As was pointed out in the walking tour/casual chat preceding last night’s official City Council Committee on the Built Environment public hearing, the current plan for the West Seattle Triangle’s future has been more than three years in the making. But, as you’ll hear in our video of the hearing, some feel it’s still missing major components.
Fall 2008 was when the Triangle’s potential burst into the spotlight, with three meetings in West Seattle. Of particular note – as a reminder of how things can change – is a September 2008 West Seattle Chamber of Commerce-convened meeting to review eight key Triangle and Junction developments that were in the pipeline then (see the story here, for a trip back in the time machine). Three mixed-use projects have since been completed – Harbor Properties‘ Link and Mural (WSB sponsors) and Leon Capelouto‘s Capco Plaza; the plan for two sites have changed (what was going to be BlueStar’s Gateway Center is now becoming Trader Joe’s, and Harbor is developing Nova on a smaller 36th/Alaska parcel); while three other sites’ futures are still in play (“The Hole,” sold last Friday at auction; the property Conner Homes is selling at California/Alaska/42nd; and “Spring Hill” at 5020 California).
Even earlier that year – before a pivotal November 2008 meeting to semi-officially start a city-involved process – the area had been under discussion as the “West Seattle gateway,” as noted here. And that’s the point it’s not addressing well enough, councilmembers were told.
West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen has been involved along much of the way, and last night he was one of the four councilmembers listening to public testimony (along with Sally Clark, who chairs Built Environment, vice chair Tim Burgess, and Sally Bagshaw) at the Senior Center of West Seattle. What is in the works now involves an “urban design” vision that the city may codify – and some zoning changes, including “neighborhood commercial” for much of The Triangle itself, and an area mostly on its west side that may be upzoned to 85-foot buildings (which, the way the rules really work, could be even taller).
What’s next with the Triangle proposals? Councilmember Clark said it was too soon to say whether a final vote might come by year’s end; it’s expected to come up again at a November 16th meeting downtown. Last night’s presentation graphics/documents, by the way, are linked from the meeting’s online agenda.