West Seattle businesses: Les Schwab’s plans for The Triangle

(Rear/side view of the building Les Schwab is seeking to turn into a sales/service center)
Another one of the former Huling (etc.) properties in The Triangle may be occupied soon. Les Schwab Tire Centers has confirmed to WSB what we had discovered by reviewing plans on file with the city online and at the Municipal Tower downtown: The tire company has applied to make “tenant improvements” to a West Seattle site. Plans on file with the city say the onetime Huling building on the southwest corner of 38th/Alaska (map) will be a Les Schwab “sales and service center.” The company won’t comment further – through a spokesperson, Schwab’s Jodi Hueske said, “We do not comment on applications that are under review” — but the plans on file with the city Department of Planning and Development are detailed:

The Les Schwab plans on file only cover the east section of that site, with the 65-year-old building that also previously housed Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The old Enterprise sign was finally taken down this month; observant WSB’ers also noticed the “For Lease/Sale” sign at Fauntleroy/Alaska had come down as well, and we’ve been working on the story ever since. The plan does NOT call for any new structures, just an estimated $1 million of improvements to the current structure; the site will have five regular parking spaces and one for the disabled, according to the plans on file.

This application is filed at 3801 SW Alaska instead of the corner address, 4700 Fauntleroy Way SW; the Fauntleroy Way address had a Les Schwab proposal in the online file last year, but when we looked into it last fall, the company denied that anything was in the works. The new application was filed on December 28th.

Again, we don’t know the timetable for the expected opening, since the company says it won’t comment further at this phase beyond confirming they have “applied … for a tenant-improvement permit,” nor do we know what if anything is immediately in store for the western half of the site. (By the way, though this site held part of the former Huling automotive businesses, the land itself is not owned by the Huling family.)

57 Replies to "West Seattle businesses: Les Schwab's plans for The Triangle"

  • jsrekd January 31, 2011 (1:51 pm)

    I’m liking this a lot. I’d rather stay in WS if possible, and we like Les Schwab!

  • T-Rex January 31, 2011 (2:12 pm)

    LOVE Les Schwab, the only tire company I have EVER dealt with in the 25 years I have been in Seattle.

  • Gina January 31, 2011 (2:28 pm)

    Free beef!

  • clark5080 January 31, 2011 (2:30 pm)

    So this is the old AMC/Jeep dealership building?

  • lenguamor January 31, 2011 (2:35 pm)

    Welcome to the neighborhood!

  • marty January 31, 2011 (2:38 pm)

    That’s great! They have gone out of their way whenever I have had a problem and being closer is better.

  • Kevin January 31, 2011 (2:42 pm)

    This is great news. We buy all our tires and batteries from Les Schwab. Great products and great service.

    A local northwest company too.


  • Kill your television January 31, 2011 (3:01 pm)

    Meh. Another tire store….
    I should be grateful something is going in that empty space, but Elliott Tire is two blocks to the north, and another tire store is on Cali. Ave four blocks west. And then there’s Costco Tire just a shot away.
    Thanks for being on top of this though WSB.

  • sailorgrrl January 31, 2011 (3:44 pm)

    Ha ha, Gina! I was going to say that. :)

  • james January 31, 2011 (4:15 pm)

    Great! Won’t have to go to Ballard now.

  • dsa January 31, 2011 (4:27 pm)

    I think this is great news.

  • HunterG January 31, 2011 (4:35 pm)

    WooHoo! Just bought four new tires from them this afternoon! Love the Schwab!

  • Yardvark January 31, 2011 (4:43 pm)

    Oh well. Can’t win ’em all. Hopefully, it’s temporary. Even a tire center beats an abandoned building, I guess.

  • austin January 31, 2011 (5:21 pm)

    Why hope it’s temporary if a tire shop is better than an abandoned building? If you have a better idea for a store by all means, make it happen.

  • Barry January 31, 2011 (5:26 pm)


  • elikapeka January 31, 2011 (5:36 pm)

    Well, I’m happy they’re coming to West Seattle. We have always been really satisfied with their products and service. They really do run to your car, for goodness’ sake. Normally I wouldn’t get too excited about a tire store either, but Les Schwab is a good addition to West Seattle

  • alki guy January 31, 2011 (5:39 pm)

    Sad for us here in WS… I was hoping that that triangle area – with Link Development, TJs and more development coming might connect that barren area with Alaska Junction… I do not know of many (any?) cool urban areas where people walk around in the evening, eat, drink, shop etc. that includes a tire company… I was hoping for a neighborhood with a bit of a street scene…

  • miws January 31, 2011 (5:55 pm)

    clark, this building is where the Enterprise Car Rental was, across 38th from Fire Station 32. Chrysler/Jeep was on across Alaska, on the north side. I think CycleU is their now(?)


