Sammamish Ace Hardware Store owner Tim Koch says he has a piece of land, financing, and a project, and wants to move forward with it as soon as possible.
Koch sent the following email to loyal customers over the weekend, along with a list of talking points for people to bring up during the public comment period of the meeting (attached here as a PDF):
We appreciate your interest in supporting our efforts to stay in business on the plateau! This is how you can help! Come to the next City Council meeting, Tuesday, December 4th at 6:30 pm and share with the Council why you need Sammamish Ace Hardware to stay on the plateau.
We sincerely appreciate all of our customers and hope to continue to serve you!
"I'm looking for folks to come over and say, 'We need Ace Hardware,'" Koch said.
The main thrust of the issue, the FAQ sheet Koch sent says, is that the Council has not yet had his development proposal in front of it yet, and he'd like the community to encourage the council to help fast track the proposal.
To make the project work, Koch is asking the city to do a land swap with a private property owner, who is ready to create replacement storm ponds for the City and to build a new facility for Ace Hardware on 228th Avenue NE just south of NE 4th Street, similar in size to its current 11,000-square-foot space.
Koch said he has looked at other properties, including in the Sammamish Town Center, but said the town center turned out to be too expensive for an individual business such as his, and is meant more for a larger developer.
He said it could be some time before any Town Center projects would be ready for Ace to take advantage of. "They are not lining up like cordwood to do this," he said.
The bottom line, Koch said, is that vocal community support could help let the council know that a project for Ace Hardware is important to the city, and that keeping it on the Plateau is good for the local economy, too.
"There are things on the table there that need to happen to make this thing move forward, and I think those items are doable. The main goal here is to just get people to show up," he said.
"What a huge loss for the Sammamish community (if we have to close)—every town needs a hardware store," Koch said, adding that he really thinks his proposal can work and he's appreciated the support of the city council so far.
"This could be the start of a really great thing," Koch said.