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Whole Foods coming to Capitol Hill in new development at Broadway and Madison

Site Plan (69)Whole_Foods_Market_logo.svgNational grocery chain Whole Foods Market has finally found its home on Capitol Hill.

The company announced it will open the 40,000 square-foot market in 2018 as part of a new 16-story apartment development planned for the 1000 block of Broadway near Madison.

It will be the ninth Whole Foods in Seattle, the company said.

“We have been interested in the Capitol Hill and First Hill communities or a long long time,” a company spokesperson tells CHS. “We couldn’t be more pleased about the location of the new store.”

In 2009, CHS reported on the Austin, Texas-cased company’s interest in Capitol Hill and rumors of a store opening on north Broadway.

The spokesperson said the 40,000 square-foot store qualifies as “extra medium” size in the spectrum of the company’s more than 400 markets around the world.

It joins a grocery environment dominated mostly by QFC with two locations on Broadway including one only a few blocks north of the planned development. Alternatives abound lead by E Madison’s Central Co-op, a CHS advertiser, and upstarts like the First Hill Stockbox.

In its announcement, the company cites the coming First Hill Streetcar line and proximity to First Hill’s hospitals and the nearby Seattle University as important factors in choosing the Broadway and Madison location. The company spokesperson said it’s too early to talk specifics like parking plans for the building.

While the area’s commerce leaders have wondered about the merits of attracting large chains to the Hill, the presence of “big box” retailers in the area remains relatively few and far between. Last December, an Office Max store opened on Broadway — but even that was a more compact variant of the office supply chain retailer.

The Whole Foods and apartment project will go through the city’s design review process in coming months. Listed at 1001 Broadway in the release, we are trying to confirm if the project will replace the medical building currently standing at that address and/or if it is destined to include this long-empty parcel. UPDATE: A spokesperson for developer Columbia Pacific Advisors tells CHS the new building is destined to replace the 1928-built, three-story masonry medical building currently at the site. The property is zoned for buildings up to 160-feet tall. The plan is to hold the first early design guidance session before the end of 2014. CHS has already reported on one tenant on the move.

UPDATE x2: Maybe you won’t have to wait for 2018…B1ttz4wCcAA7LsH

The full announcement on the project is below.

Whole Foods Market Announces New Seattle Location to Serve

First Hill, Capitol Hill Communities

Seattle-based Columbia Pacific Advisors to develop 16-story mixed-use apartment project at Broadway and Madison St. with 40,000 sq.ft. Whole Foods Market Ideally located along the First Hill Streetcar line, Whole Foods’ ninth Puget Sound store scheduled to open in early 2018

BELLEVUE, Wash., (November 6, 2014 Whole Foods Market announced plans for its ninth Puget Sound location, which will serve Seattle’s First Hill and Capitol Hill communities as part of Columbia Pacific Advisors’ new 16-story, mixed-use development. Located at 1001 Broadway, the new 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market will serve as the retail base for the project, with approximately 300 apartments featured above the store.

Located along the First Hill Streetcar line, within one block of Swedish Medical Center’s First Hill campus and Seattle University, the new Broadway Whole Foods Market will create an estimated 150 new jobs, in addition to about 500 temporary construction jobs.

“We are excited to share our mission and values with each of these neighborhoods and look forward to serving as a resource as the communities plans for a healthy and sustainable future,” said Joe Rogoff, Regional President for Whole Foods Market in the Pacific Northwest. “Creating jobs, supporting local producers and finding opportunities to partner with area schools and non-profits are core to our philosophy and practices, and we’re eager to introduce this in the First Hill and Capitol Hill communities. We look forward to serving this neighborhood by providing a wide selection of natural and organic food, sustainable seafood, humanely raised meats and housemade prepared foods and bakery items. And now, more than ever, we’ll be pleased to share our extensive selection of non-GMO products and commitment to transparency.”

Whole Foods Market announced signing a lease with an affiliate of Columbia Pacific Advisors for the newest Puget Sound location during its fourth quarter earnings call on Wednesday, November 5.

“It was important for us to find a retailer that would activate this half-block site with an amenity that supports the First Hill neighborhood’s priorities, as well as complement the needs of Capitol Hill and Madison Park residents and workers,” said Todd Seneker, Managing Director at Columbia Pacific Advisors. “Whole Foods is a great partner for this location. We’re able to put a community-focused retailer and new apartments right in the middle of a dense urban neighborhood – all within walking distance of thousands of jobs and a new streetcar line.”

