West Seattle development: Project possibly ahead for PCC site

(WSB photo)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Will the PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) location in West Seattle be the next Admiral District supermarket site to be redeveloped?

Making a routine check of city permit applications, we discovered a very-early-stage plan suggesting a new building is being contemplated for much if not all of the 2749 California SW site, where the current store and its main parking lot are.

But what it will be is too soon to say, as well as how/whether it will proceed.

One of the two documents in the public city online files so far suggests that the proposal is coming from Madison Development Group, the developer that is currently finishing Spruce at the Fauntleroy/Alaska corner once known as, when it stalled under previous ownership, “The Hole.” Kirkland-based Madison bought that site at auction and is completing a project with about 200 apartments plus an LA Fitness gym. Madison also built Element 42, the mixed-use building on the east side of the redeveloped Admiral Safeway property.

As for the PCC site:

We’ve been researching this for several days now. Before we found the document listing Madison as the prospective applicant, we inquired with PCC’s media-relations department, asking whether an expansion might be in store for the market, which opened in 1989 and underwent interior remodeling four years ago.

The reply came from Cate Hardy, the West Seattleite named CEO of PCC back in January. “We recently became aware that our landlord is in discussions about the possibility of selling the site where our store is located. We do have a current lease that is in effect for the next several years.”

We hadn’t realized that PCC didn’t own the property at California/Stevens; records show the landlord is Development Services of America, another of the companies owned by the late Tom Stewart, who had been headquartered in the West Seattle Corporate Center before moving to Arizona.

We continued rooting around for info and contacted PCC CEO Hardy again to clarify that whatever is in the works so far, it wasn’t a PCC-proposed project. She subsequently told us, “At this time, we have not been brought in to any conversations with the potential future owner, so do not have any real insight in to their plans or timing. Our lease is in place through most of this decade, and we would certainly hope and expect to be part of West Seattle well beyond that. We anticipate an introduction to the new owner in the near future, and will look forward to conversations with them about how best to ensure that West Seattle is well-served by PCC Natural Markets for years to come.”

We’ve reached out to Madison’s principals for comment; no reply yet. The “site plan” page in the online file shows only the most rudimentary of outlines for a possible new building covering the footprint of the current one plus most of the parking lot; Hewitt Architects is the firm listed as applicant, and the online file carries notations about a request for “paid zoning coaching” plus an expectation that any resulting project would require Design Review. The site is zoned NC2-40, mixed-use development with a four-story height maximum.

We’ll continue to keep watch.

59 Replies to "West Seattle development: Project possibly ahead for PCC site"

  • smokeycretin9 March 26, 2015 (4:59 pm)

    West Seattle welcomes our new condo overlords!

  • anonyme March 26, 2015 (5:02 pm)

    Please, please, please come to Arbor Heights and take over the former Safeway/church/proposed charter school site. Arbor Heights has no such amenities, and a natural foods store would be an awesome, appropriate, and welcome addition to the south end of West Seattle. With Whole Foods going in not far from the current PCC site, PCC could really expand it’s customer base out here without competition. It would be a win-win for neighbors and business alike.

  • neighbor March 26, 2015 (5:13 pm)

    NOOOOOOOO!!!! PCC needs to stay where it is. I hate this money grubbing developer. So we’ll be left with mcdonald’s?! Yuk, yuk, yuk. Is this why they were asking at the check-out peoples’ opinion on where to locate a new store?

  • neighbor March 26, 2015 (5:14 pm)

    why doesn’t someone come in a say “why don’t we get rid of that disgusting fast food place that sells poor nutrition to kids…”

  • onion March 26, 2015 (5:36 pm)

    That is an awful possibility. The potential developers would be in for one heck of a community fight. On the plus side, I can’t imagine a better anchor tenant in a redeveloped property than PCC. The main challenge, in my opinion, would be where to put parking for PCC if they put apartments or condos in the current parking lot.

  • NotOnHolden March 26, 2015 (5:58 pm)

    Hmmmm I’m confused, my son grabbed a card this past weekend to fill out and suggest what we thought would be a good location for an additional location. I was hoping for White Center/Highland Park area.

  • mike March 26, 2015 (6:02 pm)

    I just threw up in my mouth a little. This is ‘development’? Oy vey. And you know it’s going to be big, ugly, square and gray.

