WEST SEATTLE WHOLE FOODS MARKET: ‘We are moving forward’ after all, company tells WSB

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

WSB has just confirmed that the West Seattle Whole Foods Market is back on.

WFM spokesperson Susan Livingston confirms that to WSB this afternoon via e-mail: “We are moving forward with our West Seattle location at The Whittaker and will share more information on timelines for the opening once details are finalized.”

We inquired today after seeing WFM featured in the graphic shown atop this story – it’s the latest online map of which businesses are going where at The Whittaker (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW; WSB sponsor).

It’s been six months since the revelation that Whole Foods was backing out of West Seattle again, though its official statement at the time was that “Whole Foods Market has decided to delay indefinitely the opening of our West Seattle store.” The company overseeing the businesses in The Whittaker, Weingarten Realty, subsequently said that WF was working with it to find a replacement tenant.

Less than three months later came the news about Amazon buying Whole Foods. We tried multiple times after that – before and after the deal closed – to get a comment about whether the new ownership might lead WFM to reconsider the West Seattle store location; no reply.

Until now, the space has continued to be shown on the online Whittaker site map as available – you can see that in our August story about the signing of another tenant, Orangetheory Fitness. And then our routine check last night showed Whole Foods was back on the map – Weingarten pointed us to WFM for comment, and we just got the confirmation quoted above.

It’s been almost five years since Whole Foods was originally announced as the anchor tenant for The Whittaker (even before the mixed-use project got that name). That in turn was two years after WF announced it was no longer going into the project across the street that at the time was an inactive excavation site dubbed “The Hole,” since sold and finished as Spruce, with LA Fitness in the space where the grocery store was to be.

At The Whittaker, Whole Foods will join already-signed businesses T-Mobile (which is now open), BECU, MOD Pizza, CityMD, and Orangetheory Fitness. As spokesperson Livingston told us, there’s no timeline just yet – but we’ll continue to follow up. Before the March announcement, the company had told us two months earlier that it was expecting to open the store in summer 2018.

96 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE WHOLE FOODS MARKET: 'We are moving forward' after all, company tells WSB"

  • My two cents ... September 26, 2017 (2:23 pm)

    Wait for it – wait for it –

    1. Wish PCC would have moved in there.

    2. Oh! Not another big box-chain-corporate entity

    3. There goes the neighborhood, this isn’t MY West Seattle

    4. Need more X, not Y

    5. We have too many grocery stores in West Seattle

    6. Will they have gluten free and/or vegetarian options?

    7. Will it be kid friendly?

    8. I will never shop X because of Y 

    This PSA was brought to you so additional time need not be spent on the usual responses.

    Glad to see that they have a business for that spot, hope things go well.

    • WSB September 26, 2017 (2:33 pm)

      Actually it might be more fun to discuss the various rumors that circulated about possible replacements before this. We heard supermarkets, department stores, pet-stuff stores … all moot now. – TR

    • Keith September 26, 2017 (2:42 pm)

      @ My Two Cents — how could you forget to mention Merlot?!?

    • P September 26, 2017 (2:44 pm)

      So true haha. I’m excited honestly

    • Erik September 26, 2017 (3:05 pm)

      You missed only one – “ I miss the old West Seattle guess it’s time to move”

      • 1907 September 26, 2017 (3:21 pm)

        I think that’s covered by #3. It’s a thorough list!

    • Jort September 26, 2017 (3:24 pm)

      My Two Cents… I can’t believe you forgot the most critical one of all:

      “But what about the PARKING?!?!?!?!?!??!

      • WSB September 26, 2017 (3:32 pm)

        We mentioned that just last week. Almost 600 spaces, some of which are for the retail customers. – TR

    • Jethro Marx September 26, 2017 (4:06 pm)

      You forgot the classic, “we moved out of West Seattle five years ago because yadayadayada, but…we still read the blog and want to tell people why that place sucks.”

       And, 4b, or maybe 5b, “we need a ‘general goods’ store.”

       Also, I think Whole Foods sells….Pizza!

       I love you guys.

    • Keith September 26, 2017 (4:50 pm)

      Ha!  spot on.

