4755 Fauntleroy – West Seattle Blog… http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 21 Jun 2018 15:51:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 From the ‘in case you wondered too’ file: Newest estimate of when West Seattle Whole Foods Market will open http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/from-the-in-case-you-wondered-too-file-newest-estimate-of-when-west-seattle-whole-foods-market-will-open/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/04/from-the-in-case-you-wondered-too-file-newest-estimate-of-when-west-seattle-whole-foods-market-will-open/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2018 22:01:21 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=914159

The WSB inbox has been full of update requests lately, regarding various projects (thank you!), and we’re working on a bunch. First the most-asked question of the week: When is the West Seattle Whole Foods Market opening?

First the backstory: You’ll recall that a year ago, Whole Foods was shelving its plans for The Whittaker (WSB sponsor), second time it had canceled a West Seattle plan – but then six months later, we discovered last September that it was back on, and got confirmation.

Since then, we’ve had one update on timeline, when Whittaker reps told the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce in January that “late spring 2019” was the newest projection.

So this week, we went directly to WFM. A regional spokesperson’s reply:

We are grateful for the community’s excitement for this Whole Foods Market, and look forward to opening during the latter part of 2019.

As for other questions, such as how the chain’s evolution and experiments since Amazon’s takeover will affect the West Seattle plan … no specifics are public yet.

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BIZNOTES, WHITTAKER EDITION: Update on MOD Pizza ; plus, another new tenant http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/biznotes-whittaker-edition-update-on-mod-pizza-plus-another-new-tenant/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/biznotes-whittaker-edition-update-on-mod-pizza-plus-another-new-tenant/#comments Thu, 11 Jan 2018 19:51:42 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=906061 Two biznotes at The Whittaker (4755 Fauntleroy; WSB sponsor):

MOD PIZZA: The “individual, artisan-style pizza and salads” restaurant is now planning to open its West Seattle location in early February. That’s according to Charlotte Wayte, who also sent word that they’re having two hiring events at the future restaurant, for 30 job openings: 10 am-4 pm Saturday, January 20th, and Sunday, January 21st. They’re also taking applications online. The announcement notes:

Named one of the “20 Best Workplaces in Retail” by Fortune, MOD offers health, dental and vision benefits, short-term disability, sick pay, flexible scheduling for work-life balance and opportunities for career growth. MOD is also proud to support its MOD Squad with special perks such as free meals, an employee assistance program, and access to an emergency crisis fund.

The chain was founded in Seattle and is growing fast. The West Seattle store is 2,500 square feet and, according to the update, “will include original artwork and MOD’s signature ‘Wall of Fame,’ a photo collage that pays homage to the local community and people from the MOD journey.” The opening date isn’t finalized yet but MOD says it will partner that day with a TBA local nonprofit who will get 100 percent of the pizza-sales proceeds from that day.

KINETIC SPORTS REHAB: According to the building’s updated site map, and a permit application, another of the remaining Whittaker spaces has been taken – Kinetic Sports Rehab is coming to the south building, in the space north of CityMD. It currently has two locations, both in north Seattle. (The space also is next to the future Orangetheory Fitness – we have a message out to check on when they’re planning to open.)

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BIZNOTE: BECU now open at The Whittaker http://westseattleblog.com/2017/10/biznote-becu-now-open-at-the-whittaker/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/10/biznote-becu-now-open-at-the-whittaker/#comments Wed, 04 Oct 2017 20:37:48 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=896753 For the second consecutive day, we’ve received an announcement that another business has opened in The Whittaker (WSB sponsor). This time, it’s West Seattle’s first freestanding BECU branch. The credit union’s newest branch is 2,500 square feet, with five employees and one manager, per the announcement, which also says:

At the new location, BECU members can open accounts, apply for loans, and take care of financial transactions. Consistent with BECU’s operating model, the West Seattle location will offer an innovative “tellerless” layout, which empowers members to access their accounts in ways most convenient for them, including ATM, online banking, and mobile banking. Member consultants will be available to assist with these transactions, as well as provide one-on-one support for opening accounts and more complex services like mortgages, personal loans, auto loans and business services.

The branch at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW will be staffed 9 am-6 pm weekdays and 9 am-1 pm Saturdays, and has two 24-hour ATMs.