  • norskgirl March 26, 2015 (6:28 pm)

    It feels like any property that has a modest+ parking lot and a one-story business is fair game for purchase, tear down and multi-story development with inadequate parking.
    That’s how it feels and it doesn’t feel good to me. I’ve been happy in WSea since 1990. Not so much these recent years. :-(
    I agree PCC would be a good anchor business. I hope it works out for PCC to remain in W. Seattle. PCC is a valued business.

  • KM March 26, 2015 (6:49 pm)

    I’m fairly certain PCC wouldn’t leave West Seattle. Wherever they do move would be a larger, less crammed store–the WS location is one of the smallest of their stores. And you can’t get any worse than the design of their current parking lot. I’m looking forward to the change on this one for the parking lot revamp alone.

    If the former Safeway/church is that huge building on the SW corner of 35th and Roxbury, I’d be even more excited!

  • civik March 26, 2015 (6:57 pm)

    Well, it makes me happy to know we’re moving out. The McDonalds should be torn down first to stop kids from eating the crappy food there.

    PCC is always full and is the closest we have to something even remotely considered walking distance. So done with this city.

  • Trickycoolj March 26, 2015 (7:30 pm)

    The new PCC in East Greenlake is amazing, I would love to see ours expand to a similar size! I find so many more products when visiting friends in Greenlake compared to our smaller store. I would also love it if they were closer to High Point, we really don’t have a walkable store option with Thriftway having a significant hillclimb with groceries in tow.

    A girl can dream.

  • JayDee March 26, 2015 (7:32 pm)

    As a member, and who shopped there today I would really hate to see PCC leave the Admiral area. One, they’d move away from an established customer base. Second, the prices are lower than MM, higher than Safeway and they slot perfectly for the neighborhood. I only have one vote but I would vote: Stay in the ‘hood or take over the Jeff Square Safeway when it tanks (Some store has to lose the OFC/TJs/Whole Foods lottery).

  • Paul March 26, 2015 (7:37 pm)

    The former Safeway property at 35th and Roxbury has a deed restriction that prevents it from becoming another grocery store. I recall it can’t be a pharmacy or gas station either.

  • Eileen March 26, 2015 (8:05 pm)

    NC2-40 zoning means it would only be 40 maximum high – only 5 foot taller than most single family zones. See here:
    When I was in PCC this past weekend they did have cards to fill out to say where you lived. I thought that meant expansion.

  • Concerned March 26, 2015 (8:18 pm)

    Last I heard the old Safeway-church was going to became a charter school on 35th and Roxbury. Has that plan changed?

  • Mike March 26, 2015 (8:20 pm)

    Wow, lots of hate for McDonald’s, lots of blame on a building for parents lack of parenting. Lord McSchwinn’s legacy continues with our condo/apartment density projects. Sorry to hear PCC is going to be replaced with that, but they’ll be fighting stiff competition with Whole Foods anyhow. PCC does have a far better beer selection than Whole Foods though.

    • WSB March 26, 2015 (8:29 pm)

      Two things:

      #1 – there are no specifics in the file about what this project might be.
      #2 – no, nothing has changed regarding the charter school plan @ 35th SW. In fact, there’s now a more-detailed site plan among other docs in the file, so we’ll be writing a followup shortly.

  • m March 26, 2015 (8:24 pm)

    Wish they would start by tearing down the ride aid with massive parking lot.

  • Admiral Girl March 26, 2015 (8:36 pm)

    I’m really disheartened reading this. I’m all for progress, but it seems these new buildings have vacancies in the retail areas for months if not years (element, Orion, etc..). Are we to expect more low paying (fast food/retail) jobs or can we expect good quality long term employers? Can we come together as a community and require a long term plan for our beautiful neighborhood? Someone, please have foresight,,, please.

  • Sue March 26, 2015 (8:53 pm)

    What’s unfortunate is that even if they wait several years before closing it for renovation, and intend to reopen at the same location, Whole Foods will be open then. Rather than going to another PCC outside WS, most people will likely just go to WF. And get used to shopping there, and what will likely be much a much bigger store. Maybe even on the way to where they’re going (unlike PCC which isn’t “on the way” for a lot of WS). Then when PCC would reopen, would people return who were now happy at WF?

  • Lox March 26, 2015 (9:28 pm)

    I say we rally around PCC like its nobody’s business. We have to make our voices heard at each step of the way through this process. Early on and loudly. We love PCC as is!

  • SGG March 26, 2015 (9:34 pm)

    The only thing we know is that PCC has not been part of the conversation, which is a concern. The Safeway redevelopment from years ago, was driven by Safeway. I think that is the same kind of mixed use as is zoned here. There is nothing to say that a new mixed use development won’t house PCC, but its a concern that they have not been part of the conversation.

