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QFC is using its legal right under a new state law to keep private liquor stores from operating in the same shopping center as its grocery locations, The Seattle Times reports.

Real estate brokers say QFC is enforcing contracts at Klahanie Shopping Center in Issaquah and the Totem Lake area of Kirkland.

Voters approved Initiative 1183 last fall allowing stores larger than 10,000 square feet to sell liquor, though smaller stores could sell liquor if there are no other outlets within a certain area. The state will stop selling liquor by June 1.

Washington has auctioned off the rights to most of its 167 state-operated liquor stores, but those rights do not come with leases or liquor licenses. Eighteen stores are being auctioned again Thursday because the winners did not pay up.

A Kirkland man won the right to the Issaquah location. The law allows him to find a new location within one mile, but he said there are no other commercial spaces within a mile of his store's location.

The group who purchased the store in Kirkland said they found a new location near Totem Lake Mall.

The Times reports it s not clear if any other grocery chains have similar contracts.

Information compiled by KING 5's Travis Pittman

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