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WEST SEATTLE WHOLE FOODS MARKET: ‘We are moving forward’ after all, company tells WSB http://westseattleblog.com/2017/09/west-seattle-whole-foods-market-we-are-moving-forward-after-all-company-tells-wsb/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/09/west-seattle-whole-foods-market-we-are-moving-forward-after-all-company-tells-wsb/#comments Tue, 26 Sep 2017 21:16:49 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=896024

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.

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UPDATE: ‘Several prospects interested’ for what was to be Whole Foods’ West Seattle store, says Weingarten http://westseattleblog.com/2017/03/whole-foods-west-seattle-store-on-indefinite-delay-reports-djc/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/03/whole-foods-west-seattle-store-on-indefinite-delay-reports-djc/#comments Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:25:26 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=878282 (UPDATED 10:12 AM with Weingarten statement, 12:40 PM with Whole Foods statement)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 2:25 AM: Back in January, you might recall, we reported that Whole Foods had decided to delay its West Seattle opening in The Whittaker (WSB sponsor) until summer 2018. That was a delay from what the company told us last June, when it said the West Seattle WF would open “in the second half of 2017.” And that in turn was two years later than the original plan – when we reported in November 2012 that WF would anchor the 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW mixed-use project, the announcement projected the store would open in 2015. (A bitter battle over the project’s “alley vacation” – lots of backstory here – figured into some delays.)

Since our January report of the latest WF delay, rumors have continued to circulate that – as eventually turned out to be the case with its previously planned WS location across SW Alaska – Whole Foods might be icing the plan all together. But there were signs of life in city permit files as recent as last month, with an application and permit for sign installation.

This morning, there’s a new report – the Daily Journal of Commerce says in its Monday edition that Whole Foods has “decided to indefinitely delay its plans” for West Seattle. Note that most of the story is behind a paywall, so if you’re not a subscriber, you won’t be able to read it. We have already sent a followup inquiry to WF and will update when we get a direct update.

10:12 AM UPDATE: Our first reply of the morning is from Carrie Murray with Weingarten Realty, which owns The Whittaker’s retail space:

Weingarten Realty is actively working with Whole Foods to find a replacement for the space Whole Foods leased at The Whittaker. We currently have several prospects interested but we cannot make an announcement at this time.

12:40 PM UPDATE: Whole Foods spokesperson Beth Krauss‘s statement in response to our inquiry does not elaborate further:

As part of a careful evaluation of our growth strategy, Whole Foods Market has decided to delay indefinitely the opening of our West Seattle store. We look forward to continuing to serve Seattle with our three other area locations: Interbay, Roosevelt Square, and South Lake Union.

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New opening date for West Seattle Whole Foods Market: Summer 2018 http://westseattleblog.com/2017/01/new-opening-date-for-west-seattle-whole-foods-market-summer-2018/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/01/new-opening-date-for-west-seattle-whole-foods-market-summer-2018/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:55:42 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=870593 9999007- The Whittaker (01-11-17)

After a few recent reader questions about the status of West Seattle’s future Whole Foods Market, planned for the north side of The Whittaker (WSB sponsor), we checked around – and just found out the new timeframe for its opening.

When last we checked, in June of last year, a Whole Foods spokesperson told WSB that the store was expected to open in the “second half of 2017.”

This afternoon, responding to our inquiry about the current timeline, Susan Livingston from Whole Foods told WSB: “We look forward to opening our doors in Summer, 2018.”

She added:

I’m delighted to share that we’ve updated our plans since we last shared them with your readers. Some of the new features include the addition of a tap room with lots of seating, an expanded Prepared Foods department with additional venues, and improved pedestrian connections. As with any project, weather and other factors can impact our schedule, but we’ll share details about our grand opening as we get closer to the actual date.

Livingston says that the “new features” are part of what has pushed back the timeline, and that it’s not unusual for “big-box anchor tenants” in projects like this to take longer than first expected.

When construction of The Whittaker (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW) began two years ago, WF was the only signed commercial tenant. Then last August, four more tenants were announced – MOD Pizza, BECU, CityMD, and T-Mobile, as shown in the latest site map above (the yellow spaces are still available, and one of them – AOL – is set aside for a restaurant). The aforementioned already-announced businesses are expected to open later this year, as are the apartments in the north building – the south building at The Whittaker is already leasing.

