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Whole Foods sued for breaking Interbay lease

September 30th, 2008 · 28 Comments

Update:  Whole Foods represantives have finally commented on the lawsuit, telling The Stranger that negotiations with their landlord are a work in progress and they are still hoping to reach a resolution.  We have contacted their representatives several times and have been told the company would have no comment so not sure why they are only talking to The Stranger?

Update:  Here is the statement we just received from TRF Pacific, the company that filed suit against Whole Foods.

“It’s unfortunate that we’ve been forced into taking this action.  This is the first time in our company’s history that we’ve had to file a lawsuit against an anchor tenant for breach of lease.  TRF has had a great working relationship with Whole Foods.  In fact, this is the third development with the company.  The Interbay Whole Foods was configured and custom built based on Whole Foods’ specifications.  Whole Foods notified us of its intentions to terminate its lease one week before we were scheduled to turn over the building shell to the company.  We’re hopeful that Whole Foods will reconsider its decision and honor the commitments it has made.”  

We also heard back from Whole Foods, letting us know they had no comment on the lawsuit.

Exclusive:  Whole Foods is now being sued by the company that’s building the shopping center on 15th Ave. for breaching the lease.  And there are now serious questions as to whether the store will ever open at that location. 

As we reported in our exclusive post earlier this month, Whole Foods delayed the project for up to a year while also decreasing the size of the store.  Construction has stopped at the site and the store is just a shell inside.

Now Interbay Urban Center says that Whole Foods unlawfully terminated the lease on September 22 and has just filed suit asking for almost $68 million in damages.  The lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court says that Whole Foods owes them for recovery of development and construction costs, the recovery of future rents and the difference in the value of the shopping center without Whole Foods.

We have calls out to Whole Foods but they are not responding.  We will let you know as soon as we hear from them.  This could also be bad news for the other stores who are expected to open at the site including Pete’s Coffee and Subway since traffic at the shopping center will not be as high without Whole Foods.

The Interbay Whole Foods is still listed on the company website along with a store under construction in West Seattle.

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