Community Post

Dearborn Goodwill project canceled – Confirmed

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Goodwill’s Dearborn Street project cancelled

It looks like the Times’ Jerry Large is still going to have to keep driving elsewhere to buy his socks after work, because the Dearborn Street project at the Goodwill site next to Little Saigon appears to have been cancelled by TRF. I received the following update this evening from the Dearborn Street Coalition for Livable Neighborhoods: “Today, the Steering Committee of the Dearborn Street Coalition for Livable Neighborhoods (DSCLN) was informed by the developer of the Dearborn Project of the Goodwill site that the development project has been canceled due to the economic downturn.”

If you’ve ever lived elsewhere in the city, you know that we don’t have the amenities of other neighborhoods. I get sick of driving to Ballard or Bellevue for Fred Meyer! (And no car = no Fred Meyer.) That particular project may have been over-the-top and ill-advised, but seems to me our neighborhood is long overdue for investment.


Update from scott:  I just spoke with Darryl Vange, the devleoper of the Goodwill project, who confirmed that the project has been cancelled. He said the decision was “90% economic”, including the inavailability of financing and ongoing difficulties for the large retailers who were key pieces of that project. Given those issues, it no longer made sense to continue with the costly design and permitting process for the project.

Mr. Vange also said that an economic turn-around could provide a reason to revisit the project some time in the future. However, it would have to start over from scratch as the developers are not retaining any options or other contractual arrangements that give them access to the property.  But, Mr. Vange notes that the Goodwill buildings are still in very poor shape and will have to replaced at some point.

0 thoughts on “Dearborn Goodwill project canceled – Confirmed

  1. Last fall many of the neighborhood, business and advocacy groups that were part of DSCLN split off because the “deal” with the developer was inadequate in addressing the community’s concerns about the project.

    CARD (Community Alliance for Responsible Development) has continued the fight against the project and as of yesterday had been working with Council to push for not approving the project, or at a minimum to ensure the project be adequately mitigated and have public benefits per the City’s street vacation policy. The CBA was woefully inadequate against that standard.

    We have also developed an alternative site proposal that we have shared with Goodwill, and we believe to be not only viable, but a better deal for the community, Goodwill and the City. More details soon.

    As far as amenities in the ‘hood, even with the Dearborn mall would have resulted in a drive for much of the CD – just a shorter drive. What the mall would have done was ensure that retailers wouldn’t consider 23rd/Jackson, 23rd/Union, 12th Ave, Madison or other commercial areas because of the difficulty in competing with the mall.

    Goodwill needs its site developed, but so do other points in the CD.

  2. now that you’ve scared away an imperfect but worthy development, you can have your 911 calls, shootings, stabbings, drug using, and all the things that make the goodwill area “wonderful”

  3. Safeway didn’t clean up 23rd/Madison – eliminating Deano’s was what finally turned the corner there. Development is not a panacea. And to call a project with enough parking to be Northgate “imperfect but worthy” flies in the face of every single thing we know about appropriate, walkable, transit-friendly development.

    The project CARD is working on (if it can find funding) will be a far, far better fit for Goodwill and the neighborhood. Combined with a good buy local campaign and a real commitment to higher quality neighborhood retail opportunities, we can avoid the need to be driving to Ballard or Bellevue. Why do we go to Fred Meyer and Target, collectively? What could we have here that would solve those needs and avoid the trip?

  4. imperfect meant i’d like to see less parking spots and not make it a super mall.

    Does CARD have anybody with financing lined up? Anybody?

  5. I know CARD has been working with InterIM, who’ve done some great work in the CD. But financing is probably going to be hard to come by for anyone right now, in particular for a project that size.

  6. I go to Target primarily for diapers. (Unfortunately, you can’t get reasonably priced diapers in large quantities in the CD). Both Safeway and Walgreens offer small quantities that are overpriced. Plus, Walgreens has other serious issues to contend with that make me not want to shop there. The added benefit of Target is that it offers a relatively pleasant shopping environment and I can get a lot of other household necessities as well.