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Ribboncutting officially opens first building at The Whittaker http://westseattleblog.com/2016/12/ribboncutting-officially-opens-first-building-at-the-whittaker/ http://westseattleblog.com/2016/12/ribboncutting-officially-opens-first-building-at-the-whittaker/#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2016 04:51:34 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=867670 Photos by Christopher Boffoli for West Seattle Blog


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:


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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.

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West Seattle murals: ‘Re-creation’ at The Whittaker http://westseattleblog.com/2016/10/west-seattle-murals-re-creation-at-the-whittaker/ http://westseattleblog.com/2016/10/west-seattle-murals-re-creation-at-the-whittaker/#comments Sun, 09 Oct 2016 04:18:15 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=860404

(2014 photo contributed by Mark Cohan)

You might remember that faded mural, “Alki in the Twenties,” from the east-facing side of the former Huling Brothers building along Fauntleroy north of Edmunds. As shown in the review process for the project that’s being built on the site, The Whittaker, the mural couldn’t be saved but was to be “digitally re-created.” And indeed, it has been. Here’s a sneak peek at the partly visible re-creation:


We took the photo today while checking on the removal of The Whittaker’s second tower crane, which stretched into a third day amid stormy weather. The re-created mural is on a west-facing wall of the building, and we expect to get a closer look soon.

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Road work closing one block of SW Alaska http://westseattleblog.com/2016/01/traffic-alert-road-work-closing-one-block-of-sw-alaska/ Tue, 12 Jan 2016 06:16:29 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=829955 workbywhittaker
FIRST REPORT: Tonight is the first night of road work that’s closing SW Alaska between 40th SW and Fauntleroy Way, related to The Whittaker, the big mixed-use project under construction there. The project team says SDOT required that the work be done at night to minimize the effect on traffic. Detour signs are set up.

ADDED 10:10 AM TUESDAY: More information on what’s happening: It’s about linking the signals and preparing for upgraded crossings between The Whittaker and Spruce across the intersection; the work will continue nightly through the 20th, approximately 8 pm to 6 am: “Scope of work is to install all the underground conduits and doing temp patch for a later date down the road [when more work will be done] … They will try as much as possible to be conscious of noise, but also want to be sure to finish on time to minimize the time of construction.”

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West Seattle development: 2nd tower crane for The Whittaker http://westseattleblog.com/2015/06/west-seattle-development-2nd-tower-crane-for-the-whittaker/ Mon, 29 Jun 2015 16:05:08 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=315041

9:05 AM: As reported here earlier this month, today is installation day for the second tower crane on the biggest construction project under way in West Seattle, mixed-use The Whittaker at Alaska/Fauntleroy/Edmunds. This one’s going up on the north end of the project, two months after installation of the first one at the site’s south end. The installation staging is happening primarily on 40th SW, so it’s not affecting a major arterial right now, but an engine from temporary Fire Station 32 was parked on the street for quicker access while this is under way.

The Whittaker will include almost 400 apartments and nearly 600 parking spaces, as well as retail including Whole Foods Market (no other tenants have been announced so far). The only other project in West Seattle with a tower crane right now is the mixed-use 4435 35th SW.

1:03 PM: Thanks to Matt for this photo:

That’s the first crane in the foreground at right.

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West Seattle development notes: Whittaker’s 1st crane; Harbor Ave., Beach Dr. projects http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-notes-whittakers-1st-crane-harbor-ave-beach-dr-projects/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-notes-whittakers-1st-crane-harbor-ave-beach-dr-projects/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 18:29:23 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=308419 Four development/land-use notes so far today:

FIRST CRANE @ THE WHITTAKER: As previewed last week, the first of two tower cranes planned for The Whittaker on the east edge of The Junction is going up today. It’s on the south side of the project and when we went by around 9:30 am, the installation operation was centered off the street at 40th/Edmunds, with no additional traffic effects except for some intermittent truck maneuvering. We’ll be checking back on it for an update later. This makes three cranes currently working in West Seattle, with the one at Broadstone Sky on the west side of 40th/Edmunds and the 4435 35th SW project.

