West Seattle development: ‘Spring Hill’ project proceeding

August 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 30 Comments

A month and a half ago, we reported on the sale of the site south of The Junction known as “Spring Hill” springhill.jpg(no relation to the restaurant), once slated to be developed by BlueStar, the original developer of what is now “The Hole.” The broker announced the new owners wanted to break ground ASAP on the mixed-use project site at 5020 California SW, currently holding three vacant, rundown buildings. Tonight, it looks like that plan is moving forward – the demolition permit has just been granted. And the city webpage for that permit reveals who the new owner is, something that wasn’t made public at the time the sale was announced – Burien-based F & M Development, which mentions the project on its website. A new land-use application indicates the project is changing somewhat from what was approved three years ago – it’s now set for 101 apartments, instead of 91 units, though the retail space is still described as the same size, 4,000 square feet. The renderings on the F & M website appear to be the same as those produced back in 2008, and the site mentions the same architect (Hewitt). Most of the projects listed on the F & M website are outside Seattle; the nearest one is Coronado Springs, a public-housing complex in White Center, redeveloped by F & M in 2004. We’ll be contacting them to find out more about the Spring Hill timetable and plan.

30 Comments

  1. I eagerly await the NIMBY crowd who will cry that this development will destroy West Seattle — you know, by building on a site with three vacant and dilapidated houses. How dare they!

    Comment by not afraid of change — 10:44 pm August 3, 2011 #

  2. Yuck. More apartments.

    Comment by 4thGenWestSide — 10:50 pm August 3, 2011 #

  3. Not Afraid – Separate from the merits of the development or lack of them (and keep in mind, this went through three Design Review meetings back in 2008, with intense public input, as recapped in our coverage of the third one), the vacant buildings are in rather horrifying shape … we went around back tonight looking for any sign of demolition equipment – there had been mention of squatters more than a year ago, and that’s about how trashed at least two of them look from back there.
    .
    Datapoint that really didn’t fit in the story: Once upon a time, original developer BlueStar had three projects on the map, this one, the one that is now “The Hole,” and one called Gateway Center, which was to be in the Huling building that is currently being transformed into a Trader Joe’s. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:07 pm August 3, 2011 #

  4. @WSB: I think my sarcasm was lost on you.

    Comment by not afraid of change — 11:46 pm August 3, 2011 #

  5. Yes, often sarcasm is lost on me, but those were points I wanted to make somewhere anyway. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:59 pm August 3, 2011 #

  6. I would believe that the buildings have been left alone so that they would slowly look bad and make the new building look like a much better idea. My only complaint about new apartment buildings is that they just lack anything intersting. Look at the older (20-40′s) buildings. Some are very interesting and the units inside are nice, provided the building is maintained. All of these new buildings have 1 mega room, kitchen, eating area living area and a bedroom. And many have a huge sliding door to nothing. ICK.

    Comment by coffee — 5:28 am August 4, 2011 #

  7. All Hail Our Real Estate Development Overlords!

    I for one welcome the gridlock they bring to our ever darker canyonized and poorly patched streets!

    there ya go, not afraid

    Comment by JAT — 7:33 am August 4, 2011 #

  8. Maybe the city will finally repave California Ave SW with more new development…wishful thinking, I know!

    Comment by CMP — 8:13 am August 4, 2011 #

  9. It will add SOME traffic no doubt but for all you enlightened intellectuals who despise urban-sprawl, this is the alternative – denser housing which is more affordable than a WS house. But hey, you were here first and you got to keep out the riff-raff, right?

    Comment by BA — 8:14 am August 4, 2011 #

  10. JAT: I think you mean, All Hail Our Motor Vehicle Overlords, and the car payments, insurance payments, gas, billions in spending for roads, and environmental ruin they bring all so we can sit on our butts with the motor running as we wait in the drive through line for our massive gooey Starbucks drinks. Lest we not forget to put our desire to drive everywhere (and park for free) as the number one reason we should burn the bridge and not allow any more people to move to West Seattle.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 8:17 am August 4, 2011 #

  11. Additional housing doesn’t cause worse traffic, the entitled idea that everybody requires their own personal vehicle to survive does.

    Comment by austin — 8:28 am August 4, 2011 #

  12. Seriously?
    .
    Look, more people equals more cars. It’s pretty simple math. Are people no longer allowed to be unhappy about that? Taller buildings equal vanishing skylines and a canyon-esque quality (also simple math). Have we reached a point where it’s so cool to suffer for love that we shout down and ridicule all dissent?
    .
    JAT, you don’t dig more development? Right on. Go on with your bad self.
    .
    BA, you want better urban planning? Right on. cjboffoli, you want reduced car-empowered consumerism? Right on. austin, you don’t particularly care for entitlement? Right on. The world needs more people who care enough to take a stand. Just try not to tear someone else down as you get up, there’s enough solutions to go around for everybody.

    Comment by mcbride — 10:32 am August 4, 2011 #

  13. Thanks to all who are taking the time to comment. McBride’s last line reminds me of something I wanted to note … from the big-picture view … We are now moving back into 2007-2008-esque construction time. With projects either under construction or about to be under construction or applying for land-use permits or reopening land-use permits … I wouldn’t be surprised if we have close to 1,000 new apartments in the pipeline (I’ll be tallying soon, as we had done routinely back in those days). And that is the difference from 2007-2008 – they are all apartments, not condos, at this point. Taking the macro look at what that means for better or for worse – and more services/businesses come with more people, as well as more traffic, for example – will be a good thing, for those interested in that adventure. Maybe it will even be an impetus for more not-just-service jobs to move here, as has long been a concern, so that fewer people have to venture onto the backed-up bridge … – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:46 am August 4, 2011 #

  14. I don’t see any evidence that these new apartments will translate into more people. How many people have moved into the Link, maybe 5?

