Design Review set for 30 apartments at 3829 California SW

June 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 25 Comments

More proof that apartments are the hot building trend right now. We just learned the Southwest Design Review Board is scheduled to meet June 28th to review a proposed 3-story, 30-unit apartment building at 3829 California (map). The site now holds the two one-story brick multiplexes you see in our photo above; last summer, it was sold for $1,000,000. The design-review meeting is set for 6:30 pm Thursday, June 28th, at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon).


  1. Jesus, no parcel is safe! :)

    Comment by WSratsinacage — 5:34 pm June 5, 2012 #

  2. Moniker says it all. WTF

    Comment by WTF — 11:28 pm June 5, 2012 #

  3. Yeah, like I said about a year ago on this blog, and got shouted down for it. “How much is too much? When we have multi-use apt buildings from Admiral to Morgan?” Who is approving all of this development without the infrastructure to support it? Are they counting the cost on traffic and sewers and crime? I was basically told not to have any kids, and to leave if I didn’t agree with this trend. Well, I’m happy to say that after 24 years in this community that yes, I have sold my house and am leaving. I hope West Seattleites will realize what a gem of a community they have and somehow come together and stop this greed from exploiting their neighborhood.

    Comment by Max — 6:46 am June 6, 2012 #

  4. I used to think people who lived in Seattle and had to spend hours commuting to the eastside for work, were insane! I am now one of them. Do not move to West Seattle if you work off the island, you will be sorry.

    Comment by denise — 7:38 am June 6, 2012 #

  5. Sheesh! How many more apartment buildings are going to be built in WS before it’s recognized that we really need more transportation options/improvements to our commute? Like maybe a 4 mile connection to the light rail in SODO…now there’s a thought!

    Comment by sun*e — 8:26 am June 6, 2012 #

  6. Deathstar Trench/California Canyon drawing nearer to completion. Boooooo!

    Comment by rats — 8:28 am June 6, 2012 #

  7. Ditto Denise

    Comment by rats — 8:28 am June 6, 2012 #

  8. Max, you are not alone

    Comment by rats — 8:42 am June 6, 2012 #

  9. Also don’t move to West Seattle if you work in Snohomish County. Used to do the commute a few years ago and it was easy getting there once you got out of the downtown traffic on I-5, however, getting home in southbound I-5 traffic was hell.

    Fortunately, I now work in Downtown and commute by bus, but don’t envy people that have to commute by car to other regions considering the constriction of the Hwy 99 lanes and the overall increased traffic.

    Comment by Neo-Realist — 8:43 am June 6, 2012 #

  10. There are so many vacent condos and apts and they just continue to approve additional bulky ugly development..of course the developers don’t live in West Seattle…Current Mayor is all for this..also history shows that when you decrease single family homes,increase rentors the community pays for it…
    Infrasture doesn’t support it as well…Oh I forgot we are all to ride our bikes to work.

    Comment by plf — 11:49 am June 6, 2012 #

  11. Neo- here’s a hint: If you work in Snohomish County you should live in Snohomish County…no brainer.

    Comment by chris — 11:49 am June 6, 2012 #

  12. One of the previous few comments reminds me: If anyone can name a specific local apartment building that you know has a significant vacancy rate – can you please e-mail me? It comes up often in development discussions, yet in our limited efforts, we haven’t found a building with more than a relative few units open. Certainly it’s easy to see storefronts vacant and available for lease in a variety of places, but for apartments, I am assuming someone has specific knowledge -please advise. Otherwise, the citywide vacancy rates tend to be relatively low … I don’t have the personpower to do a wide survey, so am inviting anyone with actual info to share it, in comments or via e-mail ( – thanks! TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:17 pm June 6, 2012 #

  13. As of May 2012, apartment vacancy rates in West Seattle were listed at 4.1%. This is slightly below the regional average of 4.7%. Source: Dupree & Scott market research.

    Comment by sun lover — 1:21 pm June 6, 2012 #

  14. Ditto the “if you work off the island” quote! Especially if you are a working parent household!! It’s not worth it. I used to work in sodo. With my commute time tripleing, it wasn’t finacially sensible to pay for before/after school care just to go to work so I could pay for that care. Very frustrating being that I’ve lived here for 30 years and I feel trapped and limitted by my surroundings.

