has been a staple in the community here for years, and recent news that it will have to vacate its current location at the Sammamish Highlands Shopping Center by September has galvanized residents on its behalf.
Thursday, Sammamish Deputy Mayor Tom Odell said that since learning that Sammamish Ace couldn't reach a new lease agreement with Regency Centers, which operated the shopping center, the city's Economic Development Council has met with Koch. The council includes Odell and councilmembers John Curley and John James . Odell told Sammamish Chamber of Commerce members that the city is committed to helping Koch find a new location for the store.
Koch currently is searching for a suitable location, either a new location to lease or property on which to construct a new store, Odell said. Among the ideas being discussed is the possibility that Sammamish Ace could be the inaugural tenant of the Sammamish Town Center mixed-use development.
Odell said the city is committed to helping Koch secure permits in a timely fashion if he can find a suitable location to build a new store, or to help find an interim location in case a permanent alternative can't be secured before the store's lease is up in September.
"We've definitely got our fingerprints on this issue," Odell said.
Meanwhile, community members have rallied around the store, creating a Save Sammamish Ace Hardware Facebook Page and circulating a petition requesting that the property manager, Regency Centers, extend the store's lease. Reportedly, the company has an agreement with another business to take over the location when Sammamish Ace vacates, but a spokeswoman for Regency declined to comment on the matter.
Kathie Beutel, manager of on Inglewood Hill, said it would be a tragedy to lose Sammamish's major hardware store, and the group's Facebook Page is full of comments from people who say they depend on Sammamish Ace not only for products but for advice. Without Ace, the nearest general hardware stores for Sammamish residents are in Redmond or Issaquah.
Ace branded stores are part of a 4,400-store network originated in Chicago in the 1920's, but each store is individually owned.
Ace occupies an 11,548 square-foot anchor location in the Sammmamish Highlands Center. Currently, the center is almost fully leased, with just one 4,500-square-foot retail space available in the 156,000-square-foot center. Regency also manages Inglewood Plaza and Pine Lake Plaza, which have a combined 120,000 square feet of space and are both fully leased.