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Ivar’s is losing its spot at Sea-Tac Airport. But local icon is putting up a fight

Ivar’s has launched keepivars.com to generate support to keep the seafood restaurant at the Sea-Tac Airport after it lost out on bidding to retain its location in central terminal.
Ivar’s has launched keepivars.com to generate support to keep the seafood restaurant at the Sea-Tac Airport after it lost out on bidding to retain its location in central terminal.

Ivar’s Fish Bar’s 12-year stay at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s Central Terminal is coming to an end, and the Seattle-based seafood restaurant isn’t happy.

The Seattle seafood chain lost out on a bid for the space in the central terminal. Ivar’s has launched a campaign to save its spot.

“We are shocked and saddened by this news since we believe Ivar’s is exactly the kind of restaurant the Port says it wants at Sea-Tac to welcome travelers from around the world to our area,” says a comment on the front page of keepivars.com. The website includes a “Take Action” page with a form letter supporters can sign and email to port commissioners.

In a video posted on the website, Ivar’s president Bob Donegan said, “We’d like to stay but the port’s staff has recommended that our lease end.” Port of Seattle officials told KOMO that the restaurant’s 10-year lease expired in 2015.

“We have an open, transparent bid process,” port spokesman Perry Cooper told the Seattle Times. “The idea is to allow new businesses to compete at the airport, to offer more opportunities for businesses, including small and minority-owned businesses, to get a space at the airport.”

Bids reportedly were rated on experience, concept, design, rent proposal, operations, job quality and small-business participation.

“We think the port staff defined a bad process. The selection criteria were not good,” Donegan told the Seattle Times. “The people who sat on the evaluation panel were not experienced in business, let alone managing airport restaurants and they made bad choices.”

A bidding process for locations elsewhere at the airport is planned for this summer.

“We hope they will compete in the next round of opportunities,” read a statement posted Thursday on the port’s Twitter page.

It is unclear what restaurant will take Ivar’s location in the central terminal.

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