BULLETIN: Whole Foods confirms its West Seattle deal is dead

On one hand, you’ll say, well, of course. On the other hand, it’s still an important official development in the ongoing saga of what might and might not happen at 3922 SW Alaska, aka The Hole, the stalled site that’s tied up in a big consolidated legal fight (the trial date for which – if no deal closes the case sooner – was recently moved to next year). You’ll recall that the original development plan there called for a Whole Foods Market and Hancock Fabrics store, as well as hundreds of residential units. We’d been checking periodically with Whole Foods since the project stalled, even pre-legal fight (to which Whole Foods is a party, though they did not initiate any of the legal action), and they insisted they still had a lease. Not any more, regional spokesperson Vicki Foley just confirmed to WSB when we checked again:

Yes, we have just terminated our agreement with the developer on the West Seattle site. We feel that it is very unlikely that the site will be built within a reasonable timeframe, if at all.

We are definitely looking into alternate sites, although we have not signed anything yet.

You’ll also likely recall that a Trader Joe’s is now set to go in (announced June 16th) at a site that is right across the street from the now ex-Whole Foods site. Tomorrow, we’ll check with Hancock Fabrics – headquartered a few time zones east, so we can’t reach them now – regarding their status on this long-stalled project. Also note, this does NOT mean that nothing will be built at this site – Whole Foods was supposed to be the “anchor tenant” to the original project, but was not the developer – we are also seeking reaction from the company that hopes to wind up owning and developing the site. (Data point: Looking into the archives, we are reminded that demolition at the site was under way exactly two years ago.)

82 Replies to "BULLETIN: Whole Foods confirms its West Seattle deal is dead"

  • JanS July 26, 2010 (5:34 pm)

    well, imagine that !

  • Rhonda Porter July 26, 2010 (5:41 pm)

    It really stinks that a corporation (or any entity) can tear up a neighborhood and leave a big gaping hole… that’s it?? I think they should have to fill it w/dirt and throw some seed on it so it’s at least grassy. Now it’s a confirmed eyesore.

    Can’t say I’ll be shopping any any Hole Foods soon.

    • WSB July 26, 2010 (5:49 pm)

      I am still tweaking the story and will add a few lines to clarify. This doesn’t mean nothing will ever be built here. It just means Whole Foods says it’s out of the project. I’m also checking with the concern that wants to take it over – the corporation formed by the noteholder – a long and complicated story to which I’ll link before the tweaking is done. – TR

  • RickSteel July 26, 2010 (5:43 pm)

    So, who had July 26th in the pool?

  • Derek July 26, 2010 (5:44 pm)

    So who actually owns the hole right now? It’d be nice if they at least built that privacy fence the rest of the way around so I don’t fall into it.

  • ewesterman July 26, 2010 (5:44 pm)

    Let’s put in a pool and call it Whole Hole.

  • mark July 26, 2010 (5:48 pm)

    Hmmm, I wonder how many bags of dirt it will take to fill that hole?

  • Vanessa July 26, 2010 (5:50 pm)

    So who officially owns a hole lot o’ nothin? And what are they (?) going to do with it? We could use a new department store, seeing how I’ll not shop at Target anymore.

  • CB July 26, 2010 (6:05 pm)

    Don’t blame Whole Foods, they were just the anchor tenant.

    I’m not surprised by this at all… get used to the hole, it will be there for years while all of the parties fight it out in court.

  • Katy July 26, 2010 (6:06 pm)

    They should build a Trader Joe’s there! West Seattle needs a Trader Joe’s! ; )

  • sophista-tiki July 26, 2010 (6:24 pm)

    I’m eager to hear what Hancock Fabrics has to say, They’ve been waiting this whole time to move into their new space. I hope they someday return.

  • Concerned July 26, 2010 (6:34 pm)

    Don’t blame Whole Foods!? Oh, ok! So don’t blame me if I run over your yard and decide I really don’t want to replace anything I’ve ruined! Sorry! I am tired of “projects” being started and stopped without a clean-up! Whole Foods, the house on 55th SW! The garbage dump behind the New Townhouses being built on Sylvan Way! How would you like to live by these dumps!? I am somewhat ashamed of many of bad Yard upkeep in West Seattle … neighborhoods start taking pride in your yards and homes! That doesn’t mean you have to have a major overhaul, just keep it neat and tidy! Sure paint peels, paint is expensive, the economy stinks, but do what you can! Weeds, litter and junk piles are bad for your mood too!