ADDED: Above this line, our photo from noontime; below, a midafternoon photo courtesy of Eddie:

No date yet for the north-end crane.

1201 HARBOR SW: From today’s Land Use Information Bulletin, the city has approved the land-use permit for a 4-unit rowhouse at this location (map) in an “environmentally critical area” (ECA). That opens a 2-week appeal period; the LUIB notice includes links to the decision and information on appealing.

ALSO ON HARBOR SW: The construction-permit application is in for 3005 Harbor SW (map), a six-unit apartment building; that’s two fewer apartments than were planned when this project was first mentioned here in early 2014.

6001 BEACH DRIVE: Further south along the West Seattle shore, applications are in to demolish the single-family house that’s currently at this location (map) and build a replacement. The same project also has filed a land-use-permit application, because it’s in an ECA; that application says the house will have “surface parking for five vehicles.”

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West Seattle development: 1st Whittaker crane next week http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-1st-whittaker-crane-next-week/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-1st-whittaker-crane-next-week/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 04:30:17 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307892

Thanks to LB for noticing that tower-crane base installed at the site of The Whittaker (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW), and sharing the photo. Crane arrivals are of interest for a variety of reasons, from traffic effects on installation day(s) to the draw of spectators, so we checked with the project team: The first of its two cranes is set for installation Monday-Tuesday of next week (April 27-28). More details to come; no date yet for the second crane. Meantime, in case you’ve been wondering – Whole Foods Market remains the only retailer confirmed for the project, which also includes 389 apartments and 594 underground parking spaces.

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West Seattle development: Design Commission revisits The Whittaker; see the art, landscaping planned around its site http://westseattleblog.com/2014/12/west-seattle-development-design-commission-revisits-the-whittaker/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/12/west-seattle-development-design-commission-revisits-the-whittaker/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 19:40:50 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=295724 The Whittaker update @ Seattle Design Commission

When the Seattle Design Commission gave its qualified approval last year to The Whittaker, West Seattle’s biggest development project ever (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW), they told the project team they’d have to come back when certain aspects of the project finished taking shape.

That return visit happened on Thursday, and revealed more details of the art and landscaping that will surround the building. We’ve since obtained the full slide deck shown at the meeting (see above), which resulted in some suggestions by the commission, whose role in the project is related to the fact it required an alley vacation (subsequently approved by the City Council this past April).

The design was described as being at 100 percent of what was necessary for construction to get under way (demolition followed by site clearing, so far), so commissioners acknowledged their comments were maybe a bit moot – later refuted – but they offered suggestions nonetheless, after the project team presentation, led by Andy Rasmussen from the landscape-architecture firm Weisman Design Group:

*The upgraded crosswalk between The Whittaker’s site and Spruce (the former “Hole,” an almost-complete mixed-use project) across the street, with pedestrian pushbuttons and ramps on both sides, is in the works.

*The project will have art at all four corners – its artist, Troy Pillow, was present to discuss it; he is a West Seattle resident with a studio in the International District; he reiterated the art’s theme, as discussed in previous meetings, “The Water’s Edge,” with materials including weathered steel (corten), beach stones, driftwood, glass – no sharp edges, very “approachable” for the public, “meant to be explored.” The artwork at Fauntleroy/Alaska will be lit by LEDs.

Pillow spoke of “gateway piers meant to be reminiscent of piers coming out of the Duwamish Waterway,” featuring all the elements of which he spoke, 4′ to 8′ high, in the front plaza along with a water feature. “They’ll be part of the pedestrian experience.” The 40th SW side will have “artwork down the entire street,” per Rasmussen along with “lush” streetscape featuring trees. The art here will be inspired by ferry-dock pilings and beach grass, in a 120-foot-long sculpture; the columns will tilt at different angles for a “wave pattern.” A “modular system” green wall running the length of the Masonic Hall will be a feature of the mid-block connector going through the property from Fauntleroy to 40th SW; Rasmussen said the “modular” system is meant to avoid some of the problems that have kept other “green wall” projects from being successful – any plant that isn’t working can be removed/replaced.

