Construction crews appear to be close to finishing up Amazon’s mysterious drive-up grocery store in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, and the project just hit a major permitting milestone.
A recent report suggested the online retail giant’s pick up grocery locations in Seattle could open by the end of the year, and the Ballard store looks like it’s on track based on a recent visit to the site. The project just this week received a temporary certificate of occupancy from the city, which means major construction aspects of the project are done, and Amazon can begin to occupy the building even though there is still some work left to do.
A second drive-up grocery location, just south of downtown Seattle, is in progress as well.
A series of what look like cords coming out of the paneling indicate crews may be getting ready to put up a sign, which would be the Amazon’s first public acknowledgment of the store. It has not commented on the project since GeekWire first discovered it in August.
Amazon reportedly has a much grander vision for its grocery business than these two Seattle stores. Business Insider recently viewed the company’s plan to start with a 20-location pilot for Amazon Fresh-branded grocery stores in areas including Seattle, Las Vegas, New York, Miami and the Bay Area. Half the pilot stores will be drive-up locations for picking up online orders, while the other half will be traditional stores where shoppers can browse for items.
If that pilot is successful Amazon sees room in the U.S. for up to 2,000 of its AmazonFresh-branded grocery stores over the next decade. By comparison, Walmart has more than 5,000 stores in the United States.
Amazon isn’t the only company building out a click-and-collect grocery model. Just blocks away from Amazon’s Ballard location, Fred Meyer is getting ready to open its own pick up location, possibly in mid-December. Frequent Amazon competitor Walmart also boasts a pick up grocery feature.