West Seattle Trader Joe’s followup: Design explained; what’s next

New information this morning on West Seattle’s now-confirmed future Trader Joe’s (here’s our Wednesday story): We’ve just spoken with Associates West Real Estate‘s John Wunder, to whom property owner Steve Huling referred us for additional information following our conversation yesterday. One big question we asked him: While the preliminary city filing first noted here in April mentioned only “minor exterior improvements,” some seeing the project rendering above thought it looked like much more than that. No, he says, it really is “minor exterior (work)” – once you see what part of the building is involved:

We just went over to take that photo after Wunder explained that the rendering depicts what’s planned for the east/northeast corner of the building, where there’s currently a service entry to the garage, next to the showroom. “If you look closely at the rendering, you’ll see the same lines, so the entry is going to go right at the point of the building,” Wunder explained. (A wider shot would show Fauntleroy off the left side. Note that this also is kitty-corner to the under-construction Link.) He also said that while, as DPD‘s Bryan Stevens confirmed to WSB yesterday morning, the formal permit application for the 14,000+-square-foot store has not been filed yet, that should happen shortly. Wunder said, “We don’t anticipate problems; the preliminary meeting went well.”

47 Replies to "West Seattle Trader Joe's followup: Design explained; what's next"

  • Donn June 17, 2010 (10:41 am)

    If you look to the left side of the rendering, you can see the original facade and stepped parapet at the main entrance to the Huling building along Fauntleroy. It seems like an odd mixture of styles – art deco on the street side with northwest lodge facing the parking lot. Is there talk of this project having to go through a design review process?

  • Alki Area June 17, 2010 (10:43 am)

    If this is all true, you realize this is TWICE the size of the Queen Anne store (7,200 Square feet).

  • quiz June 17, 2010 (11:03 am)

    This is great news. Any timetable for when they plan to open?

  • Kara June 17, 2010 (11:07 am)

    I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself!!! I was so bummed Ballard was getting a Trader Joe’s just when I decided I was done with the neighborhood and was going to move back to my West Seattle roots…now I’m completely content!!!

  • old timer June 17, 2010 (11:48 am)

    By all means, let’s ‘run this thru’ the design review ‘process’
    and add another possible 3 years to the timeline,
    while we resolve the inconsistencies of sensibilities.
    (Good grief, I hope NOT! – people can use the work now)

  • Dave June 17, 2010 (12:01 pm)

    This is great. I’m equally excited about less comments TJ’s on WSB.

  • dude June 17, 2010 (12:03 pm)

    I would much rather see a locally owned independent open up here and not another corporate behemoth. Seriously, Qfc, Safeway, someday a Whole Foods and then a Trader Joe’s? That stinks.

  • Carson June 17, 2010 (12:19 pm)

    Dude, if someone thought they could make money here, they would open one here. I mean, we already have 3 great locally owned stores in West Seattle. Whats left, Central Market? I love Trader Joes but there are not the be all, end all of grocery stores. We shop at Met Market and PCC all the time as well (Thriftway is too far away for us)

  • Jules June 17, 2010 (12:25 pm)

    We have been waiting for years for a Trader Joe’s to open up in W. Sea. & could not be more excited! Utilizing the current eyesore space will be good for the neighborhood. That corner area is looking pretty desolate.
    “dude” – IMO, Trader Joe’s in nothing like Safeway or QFC at all. Whole Foods is way more expensive too.
    “old timer” I could not agree with you more. They have been hashing it out for the past several years already; we do not need to add any more time to the project and “people can use the work now” – that’s for sure.

  • Forest June 17, 2010 (12:31 pm)

    Here’s hoping the storefront will indeed consist of minor exterior embellishments to the funky ex-showroom. The fake missionary theme in the rendering is painfully suburban and conveys (to me, anyway) no sense whatsoever of local atmosphere or neighborhood.

  • Noelle June 17, 2010 (12:50 pm)


  • kiki June 17, 2010 (12:55 pm)

    Yippiehh – I’ve waited for this for such a long time! Can’t wait to go shop for my favorite Trader Joe’s foods! :D
    Does anyone know when the store is supposed to open ?

  • cabanamom June 17, 2010 (1:19 pm)

    Look at all the pedestrians in the TJ rendering…not a pedestrian friendly area, in my opinion. TJ’s will be next to a major arterial. Don’t see any space for additional parking besides the small lot. But, that beats driving to Burien :)

  • SarahScoot June 17, 2010 (1:54 pm)

    Cabanamom, how is it not ped-friendly? I mean, it’s not as scenic as other parts of West Seattle, but it’s certainly still walkable. I live in a condo building on Avalon near 35th and often walk to the Junction. It’s quick and there are enough crosswalks and signals to complete the walk safely. Once the TJ’s opens, I plan to walk there whenever practical.

