West Seattle development: ‘Early’ proposal for ex-Huling site

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The most conspicuously vacant site of the ex-Huling Auto (briefly Gee) properties in West Seattle may not be vacant much longer: A development proposal and sale are being explored.

A mixed-use (apartments and retail) project is on the drawing board. The city Department of Planning and Development website has an early-in-the-process entry for a potential project with “five floors of residential over 55,000 SF retail” and “Parking for 534 cars (underground)” at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW.

That’s the site stretching along the west side of Fauntleroy from Edmunds almost to Alaska, including the former Chevrolet showroom and lot.

Here’s what we have found out from John Wunder of Associates West Real Estate, longtime representative for the Huling properties:

Wunder stresses that this is a very preliminary proposal – “early in the due-diligence period” – but they should know within two months at the most whether it will proceed. The development site potentially would also include the old used-car lot at 40th/Alaska as well as the site of Howden-Kennedy Funeral Home, though not the adjacent Shell station.

The property would be sold, rather than leased as was the ex-Huling site that is now better known as West Seattle Trader Joe’s.

The height suggested by the preliminary information on the city website, five floors over retail, is likely not as high as the site is zoned for; in the West Seattle Triangle (and vicinity) rezoning approved by the City Council at the end of last year. As part of that package, most of the site was upzoned to NC3-85, which means larger commercial spaces and a maximum height of 85 feet (generally, that translates to eight stories).

Wunder says he has no other comment right now, since no deal has closed, nor has a formal proposal been submitted to the city – this turned up on the DPD website because they took the very first step in the process, an initial consultation.

And just for caveat’s sake, we note that even before West Seattle Produce‘s time on the site – they’re now across the street, as you know – there was a 2008 development proposal that went nowhere; we reported on it once in May of that year, and it never even reached Early Design Guidance. But we’ll continue to follow up on this one and bring you new information when it’s available.

48 Replies to "West Seattle development: 'Early' proposal for ex-Huling site"

  • anonymous123 July 24, 2012 (4:44 pm)

    please not a whole foods. anything but that….

  • Near Alki July 24, 2012 (4:57 pm)

    Wow that is huge… isn’t it. Great job (again) WSB Keeping So on top of things. No mention of number of units, Must not have been available info, but 534 cars kind of gives you an indication. I wonder how that compares to some of the other apartments recently built?

  • hipster! July 24, 2012 (5:11 pm)

    I’m actually excited to hear about this development. For years I’ve been wondering if those lots were going to be developed. Having new tenants and businesses will help make the triangle area more attractive and vibrant. This is good for WS community!

  • Jo July 24, 2012 (5:21 pm)

    More development is NOT what this community needs at all! We are already full.
    Plus we still have that awful hole.
    Please go away!

  • boy July 24, 2012 (5:44 pm)

    With all these new condos and ones with hardly any parking we need a park and ride. With city talking about relaxing building requirements like enough parking per building now more then ever we need one. A main park and ride at the old huling site would be perfect. It would be in walking distance of all these new condos to. But I guess the city has dicided to curse westseattle to night mare traffic forever. Thank you to our wonderful city leadership.

  • anonymous123 July 24, 2012 (5:49 pm)

    I second that.. A park and ride would be nice…

  • Wetone July 24, 2012 (6:05 pm)

    The city doesn’t care about the traffic in West Seattle. All their concerned about is more income which these big projects produce for them.

  • ws bred July 24, 2012 (6:32 pm)

    I vote a new sign to hang over the railing at the west end of the WS Bridge: “Overcapacity. Please kindly make a U-Turn at Fauntleroy and go home.” From your friendly West Seattle neighborhood welcoming committee. P.S. how about retail space with a park and ride garage above??? Brilliant.

  • ws bred July 24, 2012 (6:34 pm)

    Or “You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.”

  • star 55 July 24, 2012 (7:10 pm)

    Bring on a Fred Meyer!

  • Kathi July 24, 2012 (7:50 pm)

    Would this mean that Howden Kennedy is closing or would it be incorporated into the new buildings…we can’t lose them or lose sight of their importance in our lives and community . Thank you!

  • DTK July 24, 2012 (8:40 pm)

    Enough already! Quarter filled boxes on every corner is not logical.

  • old timer July 24, 2012 (9:14 pm)

    FWIW, I thought the old Chevy store and garage would be just the spot for a Fiat store.
    I’m sure it’s not economically feasible.
    But, it would be kind of cool to see something different in the showroom.
    BTW, if this parcel is looking good for a project, why is The Hole still a hole?