    I was going to say Free Beef too! :lol:



  • ArborHeightsMom January 31, 2011 (5:56 pm)

    Can’t imagine what it is about West Seattle that attracts so many also-rans — we don’t need more tire stores, nail parlors, barber shops, or teriyaki joints. There’s a Les Schwab down on 4th, close enough. Also, it would be awesome at the gateway of West Seattle if we could add in just a bit of street appeal. Sigh.

  • Bob Loblaw January 31, 2011 (6:13 pm)

    any business is good business. hooray!

  • let them swim January 31, 2011 (6:33 pm)

    les schwab?– positive comments by employees?
    i’ll stick with old w.s. business’

  • Mike January 31, 2011 (6:43 pm)

    A welcome addition, and easier than the trip down to their 4th Ave location. Great company.

  • Hormel January 31, 2011 (6:51 pm)

    Good news! Great service!

  • WestSide45 January 31, 2011 (7:04 pm)

    Last time I went to the 4th Avenue S. location I stood at the counter for four minutes before I was acknowledged (trust me, I am not invisible). There were three clerks behind the counter, two which were busy doing other things; not waiting on customers. I have not been back.

  • Star 55 January 31, 2011 (7:45 pm)

    Great news for me, I love Les Schwab!!! I won’t have to drive to get service. Love staying in WS for services.

  • sun*e January 31, 2011 (7:50 pm)

    My past experience (mostly in Oak Harbor) with Les Schwab was great… really top notch. I’ve only gone to the one on 4th Ave S once and it didn’t have quite the same service. Hopefully the one coming to West Seattle will bring with it the same top notch service I remember.

  • Yardvark January 31, 2011 (8:13 pm)

    Exactly, alki guy. I think everyone had high hopes for the Triangle area but this ain’t it.

    Seems there are too many tire stores already here and LS is moving in just to drive our local shops out of business. Can’t fault the business move.

    Just wish something cooler had stepped up.

  • Triangle Resident January 31, 2011 (8:30 pm)

    Well this isn’t what I had in mind for the triangle redevelopment. I had hoped for a bold statement for that corner that would act as a bookend to whatever finally comes of the development of the hole. A lost opportunity it seems to the property owner. Highest and best use of that site will not be utilized any time soon, instead our main intersection is anchored with 3 auto related uses. I just hope that Les Schwab is a better neighbor and cleans up the blight the owner has allowed to occur.

  • steve January 31, 2011 (8:52 pm)

    Hopefully they don’t get the corner at Fauntleroy

  • meh January 31, 2011 (9:03 pm)

    Snore. Nothing says welcome to the gateway of West Seattle more than a tire store. This area is already a downer as you pass a lumber store, a Midas, Goodyear and Auto World or whatever it is. West Seattle has a lot to learn about urban business diversity. How does 4 auto services in a two block area say vibrancy. Can anyone say missed opportunity?

  • Todd January 31, 2011 (9:05 pm)

    I have been going to the 4th Ave S. Les Schwab for years, would love to have them in West Seattle!

  • WestSeattleFan January 31, 2011 (9:20 pm)

    Les Schwab is one of those businesses I’ve wished was in West Seattle. Can’t count the number of tires, brakes, chains, wheels, allignments and balances…oh, and batteries our family has turned to Les Schwab for. Used their stores in Pullman, Moscow, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Bham, Everett, Chelan, Lake Oswego, Wenatchee, Ballard, Burien, 4th South. Geez, I’d never added all that up. Glad to see them adding some spice to WS.

  • coffee January 31, 2011 (9:33 pm)

    I understand the gripes. I too agree 3 stores in a short distance is a bit much. But if the building needs 1 million in upgrades its going to take a bigger company with deep pockets to come in and make the upgrades needed to the building. I would like to see something a bit more interesting too.

  • Sharonn January 31, 2011 (9:47 pm)

    If you live in the Triangle, it would be nice to walk to lunch after working out at the Y with your friends or your children. Or how about getting off of Rapid Ride and dashing into a sporting goods store to buy some golf balls because you plan to play at West Seattle the next day. I forgot the ski goggles and the ski bus is leaving in 10 minutes from Mountain to Sound. Make suggestions of services and products that developers and property owners can visualize and the neighborhood will become a walkable neighborhood. We can walk to get a hair cut, grocery store, dry cleaners, drug store and so many other day to day services, we are lucky. But what is the gap that is not being serviced and request it be considered for sites like Les Schwab is taking. The Triangle is going to be developed so lets work for a neighborhood that supports the residents and all that pass through it.