    A couple of points…. I believe the parking required for this project was the MINIMUM of what the city would allow for a project this size. (Please correct me if I am wrong about this). Purchases at Target and Lowes tend to be quite large. I can’t imagine getting on the bus or walking long distances with boxes of diapers, wipes, plus all of the purchases.

    Anyway, I am sad to see this project go by the way side. Goodwill desparately needs help. I don’t think anybody is going to be stepping up to assist them in this economy. In the end there program will continue to suffer and they will have less of a capacity to help people in need. The cycle will continue. Too bad.

  7. Thanks Scott! And you even left me with the byline!
    BTW, John, I go to Fred Meyer because I can get everything in one trip. Even with the commute it’s the quickest and easiest.
    When I shop in the neighborhood it ends up being a piecemeal and time-consuming affair: a little Walgreens, a little PCC, a little QFC, a little Franz Thrift Store, a little NW Tofu, a little Uwajimaya, a little Bartell’s, a little Lowes… which would be charming if the distances were walkable whilst loaded up w/groceries for the family.
    As it is, I drive, and have to hunt down parking spaces here and there. (What if I could park in a central location and walk from there… and had a few hours to kill. Wait… imagine if the shopping experience were pleasant! Ah. That’s what Farmer’s Markets are for. Yay for summer!)

  8. I actually walked down to the site a few weeks ago from 21st and James. It took 10 mintes. It would have been great to have a Target there, but it wouldn’t have done much for the walkability of the community. It seems that walkable neighborhoods (Like Ballard and Capitol Hill) have a variety of smaller scale and specialty stores clustered together over several blocks. We’re starting to see that here, but the stretches between the centers are still to desolate (vacant buildings at 23/Cherry and 23/Union) and the sidewalks are too narrow to encourage much walkability.

  9. Are that a group of smaller developers can come together with Goodwill and develop that site along the lines of the CARD proposal.

    That a Fred Meyer store moves in somewhere in the CD. Unlike Target and some others who have an outrageous minimum size for stores, Fred Meyer seems to be able to pack all the stuff in to smaller spaces. Better would be a group that wnated to start sonething like the City People mercantile.

    That the stores that end up on the Dearborn area are Goodwill, and stores and services for the people who live in the housing on teh site and nearby.

    That we get more business development that is useful to us on Jackson, Cherry, 12th and Union.

    I get the ‘big’ trip by auto to Costco or Target to stock up on things in bulk. That is not the need for all of us in a day to day sense. Those trips require a car anyway (might be a Flexcar). Heck, I ‘save up’ a list of needs and do a yearly run to the Fred Meyer and MCC’s in Renton. And, yes about once a year I go over the 520. Does that mean I want a Bellevue Square near me? Not for a yearly field trip.

    If wishes were ponies. Sigh.

  10. Remember the plan for the south west corner of 23rd and Union is mainly for housing with smaller retail. Large box retail would be a worse fit there than at Goodwill. Any way a little clarification on your vision there would be helpful since that is close to my house. Are you actually advocating for big box retail for the rest of us. I was sympathetic to the negative impact that worried you in your neighborhood. 23rd and Jackson has a bit more room.
    While the Goodwill site needs an upgrade, this may all work out for the best. The economy and retail may be quite different in the future and this site will be available for what ever makes sense once the economy evens out moves forward. More of the same mindset that contributed to this recession was probably not a great idea anyway If it had been started or been built and left to sit empty the future of the site would be even bleaker.

    Few neighborhoods have Targets and the most desirable neighborhoods are seldom next door to a mall and the stores located there are usually designed on such a large scale that they depend on people driving to them. I am not an expert on Target locations, but I believe North Gate and South Center would be the nearest ones for all in Seattle, right? From some of the comments some of the suburbs are also used by some. I am surprised that diapers in quantities are not available at the QFC/formerly the Fred Myer on Broadway. Diaper services can cut down on the need for large quantities of disposable diapers.

    I believe that it will all work out as long as the neighborhood is active works toward a cohesive vision.

  11. Why couldn’t Target or Fred Meyer build a stand-alone store in the neighborhood? Why does it have to be part of some ginormous multi-block elephant of a development? It seems like if there is enough pent-up demand in the area that something will come along to meet it. I say good riddance to this development, let the area grow up naturally.

