West Seattle development: ‘The Hole’ now ‘Spruce West Seattle’

(June aerial photo of “The Hole” by Long Bach Nguyen)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“The Hole” has a new name, according to plans filed with the city Department of Planning and Development: Spruce West Seattle.

Nine and a half months have passed since the project/site formerly known as Fauntleroy Place was auctioned off to an entity of Madison Development Group (WSB coverage here), and many West Seattleites have been waiting and watching to see what, if anything, will happen with the long-idle site. Work stopped in fall 2008 after site excavation; a lawsuit ensued; and once that was finally settled (in June of last year), foreclosure and auction led to the sale.

Back in May, we finally got a short response from Madison owner Tom Lee, who said they expected to have an update “soon.”

No word since then – but a revised plan was filed at the DPD this week, making it a matter of public record.

The notation on the online records said only that the plans were revised for changes in levels P1, P2, and P3, and “new name for the project.” The specifics weren’t available online, so we first put out an inquiry to Madison on Wednesday. No reply to date, so we went downtown to look at the hard copy of the plans (a huge, heavy table-size sheaf).

The name Spruce West Seattle is on every page of the revised plans.

And there’s one other big change suggested by the plans: No supermarket, it appears. You might recall that the last version of the plan – under previous ownership – looked like this:


In the current version, it appears that the space where, in that July 2008 rendering, you see a Whole Foods (which officially pulled out of the project exactly two years ago, when it was obvious the terms of its lease would not be fulfilled) will now be a large fitness club.

The potential supermarketlessness may not surprise you, given that Trader Joe’s is now open across 39th, QFC a couple blocks west on Alaska, and Safeway remains in Jefferson Square (not to mention, the Admiral grocery stores, including the less-than-year-old Safeway, are not that far away). but for those still holding out hopes of a Whole Foods, it does not appear this will be the site.

What about the Hancock Fabrics store in the original plans, to replace the one that closed before the previous building on the site was demolished?

We didn’t get a ton of time to go over the revised plans – as our turn at the DPD came up fairly late in the day Thursday. Hancock hasn’t answered our messages over the past few years regarding whether they were still in the project; we didn’t see their name or any other additional retail mentioned, but final word on that will have to wait for the formal announcement of the site’s future.

We did check with the city planner who’s been on the project all along, Michael Dorcy, and he replied this afternoon that he hasn’t even seen the construction-plan revision yet. He also said that he had been contacted by “the applicant … about submitting a Master Use Permit revision for the project,” but that if it’s been submitted, he hasn’t seen it yet either. That all means there’s no answer yet to the question we intended to ask – whether the changes in the project reflected in the newly filed plan will trigger another round of Design Review. (Even under original ownership, before the project stalled, the major change resulting in the design shown above had sent it back for a post-approval re-review.)

As always, we will continue following this and other projects; WSB coverage of West Seattle development is archived here, newest to oldest.

76 Replies to "West Seattle development: 'The Hole' now 'Spruce West Seattle' "

  • skeeter July 27, 2012 (2:16 pm)

    Trader J– err, ummm, never mind :-)

  • Peter on Fauntleroy July 27, 2012 (2:51 pm)

    This is so TOTALLY AWESOME! My beloved neighborhood is finally starting to come back to life after many long years of neglect and decay.

  • Middlefork July 27, 2012 (2:58 pm)

    “a large fitness club”? Would be nice to see Allstar Fitness get some competition.

  • Sonoma July 27, 2012 (3:07 pm)

    Spruce? Nah, it’ll always be the Hole to West Seattleites. Can’t spruce up a hole with a quasi-Northwestern name.

  • Diane July 27, 2012 (3:15 pm)

    so the current babies of West Seattle, will someday tell their friends; “mom/dad have told me incredible stories about when this used to be called The Hole”
    also wondering; what has been the most talked about, questions asked, longing for resolution? Trader Joe’s or The Hole?
    funny that they’re neighbors; perhaps that teensy triangle of green should have an historic monument to tell the story for future generations

  • Christy July 27, 2012 (3:15 pm)

    It’s going to be LA Fitness, FYI.

