Whole Foods abandons controversial West Seattle store

Mar 28, 2017, 1:35 PM

Whole Foods...

After years of wrangling with the Seattle City Council and amid bad business news for Whole Foods, some aren't worried Whole Foods isn't building a new store in West Seattle. (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

A controversial Whole Foods that was to be built in West Seattle’s Junction is no longer happening.

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The move comes after at least four years of push back against its opening.

Neighbors there were worried about the traffic the development would bring.

The Whole Foods was slated to take up a whole floor level of a large complex at Fauntleroy Way and Alaska Street.

After years of wrangling with the Seattle City Council and amid bad business news for Whole Foods, some neighbors say they don’t mind it isn’t happening.

With a Trader Joe’s and Safeway just two blocks from each other in West Seattle’s Junction, Dianne Williams was never in need of another grocery store.

So when KIRO 7 told her the Whole Foods at The Whittaker apartment development was canceled, she wasn’t sad.

“You know, occasionally I would have gone to see what they had, but it wasn’t something I was desperate to have in the neighborhood, since we have so many options to go to,” said Williams.

The decision comes after a 4-year long fight and delays with Seattle City Council meetings packed with neighbors worried about traffic, union wages and the store having control over an alley.

Whole Foods said in a statement: “As part of a careful evaluation of our growth strategy, Whole Foods has decided to delay indefinitely the opening of our West Seattle store.”

The brand has struggled against its competition, and is closing nine stores nationwide.

In the meantime, after so much fight, neighbors want to know what will happen with the 41,000-square-foot unit.

“I feel sorry for the people that own the building that have a big problem on their hands trying to fill up that space. So we’ll have to see what they’re doing with it,” said Williams.

The owner and developer of The Whittaker said: “Weingarten Realty is actively working with Whole Foods to find a replacement for the space Whole Foods leased at The Whittaker. We currently have several prospects interested but we cannot make an announcement at this time.”

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