The demolition work under way today at 5020 California SW, the future mixed-use development site known as “Spring Hill” (no relation to the popular restaurant), is a mixed blessing for at least some of its neighbors.
On one hand, the multiplexes on the site have been eyesores – plagued with squatters, tagging, and other vandalism – for the past few years. The project was once on a faster track, back when original developer BlueStar was also developing what’s now known as “The Hole” and even looking at developing what’s now being remodeled as the future West Seattle Trader Joe’s. If you don’t live nearby, you might not even have noticed how badly trashed the site had become, since from California SW, it’s hard to see – even now with demolition under way:
(The top view is from the alley on the site’s east side.) On the other hand, the neighbors fought hard, during the original round of design review 3 years ago, for development guidelines that might somewhat minimize the future apartment/retail building’s effects on nearby residents. Then the site went into foreclosure and was idle till the project was revived under new ownership earlier this summer (as first reported here and here), with an increased number of apartments – 101, instead of the original 91. The city did not require the reopening of design review for the change, but did offer neighbors reassurance that the increase would not result in any notable change to the building’s size or appearance. The developer, Burien-based F & M, has not responded to our requests for comment, so we don’t know their timeline, but we do know the city’s online files show some necessary permits are not yet finalized, and also show a recent complaint (demolition may be rendering it moot).