Once complete, Whole Foods Market will provide local shoppers with a wide selection of natural, organic and local products. Under one roof, the new store will provide Seattle shoppers with a community butcher, fishmonger, baker and a team of chefs creating prepared take-out meals.

Shoppers can look forward to fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, specialty items, high-quality meats and poultry, everyday pantry staples and sustainable seafood. The scratch bakery will provide a variety of breads and pastries, made fresh daily, and the prepared foods department offers options for lunch, as well as quick meals for dinner.

Whole Foods Market has been ranked on Fortune magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America since the list began in 1998.  The company’s quality standards are outlined online at

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86 thoughts on “Whole Foods coming to Capitol Hill in new development at Broadway and Madison

    • I really wish a Fred Meyer or City Target or something would open up on Capitol Hill. We have 3 QFCs, 2 Safeways, Trader Joes, and the Co-Op already! Lets get a home store in. (And yes, I know about the former Broadway Market Freddy’s.)

      • We have ONE Safeway on the hill. The other is on the edge of the CD. That all counted when Safeway decided to shut down the Broadway store and build elsewhere. Well, counted to THEM…

        Anyway, I agree a good home store would be nice. We used to have City People’s on 15th and the pseudo Freddy’s on Broadway. While Whole Paycheck isn’t as good to their employees as Trader Joe’s, there’s a remarkable difference in the quality of the food at Whole Foods. Trader Joe’s is pretty much all their own branded stuff now instead of whatever good quality healthy food they could get.

        Maybe we can get another Pho place? ;-)

    • Yeah, thank god. I was starting to pile up too much of this useless money. Hopefully now I can waste it somewhere w/o the risk of actually getting anything for my money and cluttering up my house. That’s a relief.

      • WFM sources a majority of their products from the same vendors that all of our other commercial grocers do, like Ocean Beauty and Charlie’s Produce. Systematic prevention of organization grinds down employees. Insane protocols mean waste of food is high, high, high (to maintain that pretty, fresh, market-feel). Talk of sustainability while really striving for profits, in my opinion is uglier than just being a straightforward company. When they transition to a B Corp, I’ll reconsider, until then it’s co-op, farmers’ markets, farms, and fisherman for me.

  1. Not that I have any big issues with Whole Foods, other than the prices, but I hope we as a neighborhood can support our local co-op and farmers market instead of these guys. With luck there’s enough room for both (I do like their lunch buffet).

      • Yep, construction started last week. I live in the neighborhood and was told the McDonald’s at Minor and Madison is on the market with many suitors to fully maximize on the 17-story height limit at that corner — that’s about 200 extra units. That’s in addition to about 4-other apartment high rises planned for First Hill. Yesler Terrace — a neighborhood served by the First Hill line — is expected to bring another 5,000 residents when all the development is done there by 2020. Lots of people to shop at Whole Foods, and all the other Hill markets.

  2. I’m down with this. Whole Foods does have an outstanding beer selection, certainly better than QFC or Safeway. But I will admit, beer selection is my Wedge Issue.

      • Ehh Central Co-op has a decent amount of specialty beers but Whole Foods has a far superior selection. However I’d never pay the prices they charge for that selection. Might as well just walk a bit further down to Chuck’s Hop Shop.

      • Dave: I have, and its beer selection is very good, but it’s sure a long walk for me! Granted, that would help my beer gut. Central Co-op is an awesome market regardless.
        Cap Hill Dweller: North Broadway QFC is decent enough, but if the Westlake Whole Foods is any indication, Whole Foods beats the Q hands down. Plus the beer “sommelier” is often there, and loves to chat up the beers and take suggestions.

  3. Anyone know anything about the 16-story building? And why they can build 16 stories there, but only 6-8 (with incentives) across the street?

    • 1001 Broadway is zoned NC3P-160, meaning they can build up to 160 ft up. The other side of Harvard Ave is zoned NC3P-65, meaning they can build up to 65 feet.

    • It’s one block from the QFC complex on Broadway, so whether or not it’s on First Hill, it will obviously be in competition with Capitol Hill supermarkets and used by a lot of Capitol Hill residents.


      • I assume those ads are targeted at out-of-towners who don’t know the lay of the land:
        “Moving to Seattle for a new job and just snagged an apartment in the center of Capitol Hill, the hottest neighborhood. So psyched!”

  4. 1001 is currently a mid-rise medical office building used by Polyclinic. Is Whole Foods going to tear that down? That Polyclinic building still has decades of useful life in it; and there is already a high-end grocery store two blocks north (QFC @ Pike & Broadway). That seems like a huge waste of time, money, and effort.

