New West Seattle Whole Foods sign: More rumor debunking

Just spotted this while heading through the Fauntleroy/Alaska/39th intersection, and pulled over to grab a pic. The sign appeared after a day in which we checked yet another “is the project dead?” rumor — several WSB’ers sent us the link to an online report in which a writer (without a quote to substantiate) claimed “new stores were on hold” — we subsequently contacted the regional Whole Foods spokesperson, who promptly responded that report was wrong and had even omitted information she said she had given the writer to clarify a company memo he’d received, and YES, the West Seattle store is still on schedule. (As we reported here a week ago, after checking yet another round of rumors with both Whole Foods and with developer BlueStar.) So now — a sign. As we noted in last week’s story, BlueStar explains that the reason you’re not seeing active construction work at the site right now is that they’re between “phases” and will resume early in the year (that’s when they say the big crane will show up, too). The project continues to evolve behind the scenes as well; BlueStar’s project manager, Easton Craft, tells WSB today, “Based on the uniqueness of the current economic climate we are able to create some value engineering opportunities that will reduce the overall project budget. We plan to take full advantage of those opportunities. Conducting the value engineering exercise will have no discernible impact on the design of the project. We have now gone through the MUP [Master Use Permit] process twice and are excited about the current design. We are also very happy with our General Contractor, Ledcor Construction. They have been and continue to be a valued asset to this project and an excellent team player in this process.” (All WSB coverage of this project is archived here.)

12 Replies to "New West Seattle Whole Foods sign: More rumor debunking"

  • Sage December 11, 2008 (1:20 pm)

    I was one of the mistaken tipsters — thanks to WSB for following this story so closely.
    Must say, however, that something still doesn’t smell right about this project. Whole Foods seems to be pulling back in general, the investment climate in commercial real estate is a disaster, and this store is underway but far from occupied.
    And now it’s “coming in 2010”? I remember when they had a sign saying it was coming in 2008, and there were probably dates before that. How many times has it delayed, and how many more delays are ahead of us? Seems like we’re in a store-construction slowdown if not a cancellation. And it just doesn’t seem like a great climate to be expanding luxury food stores. Who’s writing the construction loans?
    And as I see it, the more extra weeks PCC gets before Whole Foods moves in, the better…

  • WSB December 11, 2008 (1:53 pm)

    When it originally was announced in 2006,
    yes, the completion date was listed as 2008. But even without the economic factors, projects like this take many twists and turns and the schedule keeps getting pushed back. Even in our fairly short career of covering development at this level, we have seen date delays happen to everyone from mega-developers to entrepreneurs trying to open restaurants. Early 2010 is consistent with what BlueStar’s Eric Radovich said at the Chamber of Commerce “all the major projects” briefing we covered three months ago:
    Doesn’t mean something couldn’t change at any time, and certainly there are more nuances behind the scenes, but as of this moment in time, it’s still on. And when reports mention that WF is focusing on “smaller stores” – it’s been said repeatedly that this is already an example of such a project.

  • Scott B. December 11, 2008 (3:15 pm)

    Let’s focus on something really important: Will the new store have fruit-based Gelati?

    I feel guilty driving to First & Pike just for Gelato.

  • Sue December 11, 2008 (4:19 pm)

    Scott B, never fear: RiverHouse Creperie on Harbor Avenue gets their gelato from Bottega Italiana, the one on 1st and Pike.

  • CB December 11, 2008 (6:05 pm)

    I hope the developer has an iron-clad agreement with Whole Foods. I feel bad for the folks in Magnolia who built that huge complex, only to have Whole Foods bail on them.

    Then again, Trader Joes could always take the space ;-)

  • JanS December 11, 2008 (7:56 pm)

    well, my big question isn’t about WF…it’s about Office Depot up the street at 42nd and Alaska. In light of Office Depot’s announcement that they are closing stores and laying off people, will that still be viable?

  • Fredrik December 12, 2008 (8:47 am)

    How about some more affordable places move in, not crap, but not champagne wishes and kaviar dreams that most of us struggle to attain.

  • Susan December 31, 2008 (11:49 am)

    Trader Joe’s instead of Office Depot?

  • 4thGenWestSider January 8, 2009 (4:01 pm)

    What we need are some more banks and nail salons! Maybe we could incorporate some sort of mega financial-cuticle establishment?

  • wsguy January 8, 2009 (6:38 pm)

    4thGenWestSider – you are spot on.

    Make it a mega financial-cuticle-coffee house-salon and I’ll invest!!!

  • mickeymouse January 8, 2009 (7:19 pm)

    Wow, I could care less about Whole Foods, but I do want the fabric store back!
    West Seattle is becoming so yuppie that I may be priced out of my house of 30 years soon. I am a professional and struggle to make ends meet. How do all the resturants survive here, does no one cook food at home any more?
    Let’s get back to basic for good old West Seattle !!

  • Julie January 9, 2009 (1:51 pm)

    I agree with the Trader Joes comments. West Seattle needs one of those more than a Whole Foods, especially in this economy. Wasn’t that supposed to happen at some point? Any rumors that they are still trying to find a home here?

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