  • B July 26, 2010 (6:38 pm)

    Wha? No yuppie walmart?! I’ll just have to chose from the other FIVE stores in the area. Name it whole park n p- patch!

  • Under Achiever July 26, 2010 (6:59 pm)

    I’ve taken an option on the hole and am seeking investors to join me in the first ‘Chupacabra Corral’ Day Care and Grooming Center. Little, if any, site improvements are necessary. Gauging from previous posts there seems to be a huge need in West Seattle – looks like a can’t miss once in a lifetime opportunity.

    Who’s in?

  • Garden_nymph July 26, 2010 (7:20 pm)

    My chupy and I LOVE the idea!

  • I. Ponder July 26, 2010 (7:23 pm)

    Secure daycare facility. Kids love to dig. They can’t get out so they’ll definitely be there when you’re ready to pick them up. No late arrival fees.

  • cara g July 26, 2010 (7:35 pm)

    West Seattle needs a movie theater!

  • Jim July 26, 2010 (7:44 pm)

    I have to say, it’s actually a relief finally getting word that this obviously dead project is now officially dead. I do wonder, like the commenter above, who “owns” that hole? It sucks that companies can come in BP-like and wreck something as a by product of exploration like this, and not really be on the hook to clean up after itself.

  • jay July 26, 2010 (7:48 pm)

    Maybe this would be a good spot for Lamont’s to start their comeback. If not that, maybe a Pay ‘n Save. Or an Ernst hardware.

  • Bob Loblaw July 26, 2010 (8:07 pm)

    That hole can hold a whole lot of movie theater screens. Just sayin’ …

  • Admiral Janeway July 26, 2010 (8:07 pm)

    The hole at 2nd and Pine in downtown was refilled and is again a pay parking lot. Make the hole overflow parking for Eastridge Church, Trader Joes and W. Seattle Bowl.

  • HelperMonkey July 26, 2010 (8:43 pm)

    I’d like to say I am shocked. But I mostly just feel bad for Hancock fabrics. maybe local developers can get a good cost on the hole, and develop there instead of at 42nd and Oregon, tearing down existing houses.

  • CB July 26, 2010 (8:53 pm)

    Vent your frustration at the developers or the bank which pulled the financing. Or you could blame the last 20 years of an economy built on IOU’s, shady credit terms, and outright fraud. Whole Foods was not the developer… they were simply a company which had committed to leasing the space if it was ever built. Their option expired and they moved on… No building, no Whole Foods.

  • Gina July 26, 2010 (8:57 pm)

    Good spot for a West Seattle Bungee Jumping facility.

  • kim July 26, 2010 (8:59 pm)

    Think bigger Jay! I vote for Frederick and Nelson.

  • Elikapeka July 26, 2010 (9:10 pm)

    How about a park and ride and make it a public transportation hub for West Seattle/White Center?

  • toddinwestwood July 26, 2010 (9:11 pm)

    bmx park! No skaters allowed.

  • Trissa July 26, 2010 (9:29 pm)

    As long as we are thinking in terms of Ernst, Lamonts, and F & N, why not add Chubby n Tubby too!

  • sun*e July 26, 2010 (10:23 pm)

    I totally agree with the movie theater idea. One with really comfy chairs and someone brings you a cocktail halfway through the movie. That’d be perfect! :P

  • Roger July 26, 2010 (10:34 pm)

    Ok, it has to be said…we can tunnel into downtown and finally get light rail here in West Seattle!!!

  • NotInMyYard July 26, 2010 (10:53 pm)

    I say we all go down there and try to get in the Guiness Book of Records.

  • Kyle July 26, 2010 (11:01 pm)

    How about some actual low-income housing. Not this “affordable” junk that Seattle loves to build. Affordable it ain’t. Which is why I now live closer to Po-Dunkville Burien and their haters & lawbreakers than the fine(r) city of Seattle.

  • Chucky July 26, 2010 (11:36 pm)

    Don’t blame Whole Foods as they don’t own the land nor are they a construction firm…..

    They only agreed to RENT the space. So in your scenario, if a you bought a condo while the project was being developed and then the developer stopped, YOU would be held liable to complete the condo building.

    I think not!!!!

  • F16CrewChief July 27, 2010 (12:21 am)

    We could really use a Schucks and Hancock Fabrics right there.

