Whole Foods’ current stance on West Seattle’s “Hole Foods” site

We’ve been working on an overall update regarding what’s up – or not up – with the excavated-then-stalled site many West Seattleites have nicknamed “Hole Foods.” We’d hoped to wait to nail down a few more aspects of the story before publishing what Whole Foods itself is saying about it these days, but since a couple people (thanks!) have already e-mailed us about a short item at seattletimes.com today, we’d better just go ahead and share what WF’s regional spokesperson Vicki Foley told us yesterday afternoon, regarding whether they are still committed to that stalled site or possibly looking elsewhere:

We are watching the Fauntleroy Place project closely as the developer appears to have a number of obstacles to overcome, if he is to deliver the space to us by the deadlines in the lease.

Our original inquiry to WF earlier this week had been regarding whether there is a certain point at which they are no longer committed to the site (whose permit history is listed here); according to Foley, their commitment currently extends into next year. Meantime, WF announced earlier this week that its Interbay store is set to open October 14, and in other West Seattle grocery news, two sources (including this WSB Forums post) say the new QFC at Capco Plaza will open September 16th (10:31 am update: QFC spokesperson Kristin Maas confirms to WSB, “that’s the date we’re shooting for”). Our last Whole Foods WS site report was a month ago, when we broke the news that a West Seattle investor who’d hoped to buy the site was no longer pursuing a purchase. The financial firm that now owns the site has not yet responded to our requests for an update; there are currently four legal actions pending related to this project.

57 Replies to "Whole Foods' current stance on West Seattle's "Hole Foods" site"

  • JC August 21, 2009 (10:11 am)

    Well, if “Hole” Foods doens’t work, I vote for a Central Market, or Trader Joes. :O)

  • Pablo August 21, 2009 (10:18 am)

    I know it’s a much smaller concern for most people, but I wonder if there’s also a point at which Hancock Fabrics would have to abandon their plans to reopen in the new building?

    We probably do the bulk of our buying at Pacific Fabrics, but it was really nice having Hancock there for last minute notions. They always seemed to have a decent amount of people in the store when we were there and the staff was super nice.

  • B August 21, 2009 (10:23 am)

    Pablo – I believe Hancock Fabric still has some ownership of the land as they were the ones that originally owned the entire site at one point. That store was always busy so I can’t imagine it going away. Hopefully they will all get things going soon. I’ve seen several survey crews around the site over the past few weeks so it makes me think something is going on.

  • jc August 21, 2009 (10:23 am)

    Why do we need “Whole pay check” when we have The Met market I say yes to Trader Joe’s…..

  • WSB August 21, 2009 (10:23 am)

    Pablo, a very good point, and I will be checking with them as followups continue, too – TR

  • I had heard August 21, 2009 (10:24 am)

    That’s not good. If everyone is waiting for the “4 legal actions” to be settled before moving forward (which is understandable) then this could take years, unless the parties just agree to drop it, which could happen, but unlikely.

  • coffee August 21, 2009 (10:29 am)

    Personally I would like to see a nice budget priced grocery store in West Seattle. Thriftway, Met Market and Whole Paycheck, plus 2 QFC’s and 3 Safeways….

  • goodupdate August 21, 2009 (10:34 am)

    Yes to Trader Joe’s if ever. Will NOT be shopping at new QFC its Kroger’s.

  • Mark August 21, 2009 (10:35 am)

    After the episode with Whole PayCheck CEO John Mackey and his WSJ editorial I can honestly say I will never shop there again. I would rather drive to the Trader Joes in Burien or shop at PCC. They will never get another dime from me.

  • JBL August 21, 2009 (10:37 am)

    Whatever…I’ve just gotten use to the hole. At this point I no longer care. Build it or not I won’t be shopping there anyway – too expensive. Any excitement that was there wore out long ago.

  • jsrekd August 21, 2009 (10:40 am)

    Whole Foods won’t get much business from me, but I’m with you Pablo, I DO miss the Hancock Fabrics – THAT’s what I miss!

