DEVELOPMENT: Six years later, The Whttaker’s alley vacation to be finalized

(WSB file photos from 2014 council hearing)

Six years after a City Council vote closed a bitter political chapter in West Seattle development history, the current council will consider a coda of sorts. It’s the official finalization (PDF) of the alley vacation required by The Whittaker (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW). An item on the council’s Introduction and Referral Calendar for the week ahead finalizes the vacation – the city’s relinquishing of the alley, for which the development paid what was considered fair market value, noted in the new document as $2.3 million. The council in April 2014 gave its approval to the vacation despite active opposition from then-Mayor Mike McGinn, who primarily objected to the plan for non-union Whole Foods Market (WSB sponsor) to be part of the development (citing other reasons too). A union-led campaign rallied local opposition, and eventually there was a showdown at council chambers downtown. The vacation was approved, and the new document shows that $2.3 million purchase was finalized about a year and a half now. This action is basically a technicality but will go through a committee vote first. SIDE NOTE: (corrected) Only one of the councilmembers serving now was on the council then (Kshama Sawant took office in January 2014).

8 Replies to "DEVELOPMENT: Six years later, The Whttaker's alley vacation to be finalized"

  • Diane February 15, 2020 (9:10 pm)

    re “SIDE NOTE: None of the councilmembers serving now were on the council then.”
    CM Kshama Sawant was indeed on city council at that time, sworn into office Jan 6, 2014; there are photos of her and commentary about her in your 2014 story that is linked here as “showdown”; CM Sawant is now senior member of city council

    • WSB February 15, 2020 (9:27 pm)

      Yeah, fixed that.She joined in the middle of it all, early 2014. That was months after the kerfuffle really took off with McGinn’s letter in July 2013 but before the council votes.

    • KC February 16, 2020 (1:01 pm)

      SR. Member??? God help us all

  • Mr J February 15, 2020 (9:26 pm)

    I hate to agree with the former mayor, but Amazon did cut benefits to part-time employees just before this Whole Foods opened. 

    • alki_2008 February 16, 2020 (2:12 pm)

      SOME part-time employees lost health insurance benefits. Employees working less than 20 hrs/wk. They still retained unemployment benefits and in-store discounts.
      Part-time employees working 30+ hrs/wk lost nothing. But of course the media made it sound like all part-time employees lost their benefits.

  • WGA February 15, 2020 (9:33 pm)

    I recall Kshama Sawant being on the City Council by then. I watched from my condo as she and other council members came out to inspect the alley as it existed back then.After all that angst we ended up with a lackluster Whole Foods and, rather than an iconic “entry” to West Seattle as seen when driving up Fauntleroy, a 7 story leasing billboard.

  • Hannah G. February 16, 2020 (9:00 am)

    The term “alley vacation” makes me think of a section of alley plopped down on a beach, under a couple of palm trees, with a gooey blender drink by its side.

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