  • twofoursix July 27, 2012 (3:15 pm)

    Spruce it up, please!

  • Roger July 27, 2012 (3:16 pm)

    I would love to see LA Fitness go in. Allstar needs competition and I would bolt!

    • WSB July 27, 2012 (3:25 pm)

      That’s the name I saw on two pages of the plans. However, I have been burned before by mentioning a specific tenant name spotted on plans (for other projects) – which turned out to be a placeholder or speculation – so I wasn’t going to bring it up first, and the copy above stays generic. – TR
      P.S. Diane – Trader Joe’s yearning preceded The Hole’s existence … so I think that “wins.” I know the buzz went back at least 10 years before the store; I’ve mentioned before that there was scuttlebutt around the turn of the millennium that the Caffe Ladro/etc. building in south Morgan Junction was a possible TJ’s site – then about the time we started WSB, there was speculation re: the building where Muttley Crew/Crossfit/Heartland etc. is in Admiral … it just kept ricocheting around till finally landing on 4545 Fauntleroy.

  • Meep July 27, 2012 (3:22 pm)

    I am rather sad that the buildings are so tall. I know more than a few people that live across the alley from this and it will be a bummer to have so much light blocked and so many people living in such a small area. I realize change is the only constant, however with four to five new high-rise condos in the area already, I fear the small town and almost island feel of my beloved West Seattle will be forever altered. Glad that more people will add revenue to our amazing local small businesses, but it may not feel as much like “home”. I know that I will rue paying for parking one day!

  • Robert2715 July 27, 2012 (3:36 pm)

    West Seattle needs an indoor climbing gym…

  • Stu July 27, 2012 (3:37 pm)

    I agree Allstar needs some competition. Their equipment is getting old and beat up, and they haven’t made any investments in years.

  • Jack July 27, 2012 (3:46 pm)

    LA Fitness – PLEASE (and a movie theatre)

  • Anonymous July 27, 2012 (4:14 pm)

    LA Fitness and a movie theatre in the other empty Huling lot. gotta dream big, right? lol

  • ryanl July 27, 2012 (4:17 pm)

    I wish we could just add water to the hole & have a little lake for sailing & sunning

  • eyeThink July 27, 2012 (4:35 pm)

    Agreed, Robert!

  • Matt July 27, 2012 (4:37 pm)

    I hope it is an LA Fitness. All Star is a piece of garbage! The place has had leaks in the Locker Room and smells like mold for months and they do nothing about it. The equipment is garbage, the whole Building is depressing to work out in. They will regret not being better for their Customers after they all leave for LA Fitness!

  • John July 27, 2012 (4:42 pm)

    How about a Fred Meyer?

    I agree with the other posters. Allstar Fitness needs some competition.

  • John July 27, 2012 (4:43 pm)

    The idea of a development is nice. Hopefully, it will look better than what the rendering from 2008 shows. That rendering is butt-ugly!

  • petert July 27, 2012 (4:50 pm)

    I’d be willing to open up an organic food shop called “Hole Foods” if I could be assured of cheap rent and no lawsuit.

  • DTK July 27, 2012 (5:05 pm)

    If our trash isn’t picked up it might turn into the next land fill.

  • JoAnne July 27, 2012 (5:17 pm)

    I’m sure all the predators (fans of unrestricted high-density development) are thrilled.

  • West Seattleite July 27, 2012 (5:18 pm)

    Maybe it will be a new subway station. Since it has been dug so deep. No?

  • cascadianone July 27, 2012 (5:24 pm)

    @Jack- a modern movie theater would be awesome- a ten-plex showing a variety of current releases!

    @Petert- hahaha, I’d probably “fall into” regularly shopping at this new Hole Foods!

  • Westseattleperson July 27, 2012 (5:25 pm)

    While I’d rather a Whole Foods goes there, a nice big gym will be nice. Both the Y and allstar need some competition. Too bad the Y cant move there!

  • Rebecca July 27, 2012 (5:25 pm)

    Granted, I don’t have to live by the hole, but I think I’d prefer it to 300 more apartments (equipped with, I’m sure, about 20 parking spaces). In fact, the landfill idea sounds better than that.