  • 2krazy4words June 17, 2010 (2:02 pm)

    For those wanting a “neighborhood” store, here’s TJ’s take:

    “At Trader Joe’s, we really work to be a part of the neighborhood. That’s why we handle all requests for donations and involvement in community events in our stores. Whether it’s a silent auction to benefit a local elementary school or a health fair sponsored by a community hospital, your neighborhood Trader Joe’s is the place to go.

    In fact, we’re so serious about our commitment to our neighborhoods, that each of our stores has its own Donations Coordinator. And to simplify things even further, we have some basic guidelines you should follow when requesting a donation of any kind from Trader Joe’s. Download Donation Guidelines Here.

    We’ve been doing things this way since, well… since the very beginning of Trader Joe’s. We think getting to know the organizations that are important to our communities makes us better neighbors”

  • char June 17, 2010 (2:06 pm)

    don’t really care about Trader Joe’s….just glad to see something halfway decent looking in that spot.

  • Brandon June 17, 2010 (2:21 pm)

    I like Metro Market as well, but trader’s offers things that MM doesnt and vice a versa, glad i dont have to go to Burien to go to one

  • coffee June 17, 2010 (3:11 pm)

    Will I shop there, no, will I be happy that a vacant building is occupied, yes, and I am happy that I would assume 100 or so new jobs will be created.

  • velo_nut June 17, 2010 (3:24 pm)

    I was hoping for a DejaVu or Li’l Darlings…

  • Paul Valenti June 17, 2010 (3:25 pm)

    I spoke to the representatives of Trader Joes today because I have clients who will want to apply for work there – I understand that the facility will not open until early next year – I am awaiting information about how and when potential employees can apply.

    • WSB June 17, 2010 (3:28 pm)

      Thanks for the update, Paul. They had said 2011, but when in 2011 of course will depend on how the permitting process goes. It does not appear that Design Review will be required but until they actually apply for the permit – the stuff in the DPD system is just a skeleton of info.

  • wheels45 June 17, 2010 (3:28 pm)

    Personally, I think anything is better than looking at an empty car dealership. Hope the review process doesn’t take forever!

  • Baba June 17, 2010 (3:43 pm)

    I’m actually very happy for mr. Huling. I was starting to feel sorry for the guy lately…That bicycle shop and two car sales places with 4 cars on the lot had me worried for a while…If there is anything I know about TJ, they must’ve gotten a hell of a lease deal!!!

  • Alki Area June 17, 2010 (3:44 pm)

    @char AMEN! I mean I’m sure the Joe’s will be nice. But I’m just happy to see some development on that site to help clean up that old pseudo-industrial looking end of West Seattle. Between this and the new 6 story apartment building be constructed right now, it will start to look a little better. Plus a new store/jobs in this economy is good! I could give a crap about the design review meetings. Whatever they put up with just be a grocery store. It will have doors, windows, and walls. We don’t need to spend 2 years debating the trim color and whether the door should be 2 feet more to the left.

  • yeah-me June 17, 2010 (6:09 pm)

    I wonder if the lack of funding for the Whole Foods (virtually next door) is what made Trader Joe’s decide to finally move in.

  • LAP June 17, 2010 (6:48 pm)

    Choices are good. There are plenty of people, including myself, who shop at different stores for specific items – so their variety will be a great addition. Don’t forget about the new produce store just south on Fauntleroy! The old empty car lots and buildings look sad and it makes the area look depressed. I’m a lifer here in WS, and happy to see positive changes happening. I’m happy I won’t have to drive Burien just for items I know I can get at TJ’s – and I just may run into a relative there from time to time, eh SS???

  • Grounds4Hounds June 17, 2010 (7:03 pm)

    This is an ugly building. Someone please help them.

  • Sonoma June 17, 2010 (7:20 pm)

    This is the biggest news of all time! My hands are shaking, and I haven’t slept a wink since I read about this. My gawwwd – the humanity! the cheap and tasty chocolates! The wine selection! The mediocre produce! The cute Hawaiian shirts! My fervent prayers have been answered. ; )

  • rohana81 June 17, 2010 (8:01 pm)

    I am SO excited about TJ’s coming to West Seattle; it will be great for the food, the jobs, and to get rid of the eyesore in that area..but I’ve gotta agree with the other design critics: please change the design! This design does not fit West Seattle at all– way too “lodgy”. I was really hoping they would stick with the Art Deco theme that the building already has. I don’t want it to stall the building process, but since we’re all going to have to look at it for years to come, can’t it relect West Seattle a little better?