  • WS fan January 31, 2011 (10:14 pm)

    This totally lacks class and general visual appeal. So sad to see this happen even though the new tire store seems to have great service and loyal customers. West Seattle needs to have vibrant small retail stores, walkable neighborhoods so it can become the place in the world we all know it is capable of. We are, truly, one of the most beautiful places on the planet and we let our little neighborhood become populted with “very well intended, great service stores:… (another tire shop?)and reek of NO Class. We are a classy place. Class has nothing to do with money as we are all aware. Most of us have meager accounts. But, we all know we live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. We have a duty to help our great neighborhood be as great as it can be. …. welcome to our neighborhood…. although many of us would have liked to have seen another business there!

  • foy boy January 31, 2011 (10:25 pm)

    Another lost chance for a park and ride in west seattle. When are people going to rise up about the bad traffic in the mornning and say I’m mad as hell I’m not going to take this anymore. Build us a dang park and ride

  • WS fan January 31, 2011 (10:33 pm)

    more… Please Les Schwab: Make your store as visually attractive as you possibly can. Plenty of green growing plants, very clean, upscale decor, attractive elegant signage, welcoming vantage from the street. Low profile and let your raving fans bring folks to your store. You will be appreiciated for your sensitivy to our environment.
    Thank you for listening!

  • TJ February 1, 2011 (12:00 am)

    Meh! When Huling went bust I thought this was an incredible opportunity for the gateway to West Seattle to become beautiful, useful, and vibrant. Those properties represented so much contiguous space that I was sure a developer would snap them all up — and maybe even buy up some of the other blighting businesses in between. Very sad to see that all we have to show for it is a Trader Joe’s (which will be fantastic), a huge pit in the ground, and more industrial businesses. :-(

  • Genesee Hill February 1, 2011 (7:29 am)

    I think of the triangle area as the SODO of West Seattle, the “industrial” area, as it were. Not the most beautiful area to look at, but important, none-the-less.

  • Yardvark February 1, 2011 (8:53 am)

    Most of the positive comments on here about this development are laughably suspect. Methinks they be from LS stakeholders and not Triangle residents.

    • WSB February 1, 2011 (9:09 am)

      Yardvark, I would seldom disclose something like this but since you bring it up, in this particular case, I don’t see any astroturfing: Most of the positive comments to which you allude are from longtime WSB commenters (I count 11 recognizable by “handle” and IP). I have no idea whether they also coincidentally all happen to be LS fans or stockholders or whatever, and I have no idea where they live, but they are people who participate in the WSB online community all the time, on a variety of subjects.
      As for LS itself, to be clear, they’re not stacking the deck either. As far as I can tell, they might have preferred we NOT have written this story, and let them announce this on their timetable. This didn’t come from a news release, announcement, or anything they did or said – once it was clear activity was happening at the site, and we started our inquiries and research to find out WHAT, it was like pulling teeth to get what little comment we did, and that was after more than a week of various phone and e-mail attempts, during which I finally threw up my hands and went downtown to the DPD to poke through the files so I would have the best confirmation possible (plans filed with the city are public record) even if they had not ultimately responded. Few “new business heading this way” stories are that difficult/time-consuming, but this is a site of particular interest, so we pursued – TR

  • faultleroy girl February 1, 2011 (10:01 am)

    I have been involved with the Les Schwab company for almost 15 years (my husband works there) and it has become our life. Les Schwab does not have shareholders. It is a family owned company that share its profits with its employees. They don’t have any debt, like most companies, and take pride in their performance. The allegiance you see above is typical of Les Schwab customers, which was strange to me too when we first became involved in the company. Yes, it would be cool to see pretty restaurants and boutique shops there, but that’s always been auto row, and would service the community of 40000 people quite well. You’ll be surprised at the lack of attrition within each store, because their employees are well compensated and hard workers. As a business in the community, you’ll be lucky to have it.

  • Mike February 1, 2011 (12:30 pm)

    It’s the ideal spot for a Les Schwab. Brings in good business and as more shops open around them we’ll notice they hold true to being quality service and CLEAN. That road is not meant to be a walk way for peds to shop on, if we can draw in more quality businesses like this we’d be better off than holes in the ground and more condos that are vacant.

  • Yardvark February 1, 2011 (2:41 pm)

    Very well. Cleared of the charges.
    Being passionate about tires is strange but true.

  • foy boy February 1, 2011 (3:15 pm)

    What nobody likes my idea about a park and ride?

    • WSB February 1, 2011 (4:22 pm)

      Foy – the city is definitely on record as saying they aren’t building or operating more park and rides. If you can get a private landowner interested, though ..