    West Seattle is becoming a clown car of a neighborhood. How many more people can we pack in?

    When the West Seattle Bridge takes 2 hours to cross each morning, maybe they’ll finally go away.

  • KLA July 27, 2012 (5:32 pm)

    I wish the YMCA could move there and open a larger/nicer location in WS.

  • jiggers July 27, 2012 (5:36 pm)

    Another Starbucks is a welcome addition.

  • DJ Allyn July 27, 2012 (6:13 pm)

    What would really be different is a five or six story building of various restaurants, bars, clubs. No chains, but diverse cuisine and tastes. A one-stop destination that would be unique.

  • Bill Bacon July 27, 2012 (6:24 pm)

    I like the “Spruce it up” comment earlier. Beat me to the draw. But it’s not too late for the city to condemn the site for public use; i.e., a Rapid Ride/Metro park and ride site. That would be more in accord with keeping West Seattle livable and complementing the city’s transportation goals as well. Is West Seattle going to the next Hong Kong of density development?

  • timh2o July 27, 2012 (6:53 pm)

    The “Spruce” Goose never got off the ground either…

  • JayDee July 27, 2012 (7:13 pm)

    DJ Allyn: Melrose Market on Cap Hill comes to mind…All that awesomeness in 1/2 a block.

  • alex July 27, 2012 (7:19 pm)

    A Fiat dealership or a charging station for electric cars.

    • WSB July 27, 2012 (7:40 pm)

      Seriously, wouldn’t be surprised to see charging stations in the underground garages of new developments. Will ask. Noticed a bunch of them in Pacific Place garage downtown recently; also learned today that they will be included in the vanpool lot by the Fauntleroy ferry terminal, before the RapidRide work there is over. – TR

  • whuut July 27, 2012 (7:26 pm)


  • Harold Reems July 27, 2012 (8:11 pm)

    Perfect location for a Wal-Mart!

  • themightyrabbit July 27, 2012 (8:31 pm)

    We should put in a zip line there, with a microbrew bar at the end LOL

  • thegodshavegonecrazy July 27, 2012 (9:40 pm)

    I agree with Bill Bacon, but the idea that such as he proposes could ever transpire in this world that values money above all else is whimsy…so, at the very least, it would be nice if Hancock Fabrics returned–if after this fiasco they still even have that desire.

  • Sue July 27, 2012 (9:56 pm)

    A fitness center seems a strange choice for that location, considering the Y is a few blocks away, as is Snap Fitness, and Allstar not all that far away. However, almost anything would be preferable to the current condition.

  • Bob July 27, 2012 (10:04 pm)

    For some reason, as soon as I saw fitness club, I immediately thought LA Fitness, only because every other one I’ve seen is rather large, and to no surprise, the comments confirm this. I am quite dissappointed to imagine that as soon as I get into west Seattle on my way home from work, one of the first things I will see is a giant sign with the name of another city on it. I hope they find a way to make this building more discreet than the others because they are quite the eyesore and not in close knit neighborhoods like ours.

  • Bob July 27, 2012 (10:09 pm)

    And I’ve got nothing against LA Fitness as a place to work out. They have very nice facilities. It just doesn’t seem to be the right place for one.

  • Jon July 27, 2012 (10:42 pm)

    Zip Lines ?

  • Kgdlg July 27, 2012 (11:26 pm)

    I definitely think west Seattle needs a high quality gym and LA Fitness is great. We loved the one in Renton we used to go to. Seems all the places over here are worn out or too small. (24 hour in Westwood for example.)

  • visitor July 28, 2012 (12:30 am)

    Din Tau Fung please please please

  • cj July 28, 2012 (1:24 am)

    A large fitness club would be great!

  • Knm July 28, 2012 (6:11 am)

    I second the wish for a new Y location. Oh well, hopefully people jumping ship to LA Fitness will remedy the parking issue at the Y.

  • LongTimer WS July 28, 2012 (7:32 am)

    Hope Hancock Fabrics will be there. Shopped there all the time.