  • Mc July 27, 2010 (12:43 am)

    Hopefully our “whole” won’t be there nearly as long as the one on Stone Way.
    To Concerned: fyi, the area you refer to as “The garbage dump behind the New Townhouses being built on Sylvan Way” …is actually the excess materials the builder is using to complete the development, which is in progress. Not fair to compare Sylvan Ridge to the Whole eyesore.

  • Kurt July 27, 2010 (12:45 am)

    Since all of these fine shopping establishments are being considered, let us not forget The Bon Marche. And we’ll need another bank. How about Puget Sound National Bank or Seafirst?

    Oh, and what F16CrewChief said.

  • Nate July 27, 2010 (12:59 am)

    Whole foods = whole paycheck

  • Leslie July 27, 2010 (1:14 am)

    In the meantime try The Tin Theater in Burien if you want to see a movie and have drinks delivered.

  • miws July 27, 2010 (4:55 am)

    Carlisle Furniture
    G.O. Guy Drugs
    J.C.Penney (small scale store with no input from JCP corporate suits)
    West Seattle Sporting Goods
    Vann Bros’ Restaurant
    People’s Drug Store
    West Seattle Hobby & Speedway
    Raff’s Shoes
    Meredith’s 5 & 10
    Ware & Hosey Appliance



  • mar3c July 27, 2010 (6:35 am)

    yeah, whole foods was “only a tenant,” but what was the term of their lease? 25 years? 50? 99? it’s common practice: the deeper pockets pay the bulk of the mortgage on mixed-use buildings, which is why you see so many being built these days.
    love it or hate it, it’s a successful business model. the big tenant moves in and starts paying “rent,” developers and contractors get paid, paying residential tenants are attracted to the convenience factor, profits start rolling in for the owners.

  • smash the state July 27, 2010 (7:46 am)

    two words: off leash dog park!

  • austin July 27, 2010 (7:50 am)

    If you have a junker car you need to get rid of I will dump it in the hole for a nominal fee.

  • Mike July 27, 2010 (8:02 am)

    If you agreed to rent an apartment that was going to be built in a year, but the landlords spent 2 years bickering before laying one brick, would you look for another apartment? Of course you would.

  • wafflesnfalafel July 27, 2010 (8:08 am)

    Man.. I think we could all benefit from an Econ 201 class here. A significant portion of the reason why West Seattle is as nice as it is today is because of the property developers who made it so, (whether we are talking the last decade or last century.) And I’m not some super neocon, its just the way America works. Development risk works both ways – you occasionally have to pay the piper. That said – its a free country – somebody must have some contact info for the developer and property owner – perhaps if they get a couple dozen letters reminding them that they would certainly be held liable if somebody injures themselves on their property they would button this location up a little better.

  • Truth Out - Get Some Truth July 27, 2010 (8:23 am)

    I vote for a water slide park!

    Seriously though, a real 1st run movie theater with the ability to show 3D features would be awesome. It is the one thing Seattle doesn’t have.

  • ToddinWestwood July 27, 2010 (9:02 am)

    Septic Tank!!!!!

  • Concerned July 27, 2010 (9:07 am)

    Mc … Sylvan way project IS garbage dump” don’t care what you say, you don’t live here! It’s been this way for about 6 years! The weeds are taking over the street too! Drive by and have your car scraped! sure it was a Sand pit before, but there were trees, NOT weeds and scabby fences “junk” to look at!!!

  • West Seattle Art Attack July 27, 2010 (9:32 am)

    Hey Concerned, I think your cup is half empty. I have a suggestion. Create some art, any sort of art. Search around West Seattle for a yard that is deserving of receiving a free piece of art. You will be surprised at how many beautiful yards there are that reflect pride of ownership and a unique sense of style. If you start looking at all the awesome yards you’ll notice that there are some that aren’t quite so awesome and you’ll move on in search of the most “awesomest.” Pretty soon you’ll be amazed at how beautiful our neighborhood is rather than how ugly. At that point your cup will be half full. I’m just saying. . . . . two people living in the same area with two completely different viewpoints. I prefer to love West Seattle and help others love it too.

  • fitz shirling July 27, 2010 (9:40 am)

    Didn’t whole foods do some slimy “back out of deal” with that development on 15th in the Interbay area as well? You would think a grocery store that charges $3 for an apple would not need to be so shifty but one never knows…

  • Carol July 27, 2010 (9:53 am)

    I’m sorry Whole Foods won’t be going in there. I guess I’ll transfer my hopes to Trader Joe’s now although if I really believed a first run theater could thrive there, that’d be nice to hope for, too.