  • RG July 24, 2012 (9:30 pm)

    Is there any more information on the funeral home’s future? That’s just incredibly sad.

  • Look Before you Leep July 24, 2012 (9:31 pm)

    More development is not what we need, we’re already full? ROTFLMAO. New York isn’t even full. West Seattle is not full. I’m sick of this NIMBY attitude. Now that you plowed under an old growth forest and kicked out the native Americans for YOUR house and Safeway and schools, you don’t want anything else to change, it should magically be static? Just like West Seattle isn’t like it was in 1890, it will be vastly different in 2090. I’m sorry about reality, it’s a pain, but nothing stays the same. That area is WHERE we should have growth, right along the ugly busy dense business-centric transit corridors. It’s perfect. I know you don’t want anything to change now that YOU have YOUR house or condo, you don’t want anyone else in, but that’s selfish and unrealistic. I don’t mean to sound too harsh, but seriously folks, what do you want other than “no change” (which ain’t gonna happen)? I always hear no one likes this design or that….as if the old car dealership and pawn shop are magical enchanted buildings which will never be replaced. I’m first in line to fight for the Homestead or actual historic structures, but filling in a empty half acre of pavement (car lot) with apartments is a SMART thing to do.

    P.S. And I like Whole Foods well enough, but does West Seattle need ANOTHER grocery store when we have 3 within 4 blocks of there already? And 4 more within 2 miles of that?

    • WSB July 24, 2012 (9:48 pm)

      Look B4 Leap, there’s no word of an anchor tenant for this yet. Could be something besides a grocery store. At this stage I don’t know how close to final the 55,000 square feet of retail would be – but for comparison’s sake, that’s less than the space in the new Admiral Safeway (but on the other hand, it’s four times Trader Joe’s). – TR
      P.S. Re: the funeral home – The Kennedy family owns that parcel and the ex-used car site at 40th/Alaska, so as I understand it, would be willingly selling it along with the Hulings and their site facing Fauntleroy – it’s not a situation like the Equity site in The Junction, where businesses are losing leases because their landlords have sold. But whether that means they would move the business or close it, this is just story #1, as – if – this progresses, we’ll find out more. (Heaven knows that business is only going to get busier with all us boomers racking up the years …)

  • Mike July 24, 2012 (10:20 pm)

    More apartment/condos… yay! Oh wait…booo, we can’t fill what we have being built. South Lake Union is looking to fill spots and they have 3,000 new employees that just showed up.

  • Babs July 24, 2012 (10:26 pm)

    Wouldn’t a nice sweet park be perfect for The Hole? Grass, swings, picnic tables, green space, doggie area. Yeah before it all turns urban right around that area which will happen.

  • Bill Bacon July 24, 2012 (10:26 pm)

    Can’t the city just condemn the “hole” and put up a park and ride there, moving the WS transit hub off the junction proper? That would do a lot to alleviate newly designed junction traffic woes. The wide boulevard width avenue in front of the bowling alley could be more effectively be used as a bus corridor serving a new park and ride.

  • resident3 July 24, 2012 (10:47 pm)

    I would welcome another grocery store for us on the south end! I agree over by the junction there are already ample market options.

  • Husky July 24, 2012 (11:02 pm)

    New York has something called a subway system to rapidly move people from point A to B. We do not.

  • Jun-jun July 24, 2012 (11:14 pm)

    I dont understand the people that don’t want anything done to this parcel of land. You mean to tell me you would rather see the same abandoned building stay there without any development? Doesn’t make sense.

  • DJ Allyn July 25, 2012 (1:23 am)

    Just what we need, more apartments.

    I would like to see a Fred Meyers, or even a long-range plan of turning the emptiness of the junction into a destination mall of sorts, with underground parking.

  • Anne July 25, 2012 (6:30 am)

    I would rather see apartments/condos here than along California Ave. A park and ride somewhere would be most welcome & practical, too. Anything to the rumor that Safeway is going to build on the “big hole” sight???

  • homesweethome July 25, 2012 (7:19 am)

    My only request is they build larger condos that are more family oriented. Many of us who live in condos here in WS, love living and condos and don’t feel the need for a yard – but larger multi-family options are limited.