  • dawsonct July 28, 2012 (9:13 am)

    Harold Reems, I hope there is NEVER a “perfect” location in W. Seattle for a Wal-Mart.

    I’ve been assured by someone in Whole Foods managment that W. Seattle is definitely still in their cross-hairs. I can’t imagine any area other than the triangle that makes sense for them. Wonder where it will be?

    Y’know what we REALLY need in the triangle? A Burgermaster with car hops!

  • Nick July 28, 2012 (9:46 am)

    A full-on legit movie theater for West Seattle would be awesome!

  • Bill July 28, 2012 (10:19 am)

    I would love to see an LA Fitness go in there. The current closest one is in Tukwila.

  • Anonymous July 28, 2012 (10:20 am)

    I reaaaally hope Wal-Mart never comes to Seattle. I’m actually really proud of the fact that there are none in Seattle. Can we keep it that way? :)

    I really hope they add more retail than just the LA Fitness. Maybe we can get some more small, local W. Seattle businesses started or something.

  • Christy July 28, 2012 (11:53 am)

    My information about LA Fitness comes from someone who works in management for the company. Of course they could always pull out or something could happen to prevent them coming here. I, for one, am thrilled that WS is getting a new gym. I’d rather keep the neighborhood smallish, but if we’re going to have to suffer the inconvenience of tons of new people living here, then we need some better neighborhood amenities. Yes, including a theater and some actual, honest-to-god nightlife, with good live music venues.

  • lulu&lenny July 28, 2012 (12:36 pm)

    i would happily welcome a gym. whether it be a 24hr fitness super sport or an LA fitness, anything would be better than what west seattle how to offer now.

    we also need a top pot :)

  • Jun-jun July 28, 2012 (12:49 pm)

    I’d like to see a Fred Meyer there but I rhink the property is too small for both that and/or a Walmart.

  • John July 28, 2012 (12:59 pm)

    What WS lacks the most: a hospital.

  • Robin Levin July 28, 2012 (12:59 pm)

    This avid designer/seamstress would REALLY like Hancock’s to come back; it is sorely missed by many of us!

  • boy July 28, 2012 (1:20 pm)

    With all the new condos going in it makes sense to put in a underground park an ride. Maybe going two or three floors up. Then put in a urban park. Basketball courts, tennis courts, four square courts, dodgeball courts. Or put in a zip line. Maybe one long zipline right into downtown.

    • WSB July 28, 2012 (3:34 pm)

      To clarify, and I know for some points it doesn’t matter, but – for accuracy’s sake, none of these buildings are condos, so the units will not be for sale. They are all apartments. Pretty much citywide, that is the entire current building boom in large buildings – though perhaps in some pricey district somewhere, there is a condo exception. Always the chance they could try converting later, though those attempts were first to be canceled back in the 2008 boom… TR

  • Anonymous July 28, 2012 (2:07 pm)

    Oh my gosh. A new music venue in West Seattle would be soooo nice. That would make me so happy. I’ve always wondered if the Admiral would end up becoming a venue at some point.

  • Harold Reems July 28, 2012 (2:48 pm)

    I still would prefer to see a Wal-Mart or a Deja Vu in that location. West Seattle needs more activities for regular folks.

  • DonaLuisa July 28, 2012 (3:00 pm)

    I concur with John — a medical center

  • jessiesk July 28, 2012 (3:07 pm)

    I agree with John! WS needs a hospital wayyyyy more than another gym.

  • WS Mom July 28, 2012 (3:55 pm)

    First run movie theater would so great! We have the population to support it. Maybe elsewhere in the triangle? Rather not see Wal-mart, Fred Meyer type stores in W.S. Also, a park n ride garage near/under/in the triangle area would be helpful.

  • dwar July 28, 2012 (5:13 pm)

    P1, p2, p3 Probably means no parking!!

