Negotiations continue for one Auburn liquor store, second on track to open June 1

With the transition from state-controlled to privately-owned liquor stores scheduled for June 1, the fate of one of Auburn’s two alcohol purveyors is in question.

For Kulwant S. Khaira – who successfully won the right to apply for the North Auburn store’s license in last month’s auction with a $251,200 bid – there are still many questions about the future of his location.

“We’re in the process of getting all the licenses and still negotiating with Fred Meyer on the lease,” Khaira said.

The problem, Khaira said, is the location.

The store, at 801 Auburn Way N., is in the Fred Meyer-owned plaza, according to a King County parcel search. And with the adjacent Fred Meyer store also planning to sell liquor come June 1, Khaira is doubtful the grocery chain will allow him to lease the space.

Should Fred Meyer decline to negotiate a new lease, Khaira still has the option to open a liquor store in a new location, provided it is within one mile of the current store.

But time is running out for Khaira.

“We’re very much stuck,” he said. “The state is running the store until May 31 and the lease runs out on June 1. We’re in the process of getting consent from the state but they have not given us any time to make the arrangements.”

Across town, at Auburn’s other state liquor store at 3930 A St. SE, things are progressing smoothly.

The state run store will close on May 26 and reopen on June 1 as Auburn Liquor and Wine, according to Mel Foster, a spokesman for owner Henok Mezengie.

“All systems are go for the opening,” Foster said. “We’re just about there, the sale is final, the transfer is done, we’re just waiting on the license.”

Mezengie – who also owns the Auburn Dollar Plus, which is adjacent to the liquor store – won the rights to the store in the auction for $155,100.


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