(photo taken Tuesday, looking east from the west side of the site)
We’ve received a couple notes in the past week or so inquiring about the status of what’s been dubbed the “Hole Foods” site at Fauntleroy/Alaska/39th – where construction on a proposed Whole Foods Market/Hancock Fabrics/residential building has been stalled for more than half a year now – like this note from Dorothy:
I don’t see the Whole Foods sign at the dig at (Alaska) and Fauntleroy. Does this
mean they no longer plan to be there? What is the status of that construction site?
First of all – the banner that used to be on the fence there disappeared the day after our most recent report of vandalism (someone cut the W out of the word Whole). But aside from that, we were overdue for a project check anyway; read on to see what we have found out – both about this site, and another site linked to the Whole Foods project’s original developers:
First — Matt Segrest, first reported back in April to be working on purchasing the site, replied to our “checking in” inquiry:
Still working on a deal. No firm timetable right now. There has been no change in the Whole Foods lease status.
Which means, Whole Foods still has a lease for a store on the site. But this doesn’t bode well for the timetable first suggested by site owner Seattle Capital early this year, hoping for a deal closing “by the end of June” (as mentioned here) and construction resuming shortly afterward.
Next, a check of public records, which revealed two things: First, the two lawsuits we reported earlier this year (one filed by former project developer BlueStar Management, as reported here, and one filed by investor BAJ Capital, as reported here) have been consolidated into one case for trial purposes (if there is a trial, it wouldn’t happen till next year). And we discovered there’s a third lawsuit related to the property, filed in late April — Aero Construction is suing Ledcor Construction (whose name is still on banners on the site, and who is said to be “actively managing” the site), Whole Foods, Hancock Fabrics, and others, claiming it wasn’t paid for site work that Ledcor ordered, and seeking at least $810,000. See the lawsuit document here.
Last but not least, a semi-related bit of news: WSB has learned that one of the other West Seattle sites that was being developed by BlueStar was just put up for “trustee sale” (as in, foreclosure). This is the three-parcel site just south of The Junction where BlueStar was going to build this mixed-use building with the working name “Spring Hill” (no relation to the Junction restaurant):
Though we just received the information today, it indicates the trustee sale was held at the County Courthouse downtown last Friday, and an area bank was pursuing an opening bid of $2,895,000, with accompanying documents saying that the successful purchaser would have to negotiate with the project architects “for work performed to date and for completion of the working drawings.” (Here’s our story from when this project passed Design Review last September.)
As we have learned while pursuing information on the Whole Foods site, the project approvals obtained so far would not change just because of a site ownership change. But we’ll be trying to find out whether anyone actually successfully bid for the property.
Back to the Whole Foods site – if you missed it, two recent WSB stories: First, a West Seattleite’s question to the city about street stability alongside the hole (see the story here), and Mayor Nickels’ response to our question in a recent interview regarding what can be done to prevent this kind of thing – big hole dug, THEN project hits the rocks (see the story here).