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SEATTLE -- Hundreds of people showed up at a state liquor board office in Seattle Thursday to bid for the right to take over one of 18 state-run liquor stores.

The Washington state Liquor Control Board is hosting the live auction after the top bidders for those stores failed to pay their posted bids following an online auction last month.

Washington is in the process of privatizing its liquor sales after voters approved an initiative kicking the state out of the liquor business. The state must stop selling liquor by June 1.

The state-run liquor system was formed in the 1930s in the aftermath of Prohibition. Voters approved I-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 exception is the state's contract and state-run stores.

Bidders already have paid out $25.9 million for the rights to 149 state stores.

A bid deposit of $10,000 is required for the remaining 18 stores. The auction began at 10 a.m.

The stores up for bid are:

  • 002 Seattle 1201 2nd Ave.
  • 003 Tacoma 3208 South 23rd St., Suite 1
  • 006 Marysville 6608 64th St. NE, Suite C
  • 032 Enumclaw 1040 Stevenson Ave. #B
  • 042 Seattle 400 Broadway E
  • 044 Spokane 5004 E Sprague Ave. #101
  • 066 Kent 20514 108th Ave. SE
  • 082 Kent 23219 Pacific Hwy S
  • 085 Bellevue 15600 NE 8th St. #K-07
  • 093 Kenmore 6820 NE Bothell Way
  • 113 Seattle 118 NE 45th St.
  • 122 Tacoma 7048 Pacific Ave.
  • 132 Lakewood 8217 Steilacoom Blvd. SW
  • 140 Bellingham 1255 Barkley Blvd. #107
  • 151 Ocean Shores 171E Chance Alamer NE #C
  • 159 Kennewick 731 N Columbia Center Blvd.
  • 168 Vancouver 3425 SE 192nd Ave. #114
  • 179 North Bend 320 SW Mt. Si Blvd. 109

More information about the auction can be found at liq.wa.gov.

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