    • swisschocolateorange September 26, 2017 (5:42 pm)

      Nice scoop, Tracy!

    • Greystreet September 26, 2017 (8:42 pm)

      This is SPOT on…nonetheless I’m wicked excited, their salad bar/deli/fresh food selection is fantastic and I think if you don’t want to shop there it means a smaller line for me lol 

    • West Seattle Sun September 26, 2017 (9:49 pm)

      @WSB @My Two Cents

      I motion to have this a permanent 1st comment for all posts with business development and renovation projects…

      It gets really old and a bit depressing reading all of the bitch and whiners digitize their mood swings.

    • Luke September 27, 2017 (6:00 am)

      Thank you for this post! So entertaining 

  • MamaR September 26, 2017 (2:42 pm)

    Yes!!!! So excited! And thankful it’s not going to be Walmart. Not that I saw that happening, but still! 

  • sw September 26, 2017 (2:42 pm)

    Must have a lot of Amazon employees in West Seattle.

    • Swede. September 26, 2017 (4:41 pm)

      There is no doubt about that!

  • ktrapp September 26, 2017 (2:53 pm)

    I sense there may have been a more attractive lease offered to WF, after being unable to find a replacement anchor tenant.  There might have been lease concessions to the other tenants if they couldn’t fill that space by the time the other shops start to open, making the owners of the building a bit more willing to go back to Whole Foods with hat in hand.

    • West Sea Neighbor September 27, 2017 (7:55 am)

      Usually when you sign a commercial lease like this, the tenant will be required to start paying rent at some point regardless of whether or not they are open. The owner will generally be required to mitigate its damages by trying to get another tenant, but can collect the rent from the tenant on the lease until they are able to do so, and even then the original tenant will often be on the hook for any resulting shortfall.

      You may be right about the other tenants–it is possible that they have a “co-tenancy” requirement in their leases that would allow them to either pay less rent or terminate if the anchor tenant doesn’t open within a certain period of time.

  • Sue September 26, 2017 (2:54 pm)

    While I’m really excited about the prospect of Whole Foods opening there since it’s a block from my apartment, you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t get really excited about this until they actually open their doors. Twice before they’ve gotten us all excited about it and then it fell through. So call me a cynic,  but I won’t be believing it until they’re open.

  • WSFoodie September 26, 2017 (2:55 pm)

    All I want is a decent salad bar in WS.  This makes me happy!  Cautiously happy, since we’ve been here before (twice).  

    • Ms_F September 26, 2017 (6:12 pm)

      I actually really like the salad bar at the Admiral Safeway. But I would be excited about an even better one!

    • Michael A Monteleone September 26, 2017 (11:58 pm)

      Don’t like Metro’s salad bar? I salivate thinking about it. 

      • Stacy September 27, 2017 (5:02 pm)

        Yum. The best!!

  • Just September 26, 2017 (2:59 pm)

    T-mobile is now open at the Whitaker and BECU opens Oct 3

    • WSB September 26, 2017 (3:10 pm)

      In the story, I mention T-Mobile being open – we noticed that while driving by yesterday – and in last week’s story about the second-tower party, we mentioned they expected the other tenants to be open within a month or so (except MOD, which, as we noted this summer, is not expecting to be open until next June). Thanks! It’ll be interesting to see how soon they put up WFM signage – not long before the March announcement, they had filed for sign permits. – TR

  • Triangle Resident September 26, 2017 (3:02 pm)

    They got their cash infusion and full steam ahead.  Awesome for West Seattle.

  • coffeedude September 26, 2017 (3:13 pm)

    Was in the Lake Union WF last week, ICK.  They have changed the colors, and lighting.  When I got off the elevator I was blinded by the new harsh lighting.  Colors are WAY bright.  I did not like it one bit.  Plus the whole store had a different vibe.  Employees were helpful but seemed like they were unsure of what was happening with the company overall.  

    • Luke September 27, 2017 (5:53 am)

      So don’t shop there. Seems easy enough. 

      • seaopgal September 27, 2017 (10:36 am)

        #9 The ever-mature “love it or leave it” response to opinion with which you don’t agree.

        • Luke September 27, 2017 (10:59 am)

          Good one:) 

  • Peeb September 26, 2017 (3:15 pm)

    SO EXCITED!!!!

