The 400 Fairview building—already home to Meat and Bread, Bar Harbor, and the about-to-open mBar—has a boutique market project in the works. Uwajimaya just signed a lease to open its very first Kai Market, a new concept for the Seattle's hometown Asian grocer that inspires comparisons with Whole Foods' recent spinoff, 365.
Kai Market will take up 5,500 square feet on the building's ground floor, selling a mix of local and international products and sporting a dining area for readymade food, plus tanks of live oysters, lobsters, and crab, the kind that helped cement Uwajimaya's reputation for seafood. There will be a fishmonger onsite, which suggests the seafood counter will be on par with a traditional Uwajimaya location.
Because this is South Lake Union, Kai Market has big grab-and-go food plans. The press release mentions bento boxes and a general theme of "grab-and-go bites inspired by the sea."
This seems like a smart move for Uwajimaya, which has a megaloyal following, but would have a hard time fitting a full-on grocery store into booming South Lake Union. Construction begins this fall, so look for Kai Market in the early months of 2017.