West Seattle Whole Foods site update: Judicial foreclosure sought

September 2, 2009 at 12:19 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 57 Comments

Discovered this during our periodic peek into the online records for the various lawsuits pending related to what was the Fauntleroy Place site (map), nicknamed “Hole Foods” since currently it’s a huge excavation awaiting a development that’s still supposed to include a Whole Foods store (as well as Hancock Fabrics and residential units): The newest development is that a legal action seeking “judicial foreclosure” was filed in King County Superior Court last week, by a firm identifying itself as 3922 SW Alaska LLC (the official address of record for the site), as a third party intervening in the lawsuits and liens pending regarding the site. The documents say that new entity holds the note/deed to the site as of late June (with the note’s most recent valuation listed as $21 million).

You can read the “complaint for judicial foreclosure” here; here’s an associated document, an order putting off a motion for summary judgment by a party to one of the lawsuits, because of the “intervention.”

As soon as we found this, we sought comment from Foster Pepper, the legal firm representing the party seeking foreclosure. They have not called back.

So to make sure we’re interpreting the action as accurately as possible, we informally consulted a real-estate-transaction expert (not involved in the case) who tells us it’s not unusual for a new entity to be formed in a situation like this to take over the financial and other liability. He adds, though, it’s not so commonplace for judicial foreclosure to be sought instead of nonjudicial – this type, he says, tends to take longer.

Bottom line, though, it’s another step in the path to getting the site’s future resolved, but it’s the first time the word “foreclosure” has been formally raised in this situation, and it could lead to the property being sold at auction. As we reported two weeks ago, Whole Foods’ official stance is that they are still expecting to open a store there, but they are “watching (the project) closely” to see if the commitments in their lease will be met. (When ground was ceremonially broken in June of last year – WSB coverage here – a February 2010 completion date was projected.) Lots more to follow up on this, of course, as we have done and will continue to do.

57 Comments

  1. Maybe this will open the door for TRADER JOES to move in this location instead!!! We really need a TJ’s out here!!!!!

    Comment by Dawn Jump — 12:29 pm September 2, 2009 #

  2. I second the vote for Trader Joes!

    Comment by Jeff — 12:48 pm September 2, 2009 #

  3. “tends to take longer than the other” Of course it does…why would we take the expedited route on this project after all. :)

    Comment by B — 12:54 pm September 2, 2009 #

  4. TJ’s or Central Market….I would love a Central Market closer than Shoreline…

    Comment by Angela — 1:04 pm September 2, 2009 #

  5. West Seattle doesn’t need a Trader Joe’s- Burien is a five minute drive and so is Capital Hill.

    Comment by Hoxley — 1:20 pm September 2, 2009 #

  6. At least they finally took down the Whole Foods signs and the “coming” 2009, 2010, whatever signs. It’s a valuable visible property and something WILL end up there. Very unlikely it will be Whole Foods and it will probably be 5+ years before an actual business is built and opens. These things aren’t quick. There are plenty of developments that sat through half constructed failures during the real estate boom. Do you really expect in this market anyone to rush into building more apartments or condo’s? I think the building next to the new QFC is still going forward, plus the one on the end block up the street (Rocksport). With all that, I can’t imagine why any business person WOULD build this thing now.

    Comment by I had heard — 1:22 pm September 2, 2009 #

  7. Hoxley,

    Do you have a helicopter I can borrom? Capital Hill 5 minutes away? Burien 5 minutes away? Ok, forget the helicopter, can you share whatever it is you are smoking?

    Comment by Mark — 1:25 pm September 2, 2009 #

  8. Is the only thing holding this up that the owner can’t/won’t pay the property developers and they have sued to get their payment?

    Seems like there would be a way to force the owners to pay and move the project along.

    Comment by DW — 1:28 pm September 2, 2009 #

  9. I am astounded that West Seattle citizens and businesses have not insisted that a wood fence be constructed around this site. The physical sight of this massive deteriorating corner is consistently mentioned as a less than motivating reason to purchase any of the remaining properties in our gateway. Who would want to live or open a business across the street, or even down the street, when there is no certain plan or activity, not to mention the liability the hole presents. Can’t the owners at least be required to build a fence and restore the small pocket park currently trashed behind the chain link fence? How much longer do we sit with this situation before we, as a community, demand some action!

