West Seattle development: Design Review date, and new details, for 4755 Fauntleroy project

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

New information today about the big project in the works for 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW, first reported here in July.

The first Southwest Design Review Board meeting about the plan is now set: 6:30 pm Thursday, September 27th, at the Senior Center of West Seattle.

The project site has grown, too. In addition to the former Huling Chevrolet site fronting on Fauntleroy and the current Howden-Kennedy Funeral Home site and used-car-lot site fronting on SW Alaska, the Shell station adjacent to those properties is now part of the plan – that’s a change from our last conversation with John Wunder, who represents the Huling-owned properties and is speaking for the project team. We talked with him again today after the Design Review date was made public.

We also have learned that this will be the biggest project in the new wave of West Seattle development – more than 350 apartments are envisioned on the five residential floors that will be designed over 55,000 to 60,000 feet of retail. No retailers are signed yet, according to Wunder.

And we also know now who’s developing the project: It’s a partnership between two multi-state firms, Weingarten, known as a retail-center developer, and Lennar, known as a homebuilding company. The property planned for the project is all under contract, according to Wunder.

Right now they are in the “conceptual design” phase; no renderings to show yet, though there will be soon, with the first Design Review meeting three and a half weeks away.

On behalf of the major property sellers in the deal, the Huling family, Wunder says of the developers, “They are very, very pleased that they are under contract with Weingarten and Lennar – they’re great to work with, and we think, at the end of the day, the project they put on the site will be a great asset to the community.”

The project team has been talking with community leaders and hopes to hear from the community at the September 27th meeting. (The city webpage for this project, by the way, is here.)

Even if the Design Review process moves at the fastest-possible clip, though, don’t expect to see construction at this site starting any time soon. They’re envisioning that construction would start toward the end of 2013, and would last about 2 years.

ADDED MONDAY 9/10: Another detail has emerged regarding the retail space in the project. Developers say they are in “advanced” negotiations with a grocer for much of the space.

37 Replies to "West Seattle development: Design Review date, and new details, for 4755 Fauntleroy project"

  • sam-c September 7, 2012 (1:43 pm)

    any word on who the architect is? the “design package” won’t be available til the meeting according to the DPD website. (not another Weber Thomspon building is it?)

  • gatewooder September 7, 2012 (2:18 pm)

    This is bad news. The developers in question are noted for building very mediocre projects designed for extracting profit and nothing more. And it will be huge in addition to mediocre, in a highly prominent location.

  • Mark September 7, 2012 (2:25 pm)

    Surprised we might lose that gas station… the only one in the junction…. I do lament that it used to be affordable and isn’t anymore….

    • WSB September 7, 2012 (3:07 pm)

      Mark – we reported a few days ago that the gas station kitty-corner from it is reopening … as a Shell. Some wondered at the time if that meant this one would be folded into the new project, and now we have the answer. – TR

  • Delridge Believer September 7, 2012 (3:29 pm)

    Not a WT project, DPD shows Fuller Sears as the applicant under the contacts section. Take that news how you want.

  • rmp September 7, 2012 (4:08 pm)

    Hope it doesn’t turn into another “HOLE”!

  • Knox September 7, 2012 (5:38 pm)

    Weingarten, a huge company, owns a few different properties outright in the Seattle area. They’ve got the strip mall down on Rainier between 1-90 and Columbia City with the Safeway/Ross Shop For Less (which is very representative of what they have done historically). Last year, they bought the Promenade 23 at Jackson and 23rd Ave S for redevelopment potential. No word yet on their plans for it.

    We’re definitely making a trip over from the Central District to see what they’re coming up with for “in-fill” projects.

  • star55 September 7, 2012 (5:50 pm)

    Please bring a Fred Meyer type business.

  • look out September 7, 2012 (6:05 pm)

    Fuller Sears was the architect for the big box mall project that fell apart a few years ago in Little Saigon. Bill Fuller is part of a group that is suing the city because they couldn’t put a medical center in Magnuson Park.

    Weingarten is a Houston-based REIT, so most likely expect profit before community. They acquired property in the Central Area and it turns out Wal-Mart is something they are considering there…

  • Ray September 7, 2012 (6:15 pm)

    Weingarten is also known for trying to bring Walmart to Promenade 23 on the corners of 23rd and Jackson close to Jackson Park and the CD. Mediocre is their middle name. They love large corporate names and have no respect for small businesses. This is a huge problem for West Seattle. I hope you guys rally the troops and have a voice in this!!!

  • themightyrabbit September 7, 2012 (7:04 pm)

    oh man more density and traffic. progress.

  • Lola P September 7, 2012 (7:09 pm)

    Ummm… weren’t we just discussing the beautification of the entrance into WS? How exactly will *this* help?

