Business

Curious about Village at Harbor Hill in Gig Harbor? Here’s an update

A rendering of Town & Country Market in the Village at Harbor Hill in Gig Harbor.
A rendering of Town & Country Market in the Village at Harbor Hill in Gig Harbor.

The project signs are still up at the future site of Village at Harbor Hill, an 18.5-acre Gig Harbor business park that will include a new grocery.

Olympic Property Group submitted a development agreement application with the city in December 2016, and won approval for the final step in the agreement nearly a year later. The approximately $44 million development is planned for the corner of Borgen Boulevard and Harbor Hill Drive.

Given that span of time, you might be wondering when construction will start.

The answer now looks to be in the spring, though there’s a chance some preliminary work might begin before that, said John Chadwell of Olympic Property Group.

The site plan was approved granted Aug. 14. It includes 14 buildings, 577 parking stalls, sidewalks, open space and expansion of Shaw Park. In addition to the grocery, the plan shows a credit union and individual buildings for dining, banking, retail, office, day care and medical.

The project also calls for transportation and pedestrian improvements on Borgen Boulevard and Harbor Hill Drive.

The main attraction of the project is the long-anticipated grocery Town & Country Market.

“We sat on the sidelines for quite awhile,” Chadwell said in April 2017 at a public hearing concerning its development agreement. “We think it’s time for Gig Harbor to have another grocery store up there, and particularly a very nice grocery store.”

News of the arrival of the regional grocer, which also includes the Central Market store banner, first was announced in 2015, after it had been in talks with the developer for months.

Three years later, and after much Gig Harbor grocery drama (the comings and goings and moves of QFC, Haggen, Safeway, Main & Vine, Fred Meyer), it’s now looking at an opening later than its original planned fall 2019 opening.

“There is much to do to get the property ready for the buildings,” Becky Fox Marshall, advertising manager for Town & Country Markets, told The News Tribune via email in July.

While the new 35,000-square-foot grocer will be a couple of state Route 16 exits away from the current grocery cluster (which also includes Harbor Greens), it will be just down the way from the city’s Albertsons and Target stores.

“We are very excited to be coming to Gig Harbor,” Susan Allen, an owner and director of brand development with Town & Country Markets, told The News Tribune earlier this summer. “We have had such a warm reception and really look forward to getting to know and being a part of the community.”

The grocer has an “On our way to Gig Harbor” section on its website. In that promotion, it says the Gig Harbor store will be similar in features to its renovated Bainbridge Island grocery:

“The 18-month remodel on Bainbridge Island introduced a new espresso shop, expanded food service area with fresh-baked flat breads, a staffed sushi counter, beer growler station and plenty of seating for people to gather over food and beverages.”

In July, Village at Harbor Hill faced an appeal over its state environmental review from a group called Protect Pacific Northwest.

Among other items listed, the challenge primarily sought expansion of the development’s wetland buffer, according to documents obtained by The News Tribune in a records request.

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A settlement was later reached. Details of the settlement, which did not involve the city, were not disclosed.

No appeals to the site plan review were filed by the Aug. 28 deadline.

Meanwhile, the grocery store is not the only new brand name to announce its entry into Gig Harbor at the site.

BECU in June announced a new “neighborhood financial center” for the business plaza.

The center will have a “tellerless” layout, with ATMs, online banking and mobile banking, according to a news release.

“Member consultants will be available to assist with these transactions, and provide one-on-one support for opening accounts and more complex services, such as mortgages, personal loans, auto loans, business services and more,” BECU’s release stated.

No more information was available on other possible tenants at the development. A call to Powell Development Co. was not returned.

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell
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