  • Mojo July 28, 2012 (5:47 pm)

    Fill it in with salvaged oil from the BP Spill down south, would make a wonderful tar pit! To see a decent tar pit you need to travel all the way to California and really who wants to do that? Think of the benefits, a natural attraction and revenue source from tourists, surrounding it with a mildly suggestive ‘do not enter’ fence would serve several purposes. Pesky curious racoons, rats, squirrels, crows, lizards and escaped sewer crocodiles will find their way in to it as well as vagrants, drug addicts, and mischievous hoodlum children. Thus ridding the community of several problems all while providing future generations a historical time capsule of what the pit captured. It’s a WIN WIN!

  • ~~HockeyWitch~~ July 28, 2012 (8:14 pm)

    Add water and a diving board… New neighborhood pool… ;) Just kidding.

  • Vel_nut July 29, 2012 (7:19 am)

    P1,P2 and P3 reference a parking structure for the poster above who said otherwise.

    There will be PV charging stations for tenants and visitors which will be self sustaing as well as being able to dump excess back on the grid.

    I’ll keep everyone in the loop as we get through the drawings and specs.

  • dawsonct July 29, 2012 (1:06 pm)

    Buying cheap, falls apart almost immediately, foreign slave-labor manufactured garbage from Wal-Mart is a “regular folks” activity Harold? Those are some seriously damned boring regular folks that you know.
    The majority of people I know who shop at Wal-Mart say it is because they can’t afford to shop anywhere else, or there IS nowhere else to shop. Both are very sad statements of how far our society has fallen.

    And most of the regular folks I know over here don’t qualify as objectifying, socially stunted, drooling, middle-aged male losers, so I don’t know where a Deja Vu would fit in, either.

  • Bill Bacon July 29, 2012 (4:33 pm)

    Lots of people like the fitness center idea. Here’s a cheaper alternative idea for you. Buy a bicycle, take a walk, even jog. What good does it do to drive to the fitness cener(s)? Outdoor exercise is a lot more enjoyable and a little rain on one’s head adds to the vivacious experience.

    I still favor a park and ride for West Seattle to complement the RapidRide and getting more people out of their cars. That’s what our transportation planners are trying to achive, obviously. Both would help to alleviate our dependency on foreign energy resources, too. As a side benefit, purposefull exercise would alleviate the obesity issues that so many folks seem to lightly address. For that I suggest to eat healthy foods in “old fashioned” portions. Then burn it off. To do so would reduce the need for a hospital on the West Side.

  • Ray West July 29, 2012 (4:38 pm)

    West Seattle needs another gym like we need another nail salon. Put in something we don’t have, rather than repeating the same thing over and over. I like the idea of a movie theater. I’m so tired of having to drive for miles to see a first-run film or waiting until it’s almost ready to come out on DVD to see it at the Admiral. That would seem a good fit with the bowling alley next door. I’d also like to see Hancocks come back, but I’m sure there’s no hope for that. And a definite “NO” to a low-end Wal-Mart or even Fred Meyer. That would be better suited to an area further south of West Seattle. And a “Deja Vu”? You have got to be kidding.

  • Heather July 29, 2012 (7:40 pm)

    Hmmm, I think a smaller emergency room facility, a movie theater, a kids centric play area and wouldn’t it he cool if the building had exterior stairs encased in glass with a zip line to the kids centric urban park…hence no need for a gym! (hey, I can dream right?)

  • Sharon July 29, 2012 (7:50 pm)

    These comments are the best, particularly the funny ones! Fill it in to make a pool WITH a zip line to downtown! Now that would be so cool!

  • Mightymoh July 30, 2012 (7:12 am)

    Since we already have a second-run movie theatre with first-run prices, maybe we can get a first-run theatre with second-run prices!

  • Alice July 31, 2012 (10:31 am)

    Sharon, I’m with you! This comment thread made me laugh. I especially like the subway station idea.

  • J July 31, 2012 (10:50 am)

    What about a zip line INTO the pool? Splash!

  • Anonymous July 31, 2012 (11:16 am)

    Having connections with local area developers actively involved in LA Fitness’ expansion in the area – I’ve been told that LA Fitness will be taking the site. Their typical footprint is around 45-50,000 square feet which could leave 15-20,000 square feet of additional retail space (perhaps Hancock could return).

Sorry, comment time is over.