  5. Hmmm… wondering whether this will finally push the co-op to shape up. Probably not thought since Trader Joes going in a block away didn’t do it. I want to like the co-op but the employees are so surly and I’ve found past date milk and yogurt in the coolers too many times.

    • Central Co-Op has improved greatly under their new general manager. Staff are much more friendly and helpful, product selection and stock is great, and they have tried to keep prices of selected staples very competitive.

    • Central Co-op staff have been nothing but helpful and personable for me. Many of them recognize me when I shop and don’t flip attitude. Not sure where this is coming from, but it’s not been my experience.

      • Yeah, I get great friendly service whenever I go to the coop, which is a lot. I remember hearing stories about crappy attitudes, but I’ve never seen them.

      • But, in a way, doesn’t this make it even worse the terrible attitude that some of us get? Because it means they can be nice, but they are just picking and choosing who among the people who shop there is worthy of being treated with respect. That, in my opinion, is a pretty shitty attitude for a retail establishment.

      • Maybe you go into it with a bad attitude and they feed off of that. It’s amazing how people can blame the customer service but when the customer already has a bad attitude when they go to the store…

      • I don’t think that is the case. From the comments here as well as the Yelp reviews, it seems like there IS an issue with the customer service at this business.

    • Have to agree with your assessment of Central Co-op staff. After a bad experience with the staff there around 8-9 years ago, I started a personal boycott. I’ve been there less than 10 times since 2006. Although I will admit that the last time I went a a couple months ago, the staff vibe did seem somewhat better. But I don’t go out of my way to shop there.

      • Maybe it’s time to give it another try, but the awful customer service and general sanctimonious attitude kind of turned me off last time I tried to shop there (admittedly, probably 8 or 9 years ago)

  6. > It joins a grocery environment dominated mostly by QFC with two locations on Broadway including one only a few blocks south of the planned development.

    I think you mean north? There’s no QFC south of Broadway+Madison, unless there’s a 3rd QFC I don’t know about.

  7. If you are being conscientious about the food that you consume, outside of Central Co-op and the farmer’s market (once a week), you’ve really no option. The majority of what sits on the shelves of the QFC is unhealthy. And the few healthful options you’ll find, by the nature of their distributors, comes from major food corporations you wouldn’t want to be supporting if you *were* a conscientious shopper. Their Simple Truth organics line is a joke and their produce department is atrocious. Safeway, in that respect, isn’t even worth mentioning. Whole Foods can be expensive, but it also offers inexpensive options of healthier fare. And though my allegiance will always be with Central Co-op, I’m looking forward to having Whole Foods closer to home.

    • While I don’t buy that organic necessarily means healthier, I do like having more produce options, specifically because QFC’s produce department is pretty horrible. I like QFC for everyday staples and so on but there’s a lot of things that Whole Foods does better (and not just being overbearingly smug about how Liberal they are while really being a giant corporation run by an objectivist asshole!).

      I live right by the QFC but I’ll probably go the whole whopping block out of my way to get those things that are easier to find at Whole Foods, like parsnips and decent soap.

    • I totally agree; I’m very happy to have another Whole Foods closer and think it’ll be a great addition to the neighborhood. I do nearly all of my grocery shopping there and usually go up to the one on 65th. Yes, it’s expensive, but what I consume is important to me, and I adjust my budget accordingly. I respect that WF has quality standards of what they sell: I’m totally abhorred at the crap on the shelves of QFC that they call “food.” Wish the WF opening was sooner than 3 years out though.

    • I would love it if PCC came to our neighborhood! Their produce is top-notch, as are their cheese and deli sections. Great, local company too.

      • Pretty sure that PCC has a non-compete agreement with Central Co-op. So I doubt that there will ever be a PCC nearby Central. They looked at the spot on MLK and Union that is now the Grocery Outlet (used to be Rogers Thriftway), but I believe it was deemed to close to the PCC to be allowed under the non-compete.

        So the only way I see a PCC in Capitol Hill is if the Central Co-op were to be acquired by PCC, because it was having financial problems.

    • I agree. In the mornings especially, when all the addicts are there to get their methadone fix, the surrounding streets are populated by really sketchy people. But the clinic is undoubtedly a huge money-maker for someone, so it’s unlikely to go anywhere.

      • I think that methadone clinics are just substituting one addiction (heroin) for another. But I agree that such clinics are needed….they are the “lesser of two evils.”

        But this is hardly a neighborhood clinic. People come in from all over Seattle to get their daily fix.