  • Tim September 26, 2017 (3:16 pm)

    I love their buffet also and I don’t plan on pushing a shopping cart around the place. Now I can walk to QFC, Safeway, Trader Joes and now WF’s!!  

  • Curtis September 26, 2017 (3:18 pm)

    I always assumed the old Hancock Fabrics site was called the “Whole” for obvious reasons.

    • WSB September 26, 2017 (3:29 pm)

      Some referred to it as “Hole Foods” but that was something of an unfair rap as they didn’t own the site and the fact the project stalled was not their fault (it was a big ugly court fight among other parties – developers, financers, etc. – which we covered copiously). Their eventual pullout from that project was because it was clear there was not going to be a building anytime within the time frame their lease stipulated that one would be built for them to move into. Hancock Fabrics was originally going to be a tenant too but decided not to, and so eventually after the site was sold at a foreclosure auction and a new developer resumed work, all the commercial space went to LA Fitness.

  • MJ September 26, 2017 (3:21 pm)

    I think WFM coming back into the picture is more about the Amazon acquisition and this being essentially a blank canvas for AMZN to beta test different/new ways to leverage Amazon in this environment (package pick up/drop off, maybe platform for drone deliveries, etc) with this store being very close to the HQ.  Going to be interesting to see what they test out…

    • Dawsonst September 26, 2017 (5:31 pm)

      Free-range eggs and ham

      Quinoa in a box, maybe with some lox

      What’s that you say, the underwear ordered yesterday I can take home today?

      Groceries, sundries, items big and small,

      and all without going to the mall.

    • Poultine September 27, 2017 (8:03 am)

      While it may be related to the acquisition, I doubt it’s specifically for leading edge market testing. The store in SLU is literally across the street from an Amazon building, and the one in Interbay is much better situated to deal with crazy stuff like drone traffic (being next to a bunch of essentially unused land). I’d easily believe that it’s part of their delivery network for Prime Now, though.

  • Jort September 26, 2017 (3:22 pm)

    Wonderful! I’m very excited to see continued urbanization of our key Urban Village.

    I also look forward to even more traffic safety improvements and traffic calming measures that make it safer and better for people living in this neighborhood to interact with this street space. I’m  particularly excited about improvements to the ever-frightening Alaska and Fauntleroy intersection, which should be part of the awesome safety improvements that are part of the Fauntleroy Boulevard improvement project.

    Perhaps a large streetfront grocery store will be exactly the type of catalyst for change that finally gets our transportation planners to slow down and tame the outrageous, dangerous traffic at this intersection.

    • WS Guy September 27, 2017 (6:27 pm)

      WF is going to be great.  They’ll probably offer the Amazon order-ahead-and-drive-up service.  It’s great. You just pull your car up and they load the groceries you ordered.  You don’t even need to get out!

  • Lisa M September 26, 2017 (3:24 pm)

    #9 Oh great, another place for people to bring their dogs!

  • onion September 26, 2017 (3:29 pm)

    Still no visible progress on the complex replacing PCC. Every month they delay is another month without our favorite store. Any idea what the holdup is? Permits, I assume, but there ought to be some way to nudge this project forward.

    • WSB September 26, 2017 (3:31 pm)

      There has actually been a bit of progress in the past week – we drive by every day (have not been by today, though) – exterior cladding removal – you’ll notice this most on the California Avenue side. Anyway, we asked PCC when they announced their name change recently and intended to write a story but got sidetracked. They are in close contact with Madison (which, datapoint, is the same developer that finished the project at “The Hole” after buying it in a foreclosure auction) and say it is just a matter of waiting for the permits. – TR

    • Misspcc2 September 27, 2017 (6:10 am)

      If they say 18 months, it means 3 years. I was looking to lease a space in Whole Foods and was originally offered beginning of the year 17’ and now they say they won’t open before summer of 18’. These bigger projects never go to plan. 

  • HTB September 26, 2017 (3:40 pm)

    Guessing someone(s) in West Seattle has Bezos’ ear

  • Joan September 26, 2017 (4:04 pm)

    Bah, humbug. You couldn’t pay me to shop there. I can’t wait for the new PCC.

