new businesses at the same rate old businesses fail constitute a gradual increase in economic development?

    One way to tell if the overall business climate in Burien is really improving would be by the taxes Burien collects on businesses. If the total tax revenue increased recently, that might indicate “a gradual increase in economic development.” Can you tell us what those numbers were each year for the last ten years? Was that data intentionally left out of the article?

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  8. Harry Hamlin says:

    The fetish with “planned development” that’s left Burien with vast empty spaces and both old and new vacant storefronts is endemic to the government mentality. Cities grow and evolve through market forces; nobody can PLAN a downtown. I truly hope we’ve learned something from eight years of disaster.

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