Ribboncutting officially opens first building at The Whittaker

Photos by Christopher Boffoli for West Seattle Blog

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Two years after ceremonial groundbreaking launched construction of The Whittaker – West Seattle’s biggest mixed-use project ever – its first building at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW is officially open, with a ribboncutting celebration today, including namesake Jim Whittaker, the West Seattle native who made history on Mount Everest. The lobby displays a photo of him on Everest in 1963:

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Whittaker’s partner Dianne Roberts told Christopher that they still have the ice axe and flags in the iconic photograph, as well as the camera used to shoot it. She said that the clothes he was wearing in the photo are now on display at the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum in Golden, Colorado.

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The ribboncutting marked the fact that residents are moving into the south building this month, and will follow in the north building next spring. Property manager Ashlie Quon of Windsor Communities told WSB’s Christopher Boffoli that the South building has 129 units complete and open, 39 of which are leased so far.

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Art for the site was commissioned from West Seattleite Troy Pillow – who also created the new kinetic sculpture in Junction Plaza Park. Some of his work is up outside the south entry:

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The lobby sections open today feature sitting areas with gas fireplaces, a “wine room” upstairs with a function area with a small kitchen just off it for events, a mailroom, and a separate package room.

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The large, open lobby features reclaimed wood throughout and a suspended Douglas Fir staircase (which leads up to the wine room/function area. That’s where some of today’s speeches took place.

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While the residential units are opening, the commercial tenants won’t start to open until next year. So far, as we reported last summer, they include – besides anchor tenant Whole Foods Market, taking the retail space in the north building – BECU, City MD, MOD Pizza, and T-Mobile.

West Seattle Chamber of Commerce CEO Lynn Dennis, among today’s speakers, said, “The Whittaker represents an example of creating density while preserving green spaces and celebrating the real character of West Seattle.” Jim Whittaker spoke too, saying he felt “lucky” to be born in West Seattle and that the new building was marvelous and he was delighted to be on hand for the opening.

8 Replies to "Ribboncutting officially opens first building at The Whittaker"

  • Chris December 8, 2016 (9:14 pm)

    I think this is great that Jim is getting recognized in West Seattle for what he has done for Seattle. Cheers all around!

    FYI – There is another extremely accomplished climber and author from West Seattle, with more first ascents then anyone else alive. He’s currently over 90 years old, and his name is Fred Beckey.

  • kate December 8, 2016 (10:18 pm)

    Super cool project with a lot of really nice local touches!

  • Diane December 9, 2016 (12:55 am)

    wow, thanks Chris for the info on Fred; tons of info/stories about him online, including historylink; look forward to reading; 1941 WSHS grad; would love to see a local story on Fred while he’s still alive; and maybe Clay Eals could get him for a historic talk so the rest of West Seattle could meet him; this story for one, has a lot of detail  

    http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Icon-to-some-legendary-climber-Beckey-still-1109263.php

  • justme December 9, 2016 (6:07 am)

    Yay for Mod Pizza!

  • Ginny December 9, 2016 (6:42 am)

    How wonderful to see this iconic NW figure in person, looking fit and happy,  a  mere handful of decades later!!  I hope they place a photo of him now, up somewhere in the building too.

  • West Sea Neighbor December 9, 2016 (8:46 am)

    Great to see Jim Whittaker doing so well, and I had no idea that Fred Beckey is also a West Seattleite! An abundance of mountaineering legends from our neighborhood!

    • Azimuth December 9, 2016 (10:22 am)

      They practiced by walking up Charlestown Street from 47th to 46th!

  • bolo December 9, 2016 (11:33 am)

    What a great improvement over that run-down eyesore Huling Bros carlot! Ready for some real neighborhood vibrancy now!

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