  • anonyme September 26, 2017 (4:10 pm)

    I used to be a WF fan, but I’m over it.  The changes as the stores have become part of the Amazon empire are not positive ones.   I don’t shop Amazon any more either, because of the tricky pricing tactics.  I’ll be glad when PCC returns, although I’ve heard rumors that they are going more corporate as well.  Is there any escape?

    • Diamond September 26, 2017 (4:27 pm)

      Tricky pricing tactics? You mean trying to be cheaper than other places? That’s just.. good business? 

      Honestly, since Amazon has taken over WF some of their basic items are now cheaper than Safeway, and way better quality. How is making higher quality produce and groceries more accessible to people with less income? The only “negative” changes I’m hearing are about “vibe” and “lighting.” If those are your issues with a grocery store, I can’t even imagine the amount of privilege you must need to check with your baggage. 

      • B September 26, 2017 (10:26 pm)

        @Diamond you hit that nail right one the head. People are just finding reasons to complain about anything amazonian related because of where HQ is. Whole foods is exactly the same just new ownership and prices. If lighting is really that big of an issue then you have little to no problems in your everyday life to be worried about.

        • Martimin September 27, 2017 (11:14 am)

          Actually Amazon employs tricky pricing tactics to determine the highest price you’re willing to pay. After tracking your purchase history, browsing history, and other ways that you use the internet, it comes up with a price for you that may be cheaper than the price your neighbor pays… or it may be double the price.

          • Diamond October 9, 2017 (2:11 pm)

            Wish I had seen this when you posted it, Martimin. That is actually completely wrong and I am not even sure where you found out this information. There is a website called camelcamelcamel.com that you can check the price of an item at any time and has literally nothing to do with your own spending habits or anything of the sort. The price is the price. For everyone. Period. It changes, sure. But it isn’t based on the individual. It’s funny that you even think that. One wonders where you came up with that random idea.

  • DumplingGirl September 26, 2017 (4:11 pm)

    Can’t wait for either this WFM to open, or PCC in Burien, or both. I miss our West Seattle PCC!

    • SWinWS September 27, 2017 (10:59 am)

      I concur!  I am hoping the new PCC in Burien is on schedule and looking forward to shopping there in early 2018, if so.  Glad they are expanding outward.  PCC staff are, hands down, the friendliest and they seems to retain employees which says something about the community/culture. 

  • JanS September 26, 2017 (4:17 pm)

    fine with me…I’m appreciative of the cheaper shopping at WFM now. that Amazon is running things.

  • wait for it September 26, 2017 (4:22 pm)

    call my cynical but i’ll believe it when i see it. i’m so sick of wfm waffling on coming into our community. it’s on, it’s off, wait! we’re being acquired by amazon. now it’s back on. not faulting ws blog at all: you guys are doing the critical reporting but if wfm would make a show of commitment, i will consider shopping there. until then, i’m inclined to take my grocery needs elsewhere.

  • onion September 26, 2017 (4:26 pm)

    Whole Foods’ arrival can only be good because it means our other premium-priced market, Metropolitan, will feel greater pricing pressure. They certainly seem to have less price sensitivity since their remodels last fall. And now they are making additional updates, especially to the meat and seafood counters.

  • Jeannie September 26, 2017 (4:58 pm)

    My Two Cents for the win! Loved your list.  I assume they will not carry the infamous $6 bottle of asparagus water. 
    Another classic comment would be “I’m so excited! This is the best news I’ve heard all week!:

    • My two cents ... September 26, 2017 (7:29 pm)

      It will be reduced down to $5.99 ……

      (couldn’t resist)

      • Susie September 26, 2017 (9:53 pm)

        Hey my two cents, don’t you mean 5.98? :)

  • Dereck September 26, 2017 (5:30 pm)

    Don’t Nick it till you yourself been in one since the take over. Don’t say what you think in your head til you been in one cause a lot of there stuff has dropped in price

  • Wendell September 26, 2017 (5:46 pm)

    All this Kool-Aid is making me pee.