Along Fauntleroy, where smaller businesses are envisioned, 4-and-a-half-foot artwork inspired by “stacked stones” at the beach will be featured, “very smooth around the edges, invites kids to play,” Pillow explained.

On the south side along Edmunds, some green wall is planned, with a corner plaza space and sculptures “inspired by the Olympic Mountains, two freestanding sculptures comprised of stacked logs and steel, in the shape of the silhouette of the mountains,” explained Pillow.

*Setting the building back six feet on Fauntleroy is enabling a bike lane and other “complete street” features

*Undergrounding the power for the building is instead becoming “running the power through the buildings” including vaults

*Design evolution on the facade – the “brick mass” across the entrance to Whole Foods has extended westward; the residential levels above it are stepped back a bit

*The plaza space at the Alaska/Fauntleroy corner (below) has features that will make it feel larger

PUBLIC COMMENT: Deb Barker – who has been commenting on this project for years, as she told the board – asked first how many people on the board had seen the project before; a few hands went up. She started with what she considered is “good” about the project – that the project team had done a good job along 40th Avenue SW, as well as the southern building “and its relationship to Fauntleroy.” The vaults inside the building sounded like a good idea to her, as well. What she found disappointing was the size of the gateway plaza “in front of a 7-story building, in front of a ‘tower’ that is essentially an elevator shaft … and the lights to that elevator lobby is what you’ll see at the gateway to West Seattle … essentially a slap in the face to West Seattle.” (A project-team rep said later that you won’t see the elevator doors, and that they are looking at “art options” to enhance the “gateway” view as people approach it.)

She expressed continuing concern about the trucks and pedestrians sharing the midblock connector through the building, and the below-grade entrance to Whole Foods, where it’s “been since Day 1. … Disappointing to see a brand-new building with an entrance to its key tenant below-grade.” (Rasmussen clarified that the east entrance to WF is at grade, while the stepdown entrance is further west.)

COMMISSION QUESTIONS: They were interested in details of the art composition and its placement, how the locations were chosen. “Kind of a natural selection to see where the plazas were and where the setbacks are,” replied Pillow. Rasmussen spoke of wanting to have “wayfinding elements at each corner.” He also spoke of public comments favoring “unique yet connected” spaces. The “planting palette” for the green-wall sections was also a topic of discussion – just developed in the past two weeks, and still undergoing “testing,” according to Rasmussen – as was the raingarden planned on the site. Commissioner Bernie Alonzo thought the green wall on the south side (hiding the Masonic Hall), with its composition, could be considered an art piece all its own.

They also are landscaping along the east side of 40th, past the Masonic Hall (which is not part of the project, but is getting its parking lot regraded and improved as part of the project).

“The art is just there,” commented the commission’s chair Osama Quotah, saying he wished there had been more of a dialogue about the art “informing” its location. He agreed that the gateway plaza seemed a bit small, and could suffer from “crowding” of its elements. Another commissioner said he didn’t feel the plaza would offer enough of a “gathering opportunity,” and wondered if the art elements could be brought closer to the water feature. A bench shown in the middle of the plaza space was singled out – whether it could be removed to add some space.

Summarizing the commission’s comments for the project team, they recommend final approval with:

*”We’ve reviewed the public benefit elements and agree they’re likely to be successful.”
*Regarding the gateway plaza, concerns about too many elements, and that they might consider removing the bench on the Fauntleroy Way side to create better passage through the gateway area or at least revisit its placement
*Regarding the green wall, it’s recommended they continue their plant experiments and make a decision in the fall about final plant choice, being mindful of what’s chosen, but removing the vines that are part of the rendering – “think of the planting of the green wall compositionally rather than just as blocks
*Appreciation was expressed for the design team balancing all the input they received from many sources

A project team member told the commission that they do actually have some room for tweaks, so they will take the commission’s input seriously and see what can be done. The project -for which ground was ceremonially broken last month, after the site was cleared – is expected to be under construction for the next two years.