    Food co-ops are still really important, even though other supermarkets offer organics and such. Co-ops are still at some level answerable to their members, and not the big grocery distribution networks, which all the others are.

  • Wsrez March 26, 2015 (9:34 pm)

    Unfortunate to hear this is happening without the company knowing about said plans. However, PCC is NOT in a convenient location for anyone that lives outside of Admiral and I would vote for a larger location say mid way through the ‘junctions.’ I would open on Fauntleroy, where one of those delapatated dry cleaners or car repair shops becomes available- being right next to competition is the best thing for business. PCC’s prices are lower then Whole Foods and having WF, PCC and TJs within walking makes this an extremely desirable move.

  • dsa March 26, 2015 (9:34 pm)

    I’m curious about this:
    ‘the online file carries notations about a request for “paid zoning coaching” ‘
    Are they asking to pay the city for zoning help? If so, I wonder if they plan on a variance.

    • WSB March 26, 2015 (9:44 pm)

      DSA, there’s no details on that yet, at least in the online files (if nothing much further turns up soon, I will probably go downtown to look into the DPD hard-copy files, which is what we had to resort to, to find out about Spruce way back when).

  • KFinWS March 26, 2015 (9:58 pm)

    PCC is the only grocery store I shop in. I want local, organic food, not yuppie overpriced food from WF or MM. I really hope PCC will stay in the area.

  • Neighbor March 26, 2015 (9:59 pm)

    @Mike. I can tell you don’t have kids but you must be as old as dirt to not remember what it’s like to be a teenager and easily influenced. It takes a lot of good people in a child’s life to grow up good. Having crappy food around to malnourish our friends and neighbors is an awful thing to have much less lose a good community member like PCC which supports so many good things- Union wages, nutrition, donations, fair-trade, etc. totally opposite of that yuk place across the street.

  • cj March 26, 2015 (10:01 pm)

    Noooooo! Don’t take away my PCC!

  • Mike March 26, 2015 (11:22 pm)

    Neighbor, good job profiling me. However, you are really bad at profiling. I have two kids and I’m under 40. Not sure what old as dirt is to you, so maybe under 40 is old as dirt. It takes $ to buy McDonald’s food, it’s not exactly cheap either for a kid unless the parent is handing them money to buy it with or they steal money /items to buy it (again, bad parenting/ lack of parenting). BTW, mmmmm… nummy organic Popeye spinach listeria http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/recalls/2015_03_24_rising_moon_organics.html

  • Joe Szilagyi March 26, 2015 (11:37 pm)

    “The former Safeway property at 35th and Roxbury has a deed restriction that prevents it from becoming another grocery store. I recall it can’t be a pharmacy or gas station either.”
    Details? What buffoon agreed to this? How is this legal? (I would love PCC in my backyard)

  • Peter March 27, 2015 (12:28 am)

    Oh no I won’t be able to shop at the way overpriced hippie yuppie store where I never shopped anyway because they’re way overpriced oh the horror the horror.

    • WSB March 27, 2015 (1:02 am)

      Only place I’ve ever been able to buy the equivalent of the contents of a $5 jar of spices/seasoning for 25 cents. (Minus the jar, and who needs that anyway.)

  • dsa March 27, 2015 (1:45 am)

    They are in a great spot since you don’t get caught up in any of either of the parking messes of the Junction or Admiral areas.

  • SWT March 27, 2015 (5:47 am)

    Lame all this rebuilding of large condos is getting rid of our favorite spots and overbuilding what was a nice place away from downtown.Lost Divas the best coffee place in west seattle and they are after PCC now!!!So many changes in the last few years sad:(

  • Lisa Marie @Shanti Salon March 27, 2015 (7:34 am)

    Number 1, Whole Foods is NOT going in thay proposed are it was once decided. They backed out and were fined. I have a client who works for Madison. She’s coming in Sat and I’ll get the 411 possibly. Madison also demolised all the area by WS High on California. I LOVE PCC and it’s location now. It’s a neighborhood staple!! Long Live PCC!!!!