    If all the humongous apartment buildings currently under construction get filled up with renters, the Junction will be well on its way to becoming Capitol Hill and Capitol Hill has good theaters.

  • Fiwa Jcbbb July 27, 2010 (10:56 am)

    How about a nice park-n-ride facility to house the Westside monorail terminal to downtown and Ballard?

    Ha ha. You know, I’d still like to punch Martin Selig in the nose.

  • Heywood July 27, 2010 (11:26 am)

    Strip Club

  • David July 27, 2010 (11:50 am)

    “Didn’t whole foods do some slimy “back out of deal” with that development on 15th in the Interbay area as well? You would think a grocery store that charges $3 for an apple would not need to be so shifty but one never knows…”

    Actually, Whole Foods went into the Interbay Site last year (how often do you leave your neighborhood?). Also, please stop ripping on WH. I don’t think the prices there are any higher than (based on quality) than other stores, such as at TJs, Red Apple, QFC, Larry’s (RIP), Safeway, Topps, PCC, and MM. It shows that you are not open minded or tolerant.

  • jay murphy July 27, 2010 (12:12 pm)

    After hearing the way Whole Foods treats their employees,I’m glad they won’t be in my neighborhood. Good riddance!

  • Diane July 27, 2010 (12:34 pm)

    Fred Meyer, one stop shopping for almost anything at great prices; excellent organics sections; and they work well within close proximity to Trader Joes; just couple blocks from each other in Ballard; also FM has been focusing more on building green, sustainable sites
    and for all you “no plastic bags” folks; Fred Meyer in OR just announced they are no longer providing plastic shopping bags, as test market, so Seattle will obviously be next

  • KBear July 27, 2010 (12:41 pm)

    “Also, please stop ripping on WF… It shows that you are not open minded or tolerant.”
    Neither is the management of Whole Foods, especially when it comes to health care reform or the rights of its workers to organize unions.

  • Alki Girl July 27, 2010 (12:46 pm)

    To ‘I. Ponder’ Your post is awesome;

    “Secure daycare facility. Kids love to dig. They can’t get out so they’ll definitely be there when you’re ready to pick them up. No late arrival fees.”

    What a great idea. I’m all for it!

    I gave up on WF a while ago – I’m excited for Trader Joe’s!

  • sophista-tiki July 27, 2010 (1:44 pm)

    Put back the existing businesses that vacated on the promise of a new facitlty. A park and ride would be awesome but NOT at that specific space in the Junction. It would be a traffic nightmare and incase no one has noticed getting in and out of West Seattle is ALREADY a traffic nightmare.
    Adding businesses like dedpartment stores or a gigantic theater is repulsive. Why purposely make West Seattle indestingushible from the rest of the city. Thats not why I moved over here. Something like a Fred Meyer ( all inclusive cheap shopping) would be of better service in parts of WS that currently do not have access to shopping.

  • ln8r July 27, 2010 (1:45 pm)

    I want a clothing retail chain store of some kind. Target and Marshalls are not enough.

    …also love the daycare idea. :)

  • Mookie July 27, 2010 (3:01 pm)

    I.Ponder—love that idea; entrance could be via a long slide, and the rug rats get out by learning to climb up a rope. (Of course, in the rainy season they all better know how to swim…)

  • george July 27, 2010 (4:02 pm)

    Add a Prarie Mart, or White Front to the list. Just please keep Albertson’s out.

    • WSB July 27, 2010 (4:04 pm)

      P.S. The prospective new owner of the site is still working on their response to our request for comment on this latest turn, and we’ve left messages at Hancock Fabrics corporate HQ too. At this rate our promised followup may take till tomorrow – Tracy

  • JoAnne July 27, 2010 (4:04 pm)

    It’s a dangerous eyesore, and I just hope they fill it with something before a tragedy happens.

    But it would be nice to have newer, nicer hotel in West Seattle.

  • GR July 27, 2010 (4:07 pm)

    How about an entire complex of payday lending establishments?

  • F16CrewChief July 27, 2010 (4:27 pm)

    Better yet, a strip mall with the following: Plaid Penguin, Funny Bones, Triple Play, Snubby’s, Groucho’s, and Bison Creek Pizza.

