Licensing rights for 167 state-run liquor stores were snapped up, liquor officials say, after an online auction earning the state $30.75 million ended with a flurry of bids on April 20.
Initiative 1183, which will take the state out of the liquor business and allow private retailers to sell spirits, directed the Washington State Liquor Control Board to auction store properties.
Since the state leases the properties rather than owning them, successful bidders earned exclusive rights to apply for liquor licenses within the stores’ current footprints.
Rights to five Whatcom County stores were sold: four in Bellingham and one in Ferndale.
The county’s highest successful bid was by Parveen Sidhu of San Mateo, Calif.
Sidhu bid $461,100 for the rights to the store at 101 Stuart Road in Bellingham, according to liquor board records.
Statewide, 551 bidders made 14,627 bids—including one bidder who put up $4.6 million in an unsuccessful attempt to win rights to every store in the auction.
The state’s highest winning bid was $750,100 for a store in Tacoma.
The 45-day online auction was hosted by the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services. The final day was by far the busiest, bringing in $23.7 million in bids.
Successful bidders will need to secure a lease with property landlords. If they are unable to secure leases, they may re-sell their rights or request alternative locations within a one-mile radius, according to the board.
None of the state properties meet the 10,000-square-foot threshold required by the initiative in order to be used to sell spirits.
By The Facts
Winning bidders for state-run store locations in Whatcom County
-Parveen Sidhu of San Mateo, Calif., $461,100 for Store #123 at 101 Stuart Road, Bellingham.
-Dave Pannu of Abbotsford, British Columbia, $325,000 for Store #130 at 1022 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham.
-Ronnie Biral of Seatac, Wash., $305,100 for Store #140 at 1255 Barkley Blvd., Suite 107, Bellingham.
-Manpreet Sidhu of Camus, Wash., $210,000 for Store #153 at 1730 Labounty Drive, Suite 8, Ferndale.
-Sung Lee Kim of Issaquah, Wash., $105,100 for Store #48 at 3115 Old Fairhaven Parkway, Bellingham.