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The Whittaker on Seattle Design Commission agenda next week http://westseattleblog.com/2014/12/the-whittaker-on-the-agenda-for-seattle-design-commission-next-week/ Thu, 11 Dec 2014 21:56:55 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=294976 For the first time in a while, the Seattle Design Commission has a West Seattle project on its agenda. At 9 am next Thursday – December 18th – the commission will be checking in on the “public benefit” program promised by The Whittaker (under construction at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW) as required for its alley vacation (explained here). The SDC reviewed the project four times last year before giving its blessing; here’s our coverage of the final meeting, including links to the three before it. Next Thursday’s meeting is open to the public, in the Boards/Commissions Room at City Hall downtown.

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West Seattle development: Groundbreaking for The Whittaker http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-groundbreaking-ceremony-for-the-whittaker/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-groundbreaking-ceremony-for-the-whittaker/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 22:22:28 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=292033

(WSB video by Patrick Sand)
FIRST REPORT, 2:22 PM: With ice axes digging into dirt near the southwest corner of Fauntleroy and Alaska, ground has just been ceremonially broken for The Whittaker, ~400 apartments, ~600 parking spaces, and Whole Foods Market (the anchor, and lone announced, retail tenant). A two-year construction process now ensues; demolition and site clearing has just concluded, and excavation/shoring is expected to start in a few weeks. It’s been almost two years since we broke the news of an ‘early’ proposal for the site. We have the by-invitation ceremony on video and will add it, along with photos and more details, after our return to HQ.

ADDED 6:12 PM: We’ve substituted a slightly longer YouTube version of the actual “groundbreaking” video above, in place of the short Instagram clip (which you can still see here). And here’s our video of the speeches that preceded it:

Most of those on hand for the event, held near the northeast corner of the project site – just south of where the gas station used to be – were affiliated with members of the project team – residential developer Lennar Homes, retail developer Weingarten, Whole Foods, local communicators, general contractor Chinn Construction, whose owner Kevin Chinn was there:

(WSB photos by Torin Record-Sand)
With him at left above is Josh Sutton from the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor). Sutton was on the community advisory group that worked with the city on the Triangle Plan a few years ago, as was West 5 restaurateur Dave Montoure of the West Seattle Chamber/Junction boards:

That’s Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals at right above with Montoure. Speaking on the Chamber’s behalf, its board chair Nancy Woodland (leaning to the left and smiling in photo below):

She mentioned the community’s strength and its many “opinions,” the only overt allusion to the controversy that beset the project for months, including former Mayor Mike McGinn’s instruction to SDOT in July 2013 to not approve the project’s “alley vacation” and a standing-room-only City Council hearing last March, followed by the council’s 6-3 approval vote in April, the last major hurdle the project had to clear.

That was three months after the development team had announced the project would be named for climbing legend and West Seattle native Jim Whittaker. He and wife Dianne Roberts were at today’s ceremony:

In his honor, mountaineering metaphors were plentiful. The groundbreaking was described as “base camp,” but with a long climb ahead – two years of construction, to result in this:

And even as today’s celebration continued, so did site-prep work on the south side of the site.

Development manager Kelley Kohout told WSB the excavation work will start from that side, and head north. The project is so big, two tower cranes will be required; he says they’ll arrive sometime in the first quarter of next year. It’s already been a month since the start of demolition/abatement.

As construction ramps up, Whole Foods will continue planning its store; VP of store development Tee Ayer promised the market will reflect the community’s spirit and personality, saying, “you will see West Seattle” in it. (Just a week ago, WF announced plans for another new Seattle store, on Capitol Hill.)

As for what else you’ll see in The Whittaker’s retail space – Weingarten executive Lance Sherwood told WSB today they have nothing to announce yet, but “lots of interest” and an expectation that they’ll “have no problem” leasing it all.

Our archive of coverage on this project is here, newest to oldest.

SIDE NOTE: The last ceremonial groundbreaking for a major development was in 2008, across the street at 3922 SW Alaska, then known as “Fauntleroy Place,” to be anchored by Whole Foods. After excavation, the project was stopped by legal and other problems, no fault of WF, which was just a planned tenant; terms of its lease, for store space to be available, never were fulfilled, which left the chain free to mull other WS possibilities – finally landing with this one. Meantime, after a foreclosure sale leading to an ownership change and name change to “Spruce,” that development re-started a year and a half ago and is close to completion, now with its entire commercial space to be taken up by an LA Fitness gym.

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