  • miws July 27, 2010 (4:54 pm)

    Value Mart
    Shakey’s Pizza
    Winchell’s Donuts
    Chicken Delight



  • 3dogslater July 27, 2010 (5:02 pm)

    Put in a Brown Bear CAR Wash!

  • george July 27, 2010 (5:05 pm)

    Plug in Farrell’s too, yum-yum. First birthday soda parties!

    Back east there was a Bunghole Liqours, that might go well in the Whole :)


  • waman July 27, 2010 (5:12 pm)

    Say a giant meteor hit the site & sell tickets for it –

  • West Seattle Sun July 27, 2010 (7:44 pm)

    A high rise, maximum security prison to replace McNeil Island would bring Federal dollars. Along with a correctional facility for those on parole. Problem solved!

  • Concerned July 27, 2010 (7:59 pm)

    WSAA … I didn’t say there weren’t nice yards, or that every yard was ugly! I said there are too many eyesores! My cup is quite full thank you … how would you like to live in a nice neighborhood like 55th SW and have a boarded up giant next to you, or across the street! It’s horrible why don’t you put your Yard Art there!

  • grr July 27, 2010 (10:25 pm)

    well..we could use a nice Dim Sum place…

    We once decided to go to WF downtown and do our regularly weekly shopping, just to see. We got what we ‘normally’ would get, and a few extra yummy things we saw. We spend $10 more than we usually do a QFC. The ‘whole paycheck’ thing is a load of crap.

  • Not the least bothered July 28, 2010 (1:20 am)

    How about a new jailhouse? The city’s running out of space to house all those scumbags !

  • Dana July 28, 2010 (7:09 am)

    I miss Hancock Fabrics. I hope they find another space around here soon.

  • Dana July 28, 2010 (7:10 am)

    I need to find the Whole Foods you are shopping at because every one I go into is much more spendy item per item when compared to PCC and QFC. My husband and I, too, call it Whole Paycheck.

  • Tia July 28, 2010 (8:52 am)

    Google “Whole Foods Best Companies to Work For” if you want to find out how employees feel about WF.

    Check out an issue of Consumers Checkbook if you want to see where WF shakes out in local pricing. (They’re not at the top.) To get the most for your money shop their 365 store brand and the produce aisle, and stay out of wine, cheese, and hot foods.

    That said, I don’t shop there. Who needs it?

  • dawsonct July 28, 2010 (9:59 am)

    Yeah, it really is the specialty and value-added foods were they get your money at WF. The produce is actually reasonably priced, and includes a lot of information about where it was grown or raised, which I would like to see become a LAW.

    Building new jails to lock up more of our fellow citizens. Is that REALLY the best use of our community tax-dollars? We already lock up MORE and a GREATER PERCENTAGE of our fellow citizens than ANY OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH. Mostly because of the completely failed “War on Drugs,” which has turned out to be quite the boon for institutional racists and the prison-industrial complex (one of America’s fastest growing industries. Proud?).

  • LKT July 28, 2010 (11:32 am)

    I really miss Hancock’s. Is there anywhere closer than JoAnn’s in Southcenter where you can buy fabric,patterns, etc.?
    If not that, how about a terraced community pea-patch garden with a swimming pool at the bottom?!

  • Shirley July 28, 2010 (12:47 pm)

    For sure I don’t want to see a movie theater there. What ever happened to Office Depot who was suppose to move in where QFC is now located on 42nd & Alaska St. I would love to see Office Depot take over some of that space. I also miss Hancocks.

  • SC July 28, 2010 (4:49 pm)

    That whole area is so busy with traffic. It would be so nice to have an experimental garden there with trees, shrubbery and a soundgarden. Think bells hanging from trees, pipes making blowing noises. It would beautify the area, be a public walking space for everyone to enjoy, and decrease the general stress of the area. That’s my vote!

  • Julia July 29, 2010 (5:36 am)

    It’s the same as the Wallingford hole on Stone Way where a QFC was supposed to go. As suggested earlier, make the eye sore a park or something. West Seattle is less attractive with that hole, and ruins the charm of the neighborhood by the Junction

  • Julia July 29, 2010 (5:50 am)

    P.S. I moved out of Seattle to Shoreline this year, and I am so glad I did. Much better prices on housing, food, etc. The city has dozens of great building projects (that are going somewhere) to improve the area. It has numerous nice parks for family and recreation, and has one of the best school districts in the state. This is coming from a life long West Seattlelite.

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