    Comment by elevated concern — 1:30 pm September 2, 2009 #

  10. WS does NOT need a Trader Joe’s! TJ’s is not local, buys and sells food at a discounted because they are cut throat with the folks they buy from, in turn not treating them fairly.
    Plus, have you ever noticed that lots of the food at Trader Joe’s tastes like it’s cheap? A perfect example of getting what you pay for.

    Comment by Raychill — 1:41 pm September 2, 2009 #

  11. I’ll second the Trader Joes as long as it’s larger than that hole in the wall one in the U…

    I’ve had many friends work at WholeFoods before, and apparently, the company is just one big double-talking hippie-hating money-taking machine. Screw ‘em.

    Comment by Ivy E — 1:58 pm September 2, 2009 #

  12. DW, it’s a lot more complicated than that. Four lawsuits and part of the story told in one of them is that the original developers (BlueStar) were ousted along the way. So the site in essence has no developer right now. BlueStar had at one point hoped that any prospective new owner might hire them back; I haven’t talked to them lately – they are suing, among others – their lawsuit, filed six months ago, was first reported here in this story:
    http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=14939
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:00 pm September 2, 2009 #

  13. Dear Hoxley, Many, many of do not own cars thus making the trip to T.J.’s a major undertaking via METRO. “Nuf said.

    Comment by Buddsmom — 2:04 pm September 2, 2009 #

  14. Elevated Concern, playing the devils advocate…what have YOU personally done to get your ideas to the proper people besides typing out your above post on a blog? Contacted the owners, the city, etc? Don’t take it personal, I always ask this of people that say what a community should be doing. I find that a lot of them are really saying “somebody else do something about this.” If you have demanded this action that you’re talking about, please share it so others can join your organization.
    In anticipation of questioning what I have or haven’t done, I guess since I hardly ever drive by that site, it doesn’t bother me as it does you.

    Comment by Bruce W — 2:04 pm September 2, 2009 #

  15. Ray,

    Like QFC and Safeway and Albertsons and Whole Foods are local? I love Met Market and PCC but if you think they are expensive now, imagine if we got rid of all the out of town competition.

    Comment by Mark — 2:14 pm September 2, 2009 #

  16. How about a stadium for The Sonics?…oh wait…

    Comment by Leroniusmonkfish — 2:16 pm September 2, 2009 #

  17. TJ’S! TJ’S! TJ’S!
    And, Burien is NOT five minutes away!

    Comment by Carowe — 3:14 pm September 2, 2009 #

  18. Heh, similar to what Mark said, I was going to ask Hoxley to please tell us that he/she has a helicopter, and isn’t driving our roads fast enough to get to Burien, or Cap Hill, in a mere five minutes! ;)

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 3:55 pm September 2, 2009 #

  19. we don’t need a TJ’s. I agree, their food is not that great, the stores are small and cramped, and I just don’t get them at all. Frankly we don’t need a grocery store there at all. We do need one on 35th and morgan area, not Thriftway, they are also way too expensive.

    Comment by coffee — 3:56 pm September 2, 2009 #

  20. Another enthusiastic vote for TJs (I hope they are listening).

    As for TJ’s food quality, I don’t generally like TJ’s fresh produce, but most everything else is high quality. For produce, Trader Joe cannot compete with PCC, the Farmers Market, Metro, or even QFC. But they bring some serious competition in wines and prepared foods. (I just had a bowl of their French Onion soup, which Nancy Leson raved about, for lunch).

    Comment by rw — 4:00 pm September 2, 2009 #

  21. I agree we don’t need a TJ’s. Or a Whole Foods. There’s such a thing as too many consumer choices, and it’s not good for our economy or the environment. We already have several grocery stores near that construction site. It’s not like the citizens of West Seattle are going to starve to death.

    Comment by KBear — 4:04 pm September 2, 2009 #

  22. I agree with coffee. The 35th/Morgen area is in dire need of a normal grocery store. There are tons of people living in that area.