  • ghar72 September 7, 2012 (7:16 pm)

    So how does it all work with who goes in here? Is it really possible that a Walmart could be in West Seattle??? Is nothing “on the table” til it goes through the Design Review later this month? Sorry to be so uninformed…really want to be more civic-minded but hard to find the brain power with two little ones in my midst! Thanks WSB for all you do to inform the community.

  • 123 September 7, 2012 (9:18 pm)

    No offense to Huling but of course they are going to say they are excited about it because their investment is paying off for them. We all want that developed but that is a lot of apts. Hopefully some good small biz retail will be allowed in the commercial space to better reflect the community.

  • Lisa September 7, 2012 (9:28 pm)

    Missing my small town west Seattle. This is sad news to me.

  • Grant September 7, 2012 (9:57 pm)

    Does anybody know what’s going on with that large hole that was going to be a Whole Foods, behind the new Trader Joe’s next to the bowling ally?

  • bob September 8, 2012 (1:25 am)

    more development, ugh!

  • jackspara September 8, 2012 (7:11 am)

    Ugh…do we need more giant apts. in West Seattle….I miss my small town WS as well.

  • wsea September 8, 2012 (7:41 am)

    I would be curious to see what the population grown is for west seattle over the last 2 years. With all the apartments and condos, I would expect double digits growth. I’m sooo glad I moved my work to downtown. Getting to the east side was hard as heck. I hope all the new west Seattleites take mass transit or bike, if thats an option. I find it to be great experience.

    • WSB September 8, 2012 (12:00 pm)

      To everybody who voices concern: If you really care, then please participate in the Design Review process.
      It’s explained in this city guide:
      Last major development news we broke, the 4724 California (ex-Petco) project, dozens of concerned/negative comments – before a single rendering ever had been made public – were followed by fewer than half a dozen people showing up for the 1st meeting (second isn’t scheduled yet), where they could have been part of an actual bonafide public process where you can make a difference. Not developing at all generally is not an option, but as shown with multiple projects over the five years we’ve been covering West Seattle development intensively/extensively, participating in that process CAN make a difference.
      Examples: Admiral Safeway was in Design Review for almost a year and a half because community members continued to participate and speak out, and the resulting project, whether you like it or not, was much different as a result.
      The original plan to tear down the Charlestown Café and replace it with Petco (which as you likely know instead eventually moved to lower level of Capco Plaza) died in no small part because the Design Review process did not go well.
      When The Kenney embarked on what was going to be a massive redevelopment, including at various points tearing down the Seaview Building (iconic cupola) and removing much of the “park-like” northwestern corner, that was an important part of where community participation made a difference (in the end, they revised and then shelved most of the project). If you truly want to make a difference, for starters, be at the Senior Center at 6:30 pm September 27th. And watch here for preview renderings when they’re available. Also offer suggestions for what you DO want to see in a potential development like this – what businesses DO you want included in upcoming West Seattle development?
      I’m offering this in case you were not a WSB reader during the previous development wave in 2007-2008 and therefore missed all that coverage and haven’t been part of any of the aforementioned processes. **edited to add links** – TR

  • Heather September 8, 2012 (9:13 am)

    The site has such potential. I wish developers were more forward thinking. I, personally, like increased urban density but it should be planned with the surrounding community in mind. WS is one of the few areas of the city with a higher concentration of children, teens, singles from 35-50 and the elderly. it’s one of the reasons our neighborhood is so diverse. Public area that bring these populaces together, providing a potential for interaction, are needed.

  • msw September 8, 2012 (9:14 am)

    Maybe West Seattle residents should consider incorporating as it’s own city and have more say and control over how our taxes are spent and how our neighborhood should be developed. Perhaps we can copy Sandy Springs Georgia.


  • Peter September 8, 2012 (9:25 am)

    The screen names change but the comments never do: the knee-jerk opposition to development, the canard that every development is going to be a WallMart, specious claim that “greedy developers” are trying to destroy the neighborhood, the greatly overblown fear of traffic, etc. It’s always the same scare tactics for every development story. I suppose some people think the decaying, vacant, blighted Hulling properties on Fauntleroy are good for West Seattle. Sad.

  • Anonymous September 8, 2012 (10:00 am)

    anything but wal-mart…

    • WSB September 10, 2012 (1:20 pm)

      I talked to the project team today regarding this comment thread. While they have not locked in who their tenants are, they say there WILL NOT BE A WAL-MART, period. – Tracy

  • Ht September 8, 2012 (10:00 am)

    I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to attend Thr meeting due to a prior engagement. I’ve always believed that space could have been renovated and offered another theatre or art gallery in West Seattle. I wish there was some sort if ordinance or something that said in addition to retail (that will likely sit empty as there are no current tenants signed) that there be some provisions for adding culture somehow. Be it a small cafe for music, or a black box theatre or an art gallery or something.

