Update (9/20): An article in the Redmond Reporter gives an opening date of October 9th for the Trader Joe’s store.
As you may have noticed if you drive through Redmond on a regular basis, construction activity at Redmond Center has been winding down, and a number of new stores are preparing to move in.
Less than seven months after demolition work began on the site, Niko Teriyaki was able to reopen was able to reopen in their new location at the beginning of August, and seems to have settled in with little trouble. Although it isn’t entirely certain what all of the spaces will be used for just yet, there is a coming soon sign up for an HSBC bank branch next door to Niko. This might seem a bit odd, since the only HSBC branch I am aware of around here is the one in downtown Seattle. Aside from that, there really isn’t much to say. It’s a bank. And a rather large (multi-national) one at that.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the newly constructed portion of the center is a Qdoba Mexican Grill. This is another one that might be familiar to people around here, as a number of locations exist in the area already, including a Redmond location in the Overlake neighborhood on Northeast 24th Street. I used to eat there fairly often when I worked in building 44 at Microsoft, and although the food was decent, I went there mostly because I could get there to grab something and get back to my desk within fifteen minutes (yeah, I seem to have the bad habit of eating at my desk way too often.) I do still make it over there every once in a while, but not all that often. Since they took my favorite item (the Chicken Mole Burrito) off the menu, I don’t really find all that many compelling reasons to head over there (the fact that the Taqueria Guadalajara taco truck is just a couple of blocks away and a lot easier to get to from a traffic standpoint doesn’t help either.) Still, as long as you don’t set your expectations too high it’s decent. Based on what was going on inside, I’d say this one’s ready to open just about any day now. There are a couple of spaces in between here and the Niko Teriyaki that don’t show any obvious signs of what they are going to contain yet.
Finally, the one that everyone’s waiting for: Trader Joe’s. Earlier this week a “coming soon” sign showed up, and subsequently came back down. Nonetheless, the forthcoming Redmond location is now being listed under the “coming soon” section of their website. There’s still a fair bit of construction going on inside, and I suspect they’ve still got a fair bit of work to do before this store will open. Trader Joe’s should be familiar to most people around here (in fact, the historical timeline on their site mentions the Bellevue store as the first in Washington, and the second in the Pacific Northwest) but with the two closest locations being on 156th in Bellevue and at Totem Lake Mall in Kirkland, they tend to be a bit tough to get to. Nonetheless, TJs has a pretty devoted following of budget-minded foodies, and they should do well in this location. It will be interesting to see if this store has any effect on the QFC store in this shopping center though. Although the two stores won’t be directly competing with each other (Trader Joe’s sells mostly their own store brand products,) it’s rare to see two grocery stores in one shopping center these days, and this particular QFC store is a bit of an oddity already because it’s located three blocks from another QFC (the one in Bella Bottega, which originally opened as an Olson’s in 1993 and was converted to a QFC when they merged in 1996.)
There are also a couple of additional spaces behind the Trader Joe’s store, but there’s pretty much nothing going on here. Just four semi-finished walls, a roof and a floor. I’m guessing these ones haven’t been leased out yet. Nonetheless, there seems to be quite a bit going on around here still, and the Trader Joe’s store should bring a fair bit of traffic to this shopping center. It’ll be interesting to see what else pops up here…