    • WSB March 27, 2015 (7:38 am)

      Hi, Lisa Marie. That is old information about the Madison development Spruce at Fauntleroy/Alaska – originally, under previous ownership/developers Blue Star, it was going to be Whole Foods’ home, but when the development stalled due to what eventually turned into a court fight, Whole Foods said its lease wasn’t going to be fulfilled and backed out. (Hancock Fabrics was supposed to return to the site too and that plan also was canceled when the site idled for five years.) Madison eventually bought the property at auction, restarted the development, and signed LA Fitness as the sole commercial tenant – if you go to the corner, across 39th from Trader Joe’s, you’ll see the LAF banners.

      Whole Foods, meantime, DOES have a future home in West Seattle, ironically, right across the street from that former proposal – it’s in The Whittaker on the other side of Fauntleroy/Alaska. That was announced in 2012: https://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/bulletin-whole-foods-confirms-its-new-west-seattle-plan-4755-fauntleroy-way-sw/

      As for “demolished by WS High” – do you mean the Element 42 project at 42nd/Lander, east of the Safeway? That was Madison, as mentioned in this story, but if you mean the blocklong development just to the south, where grading is under way now after demolition, Admiral East Apartments, that is an Intracorp project. – TR

  • beef March 27, 2015 (8:42 am)

    @WSB you need to head down to PFI then on 6th Ave S. Every spice and grain available is there to buy in bulk by the oz/lb.

  • G March 27, 2015 (9:05 am)

    From my observation, there are many more kids who stuff their faces with sugary donuts from Safeway for lunch. McDonald’s has the great $1 coffee deal, and some of their breakfast items aren’t bad if you’re in a pinch.

  • Enviromaven March 27, 2015 (9:17 am)

    There’s already an LA Fitness in the new junction project (former “hole”) that’s being completed by this developer. So much for creative use of space. Ka ching, Ka ching $$$

  • Brizone March 27, 2015 (10:07 am)

    The sale of the Ravenna PCC over 10 years ago was a hot button issue for PCC co-op activists precisely because it was the ONLY location that PCC actually owned.

    When you don’t own your building, you’re captive to the landlord…

  • KM March 27, 2015 (10:22 am)

    Now Peter, only Met Mar and Whole Foods are yuppie, NOT PCC! Duh! :-D
    Second on PFI, TR it is amazing!! And that cheese selection!

  • astrogirl30 March 27, 2015 (11:04 am)

    While there are somethings about Whole Paycheck I like, I much prefer visiting PCC and am really mourning the loss of character happening in W. Seattle…

  • HelperMonkey March 27, 2015 (11:18 am)

    cracking me up all the people who say PCC is overpriced. have you ever actually shopped there? it’s WAY cheaper than Thriftway.

  • Paul March 27, 2015 (11:37 am)

    Joe, about the Arbor Heights Safeway parcel…

    You can go to the King County Parcel Viewer site and look up the information. http://kingcounty.gov/operations/GIS/PropResearch/ParcelViewer.aspx

    Find the parcel, click on it, find the sales history, click on the recording number link, and click on the instrument number link to read the deed. You can see all the details there.

    I don’t know if a direct link will work, but this is what I got for the PDF of the deed.

    • WSB March 27, 2015 (11:48 am)

      Thanks, Paul. Yes, the PDF link works. The fine print appears to be that it can’t be a supermarket or pharmacy for so long as *Safeway* (which sold the site to Freedom Church) has another store within a five-mile radius. That’s pretty much the entirety of West Seattle (and westward to Vashon etc. for that matter, though I don’t think there’s a Safeway on Vashon). The charter school appears to be going full-speed ahead, so that’s sort of a moot point anyway.

  • civik March 27, 2015 (12:34 pm)

    No Safeway on Vashon, just the Thriftway.

  • MML March 27, 2015 (3:13 pm)

    ah, what a bummer if this happens : ( I miss the OLD PCC before the remodel. So many changes for our wonderful WSeattle. Yes – its an expensive store but has so many features already mentioned. What about the former Charlestown Restaurant site? Too small I suppose. If it wasn’t for the wonderful option school my kids go to – we would thinking of moving OUT. Have you even tried getting from say near Holy Rosary on the back streets going south to the new Swedish Childrens clinic? Seems like every street is blocked by construction trucks….. And yes – that Morgan Thriftway is horribly expensive! I’m sorry that people who live near-by have to shop there.

  • NB March 27, 2015 (3:30 pm)

    What about the land on 35th and Grahan next to the HP Library?
    I think that space is screaming for a grocery store. I would love to see PCC there.

  • i'mcoveredinbees March 27, 2015 (7:43 pm)

    I’m confused. Is their lease, which runs through the decade, valid or not? Isn’t that five years out then? PCC needs to fight this and the community needs to back them up. There is a limit.

