Seattle Crime concerns are forcing a local drugstore to close its location in downtown Seattle. Officials with Bartell Drugs confirmed they will be closing the 3rd and Union store early next year before their lease ends. They will continue to pay rent on the empty location through the end of the lease.
Police have stepped up patrols in the downtown core in recent months to address crime, but Bartell Drugs decided not to stick it out. Officials said it’s senseless crime, like the ransacking seen on surveillance video, that’s forcing downtown businesses like Bartell Drugs to pack up shop.
A man is seen knocking down shelves, throwing things and harassing workers at the 3rd and Union store. The move is no surprise for people who live and work on Third Avenue.
“I’m like a decent-sized guy and even I feel worried sometimes,” said Dereck Rich, who works on Third Avenue. “I see police cars down here all the time. I saw people getting arrested the other day, a week ago, people were getting shot and killed.”
Bartell Drugs said the cost of stolen items and hiring armed security has become too high. “The cost of doing business downtown due to the need for armed security guards, and the increases from a variety of Seattle’s costly requirements that have come into play over the past few years, now means that it costs us less to pay the rent with no offset than it does to operate the store,” Bartell Drugs said in a statement.
“I like Bartell’s because it’s local and it’s been around forever, so I guess I’ll have to choose a different pharmacy,” said customer Meaghan Darling. “It’s sad.”
The company said it wouldn’t open any more stores in downtown but will move to Belltown, even though Belltown has seen its own share of trouble.
“Not to say that everybody should be scared of the people down here. There are some things happening that are pretty intimidating,” said Rich. “I don’t know how to help but we should be doing something.” The new Bartell Drugs store in Belltown will be on Second Avenue. It opens in early October.