  • Trickycoolj September 26, 2017 (5:56 pm)

    Good news! As living spaces ramp up we really need the extra supply as some of our current stores struggle to keep up with the population (ahem TJs) and also a little price competition to Safeway/QFC is a good thing as they’re our “cheapest” stores currently. 

    Like others have said, cautiously optimistic. 

  • Stock holder September 26, 2017 (5:57 pm)

    I support local companies like Amazon.

    At least Trader Joe shoppers will now stop parking in the LA Fitness garage.

    • Swede. September 26, 2017 (9:30 pm)

      ‘Shop local. Shop amazon!’

      Now there’s a slogan of contradiction. I’m gonna register it so they can’t use it! 

    • Lisa September 26, 2017 (10:57 pm)

      What stock holder??? I couldn’t figure out why it was so difficult finding parking at TJs when there was hardly anyone in the store. Until I started seeing people in workout gear get out of their cars at TJs and walk across the street. 

      You’ve got it backwards…

  • Mark September 26, 2017 (6:22 pm)

    Three grocery stores at Alaska jct, Safeway, QFC and TJ’s.  Along Delridge none.  It would be nice to see a store open along Delridge.

    • me2 September 26, 2017 (7:06 pm)

      I totally agree. I think the same thing every time I drive Delridge.

    • Amy September 26, 2017 (7:16 pm)

      Yes! Grocery store East of 35th please! 

    • D September 28, 2017 (11:44 pm)

      I totally agree!  Or a Fred Meyer on delridge way so I don’t have to go to the run down Target.  

  • prayforrain September 26, 2017 (7:16 pm)

    Even down 35th there’s nothing between Westwood Village and the Alaska Junction.  

    It’s all about demographics I guess.  

    • Wsbizowner September 27, 2017 (6:46 am)

      It’s nit demographic. Did you know that 98136 has the highest income in the area? And spends the most on everything? That said, there isn’t really a lot of commercial space that warrants a grocery store. 35th is mostly residential. My bet is, Morgan and 35th will eventuallly be something useful. 

      • DumplingGirl September 27, 2017 (8:05 am)

        We have that new development coming in at 35th and Graham, but my understanding is there will be room for SHA offices, a coffee shop, maybe a small market or restaurant, but not room for more.  It would be nice to have more walkable businesses from High Point!

      • AT September 27, 2017 (12:49 pm)

        If 98136 has the highest income, it may be because it includes a beautiful stretch of Beach Dr and other view properties west of 38th.  If we’re considering people for whom Delridge would be more convenient shopping, 98106 and 98126 are their zip codes, and those areas may not have such high income.

        https://www.unitedstateszipcodes.org/98136/

  • Chas Redmond September 26, 2017 (7:40 pm)

    @Mark – also known as “supermarket redlining.”

  • Donna DeRousie September 26, 2017 (8:31 pm)

    I am excited that the space will be filled and Whole Foods is cool but please don’t forget the small businesses you can walk to from their parking lot. Hint hint. 

  • aa September 26, 2017 (8:51 pm)

    I was at Met Mkt tonight and their hot food is the saddest array of fried food and greasy meatballs.  Might as well be at Old Country Buffet.  No question that the new owners do not have the same appreciation for food quality.  Here’s hoping that the Whole Foods competition will up their game.  I am also sad for the Safeway in Jefferson square and junction QFC.  I know they have loyal customers who will stay with them but four grocery stores in what five blocks?? It’s gonna hurt.

    • WSB September 26, 2017 (9:00 pm)

      Metropolitan Market has not changed ownership.

    • Local Shopper September 27, 2017 (11:37 pm)

      Every time I’m in Metro Market, there are lines at the hot food counter, especially when they have fish and chips.  They are no doubt giving the people what they want.  They still have plenty of lean meats and fish if you can’t or don’t want to cook at home.  I couldn’t care less about Whole Foods, but if it siphons off some of the crowd at Safeway, that would be great.  Too often at the Jefferson Square store there are lines down the aisles waiting to check out.  I am lucky to work from home so I’ve started shopping during the day to avoid the crowds.

  • Seattlite September 26, 2017 (10:20 pm)

    Since PCC closed in WS, I’ve going to the Aurora Ave PCC and the Elliott Ave Whole Foods.  I still think PCC has the best organic selections but Whole Foods is pretty good too…lots of items were on sale.