  • Kgdlg July 25, 2012 (7:26 am)

    Two points raised above: Amazon and half empty boxes. These apartments are not sitting half empty. They are leasing up at rapid rates at high rents which is exactly why investors are building more of these buildings: market demand. Whether we like it or not Boeing, Amazon and Google are all adding jobs and these young well paid professionals need places to live because the market (supply) is so tight here. Whether you like Hess buildings or not, the only way they WOULDNT get built is if they were empty.

  • JoAnne July 25, 2012 (7:48 am)

    Look before you leap.
    Please go back to wherever you came from. If you want an overpopulated urban nightmare, please create one in your own home, not mine.

  • JN July 25, 2012 (8:35 am)

    Hopefully this goes through so that area can finally be made liveable and not depressing to look at or be in.

  • nicholas July 25, 2012 (8:39 am)

    as a new(ish) transplant to west seattle that really loves it here…i must say that the vitriol against new development and new residents really make me wonder about my welcome here.

    also, not having a full development proposal…am i the only person who realizes that 50,000sf of retail may well be broken into more than one piece? it might not be a grocery…it might be 14 smaller storefronts.

    there are also a number or areas (make that the vast majority of areas) in west seattle that are not slated for an up-zone or more dense urbanization. the areas being densified are the retail core + the triangle (which has a lot of blighted low-rise transportation related commercial spaces that could well be improved…calm down.

    • WSB July 25, 2012 (9:18 am)

      Nicholas – you ARE welcome. While I don’t mean to denigrate anyone’s opinion, however opinion runs, at any news website, a small percentage of people take the time to comment. More than 35,000 people read WSB at least once a week and aside from snow coverage, the most-commented story ever hit about 250. Most people read and never comment. Same way in the real world – a meeting might be called on a project or proposal or issue affecting tens of thousands, and if 100 show up, it’s a big turnout. Anyway, we appreciate you taking the time to voice how you feel. Right now, development is revving up again after a few years of dormancy because of the economy, and that will stir up a lot of emotion. Particularly with developments like the ones in The Junction that will change the face of what has been a low-rise business district for more than a century. That is NOT the case for this particular site – but as you might have gathered, the issue some have with development in general is that while the city is intended to become more dense, the transportation issues have yet to be resolved, with our bridge gridlock (which catches buses as well as cars). Anyway, thanks again to EVERYONE who takes time to comment – TR

  • Kgdlg July 25, 2012 (8:41 am)

    How ironic that a culture built on massive land grabs from native peoples and densification of that said land, now feels so strongly that they can close a gate to an entire neighborhood.

  • Van July 25, 2012 (8:55 am)


    I agree with Look before you Leap, and I’m a third generation local. If you aren’t growing, you’re dying. Perhaps you are the one that should consider a move to Hoquiam or somewhere else that doesn’t suffer from so much economic dynamism…

  • husky July 25, 2012 (9:14 am)

    Some ‘different’ kind of development would be nice. Maybe offices, a hospital, the new arena, whatever. It gets old having the same cookie cutter looking buildings with apartments above. Can’t believe people are playing the American Indian card in this discussion.

  • Peter on Fauntleroy July 25, 2012 (9:15 am)

    It’s about time! I’ve had enough of the blight and entropy in my neighborhood and it’s long past time for this area to be developed. I am surprised that they’re not taking advantage of the 85′ height limit.

  • WS Bred July 25, 2012 (9:31 am)

    Don’t misunderstand my attempt at humor… I am all about growth and development. West Seattle has come a long way since my teenage years when friends living in the Northend or East side were afraid to cross the bridge because of the constant gang violence and crime. but I DO NOT believe that just stacking condos and apartments on top of one another without stopping to say – Hey, have we built up the infrastructure needed to sustain this population growth? Traffic is the problem most on ever West Seattle-ites mind. I’m not a single occupancy driver. I bus three days a week and carpool the other two but why should it take me over an hour to get from here to Capital HIll???? Something is broken. It’s systemic. And constantly building more housing when most developments can’t even fill all of their units isn’t going to fix it.

  • WS commuter July 25, 2012 (9:32 am)

    I’ve lived in W. Sea for almost 30 years … I remember the sleepy version of the Junction back then when Van’s still hosted the W. Seattle Senate and Tradewell was still in the Junction. And as much as I loved the charm of that era, the Junction was dying and was largely stagnant for many years. W. Seattle’s demographics began to change with the completion of the new high bridge and the influx of yuppies like me.