    Comment by nuni — 4:10 pm September 2, 2009 #

  23. I agree completely with “elevated concern”. The issue is not WHO is in the space, rather that it is EMPTY. The predominance of vacancies in that corridor is appaling. It’s a horrible way to enter one of the the most vital neighborhoods in the city. If the city/owners can’t fill the commercial space, then it should be parks. Empty, vacant buildings/lots breed crime, and other not so savory activities, and more importantly are an eyesore.

    Our neighborhood is stronger than that.

    Comment by junction girl — 4:10 pm September 2, 2009 #

  24. Bruce W – One way we can impact change in West Seattle is to vote local… Go DOW!

    Comment by junction girl — 4:13 pm September 2, 2009 #

  25. So, it sounds like this new entity (3522 SW Alaska LLC) owns the deed, and now they’re foreclosing on the developer for unpaid something-or-other? And the foreclosure sale proceedings, whatever they are, will pay off construction companies and other lienholders? And then the winning bidder owns the site and can proceed as they see fit? And the same entity doing the foreclosing can also be the bidder? That last bit seems like a good deal if you can get it — purchase the deed for a discount, foreclose, and then re-purchase the deed, now unencumbered by liens. I must be missing something.
    .
    And just to fit in, let me add: TJs TJs PCC TJs QFC Metropolitan Market TJs.

    Comment by Sage — 4:44 pm September 2, 2009 #

  26. I agree with the No TJ’s people. Ugh. Cardboard.

    Though..moving PFI over here might be kinda cool….

    Comment by grr — 6:17 pm September 2, 2009 #

  27. I support our ‘local’ PCC, but also like TJs. They are known for their quirky products and I find a lot of products that are good and less expensive than other stores. I make special trips there for sauces, meats, cheese, nuts and bread. I admit I don’t buy much produce there, unless there’s a good buy on something. Also too much plastic packaging on produce. That said, I would welcome one closer than Burien, which I agree is NOT 5 minutes away.

    Comment by Joan — 6:46 pm September 2, 2009 #

  28. I called the City several months ago concerning the lack of security and danger the site is to passing cars/buses etc. The City representative told me that the chain link fence suffices. I disagreed-yu might have to look way back for post in the Forum section to find it.

    I’m sure if one of the two Mayoral candidates took a stance on this they could WIN a majority of WS votes.

    Comment by Dale Swanson — 7:07 pm September 2, 2009 #

  29. Trader Joe’s sells a bunch of cheap crap. Its like a mini Wal Mart. It would look real classy having that in the gateway to WS! I don’t think so.

    Comment by David — 8:27 pm September 2, 2009 #

  30. I don’t get TJ’s either, for the record.

    And I also don’t get why there is not a comprehensive plan for that entire gateway corridor. Was there ever such a thing? Those blocks ascending from the bridge to the Junction are truly wasteland, with a few exceptions. I just feel disappointed every time I drive through. Such wasted, uncoordinated potential. It’s an embarrasment.

    Comment by d — 8:54 pm September 2, 2009 #

  31. Let’s think big here – what if we had the chance to effect something different – what would you really like to see there people?

    What about the new west seattle YMCA? (Hey that hole is BIGGER than an olympic sized pool)

    Maybe a public/private partnership of some sort? Maybe the seattle city neighborhood center from across the street with expanded services, a library satelite location and a group health clinic (like the swedish clinic up california) with housing above?

    Okay – maybe I’m getting carried away here…

    Comment by eileen — 9:32 pm September 2, 2009 #

  32. I read on the internets that Trader Joe’s business model requires stores to be located in small spaces to keep the sales per square foot high. If that’s true, I doubt they’d try to strike a deal here and open a mega-TJ’s.

    Here’s an interesting essay on the “Trader Joe’s Experience.”
    http://gbr.pepperdine.edu/072/tj.html

    Comment by manuelw — 10:18 pm September 2, 2009 #

  33. Why should it be a grocery store? People, think outside the box here, the Junction does not need three huge grocery stores.

    The Hole reminds me of the terrible hole on Stone Way in Fremont where the old Safeway used to be. I think that’s been open for around 7-8 years. Scares the bejesus out of me that it could sit there until my daughter is in junior high.

    What are the true options out there for communities to affect this situation? My guess is none.