  • Support WS Produce September 26, 2017 (10:20 pm)

    Please, even though I’m commenter number 55, if you are reading this please please buy as much of your food from West Seattle Produce before they are swept up in this. Really nice people and high quality stuff. They’ve survived a couple rounds of sophistication in the Triangle area, but this might be it. I’ll be there Sunday with my kids playing “make 3 pounds” and raiding the dollar shelf, and I’ll be back every Sunday until it’s just another vacant lot. 

    • Diane September 26, 2017 (10:46 pm)

      do you know if WS Produce has any plans for another space to move to, since their current site will also be demolished for development?

    • Wsrez September 27, 2017 (6:47 am)

      Not enough organics.

  • Lowe September 27, 2017 (5:40 am)

    I’m a thriftway supporter.  I’m there almost daily.  I will continue to do so, but will

    say I am looking forward to WF coming to the community!  It’s a huge step up.  I will

    say I don’t love the items in the deli at  thriftway, it’s not the best for popping in for lunch.  WF will

    be a big draw for that.

  • WSMillennial September 27, 2017 (6:43 am)

    For all of you concerned about the lighting, they have this great invention called, SUNGLASSES! You may even feel cool wearing them indoors.

  • Dave September 27, 2017 (12:10 pm)

    Now that is Getting it Right for West Seattle!

  • Ellipses September 27, 2017 (12:50 pm)

    You know, i’m really sick of the elitist anti-walmart comments on here.  Please think about what you’re really trying to say the next time you knock walmart.

    • CMT September 27, 2017 (1:32 pm)

      The reason I don’t shop at Walmart is because of my understanding of the low compensation they pay their employees not because of any snobbishness.

    • Luke September 27, 2017 (3:23 pm)

      I don’t shop at Wal mart because of their union busting techniques. I’m certainly not in an elitist position 

  • SGG September 27, 2017 (12:57 pm)

    I wish PCC would have moved in there.

    :o)

  • RickB September 27, 2017 (2:08 pm)

    I heard from an Amazonian that there is a plan to allow people to bring Amazon returns to Whole Foods locations, no repacking or shipping required.

  • newnative September 27, 2017 (2:10 pm)

    Maybe what they’re really trying to say is that they don’t like Walmart. 

  • Ari Yoder September 27, 2017 (3:00 pm)

    I was waiting for someone to say that, Lisa.  I have a large service dog, without whom I could not go out.  He has been to service dog school and is well-trained and well-mannered.  So I resent these anti-dog comments which, in my case, I interpret as “oh great, another place  for disabled people to come.”

    • CMT September 27, 2017 (10:22 pm)

      I doubt the commenter was referring to service dogs. I assume this because, although I am a loving dog owner and have zero problem with properly documented service dogs accompanying their owners, I resent it when people blithely bring their clearly not-service dogs into stores knowing full well it is not permitted, placing the burden on employees or other patrons to awkwardly confront them or just deal with it. In addition to valid sanitary/health concerns, some people do not like, are allergic to and/or do not want to be around dogs.

    • JanS September 29, 2017 (1:22 am)

      Ari Yoder, funny you say that. I was at Admiral Safeway Thursday afternoon, and while I have no problem with service dogs,  there were at least 2 people there with their animals who I couldn’t tell if they were service dogs or not because there was no special anything on the dogs. They were on leash…one was a  Great Dane, and one was a breed of Pitty, it looked like. That one was on a very short leash that the owner held tightly onto. The Dane was huge….looked friendly enough, but head was above the produce stands, and I was hoping he didn’t drool ;-). Is there some sort of official “service dog” leash, sign, something so we can know if they are or not?

  • Junction Lady September 27, 2017 (8:56 pm)

    I too, am looking forward to WF’s amazing salad bar and the variety of quality prepared foods and sufficient staff to accomodate the patrons.  

  • heylady September 29, 2017 (3:33 am)

    I parked down there yesterday to visit a friend at the Whittaker. After seeing it, I can’t imagine a high volume of vehicles entering/exiting on Edmonds. Any word on traffic revisions? 

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