  • Sage August 21, 2009 (10:41 am)

    There is no way this project is happening anymore. The structure won’t be built in the timelines of their lease, creating yet another element of uncertainty for developers & financiers. And commercial real estate deals are collapsing across the country even when there’s not lawsuits and uncertainty and nastiness attached. Whole Foods may someday try to come back to West Seattle, but it doesn’t seem possible that they’re coming to this site under this lease agreement.
    Time to start pushing for adaptive re-use scenarios. How about a 7-day farmers market and vendor pavilion? Pike Place Market West!

  • sa August 21, 2009 (10:44 am)

    Trader Joes please! We don’t need Whole Paycheck.

  • Cheryl August 21, 2009 (11:08 am)

    Folks, the likelihood that TJ’s will ever come to West Seattle using this particular site (hole) is almost entirely nill. While I would love to have one here in, I can almost guarantee you it ain’t gonna happen where WF was planning a store.

    Historically Trader Joe’s leases smaller existing strip mall or store front locations with MUCH smaller footprints than a Whole Foods or QFC, etc. would desire. Buildings that already exist, that also have ample parking, in areas that have a NEED for one of their stores. They never open a new store until the other TJ’s in the surrounding areas are already making millions of $$ in profit.

    Frankly, I think opening a store in W Seattle would be business suicide for their Burien location. I would be that more than 50% of the people who shop there are from West Seattle, and if we had our own store here, who would the Burien store serve?

    So keep wishing & hoping West Seattle… maybe some day we WILL get a TJ’s here. But give it up on the Whole Foods site. It ain’t gonna happen. And it’s looking more and more like WF isn’t going to happen at that location either.


  • Thomas August 21, 2009 (11:11 am)

    @Sage is correct: there’s never going to be a WF there. The comment that “the developer appears to have a number of obstacles to overcome” is clearly signaling that WF expects the developer to fail to meet those terms, which would give WF a legal exit from any contract.

    It’s hardly unexpected; there’s no appetite (hah!) for major urban construction speculation these days. Unfortunately that certainly means that *nobody’s* likely to fill the hole, no matter how much we all wish for Trader Joe’s.

    @coffee, what supermarket chain would you suggest? WS’s now got one (or two) of every supermarket chain in the Seattle area except Central Market.

  • JBL August 21, 2009 (12:03 pm)

    Except an Albertson’s (no thanks!)

  • Heidi August 21, 2009 (12:12 pm)

    I totally agree! T.J.’s OR a Sunflower Market!! We just moved here a few months ago from Arizona and we are watching our budget. We live near this “hole” and hoping a well priced market moves in. In AZ we had Sunflower Markets, which have great prices, organic foods while also supporting the local farmers in that area. It’s a great store..and Washington doesn’t have one YET. Just an idea.

  • Heidi August 21, 2009 (12:15 pm)


  • Curtis August 21, 2009 (12:38 pm)

    I don’t shop at PCC (don’t wear tie dye or birkenstocks either). But come on – a move by PCC to this location is a slam dunk – leaving the California spot open for Trader Joe’s. It just makes too much sense.

  • Forest August 21, 2009 (1:25 pm)

    Curtis –
    I can’t see any scenario where PCC would want to leave an established location and risk moving to a higher rent (not to mention unbuilt) location. In the unlikely event that Trader Joe’s were to open a store in the WS Junction, I think it would need to entail a musical chairs arrangement with Safeway’s Jefferson Square store moving into the Hole Foods building and Trader Joe’s moving into Jefferson Square.

  • JBL August 21, 2009 (1:36 pm)

    TJs isn’t ALL that. I don’t know why others are screaming for them to come to West Seattle. I’ve never really been impressed with any of there product offerings.

  • diane August 21, 2009 (1:45 pm)

    Fred Meyer would be perfect in the hole
    I shop for food at Fred Meyer on trips to TJ’s in Burien
    or up by the new TJ’s store in Ballard, or the older TJ’s store (my fav) on Queen Anne
    I just discovered FM few years ago and love it; excellent prices
    and you don’t have to deal with any stupid savings card
    or bring a calculator to decipher price on wall tag
    and great healthy/organic sections
    all in same store with household goods, etc
    that’s best all around “green” and economic choice
    save gas on driving to many stores
    good prices, good product
    and customer service is excellent

  • Suits are not boring August 21, 2009 (1:52 pm)

    Considering in a few mile radius we have Metro Market, PCC, Thriftway, 2 Safeways and a brand new QFC – how about a usage that is not a grocery store? Maybe the elusive Kinko’s?