    Comment by bsmomma — 2:23 pm June 6, 2012 #

  15. Today’s DJC states that the developer, Sergey Savchuk “is also planning a 105-109-unit apartment building on the 3000 block of Avalon Way Southwest, and will file plans with the city for the project in the coming weeks.”

    Comment by Sharonn — 2:32 pm June 6, 2012 #

  16. Thanks – We’re not subscribing right now … but that should be pretty easy to track down. 3000 block tracks to just southwest of SW Yancy. Avalon is certainly in play – we recently reported on three apartment buildings for sale up toward the 35th intersection, and commercial listings now show a fourth – newer buildings, though, not so likely to be torn down and redeveloped. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:06 pm June 6, 2012 #

  17. Are they letting the new tenants know that there will be no exit to downtown once the viaduct is replaced? We might love West Seattle, but someone hates us! We’re getting trapped!

    Comment by aparent — 6:12 pm June 6, 2012 #

  18. There WILL be an exit to downtown. Just not at Seneca. When you take 99 north, you will be able to get off before the entrance to the tunnel; this is the “South Portal” design that we’ve been covering the past few years. The simulation here walks you through the design: In addition, the added 4th Avenue South offramp from the Spokane Street Viaduct’s eastbound side is intended to take some of the downtown pressure off 99. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 7:12 pm June 6, 2012 #

  19. I guess the Huling Bros and Charlestown Cafe buildings will completely fall down before anything replaces them while every house and apartment over 30 years old on or near a main thoroughfare will be torn down to make way for more apartments. When (if) the housing market rebounds, we can look forward to the condo conversion frenzy. In any case, I wonder where the parking will be for the 30 units that will be on this small lot that currently contains 4 small apartments inhabited by some very nice long-term tenants.

    Comment by ohthehorror — 8:16 pm June 6, 2012 #

  20. Where is Emmet Watson when we really need him? For those of you who don’t know who he is, Emmet was a long time writer for the Seattle PI and was a proponent of “lessor Seattle.” West Seattle had best wake up. We are being hosed over by our present mayor, city council and the developers. We need to change the city council from a council with representation at large to representation elected from Seattle’s various communities. In other words, we in West Seattle need to be able to elect own council person. Presently, we have absolutely no one on the city council who gives a hoot about West Seattle. Charlie Chong was the last guy who did. In fact, Charlie led a facetious campaign to secede from the rest of the city. I, personally, always liked that idea.

    Comment by phil dirt — 7:40 am June 7, 2012 #

  21. WSB, Is anyone listening? I guess the only way to be heard is to show up to one of the design meetings. I wonder why they even have the meetings since the developers will do what they think is best anyway. Right? What does the Southwest Design Board do?

    Comment by denise — 7:43 am June 7, 2012 #

  22. Design meetings are for input into how the building should be sited and what it should look like. Those are factors not to be dismissed, and public opinion really has led to change. I have covered those meetings for five years and that is what I have consistently seen. No, not every suggested change might happen, but there are some differences that have been made. The Early Design Guidance meeting, which this will be, looks at the developers’ proposals for how the building might be placed on the site, and how it might be configured. The Design Review Board is a panel of city-appointed volunteers who review those factors and make recommendations to the city Department of Planning and Development – you can read about the process here:
    Other comments, such as traffic and noise, which are considered “environmental factors,” would go to the planner assigned to the project. In this case, it’s Michael Dorcy, There will be a formal notice of the scheduled meeting either today or next week, unless it changes (it is technically listed as “tentative” per this page that provides early warning of impending design reviews ) – TR

    Comment by WSB — 7:53 am June 7, 2012 #

  23. A question for those that decry this – what’s the alternative? Population grows… people have to live somewhere.

    Comment by Tracy White — 12:06 pm June 7, 2012 #

  24. LOL more vacant apartments. What fool writes these business cases that finance these things? If an apartment pays a guy to stand on a corner with a sign (saw this last W/E on Alaska) it tells me that the vacancy rate is higher then published. Plus alot of the condos are not owner occupied. .

    Comment by M — 2:21 pm June 7, 2012 #

  25. What I don’t get is why tear down those cute, decent, little brick places when just a bit down the block (across from the 76 on Andover) is a similarly parcelled dump that’s already half falling down (I lived there)? The owner of those places has no regard for the safety and well being of his tenants and has let the places rot (literally) waiting for someone to buy them.

    Comment by Mark S — 1:45 pm June 23, 2012 #

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