Fauntleroy Place sale followup: What Seattle Capital, BlueStar say

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(October 2008 photo by WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli)
We’ve now heard back from both Seattle Capital, which owns the Fauntleroy Place (Whole Foods project) site, and BlueStar, which has been its developer, so we have new information following up on today’s report that the project’s been sold – including how long the site is likely to stay idle, and what this all means for BlueStar’s other West Seattle projects – read on:

First – information from John Huddleston of Seattle Capital, who agreed to answer our questions by e-mail. Regarding whether Whole Foods is still bound by the lease it signed last year; he says, “The lease that you refer to dated last March is still valid and Whole Foods intends to open in the 4th quarter of 2010.” Huddleston also confirms, “Hancock Fabrics is also still a part of the project.”

He also says: “We are proceeding with the current design and architecture contract.” That’s the design that got final Design Review approval last August:

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Most importantly, we asked whether there’s anything he can say to the West Seattle community to quash fears this will remain a big hole in the ground for years to come; his reply, “At present, the owner, Fauntleroy Place LLC, is working with the prospective new acquirer to establish a current contract price with the general contractor in order to finance and complete the balance of the project. We estimate that construction will begin sometime in late Spring.”

Now, on the other side of the deal, we heard a short time ago from Eric Radovich at BlueStar, which had been developing Fauntleroy Place, but is not guaranteed to still be the developer when a new buyer takes over.

He started our conversation by cautioning, “So much is undetermined that it’s hard for us to say anything without it affecting our position” – so no major details. But he says BlueStar is hopeful of staying with the project: “We think Fauntleroy Place is a great project and we, as the developer, add a tremendous amount of value to it, so we would love to remain as the developer, and we are committed to West Seattle.”

Right now, though, because of the prospective sale, they are in limbo. As for BlueStar’s other two announced West Seattle projects, Gateway Center in the ex-Huling Buick showroom immediately east of Fauntleroy Place and Spring Hill at 5020 California (design finalized last fall), Radovich says, “This does directly affect Gateway Center across the street – we will certainly see what develops with Fauntleroy Place before moving forward with that one – and it affects Spring Hill indirectly as well.” The status of the Gateway Center site is that BlueStar is “in an option with the Hulings.” (It hadn’t gone to Design Review yet but this is the rendering that had been circulated since first announcement last March.)

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Radovich couldn’t elaborate further but said he expects everything will “unfold” within the “next 30 days.”

37 Replies to "Fauntleroy Place sale followup: What Seattle Capital, BlueStar say"

  • jeannie January 29, 2009 (5:29 pm)

    This is CLASSIC P.R.-speak: “We think Fauntleroy Place is a great project and we, as the developer, add a tremendous amount of value to it, so we would love to remain as the developer, and we are committed to West Seattle.”

    Blah, blah, blah. I hope they didn’t pay a public-relations firm to write this boilerplate drivel. As for Whole Foods, I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • jeannie January 29, 2009 (5:31 pm)

    Then again, it looks like a pretty good race track for dirt bikes right now.

  • JJ January 29, 2009 (6:06 pm)

    It’s the Whole Foods Hole.

  • lg January 29, 2009 (6:34 pm)

    i just want my fabric store back.

  • nunya January 29, 2009 (6:45 pm)

    They bought the land at such high prices they cannot now afford to build it and they cannot sell it.

  • Keith January 29, 2009 (7:05 pm)

    Giant holes in the ground = the shape of things to come?

  • Longtime WS Resident January 29, 2009 (7:05 pm)

    As far as I’m concerned, these developers got too greedy and assumed that just because you build it they will come and live in it. Well, now that everybody is being laid off, many of these units will be hard to sell or rent out at the prices that they are asking for. What happens when all this building finishes up? Where will all these construction workers get jobs? They too will be part of the massive unemployment rate here in Seattle. This is a lesson for these greedy developers. I was concerned about the traffic increase across the WS bridge before, now it is more about these empty holes and vacant and expensive condos and rentals. Build and everyone too can be a homeowner. Ha! Not EVERYONE can own a home now. The builders and their irresponsible ways are contributing to the mess we are in. Go develop somewhere else, like downtown!!!!!