  • yeah but August 21, 2009 (1:57 pm)

    Thinking of Trader Joe’s in Jefferson Square is my nightmare – worst parking lot in the world. And Cheryl there is nothing wrong with requesting and hoping for a Trader Joe’s in West Seattle. I think if we wish for it enough it will come. You never know what could happen. I could find a counter to all your arguments with a THEY MIGHT to why they won’t.

  • KSJ August 21, 2009 (2:03 pm)

    TJ’s really isn’t that far out of the question if you consider that they could take a smaller chunk of the retail space than Whole Foods originally planned. Check out their new Ballard location, for example.

    Someone will most certainly fill the hole eventually, but it might take a while. In this lending climate it’s hard for developers to get a loan even if they are willing.

    Does anyone else miss the Schuck’s? We used to have two and now we have none. Last time I needed an auto part, I had to drive to the NAPA in White Center.

  • Carole August 21, 2009 (2:26 pm)

    If we can’t get TJ, how about Top Foods? Great meat and produce, decent prices. Assuming of course, that we really need ANOTHER grocery store in WS. In addition to all those mentioned above, don’t forget we have Tony’s for great produce.

  • austin August 21, 2009 (3:36 pm)

    There’s an auto parts store two blocks from where schucks used to be- carquest, next to thoroughbred body shop.

    I have a pound and a half of TJ’s “carne asada” if anyone wants it, the use-by date was july 29 but it’s been frozen since well before that, but it tastes like gas station jerky.

  • BG August 21, 2009 (3:52 pm)

    I totally can’t wait until we get a whole foods. I like the selection they have of premade foods. I don’t like Trader Joe’s.

  • coffee August 21, 2009 (3:58 pm)

    KSJ, Roxbury Auto Parts is cheaper than Schucks in White Center or NAPA. I discovered them recently while looking for a particular headlight and theirs are 6.00 cheaper and they gladly added the light to their stock!
    Also a friend of mine told me once that TJs will not move to W. Sea, he used to have a personal contact in their development department and they said no to TJs in W. Sea a year ago.
    Thomas, I drive to WinnCo in Kent for my staples they are quite a bit less expensive than the stores over here. I use Tonys for produce though. WinnCo is completely no frills, but its worth the drive to me.

  • KBear August 21, 2009 (3:59 pm)

    What we really need is a nail salon.

  • JoB August 21, 2009 (4:04 pm)

    i suspect whole foods will soon be looking for an out from that contract…
    doesn’t matter to me. i won’t shop there.

  • BG August 21, 2009 (4:20 pm)

    I’m pretty sure that one or two people not shopping there will not matter to the store. Whole foods being in town will keep me from having to drive to Westlake.

  • Jose August 21, 2009 (4:22 pm)

    I do miss having Schucks there.
    I hope fervently for a Trader Joe’s; but failing that, a Central Market would be the next-best option. It’s a great store with the best selection of Asian foods.
    We never needed a Whole Foods here, it’s simply too expensive and never would have survived here long-term anyway.

  • BG August 21, 2009 (4:30 pm)

    We have restaurants in WS that charge entirely too much for a decent meal, we have homes that are ridiculously small, but yet still in the million dollar range, I am pretty sure that a whole foods would survive in WS.

  • schwaggy August 21, 2009 (7:25 pm)

    Heard a rumor that the auto body shop would be taking over the space currently occupied by CarQuest thus having that entire block. Can anybody confirm? That leaves us with NAPA or the GREAT place on Roxbury. I go there instead of CarQuest anyway.

  • jimmy August 21, 2009 (7:28 pm)

    Trader Joes in West Seattle,Yes!

  • grr August 21, 2009 (9:55 pm)

    no doubt..there’s an oversupply of grocery stores in WS now. WF is probably counting their blessings that the hole is stuck in legal limbo so they’ll get out without losing too much $.

    hmm..what to put in the hole….

    skate park
    a new mall full of nothing but child friendly vegetarian restaurants
    an off leash dog park
    miniature golf
    curling arena
    ice skating rink


  • Dreamland August 21, 2009 (10:09 pm)

    Curling arena suggestion by grr=brilliant!! Hahahahaha! Well, why not.

