State says non-grocers now allowed to vie for two former Alaska Marketplace stores

Posted: Friday, June 29, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The state has cleared the way for non-grocers to move into two now empty former Alaska Marketplace locations in the Dimond Center and at Northern Lights Boulevard and Minnesota Drive now that certain conditions have been met.

When the state approved the 1999 merger between Safeway and Carrs, part of the deal was that Safeway let go of seven stores, and they be run as grocery stores until April 2002. Northwest Retail Ventures of Seattle took over the stores in late 1999 under the name Alaska Marketplace.

Since other companies such as Kmart are moving into the grocery business in the state, concerns about Safeway's dominance of the grocery market have lessened, the state argued in a recent court filing. Second, Northwest Retail Ventures satisfied the state that it could not find a grocer interested in either location. Third, non-grocer retailers have expressed an interest in the properties. Add it all up, and the state decided it made sense to open the locations to other kinds of business, and the court agreed this month.

National electronics chain Best Buy is looking at one of the Anchorage locations, confirmed spokeswoman Connie Stelter, but said the company had not signed a lease, and so would not say more.

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