  • JayDee January 29, 2009 (7:57 pm)

    The real test is the ground truth — do they keep digging? If not…maybe we can get a neighborhood pool…from humbler beginnings sprang the pool at Lincoln Park ;-)

    Or do they keep pouring concrete? I don’t know the state of the Whole Hole at this point. Regardless of whether these developers are greedy is beside the point, they will come. We are not the furnace hell-hole of Las Vegas. As long as our economy remains substantially intact, a development will rise here, eventually. Try as we might, West Seattle will continue to attract others for the same reasons we stayed/came here.

  • B January 29, 2009 (8:07 pm)

    The upside: even a big hole in the ground is an improvement over that depressing parking lot an hideous retail stores that were there before.

  • WSMom January 29, 2009 (9:24 pm)

    The Hancock Fabrics building was in such disrepair that for the past year the poor employees had to walk over to the bowling alley to use the bathroom. The toilet at Hancock had fallen through the floor (literally) and management decided to not fix it since the building was to be torn down anyway. Gross!!

    I’m still not sure a gigantic hole in the ground is better than having a local fabric store and auto parts store open for business. I would choose Hancock Fabrics over driving to Southcenter any day of the week. Where is the closest auto parts store, White Center?

  • yo January 29, 2009 (9:39 pm)

    WSMom-

    There is an Auto Supply store a block east of West Seattle Bowl (Carquest) between Oregon and Fauntleroy on the cross street of 38th AVE SW.

    Google Streetview of Carquest

  • B January 29, 2009 (10:20 pm)

    The hole is not so attractive when it’s outside your house.

  • mngirl January 29, 2009 (10:36 pm)

    Pacific Fabrics outlet store on 4th is a good alternative to going to Southcenter…at least for some things… Other than the horrid steps you have to go up and down to get to them….but it beats driving to SC. I don’t buy fabric there but they have all the notions you need and lots of decorator fabrics.

  • Roche January 29, 2009 (10:56 pm)

    Drive around Seattle this weekend. Our Whole Hole is one of dozens, and they’re probably all owned by developers who bought their land for too much. The whole monorail aftermath now stands as a chain of flattened buildings.

    We need some of that stimulus money!

  • 22blades January 30, 2009 (2:47 am)

    Seems all developers are good at are leaving holes in the ground. (W)Hole Foods finally came back , a third smaller, after getting sued in Interbay in addition to the new(ish) store on Westlake amid a sea of vacancies. QFC still has a hole on Stoneway. There’s a hole on Pine street, halfway up the hill. These were all projects started with signs of a tanking market. They don’t live here so they don’t care.

  • SHOCKING January 30, 2009 (7:51 am)

    Seattle needs to pass a new law. That if a project like this falls through, the owners are required to ‘regrade’ the lot back to surface level. That could just be part of their insurance/financial requirements for getting licensed. Because maybe small business/strip (like what was there, but new) could build, but not afford to ‘fill in’ that giant pit otherwise (think of what was built on the old Shucks site on California)

  • P January 30, 2009 (8:09 am)

    Auto parts store on Roxbury across from the school. Its small but very nice and the people that work there are helpful.

  • KT January 30, 2009 (8:21 am)

    Anyone who couldn’t see this coming is way too optimistic of a person. Seems to me there has been a real lack of truth in the responses to inquiries lately about why there has been no activity at the hole in the ground and now the truth is coming out.

  • Really January 30, 2009 (8:23 am)

    All developers are good at leaving holes? I guess in other areas of business evryone is the exactly the same, and there are never any good ones and bad ones…hmm’

  • KT January 30, 2009 (8:30 am)

    β€œAt present, the owner, Fauntleroy Place LLC, is working with the prospective new acquirer to establish a current contract price with the general contractor in order to finance and complete the balance of the project. We estimate that construction will begin sometime in late Spring.” ….. “BlueStar, which had been developing Fauntleroy Place, but is not guaranteed to still be the developer when a new buyer takes over.”

    The watch words are “at present”; “prospective new acquirer”‘ “we estimate”; “not guaranteed”. Still think this is just a small delay?

  • Larry January 30, 2009 (8:46 am)

    I for one will be happy if that project never happens. West Seattle is being way over developed. Increased traffic and lower quality of life is the result. Thanks lots you urban village creators. I have lived here 45 years. born at West Seattle General Hospital in fact, so I know what it used to be like here.

  • GreenSpaces January 30, 2009 (9:27 am)

    I still believe Whole Foods would be a good addition in WS. PCC is small and doesn’t carry everything and I still have to drive to a Whole Foods on occasion to get some of the things I need.