    Comment by David Cagen — 10:56 pm September 2, 2009 #

  34. OK West Seattle. I recall telling you this at least once before. The agreement for WF was impossible for virtually anyone to meet. WF doesn’t want to build anything right now so they’re happy to see the key deadlines being missed. Another problem is the hancock agreement stipulates such cheap rent it is impossible to get the project off the ground. Lastly the design of the building is horrendous in terms of expense. Essentially the deal put together is complete crap. Lawyers will win. Honestly, anyone who lives in WS shouldn’t talk about how its an eyesore when its been surrounded by vacant car lots for eons and the only way to WS involves driving up a hill of slumland.

    Also, nobody is going to get elected mayor by promising to put up a new fence around the site.

    Comment by d — 12:12 am September 3, 2009 #

  35. What is this slumland you speak of?
    .
    Darn fine view homes over both forks of the end of the bridge. Kinda industrial till you get there.

    Comment by WSB — 12:21 am September 3, 2009 #

  36. Maybe “d” meant “urban wasteland”?

    Comment by Leroniusmonkfish — 2:43 am September 3, 2009 #

  37. Throwing in my vote for Trader Joe’s! I don’t care much for their produce, but they have such good deals on milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, oils (such as olive), vinegars, crackers, condiments, cleaning supplies, and more. Many of their products are organic and/or earth friendly, but cost less than just about anywhere else. I’d love to keep buying my produce and most meat at PCC, and everything else at TJs.

    Comment by rykrite — 7:44 am September 3, 2009 #

  38. Here’s and idea for the ‘wasteland’ area (the hole foods pit and the various auto lots that are now sitting empty with no immediate plans)….a movie theater!

    I know “in general” this city supposedly has enough movie theaters. On paper I’m sure that looks right, but it’s not. West Seattle needs it’s OWN first run theater over here on the peninsula. It’s geography. We have over 50K people over here, and the closest theaters are 20 miles south to crowded South Center, or downtown where you have to pay for parking (and just think when 99 is down for 7 or 8 years).

    We need our own theater. Maybe just 3 or 4 screens, but come on. It’s an obvious business.

    Comment by I had heard — 8:47 am September 3, 2009 #

  39. Uhm, I only posted the first “d” comment. And, I was referring to wasted land in the sense of seemingly uninspired. The views ARE awesome. I don’t know who that other “d” is, but it is not me.

    Comment by d — 10:59 am September 3, 2009 #

  40. I’m with “junction girl.” Can we focus on the fact that that it’s empty and forget the wank about Trader Joe’s? The corner has gone from tacky-but-useful, to eyesore and useless. I feel frustrated and powerless that two business I used frequently are gone and now it’s just an ugly space without any clear direction. I don’t even know if there’s someone to be frustrated with, except I feel like the community has been…mistreated.

    Comment by Nancy F, — 11:33 am September 3, 2009 #

  41. I was going to play the Trader Joe’s game and guess how many of the previous 40 comments referred to everyone’s(?) favorite California based packaged food purveyor.
    Before I could scroll down to comment, I couldn’t help but notice that the FIRST TWO were about TJ’s. Stunning but predictable.
    I didn’t read further because that would ruin the game.
    I’m going to aim high. 31/40 will mention TJ’s in some context.

    Comment by dawsonct — 12:17 pm September 3, 2009 #

  42. Someday they inevitably will open here – five years, ten years, or? – and then we’ll have to move on to something else. Maybe In N Out Burger (which would have to leapfrog Oregon first) …

    Comment by WSB — 12:24 pm September 3, 2009 #

  43. Oooh, only 19/40; I was way off! Very disappointing.
    -
    Apartments/condos above with a permanent home for the W. Seattle farmers market below, modeled on the Pike Place market, with day stalls and small, locally owned, non-franchise businesses.
    -
    That’s my pipedream. Developers LOVE national retailers so local folks need not apply.
    Generic is the new American norm.