  • Ken March 27, 2015 (7:56 pm)

    For those interested in a great spice shop, I’ve been going to World Spice Merchants for years (on Western Ave, west side, across the street from the Pike Place Market). Friendly, helpful staff and super selection of spices. Always try to avoid the overhyped, pretentious Market Spice. I haven’t checked out PFI before, but plan to soon thanks to the comments by beef & KM.

  • Mike March 27, 2015 (8:55 pm)

    Big John’s PFI is awesome. Literally nobody touches their bulk selection and prices, especially on cheese.

  • KM March 28, 2015 (9:44 am)

    I think that spot was supposed to be a grocery store in the original community plan? I would be STOKED if PCC went in there!

  • jay Becker March 29, 2015 (6:32 pm)

    I hope we never have a Safeway on Vashon because our two major grocery stores and one neighborhood store are all owned by islanders. This makes a major difference to those involved in community projects compared to chain operations with distant headquarters.There is research to support this statement. Our island owned groceries are involved in all kinds of community projects including letting our food bank volunteers garden some vacant land, supporting an improvement their parking lot to treat youths’ car wash effluent before it drains into Puget Sound, and being a clearinghouse of information about neighborhood dogs that get loose.
    Shop local first!

  • joe March 31, 2015 (10:17 pm)

    I support PCC.

  • worker April 1, 2015 (10:24 am)

    Everyone talks about how much they love PCC. Fun fact most of the people who work at PCC barely get paid above minimum wage. Most of us are college graduates looking to pay off loans, or struggling to work and go to school at the same time, or single patents. PCC is only made possible because of the workers, if you love PCC tell the store manager that you are dissatisfied with how PCC pays employees. Central Coop can afford to pay employees $15 an hour to start out, I’ve been here 2 years and don’t even make $14 an hour. PCC has 11 stores, soon to be 12, surely they can afford to pay higher wages. But the sad fact of the matter is, PCC stands for a community, yet everyone here I work with must commute to work from south park, beacon hill or seatac. We should be able to live in the community we serve!!! Please, I implore you to tell the store manager you are dissatisfied with the treatment of workers.

  • i'mcoveredinbees April 2, 2015 (8:31 am)

    Dear Worker,

    I am sorry to hear that you are making less than great wages at PCC. While I love things that PCC offers, I have suspected that things were less than ideal for their workers–through a few situations I won’t write here. I will definitely let management know that you need better treatment! I’ve heard some horror stories but again, won’t print them here since they are not my story to tell.

    I think PCC does a good job in a lot of areas. They are overpriced in certain areas but Thriftway is often several dollars more, per item, than PCC. And comparing Safeway, for same, is not much better. I think their bulk section is great and their deli needs a lot of work.

    Most of the items I get at PCC are things I can’t find anywhere else. With the exception of a few surly folks, the employees are always really helpful and decent, and reliable. I hope you guys get it sorted. You deserve a living wage. There’s no excuse!

  • SayNOtoGreed April 4, 2015 (10:51 am)

    BTW, NC2-40 does NOT mean 40ft. Isn’t that a hoot. Developers use every consultant and every trick. The new NC2-40 development along California between Hines and Hanford is going to be 72FT TALL. Not to mention the huge pit beneath. NICE!

    Factors pushing these big square monsters to sprout up everywhere include things like what was neighborhood-friendly 10-foot retail to become 13ft storefronts, etc., etc.

    A small tuned-in group fought the up-zone along California from NC2-30 in this residential zone to NC2-40. We argued that NC2-40 could be buildings over 50ft tall! Cayce & Gayne, the owners of that property said publicly they were doing this so “their kids have an affordable place to live” then immediately, after they’d criminally slithered through the process allowed by DPD, promptly sold it to a mobster developer conglomerate (MDC). The day of the final vote at the City Council meeting Sally Clark said “Very sorry, but you still have Design Review”. Cayce and Gayne’s key consultant sat up with the DPD staff with a big smirk on his face.

    Well guess what, these buildings are over 70FT TALL thanks to a new DPD rule. Design Review was a sham and the new President of “our” DRC is in the developers pocket. They did not sufficiently follow the guidelines set for the DRC to follow, guidelines set to protect our Residential District. Yeah.

  • WS since '66 April 14, 2015 (4:35 pm)

    Those darn greedy developers! Oh wait a minute a developer built the home I live in. Nevermind! (a la Emlie Latella)

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