Food Lifeline decides not to build new HQ on West Seattle’s ex-‘Nickelsville’ site, chooses Riverton instead

(WSB photo: Ex-encampment site being cleared after its closure one year ago)
The West Seattle site known best as the multiple-times-former site of the “Nickelsville” homeless encampment will NOT be the new home of Food Lifeline after all.

It’s been almost two years since the nonprofit confirmed it was looking at the site, which includes both city- and state-owned land. FL described the location as its preferred site as recently as one year ago, when the encampment moved off the site under orders of the city.

But today, a spokesperson for Food Lifeline sent word that FL has instead chosen a site in Riverton, just south of South Park, and is breaking ground there. Asked why FL decided against the ex-encampment site at West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW, Joleen Zanuzoski told WSB, “When Food Lifeline was going through the second phase of the environmental review at the West Marginal/ Highland Park location, there were a lot of unknowns associated with the land that would lead to additional investment for the build. Food Lifeline made the decision to look elsewhere so they could spend their donors money in the most efficient way possible and to find land that wouldn’t have so many questionable elements attached to it that might be cause for more money being spent for land development.”

FL says it’s instead constructing two buildings on nine acres at 9600 8th Avenue S. (map), with “200,000 square feet of warehouse and cold storage, administrative offices, conference rooms and a demonstration kitchen space. Food Lifeline will occupy one of the warehouses.” It’s raising money to buy the property, for which it’s made a lease-to-own deal for starters.

Meantime, we have a message out to the city, inquiring about the future of the ex-encampment site in West Seattle, now that the Food Lifeline proposal is no longer in play. (Previously, you might recall, the same site was under consideration for a new jail that ultimately the city agreed didn’t need to be built.)

9 Replies to "Food Lifeline decides not to build new HQ on West Seattle's ex-'Nickelsville' site, chooses Riverton instead"

  • AmandaKH September 26, 2014 (2:39 pm)

    What about this?

  • Frank September 26, 2014 (3:07 pm)

    Never mind, Highland Park welcomes everyone – except those needing help….

  • trickycoolj September 26, 2014 (4:19 pm)

    After all the drama it’s too bad FL backed out. I wonder what concerns there are with the land that add so much cost, haz mat cleanup? Drainage? As a southbound commuter from High Point I would selfishly love a giant Starbucks to avoid back tracking to the junctions, but I’m sure everyone here would send the mob after me for the idea.

  • JanS September 26, 2014 (5:47 pm)

    Amanda..I think ideas like that are wonderful. It’s a step to having former homeless people move up and be able to be self sufficient. I’m not sure how safe the land is on that particular spot. I know there were issues (yes, tricky) with the soil when NV was there.And a community like Quixote Village wants a garden, to help grow and feed their own.

    Hmm..maybe MIWS will comment, since he pretty much has first hand knowledge. Mike…you out there?

  • miws September 26, 2014 (6:14 pm)

    Yeah, the land down there is thought to be toxic.


    As I recall, some time before NV moved back in May 2011, the State or City had done a soils test. IIRC, it wasn’t totally conclusive, but strongly suspected that it was toxic. We were told to try not to disturb the soil.



  • Paul September 26, 2014 (6:40 pm)

    Frank: Not sure what you mean to infer. Certainly the Delridge collective is more welcoming than most other areas of Seattle. We did after all try to make the encampment work for almost two years…. Not sure I can say the same for others.

  • Deep In the Heart of Delridge September 27, 2014 (10:50 pm)

    The land is zoned Industrial General2 Unlimited/85 which means regardless of the soil being contaminated or not, it is not to be used for any housing, villages or cottages.
    Keeping industrial zoned lands is critical for any kind of economic base and good paying jobs for those who do not want to be tech drones or paper pushers. You know people who make and build things.

  • domenic feeney October 4, 2014 (10:35 am)

    don’t know what it is but sure made my dog and many people living there ill

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