  8. While Whole Foods, QFC, and the Central Co-op may not be ideal grocery stores, I would be completely thrilled to have any of them in my neighborhood. Take a trip to the Grocery Outlet at MLK and Union sometime, and you will be rejoicing the options you have on Capitol Hill.

      • Grocery Outlet doesn’t pretend to be anything other than exactly what it is, and it addresses a niche that nobody else is doing. Before it went in, all the yuppies from my Madrona neighborhood pitched heavy to Metropolitan Mkt to go in there, and all turned their noses up when G.O. went in. Now you see all those snooty people parking their Audis and Lexi at G.O and it’s plenty full of yuppies who know better. You find some amazing incredible stuff there for dirt cheap if you prospect carefully. I wouldn’t trade it for all the Whole Foods or MetMkts in Seattle.

    • I love Grocery Outlet! It’s like Christmas Tree Shops / Ocean State Job Lot, if you’re a New Englander — “random interesting foods and home goods that other places couldn’t sell at ridiculous ‘gourmet’ prices so we have it for cheap. Christmas trees only sometimes.” Maybe this is what Trader Joes used to be like?

      • That is what Trader Joe’s used to be like. Odd lot stuff that would only be in stock for a few days. My best find ever Godiva chocolate covered pistachios in 2 lb bags. Bought 2 and 2 days later they had no more. There was also Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Blend coffee. They bought green coffee beans that had lost their labelling but were known to be of good quality. You never knew what you were going to get but it was and it was cheap. I miss that old school TJ’s!!

  9. 2018? That means we can all look forward to a nearly identical content thread in future annual posts about this topic. In other news, grocery stores are businesses that need locations; people need to eat food so they buy food; and 2018 is a long time from now so if you want a target for criticizing prices you have to look no further than QFC (raises prices by up to 1.50 on some items in one shot, then has the nerve to put it on sale for 50 cents off that new price; items often don’t ring up at the price on the shelves and they don’t fix it even when told so keep an eye on that and have them correct your charges; their definition of local is something like 400 miles or more; and they inhabit Broadway Market, ruining it’s potential). So they could use some competition. And Central Co-op does have better prices on certain staples but it’s not a place for full grocery list shopping. For that I suggest Mariah Carey’s refrigerator. She has everything.

    • Yes, I think that QFC has really gone downhill the past few years. I usually stop at the Broadway Market QFC, but only because I can easily walk there from where I live. Their produce is mediocre at best, most of the clerks are very unfriendly, and their prices on some items are way out of line. One example….a package of Columbus sopprasata costs $7, and the exact same product is at Uwajimaya for $4.29. There’s some serious price-gouging going on at QFC.

      • it feels like a very big 7-11; people, me too, there to 2 or 3 things. High volume of people, but not much cart shopping.

      • That is so dead on accurate. It’s more a convenience store with convenience store prices. The only time things cost pretty normal and fair are when they aren’t as popular. Prices were better when there was a Safeway a block away. I’d actually bet that once the Whole Foods comes to Broadway & Madison, the Harvard QFC prices may get slightly more competitive (proportional to 2018 prices – shudder!), and that the Broadway Market QFC will be more expensive on some products. Grocery pricing is a science.

        The main thing lacking at QFCs is a good bulk food section (as they know they don’t want to give you those options). I will also always resent self-checkout kiosks. I feel like a Union buster anytime I use one.

        I will say there are some friendly clerks though, including at the QFC on 15th. But again, prices are horrendous. And they are owned by mega corp Kroger. So there you go.

        Pro tip: if there’s a “LOW PRICE” sign by a product it means it’s expensive but they want you to think it’s a deal. Your microdecisions to buy things when they are overpriced tell QFC to keep them at that high price. So shop smartly and it will help everyone.

      • I actually did a comparison maybe 6 years ago between Broadway Market QFC and the convenience store near my condo (Hillcrest Market). I found that prices were generally similar, but it was much easier to shop at Hillcrest Market. Of course, they don’t have as much selection and the produce is even worse at a convenience store, but seriously Kroger can’t beat a convenience store’s prices?!?!

      • The “high volume/not much cart shopping” isn’t due to QFC’s pricing, it’s because so many of the Broadway Mkt store’s crowd is hand-to-mouth and doesn’t cook. Same pricing as any other QFC in Seattle , the difference is the people. Same reason the only businesses going in on Capitol Hill are restaurants and bars. Or why so many shoppers at C.H. farmer’s mkt are wandering around looking, then buying street food to eat there.

      • It’s also hard to carry home a cart full of groceries on foot, which is how I usually go grocery shopping. A basket full is more manageable, and my produce is fresher.

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