    Comment by dawsonct — 12:52 pm September 3, 2009 #

  44. Hey, WSB! What’s up with the now shut down work site at 35th & Avalon?

    Comment by dawsonct — 12:54 pm September 3, 2009 #

  45. Nothing new that I know of since this item we published about owner M. Mastro’s financial woes 2 wks ago:
    http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=20013

    Comment by WSB — 1:12 pm September 3, 2009 #

  46. First “d” commenter here again. Perhaps a park n ride AND a theater AND Children’s Hospital. I heard fairly recently that CH needs to expand their Laurelhurst facilities and if they are not allowed, will move. Some Laurelhurst groups are suing to prevent necessary expansion of the NW region’s finest and only children’s medical center. I wonder if there are enough lots in that area to accommodate their need to grow? Would a fine institution like that, integrated with WS needs of a park n ride and whatever else could be coordinated to benefit locals, be welcome? Does a vision HAVE to be exclusively housing based?

    I am just throwing it out there. I don’t live in the corridor area, but I wonder if a hospital of some kind would not be a really great thing. I’m not a
    developer nor do I have any ties to CH.

    As a side note to the second “d” poster in this thread, perhaps you would be willing to alter your posting ID to avoid confusion in the conversation. Clearly, I generate enough confusion from my own ramblings. I wouldn’t want anyone to confuse my blathering for yours, and I don’t imagine you want your comments misidentified as mine. Thanks.

    Ok, back to the topic at hand…,

    Comment by d — 1:25 pm September 3, 2009 #

  47. Thanks. I hadn’t seen that.
    -
    Seems like some developer who isn’t suffering quite as much would jump at purchasing this site. I would think it would be a relatively quick build-out.

    Comment by dawsonct — 1:32 pm September 3, 2009 #

  48. Fill it with water stock it with trout and let’s go fishin!

    Comment by 37Ray — 2:17 pm September 3, 2009 #

  49. In N Out burgers are great! I think I will head over there tonight…as close to Dick’s I can get here in Phoenix.

    Comment by Leroniusmonkfish — 4:32 pm September 3, 2009 #

  50. In N Out is in Arizona too? I knew they expanded into Nevada, having been back to Vegas a few times for family visits ..

    Comment by WSB — 4:33 pm September 3, 2009 #

  51. Yep we got them here! For the extreme burger experience I go to http://www.heartattackgrill.com but still prefer In N Out…

    Comment by Leroniusmonkfish — 4:41 pm September 3, 2009 #

  52. uh, dog park? **Ducking to avoid shoes being thrown!** How about a MOVIE THEATER???? Admiral is darling and all… but more options would be great in WS.

    Comment by aunteesocial — 7:12 pm September 3, 2009 #

  53. I heard that a vacuum & tv business was considering this location?

    Comment by Leroniusmonkfish — 7:34 pm September 3, 2009 #

  54. +1 for In n Out Burger!!!

    Comment by grr — 12:01 pm September 4, 2009 #

  55. I have never been to a Trader Joe’s myself, but sat next to the area manager for TJs yesterday on a flight to Seattle from California and I mentioned our West Seattle Hole Foods. He laughed and said that he knows all about it, but they are not moving into the hole… HOWEVER, they are coming to West Seattle shortly and will be at the Fauntleroy and Alaska intersection as well. They had planned to have broken ground already, but the lease negotiation has taken longer than originally planned. I was also periodically “glancing” at his laptop screen and read this to be true as well as a new store in Ballard and another new store in Bellevue.

    Comment by DC — 2:56 pm September 5, 2009 #

  56. They opened a store in Ballard earlier this year. And as I noted when you posted this in another thread, the Fauntleroy/Alaska siting has been long rumored, but no public confirmation. First time I find public confirmation or some official info in a publicly obtainable document, it’ll be the website equivalent of the old 72-point extra-bold newspaper headline, given that the mystical West Seattle Trader Joe’s is the one thing we’ve been asked about since even before we started doing news on this site.
    .
    Here’s the very first Trader Joe’s comment in our archives, from June 2006, when the site was barely six months old:
    http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=74#comment-132
    .
    Either amusingly or ruefully, notice what else the commenter back then mentioned. (That was about four months after the Whole Foods project was first announced.)
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:10 pm September 5, 2009 #

  57. The only thing I REALLY want out of that hole down the hill from my home is the Hancocks Fabric back! I needs my crafty supplies!

    Comment by always_lived_in_the_98116 — 11:58 pm September 5, 2009 #

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