    As long they keep the prices above $1,300, there’ll be nothing to worry about.

    Comment by conlux — 11:10 am August 4, 2011 #

  15. Link is 70 percent leased, according to Harbor Properties.

    Comment by WSB — 11:26 am August 4, 2011 #

  16. There are barely any units left in Link.. But not everyone that lives there drives a car.

    Comment by Anon — 11:50 am August 4, 2011 #

  17. @Mcbride: More people = more cars? I guess you’re right. I had failed to recognize that only those people who already live here, like yourself, should be given the benefit of the doubt when criticizing people for clogging the streets with their cars. Surely your car takes up less space than any new residents cars would. Thank you for being so considerate.

    Comment by not afraid of change — 1:02 pm August 4, 2011 #

  18. Do all new construction apartments have to be burgandy, grey with a splash of yellow?

    Comment by elevated concern — 2:27 pm August 4, 2011 #

  19. I never thought I would say this, but I sincerely hope the apartment/condo project on the Charlestown Cafe lot happens sooner rather than later. Considering that Rainier Property Management can’t be bothered to send a landscaping crew out for an hour once a month to keep the lot from looking like the South Bronx in 1977, I will welcome the prospect of a 2 year construction zone very near my house.

    Comment by livesherenow — 2:45 pm August 4, 2011 #

  20. If only developers had to repave 1 mile of local street for every unit they built… Our roads would be PRISTINE! :D

    Comment by Cascadianone — 3:13 pm August 4, 2011 #

  21. Repaving the roads is not up to the developers. That was supposed to be from the tax money given up at the gas pumps. But too much of that money is being wasted in a struggling educational system.

    Comment by NotMe — 5:11 pm August 4, 2011 #

  22. the neighborhood residents fought a long battle 3 years ago over the design to protect the single family residences behind the site. Now it looks like all that is for nothing, if they can just change the plans.

    Comment by maryws — 6:38 pm August 4, 2011 #

  23. It seems pretty nervy to come barging into someone’s neighborhood, completely wreak havoc with the existing community, and then complain because people don’t like it.

    Comment by JoAnne — 8:40 pm August 4, 2011 #

  24. Thanks a lot for the congestion, crime, higher taxes, and hoards of self-absorbed yuppies.

    Comment by JoAnne — 8:45 pm August 4, 2011 #

  25. The funds for repaving local roads do not come from gas tax. That goes specifically to freeways and interstates, not local roads, which are funded by property tax and other sources.

    Comment by JN — 9:51 pm August 4, 2011 #

  26. NotMe — you’re completely wrong; gas tax is dedicated to roads and is not spent on schools. You might want to use that Internet connection to do a little research and check your facts next time. It took me about 10 seconds to find accurate information:

    Fuel Taxes
    The 18th amendment to the Washington State Constitution dedicates motor fuel tax collections to “highway purposes”. Revenue generated from the gas tax is distributed to counties, cities and state accounts. The state receives about half of the total revenues collected. These are the funds which support the WSDOT highway programs as well as the Washington State Ferry System, which is deemed a state highway system by constitution. Highway construction, maintenance, preservation, administration and debt service on highway construction bonds are all funded by these revenues.

    The other half of the fuel tax revenues are distributed directly to cities, counties and other agencies for roadway programs that are not part of the state highway system.

    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Finance/fueltaxes.htm

    Developers can in fact be made to fund road work related to their project as part of the permitting process, but that would not likely apply in this case. Those requirements usually apply in more suburban / rural areas to much larger developments.

    Comment by metrognome — 6:07 am August 5, 2011 #

  27. Since there is a surge in apartment development right now, one things we could all do is get involved in the building design reviews and urge developers to support more biking and less driving by:
    -
    Providing extremely secure, easily accessible and large bike rooms.
    Building bike fixing tool area on site with tools.
    Charging more for parking spaces and putting that extra fee toward bike friendly improvements.
    Providing bike maps to all residents at move-in.
    -
    A potential project for North Delridge is seeking to do some of these things.
    http://westseattleblog.com/2011/08/west-seattle-development-another-apartment-project-revived
    -
    I realize there are a lot of other issues raised here but you gotta start somewhere. The only thing is, people who bike often also have a car, so maybe more units will still mean more cars. I am not sure how to get around that, but we could do a lot more to encourage more biking.

    Comment by I heart Delridge — 7:07 pm August 5, 2011 #

  28. This is my all-time favorite WSB comment:
    -
    “The world needs more people who care enough to take a stand. Just try not to tear someone else down as you get up, there’s enough solutions to go around for everybody.”
    -
    Thank you mcbride! A good reminder.

    Comment by I heart Delridge — 7:11 pm August 5, 2011 #

  29. Unfortunately most people cannot get by without daily driving, including people who get all preachy about how everyone (except them!) should not use cars.

    No neighborhood in Seattle, including West Seattle has had hoards of people moving in without a corresponding huge infux of additional cars.

    The LAST thing we need is more futile plans to increase biking and walking rates by degrading traffic conditions, which are already getting worse by themselves from all the additional cars.

    These dumb ideas get in the way of REAL solutions, like actual bike throughways (the kind that cost more than a can of white paint) or better bus service or more and safer crosswalks!

    Comment by JoAnne — 8:55 pm August 5, 2011 #

  30. I don’t mind additional density on CA. It takes the development pressure off the surrounding residential neighborhoods. However, I do object when a new building is ugly before it gets out of the ground. And frankly, I don’t care whom the architects are or how many design reviews this bldg when through but its fugly. Granted…..it could be the rendering and lack of details but from what I am seeing, we need to take a pass.

    Comment by alki — 9:09 pm August 16, 2011 #

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