Construction of a new store for Peninsula Market in Key Center is expected to start sometime this summer. The new store will be located immediately to the south of the existing store, backing up against the strip mall known as the Key Center Corral. A second story will contain store offices and employee break room.

Don Stoltz represents Key Center Properties LLC, the owner of the Key Center commercial store site. Joel Kessel, a principal in Summit Design Group in Lakewood is handling the design work and preliminaries. An unnamed contractor is already committed for the construction.

The Key Peninsula Advisory Commission reviewed and approved a variance request on April 15. At that hearing, Kessel stated that, “We wanted to meet the future needs of the community, and also maximize the owner’s best economical use of the property in order to make the tremendous investment worthwhile for all concerned.”

Making the project happen has been challenging, and the construction date is still uncertain.

“This project has been a series of obstacles one after another,” Stoltz said. “With the latest being the County wanting us to pay for the left turn lane soon to be constructed at the intersection in Key Center.

“The KPAC meeting revealed even more potential problems that must be overcome. With continuing problems, it is just too early to forecast a more specific starting date.”

Plans call for the construction of a 16,655-square-foot grocery store to replace the existing store which is 9,295-square-feet. The current store will continue to operate during construction.

Once construction is completed, the old store will be demolished. The existing 840-square-foot delicatessen structures will be demolished, with a second 4,990 square foot commercial retail shell building constructed that will accommodate approximately three future tenants and a drive-through facility. Specific tenants have not yet been identified.

With the current economy, and many looking for jobs, Stoltz said local residents have already been asking about job openings with the construction project, and Stoltz said he refers those inquiries to the contractor.

Specifics about the new store are not set yet, Stoltz said.”We need to concentrate on getting the store built first,” he said.

The Key Center grocery is part of a 4-store chain, with additional stores located at Lake Kathryn Village in Wauna, and stores in Vashon, and Tacoma. No changes have been announced for the Lake Kathryn store.