(October 2008 photo by WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli)
Used to be, the most common rumor to hit the WSB inbox — twice a week, at least — was the one about the mythical Trader Joe’s that may or may not materialize in West Seattle someday: “I heard it’s going (x)!” “I heard it’s going (y)!” Those have dramatically slowed – replaced instead by frequent e-mails saying, “I heard the Whole Foods project is dead!” WSB procedure for dealing with rumors is usually this: We get the e-mail or the call; we check it out with people directly involved with whatever project or other concern the rumor involves. If it’s true – we publish a WSB report about what we found out. If it’s not, we just e-mail the original sender (or call them back, if it was by phone), and let them know what we found out, usually no sense in publishing something in such cases. But tonight, it seems like time for an on-the-record debunking, since excavation at the site is done and there’s no active work right now. Last time we checked the “I heard Whole Foods was dead!” rumors with BlueStar‘s Fauntleroy Place (Whole Foods) project manager Easton Craft, he explained that there would be something of a lull in the construction until the next phase (which is when you’ll see the crane). So when BlueStar’s Eric Radovich answered our e-mail late today asking about the status, he wrote:
Whole Foods Market is still in the Fauntleroy Place project…The project is wrapping up Phase I and Phase II (as Easton mentioned) will start sometime after the first of the year.
We hadn’t checked directly with Whole Foods for a while, so we called and e-mailed them too. This is the response we got from Whole Foods’ Pacific Northwest spokesperson Vicki Foley late today:
We are very excited about the West Seattle store, and I can tell you that the development schedule is on track, although I don’t have a definite opening date yet.
Certainly, we can see why people would be concerned about Fauntleroy Place/Whole Foods, given the general development climate, and the fact WF has had much-publicized troubles (although it took a step this week that is considered to be positive, so far as we can tell, and still has 66 stores in development, according to its annual report). But as of tonight, and as of about the 100th time we’ve done rumor-check on this one, both major players, the developer and the tenant, say all’s on track.