  12. ah, the conundrum of the “urban planning” folks that seem to be the only inexhaustible resource in this town. have a bunch of stores that you ultimately drive to and from to get what you need or one place that is unsightly but one stop shopping (and less of a greenhouse gas emitter). Isn’t close to the freeway where you want something of this nature?

    My feeling is that if this was Met Market and McClendons everybody would have rolled over. When it was Target, it was a…well…target.

  13. I love how everyone pisses and moans about how there’s no investment in this community bringing jobs, and when a huge investment comes along, one even willing to make compromises, you’re still not happy and chase it off.

    Do you all enjoy living in a ghetto?

    Good luck getting investment money for your project CARD, you’re going to need it.

  14. Because that is what is happening to them. I HAVE live near malls that have gone pretty belly up, and one of them was RIGHT by a Metro station. There is another right by the freeway. They get sadder and sadder with empty store fronts and become magnets for gang activity and umm gee…. sound familiar?

  15. Who says it’s a ghetto?

    “even willing to make compromises” Wow, what a saint. He was willing to make compromises. Big deal. It was a crap project before the compromises and a crap project after. Maybe this experience will show developers that they need to be responsive to the community before planning, not after.

  16. I agree that either a bankrupt mall or nothing is exactly what would have been built, no matter what the community sacrificed. This is news worthy but not shocking considering the current economic situation.

    The statement by Darrell Vange did not indicate that there were any plans that could have moved forward: “In today’s economic climate the project couldn’t possibly move forward for a number of years, and when the economy improves we expect the project would want to be different anyway,”

  17. so if everyone jumped off the bridge you would too?

    A bad project is a bad project. Sure there will be “investment” in the community – cheap four-pack townhomes are an “investment” too, on someone’s part. Doesn’t mean they’re the right thing for the neighborhood. Which of course is not a ghetto, but then I think that anyone who uses that word in this city really has no clue what one is.

    In any event – Goodwill gets a chance to start over. Hopefully they’ll do a better job this time around of planning something the neighborhoods actually want, something that will be more focused on transit and walking and cycling and less so on cars. Something that won’t require thousands of trips a day by vehicle from distant points, and is instead more focused on the people who actually live here. A smaller Fred Meyer, as suggested above, would be fine with me, although my dream would be to get something like the old City Peoples on 15th into a site like that. Still far rather see more local businesses and less enormous chains.

  18. If you want to do all your shopping at the same time, sure, Fred Meyer makes sense. I get that. I can’t find anything in a store that big – the one in Ballard absolutely boggles my mind.

    But cities work best when you can do your shopping in smaller doses, in walkable environments, as you say. Building the Vange project on the Goodwill site would have flown in the face of that, and everything we know about building walkable communities.

    Again, a smaller Fred Meyer would be OK by me; as someone else says here they at least seem *capable* of building smaller stores. The bigger issue is the overall focus of the project and what it’s designed to do. I don’t want a regional mall on Dearborn, which was what Vange/TRF would have done. I want something that is focused on serving the people who live close by with a variety of options for retail and housing, something that encourages walking, cycling and transit use and de-emphasizes the car, and something that actually tries to respect the communities it would serve. I believe that’s doable, and that there are people out there who are capable of doing it.

  19. Actually, there is a Target in West Seattle at the old Westwood Village Mall which was redone a few years ago to include a few other big box stores like Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, 24 Hour Fitness, QFC etc.
    My pick for great deals on diapers in bulk (does not require driving anywhere) is They offer a several environmentally responsible options. Great prices, free shipping, fast delivery.

  20. I wish there was a way to send a message to our fellow CDN subscribers – check out for diapers in bulk at a great price, free and super fast delivery. I’ve been using them for two years and have saved a lot of time and money in doing so. Here’s to potty training! *

  21. I’d rather have thousands of housing units built on top of several department stores than a stand-alone store.

    More housing = more better. Rents in this neighborhood, and all of Seattle for that matter, are quite high. The more housing we can get in, the more we can bring rents and home prices down to an affordable level.