    In their efforts to turn us into a thriving metropolis, these developers forget that what makes some of these big cities amazing and work are the arts opportunities nestled in amongst the towering bricks of banality.

  • JN September 8, 2012 (10:23 am)

    I’m usually all for new development, but these particular developers are really seeming like the stereotypical ‘plop cheap apartments down and bail’ style people. I’ll be paying close attention to this one..

  • J September 8, 2012 (11:38 am)

    A quick perusal of Weingarten’s website reveals they love the big box chain stores and discount grocery stores. If history repeats itself we can probably expect to see one of the following at the Huling Bros site (in order of occurrence on their website):
    – Discount grocery store chain
    – Target
    – Bed Bath & Beyond
    – TJ Maxx
    – Home Depot
    – KMart
    – Walgreen’s
    – Rite Aid

    A quick chat with a Lennar rep via their website reveals they have no other apartment or condo projects under contract anywhere. She said they sold out of their last condo project over a year ago. Their focus is single family homes in the suburbs and townhomes closer to city centers.

  • Bag September 8, 2012 (6:45 pm)

    Why has no one else mentioned a movie theater? The admiral has “charm” but, talk about uncomfortable and down right dirty. I’m not talking about a huge multi plex like Thornton Creek; something more like the Bay theater on nw Market st. Please tell me someone out there agrees

  • Ht September 8, 2012 (8:01 pm)

    I simply can’t get out of my commitment this week but if I could forward a letter onto someone to read on my behalf I would be more than willing to do so. Sigh….

  • JVP September 10, 2012 (9:21 pm)

    Regarding speculation about a Wal-Mart, their average stores are 102,000 sq ft, and their smallest is 51,000 ft (Wikipedia). Not likely to go in to this site, which is 65,000 sq ft of retail. It really doesn’t fit their model. They like huge open parking lots and lower costs than you can get in a mixed use development.

    The developers likely have an LOI with their anchor tenant. Next steps are a lease as a project like this usually can’t get construction financing until the anchor has signed the lease.

    I’m curious to see who the retail anchor tenant will be. It’s about the size of a supermarket grocery store, but probably too small for Target or Freddy’s. I’d personally wager on a Walgreen’s type outfit taking half of it, then smaller retail filling it out. Whole Foods could be a possibility – that would be a nice addition to the area. We know they like the demographics of the location since they tried to go in to The Hole.

    • WSB September 10, 2012 (9:28 pm)

      JVP – I just added to the story tonight, after another conversation with a contact on the development team, the fact that they are in fact in “advanced negotiations” with a grocery store for much of the space. No word on which grocer and I don’t even have a solid current rumor, but you mention WF, and way back in 2010, when their deal for The Hole was officially dead, they told us they were looking at alternate West Seattle sites … https://westseattleblog.com/2010/07/bulletin-whole-foods-confirms-its-west-seattle-deal-is-dead

  • phil dirt September 11, 2012 (6:53 am)

    More and more developement here in West Seattle and we will have even more bumper to bumper traffic trying to access the West Seattle Bridge. Is there anybody who favors lesser West Seattle? I sure as heck do. Where is Emmet Watson and Charlie Chong when we really need them?

  • JVP September 11, 2012 (10:46 am)

    WSB – that’s interesting that they’ve confirmed they’re talking to grocery. You can rule out PCC, QFC/Kroger, Safeway and Metropolitan since they have existing stores nearby (relative for each chain). Who does that leave?

    Of the nationals who have an interest in our area, that’s Whole Foods and and Walmart. Maybe Albertson’s/SuperValu, but they don’t seem to be active here.

    I did some more reading on the Walmart neighborhood market concept, at 40,000 sq ft, that could be a possibility. They just opened in Bellevue, so they’re not just low income or rural any more.

    Other possibilities are locals such as Thriftway or Uwajimaya (which would be a very nice addition!, but not really their demographic here) though I wonder if they’re attractive for a big national developer.

    That basically leaves Whole Foods or a Walmart neighborhood market. One of those sounds good, one is, well…. ugh. I’m still not sure Walmart is interested in mixed used development with higher rents and underground parking.

  • fauntleroy fairy September 13, 2012 (12:40 pm)

    I am a WS native and I’m with the posters above who say they miss the small town feel of WS. This doesn’t mean we aren’t in favor of progress! It just means that everything that was warm and friendly and beautiful about WS is rapidly disappearing…..

  • nwhiker September 14, 2012 (11:31 pm)

    Absolutely NO to Walmart!

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