    Those of us in the east sife of West Seattle sure wish there could be a grocery store closer to us…

  • eileen January 30, 2009 (9:42 am)

    I miss Hancock Fabrics. Pacific is good too, but you need a car.

  • Jackie January 30, 2009 (11:06 am)

    Maybe this finally leaves space for Trader Joes to make a West Seattle home!

  • Bob Loblaw January 30, 2009 (11:18 am)

    Hole Foods?

  • old timer January 30, 2009 (12:21 pm)

    We should pray that money can be found to complete this project. The hole, when viewed in context with all the abandoned Huling buildings, can very quickly mutate into an incubation site for a serious and long term case of urban blight.
    Once that takes hold, it wants to spread.

  • jeannie January 30, 2009 (2:01 pm)

    The developers’ money went right down the hole. If they don’t build, they’d better clean up the holy mess they made. Hmmm…a skateboard park/dog park would be nice.

  • Josie January 30, 2009 (3:02 pm)

    A SUPER Trader Joes would be great…really tired of driving to Burien!

  • scottboy20 January 30, 2009 (3:41 pm)

    until they proceed, I think they should be required to install a more attractive fence possibly with some local artists doing a mural on it. Maybe some local high-school art students. You can’t(well, I guess you can) just dig a big hole in the center of a community and then walk away from it. I, Josie, am also hoping for Trader Joes as Burien is a ways just for my mirpoix.(cause I’m to lazy to cut my own veggies)

  • Sage January 30, 2009 (5:45 pm)

    This is the project that’s always 2 years away! No matter what happens — radical design change, transfer of ownership, overheated real estate market, who cares?!
    .
    And now, they’re saying that they’re going to “establish a current contract price with the general contractor in order to finance and complete the balance of the project.” But even though they don’t have a budget for construction or financing apparently, they’re able to “estimate that construction will begin sometime in late Spring”? Based on what schedule, exactly? Their hopes and dreams?
    .
    Glad to see this project stuck in purgatory. In my book, a big hole is preferable to a big Whole Foods any day.

  • Karen January 30, 2009 (5:49 pm)

    Let’s go for a can do positive attitude.

    I love Whole Foods, but with an awesome PCC and lots of great organic choices at Thriftway, and Metropolitan Market, even if it does not happen it will be okay!

    There is a lot of money in Seattle. I do not fear an empty hole. Some of the local guys did pretty well over the last few years, and are positioned to do well again. Send out positive messages of what you want not what you fear!

    With all the Yes We Can stickers around West Seattle….I am surprised at what I read!

  • Emma Peel January 30, 2009 (6:32 pm)

    We live amidst change…that cannot be changed! I agree with Karen – let’s try to look at what’s happening in our area positively. Trader Joe’s would be great and Whole Foods (though I don’t shop there!) could also be great. Way better than the Hancock Fabrics and Schuck’s that were there…West Seattle will never be like it was in the “good old days” whatever that means, but neither will any other place on this earth! Hopefully things will be better than they used to be…

  • PSPS January 30, 2009 (8:39 pm)

    Sage: That jumped out at me too: “establish a current contract price with the general contractor in order to finance and complete the balance of the project.” That, plus the other quotes, says that the project’s funding is gone.

  • Longtime WS Resident February 1, 2009 (1:32 am)

    You who are so “positive” about all this developing haven’t had a 6 story rental building built directly behind your house and blocked a view of the mountains and water from my backyard. They are not at all sensitive to the issues of single family homes and how much it affects the value of my home, the privacy that I used to enjoy, and again the view that I have loved to come home to after working. They deserv what the economy is doing to their projects because they don’t care how it affects people who have lived in West Seattle for a while.

  • west res. February 2, 2009 (12:43 pm)

    i am so tired of the PI saying the Whole Foods project in West Seattle has something “shady” going on. My uncle is the construction director for the project… it IS going up. there’s no question about it… and as my uncle told PR to tell the reporter… there is no “shaddiness” behind the project…

  • WSB February 2, 2009 (12:44 pm)

    West – your uncle is welcome to contact us as well, since we have done a significant amount of original reporting on the story (including this followup). Every time a rumor sprouted that the project was dead, we followed up – and while certainly it turns out there are significant changes, no one yet has pronounced it dead, but of course the real signs will be when the construction starts back up again, the crane arrives, etc. Thanks for your comment – TR

  • Mike Wallace February 2, 2009 (3:37 pm)

    Did we need another grocery store in the Junction?

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