  • Doug August 21, 2009 (10:33 pm)

    Has anyone talked with the engineers as to how long the hole can be left open before the soils shoring is at risk of failing?

  • Cheryl August 21, 2009 (10:59 pm)

    I like all of grrr ‘s suggestions. Also, a permenant home for the weekly Farmers Mkt would be so nice. Or a movie theater. We really don’t need another grocery store, that’s for sure.

  • Alvis August 21, 2009 (11:46 pm)

    Whatever happens to the site, here’s hoping it doesn’t get consideration as the best place for a new city/county jail.

  • Leroniusmonkfish August 22, 2009 (4:35 am)

    How about a multi-level Deja Vu strip club? With a local “Cougar” themed night? Meow! :)

  • Cindy August 22, 2009 (9:28 am)

    Is anyone else tired of the “I hate whole foods / I love trader joes” conversation. Give it a rest. Can we talk about things that might actually matter? What makes most sense for the community? I like Sage’s idea of a full time market/vendor space. I’m sure there are many more original ideas out there if the Whole Food deal falls through. (personally, I hope it doesn’t).

  • Mike August 22, 2009 (11:55 am)

    It has been somewhere around seven or eight years since a Safeway was torn down on Stone Way in Fremont/Wallingford, to make way for I can’t even recall what…thing is, there is STILL a hole. Seriously. How is it, that in this city, a landowner/developer can get to the point of digging a hole and not be held responsible for doing SOMETHING with it in a timely manner?!?
    The economy is no excuse, because of the Stone Way example. Does this city have no backbone when it comes to this?

  • grr August 22, 2009 (1:17 pm)

    you know…that land would be great for a car dealership….


  • Amanda August 22, 2009 (1:39 pm)

    I laughed out loud at the Nail Salon. How do all those stay in business? How about Goodwill?

  • austin August 22, 2009 (2:26 pm)

    Mike I too associate the Stone Way hole with the Fauntleroy hole. It’s nice to think about what could be done with that space but the reality is that we’ll likely have a completed viaduct replacement before that hole gets filled in.

  • Terrence August 22, 2009 (2:46 pm)

    I have a full boycott on Whole Foods anyway after the CEO of that company came out against President Obama and the issue of Health Care Reform. Essentially his solution is for people to buy food at WF and no one will get sick.
    F that place

  • grr August 22, 2009 (9:47 pm)

    while I agree in principle with you Terrance (the WF CEO is a jackass)…there is SOME truth to what he says. As much as I’m as progressive as the next guy…I must admit that when I see the crap that people eat, drink and smoke themselves into oblivion and do all kinds of other crap to themselves, I really don’t want my tax $$’s paying for their health care.

    in the ‘bad stuff happens to good people’ department, there MUST be an inexpensive alternative/option for SOME kind of coverage.

  • bb August 23, 2009 (7:18 am)

    Ive been hearing rumors that Walmart is looking to move into the Whole foods site.

  • ds August 23, 2009 (5:59 pm)

    I don’t get why everyone gets so excited at the prospect of having another overpriced, pretentious grocery store in the area. Are PCC and Met Market too far away or just not expensive enough? What WS really needs is a cool independent video store and a decent doughnut shop!

  • grr August 23, 2009 (6:22 pm)

    I’d rather have a Sams Club.


  • jsrekd August 24, 2009 (11:39 am)

    ooohhhh! Top Pot ;-)

  • Rick August 24, 2009 (12:46 pm)

    One unfortunate automobile accident or teenager falling into the hole and all parties with any association with the hole will be wishing they paid someone else to take it (and all liability) out of their hands.

  • Chacha August 24, 2009 (1:25 pm)

    My vote would be for a movie theatre with parking underneath. Another grocer (other than TJ), another retailer (like Fred Meyer) would take away from businesses in the junction and around West Seattle.
    In addition, I like bringing back Hancock Fabrics and a movie rental business. I miss Hollywood Video in the Junction area. And an inexpensive eaterie or two would be as well. All could live happily where the hole now exists.

  • bb August 25, 2009 (8:10 pm)

    a movie theatre would be awesome! and a topless bar but that goes without saying.

  • AM August 29, 2009 (3:29 pm)

    I still have my fingers crossed for Whole Foods!!!! I have found better everyday deals with the 365 brand (better than safeway select), but a strip club would be nice.

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