    Today, the Triangle is going through a similar transformation, driven as much by the economy as the collapse of Huling/Gee. Too many businesses there that cannot survive in modern commerce and there is a concomitant need for more housing for young people. It is inevitable. These are the people who will later marry and have kids and want to buy my house when my wife and I are done raising kids and ready to downsize. Circle of life and all that.

  • kgdlg July 25, 2012 (9:44 am)

    @husky, pointing out the facts of history is “playing the American Indian card”? It happened, pure and simple, and now people want W Seattle to stop growing. If you don’t see the irony in that, I am sorry.

    I am a SOV driver. I agree that the bridge traffic is obscene, but the fact that I drive is as much a cause of this as density is. Until we have better, high capacity transit, this will remain a problem, more apts or not. Another irony is that in order to get something like Light Rail to W Seattle, we need more density and yes, more traffic problems. That is what will cause the tipping point politically to get it done. We are in the middle of a very painful growth period, as we have been at many points throughout history.

    WSB, do you think that all the same conversations happened when the bridge got built. “NO! Keep them out!” History repeats itself.

  • anon July 25, 2012 (9:48 am)

    @ws bred — the infrastructure problem is city-wide, not just in WS… Seattle likes to build first and evaluate transport [a very distant] second.

  • Husky July 25, 2012 (10:14 am)

    Pointing out facts that happened hundreds of years ago and have no relation to what’s happening now in West Seattle. No one living was part of the ‘culture’ of Indian extraction.

  • Kgdlg July 25, 2012 (2:31 pm)

    @husky, I made absolutely no claim that west Seattle folks now complaining here were responsible for the displacement or maltreatment of native peoples. What I did say was that it is terribly ironic that the dominant culture in Seattle now is so anti-density since none of us would be here today living in our little west Seattle neighborhoods if it weren’t for the history of American Indian displacement from this peninsula. At what point in history does a group claim to be the “original” west Seattlelites? We all came here from somewhere else at some point, so, yes, there is incredible irony in people wanting to shut the door to development now in west Seattle.

  • JoAnne July 25, 2012 (7:17 pm)

    And just to clarify, I am not talking about our own local businesses. Many of them have been struggling for years and are now doing well, and that’s fine. I mean the ones who have no roots in and don’t give a damn about this community but just come here opportunistically like predators.

  • Jodi July 26, 2012 (11:08 am)

    This builder has never experienced first hand trkying to go over the WS bridge during rush hour traffic!!!!!!!!! We do not need any more apartments or condo’s in WS. We could use another bridge to get out of WS. NO more cars!!!!!1

  • Krystal July 26, 2012 (5:54 pm)

    Dear god, please. Anything but that eyesore of abandoned buildings. I lived next to that building for years. That intersection is finally coming around from the abandoned buildings of yore.

    Not sure if we have the demand for that number of apartments, but as long as the retail isn’t yet another grocery store in a saturated area, I think we’ll be okay.

    A Park and Ride next to the “Rapid Ride” would be brilliant. I have a hard time believing that increasing ridership on metro is going to make them come up with a decent mass transit solution, as they seem to be quite incompetent, but we can make sure the demand is there and hope they get the hint.

  • Michael Emmick July 26, 2012 (6:31 pm)

    Howden-Kennedy Funeral Home is moving to another location in West Seattle. We will not be closing or closed at any point. More details to come as we learn more.

    • WSB July 26, 2012 (7:22 pm)

      Thanks for the update! Figured we’d talk to you guys once this got a little more concrete but good to hear the assurance now. – TR

  • Peg July 26, 2012 (9:57 pm)

    The locals who have lived here their whole lives should not be forced to move away because developers think the city should be changed to fit their vision. If you want tall buildings, over population, and two hours of traffic to get home then maybe West Seattle is not the place for you to live. Nothing is wrong with our town, it doesn’t need a rebuild. It needs security that the family businesses won’t be torn down tomorrow.

  • RK July 26, 2012 (10:23 pm)

    Yes, Peg. You summed it up perfectly. West Seattle used to be a small town within a large city and now land developers (who have no connection to WS) are coming in, buying up prime real estate, tearing down businesses that families spend their whole lives building, and putting in big box stores and places a majority of the people can’t afford to rent or shop in… This is truly sad for our community that we all love so much. I am not against the development of the Huling properties, but you know the community is going down when even the local family owned funeral home has to be torn down… What a shame.

  • Myr-myr August 1, 2012 (6:28 pm)

    Is the West Seattle Y exploring a possible move into a larger facility in the triangle, perhaps with double the parking spaces?

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