  • dsa February 1, 2011 (8:02 pm)

    I like the idea of some park and rides.

  • ellenater February 1, 2011 (10:17 pm)

    I welcome LS, too. I have always had stellar service, without exception at every location.

    HOWEVER. What the triangle really needs is a combo roller/ice rink. West Seattle will not be complete until it comes to fruition.

  • austin February 2, 2011 (8:36 am)

    It’s funny that when a complainer disagrees with your opinion they accuse you of being paid off by business interests. I walk through the triangle to the junction on a daily basis and would rather see functioning storefronts of any kind over the wasteland of abandoned buildings and start and stop “development” that is there now. Again, if there’s something you’d rather see in the area or if you have a better idea for a use of that space, make it happen.

  • villagegreen February 2, 2011 (9:52 am)

    As a triangle resident, I’m underwhelmed with the LS news. Basically another business in the triangle that I may use every four years if they’re lucky. As someone else noted, the triangle has been the SODO of WS for years. However, it doesn’t need to stay that way. The real SODO is just across the bridge and I’ll always drive over there when I need industrial type items. Hell, I even find myself driving to the SODO Home Depot instead of the WS location.

    Just because you don’t live in the triangle and would appreciate the supposed convenience of getting new tires without leaving the peninsula doesn’t mean it’s a good use of the space. I live in the triangle and yet the only businesses I use are the Y, Diva Coffee, and the taco truck in the WS Produce lot. How about a decent restaurant or two? Maybe a bar. Not every food and drink place needs to be located on California. How about more food trucks – maybe a whole lot devoted to them? How about a real butcher shop? The Swinery is great, but it’s not a full functioning butcher shop. This is just off the top of my head – I’m sure there are plenty of genius ideas out there that I’m too uncreative to think of.

    I know this is all wishful thinking, though, as companies with the deepest pockets will move back in turning the area back into a drive-thru neighborhood used mainly by folks who don’t live here. I was just hoping that a better mix of businesses would stand a chance (at least something other than more CAR related stores). Man, we missed a huge opportunity when the monorail failed. We’re gonna pay the price for decades to come as we watch the rest of the city linked up to lightrail (sorry to go off topic there).

  • jsrekd February 2, 2011 (10:58 am)

    austin – all too true. I’d rather have it busy, than empty.

    Yardvark – I’ve lived in WS 25 years, my husband’s family for over 100. Live on Gatewood Hill, and would rather be able to stay on the peninsula to shop. As I drive a car from time to time (take the bus to work) I need tires from time to time.

  • Sharonn February 2, 2011 (1:22 pm)

    I would really like to see each person posting here to put February 7th on your calendar and come participate in the planning of not just the Triangle but the Gateway to West Seattle meeting listed below:

    FEBRUARY 7th – 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

    West Seattle Triangle Community Open House to find out about the land-use and street concepts developed during months of work with a community advisory group

    Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon), 6-8 pm

    More information here: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/Planning/WestSeattleTriangle

  • sue February 3, 2011 (3:26 am)

    YAWN. West Seattle has never really had a understanding of good planning and continuity. It’s always been a mish-mash of some pretty buildings jammed up against totally ugly distasteful crappy looking buildings…or you have a tire shop next to a bakery….. It’s a constant series of hit and misses. When you think of how many people come to West Seattle to see this part of the area you would think there would be better planning. It’s embarrassing compared to other cities.

  • argus February 3, 2011 (3:43 am)



  • austin February 3, 2011 (8:55 am)

    “ladies will love it” lol, that is awesome. I wonder how much influence alcohol had on the previous post.

  • Bunnyfer February 4, 2011 (10:06 am)

    I think the Les Schwab is a great idea. Both the Midas and Goodyear – while locally owned franchises (?) are not NW businesses. Furthermore, having been to the Goodyear 3 times, and being totally disappointed each time, I would be happy to have a great, community-minded, customer-oriented business like LS in WS. If LS put Elliot GY out of business, I would not shed a tear.

    And Sharonn – THANK YOU! For showing people how to put their money where their blog is – I will be at the meeting!

    Finally, to everyone who talks about no walkability and no businesses in the Triangle – (and I assume you mean the area around the Link) …how the heck far do you think the Junction is??? A few blocks and you’re in the heart of a small business boom, with great choices for food, drinks, boutique shops, and the theatre! And if you don’t like walking 1/4 mile for it, then don’t talk about how “walkable” you want WS to be!

  • bill F. February 6, 2011 (3:20 am)

    How about a tire sculpture right smack in front. That would be classy.

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