  • WTF June 17, 2010 (8:22 pm)


  • Clueless Clara June 17, 2010 (8:29 pm)

    What’s a Trader Jones?

  • homesweethome June 17, 2010 (8:56 pm)

    I’d love to know what exactly is the West Seattle design aesthetic?

  • gary June 17, 2010 (10:42 pm)

    I really miss the GM dealership there. Hopefully when their lease is up I will be able to buy a car there again!

  • Bob Loblaw June 17, 2010 (10:43 pm)

    I understand a second Trader Joe’s is now in design review for the space currently occupied by Target. Anybody else hear this rumor?

  • JanS June 17, 2010 (11:22 pm)

    now, Bob – are you trying to start something here? ;-)

  • dsa June 17, 2010 (11:49 pm)

    I want GM back too.

  • J June 18, 2010 (12:03 am)

    The “design review takes too long” sentiment is short-sighted. We have enough ugly buildings. It’s worth a delay to prevent another eyesore.

  • Mc June 18, 2010 (12:33 am)

    First the “announcement”, barely more than a day …now some of you are already complaining about an artistic rendering and crying design review. Really?!? It’s no wonder there are unfinished “holes” like the one across the street. Believe me, I think this is awesome for wsea. But c’mon people, chill out and take a step outside your bubble once in a while.

  • Linda June 18, 2010 (9:54 am)

    Finally! I’ve been asking at the Burien store for years when they would come to West Seattle. I buy some things there, but also shop at other grocery stores. I think Met Market will wonder what happened when TJ’s opens. Yea for TJ’s!

  • Mary Sheely June 18, 2010 (11:49 am)

    I suggest we all buy awesome wheeled grocery carts from Click! Design That Fits and walk it to TJ’s when they open. : )

  • vger June 18, 2010 (2:15 pm)

    Oh Happy Day! Happy Day!

  • DrMcCarthy June 18, 2010 (5:59 pm)

    When Trader Joe’s opens I will literally never have to leave West Seattle. This makes me happy. =) And I really hope the opening is not delayed by any stupidity. I mean, really, what is the West Seattle aesthetic? That monstrosity above the QFC? Those ridiculously multi-colored buildings next to True Value? Or is it “giant hole in brown” as exemplified by what used to be the Hancock Fabrics site? Get over it, folks.

  • Alvis June 18, 2010 (11:16 pm)

    Sorry doctor, I call you on complaining about local cases of “monstrosity” development and meanwhile advising people they’ve no business sharing opinions about the building design that Trader Joe’s is considering at this pre-stage of its development plan. If you have gripes about the public design review process that Trader Joe’s already knows will be required of it, take them up with city government.

  • grr June 20, 2010 (2:06 pm)

    every time I hear about this moronic ‘design review’ process, I just want to drive around West Seattle and take and post pictures of some of the hideous buildings that have been here for decades. Let’s start with Chuck and Sally’s, and move to about a dozen residential complexes up and down California/Fauntleroy.

    Apparently, ‘Design Review’ must be a new thing. As much as I mock TJ’s as a ‘whatever’, I commend anyone willing to invest in bringing a new business to our community. (oh yeah..where are all the ‘IT’S A CHAIN Store!!” whiners????

    Bring on the Wing Dome :D

  • diane June 21, 2010 (10:33 pm)

    It will be a good thing to not have to drive so far and waste gas to reach a TJ’s, in fact since I’ve lived in West Seattle I’ve only gone to the Burien TJ’s once. I would love to see the new design incorporate the art deco design of the existing builing rather than the dated “lodge” look in the sketch.

  • Emma Peel June 24, 2010 (7:38 pm)

    I am thrilled about a Trader Joe’s in West Seattle, especially one that is large enough to get around in. I am a bit worried about the access, given how busy Fauntleroy is and the lack of turn lanes. I wonder if this will be addressed? I think people waiting to turn left into the parking lot from Fauntleroy will be big problem…

  • Scott June 25, 2010 (5:44 pm)

    Hey “J”

    (The “design review takes too long” sentiment is short-sighted. We have enough ugly buildings. It’s worth a delay to prevent another eyesore.
    Comment by J — June 18, 10 12:03 am #)

    As for the design process, it shouldn’t be up to a select few, if you have the money you should be able to build it, the City has WAY too much control over the citizens, don’t believe it? Try testing your freedom.

    I have seen MANY projects/homes go under because of the long “Design Process” and permit bureaucracy of the City.

    Anything is better than what is there…. even a gigantic corporate hole in the ground, And don’t feel sorry for Huling, He has made truckloads of cash over the years-pun intended.

    Only the rich can build what they want….. EMP, etc.

Sorry, comment time is over.