Followup: Alki’s Shoremont Apartments saved and up for rent – with a twist

June 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 65 Comments

shoremonthistoricphoto.jpg

Back in 2008, we got that vintage photo from Tom J, when the fate of the 1923-built Shoremont Apartments at 2464 Alki SW – the buildings seen behind Tom’s uncle and dad – was still in flux.

A year earlier, in 2007, the stately brick buildings were proposed for teardown, to be replaced by townhomes.

But then, the site was bought by architects known for their modern design projects, who proposed one instead of townhomes:

pbproject.jpg

(2008 rendering)
The plan never came to pass, and eventually, the site became bank-owned. Exactly two years ago today, we reported a for-sale sign going up at the site.

Then came Dennis Schilling:

We photographed him at the Shoremont yesterday afternoon. But we first talked with him more than a year ago, after he bought the by-then-very-rundown buildings because he “liked” them; he told WSB at the time he planned to fix them up.

And he has made good on that promise. Most of the work is done, and two of the eight Shoremont Apartments are rented, more applications are in the works. Schilling gave us a tour:

Great beach view, from one of the lower units – note the original clear-grain fir floor. Upstairs, while he would have liked to have kept the flooring, noise rules meant they had to be carpeted:

The stairs are original:

And there are walk-in closets – including this one upstairs with a view!

The floor plans are close to the original layouts, says Schilling, adding that the work they had to do included some foundation improvements, especially for seismic reasons (including “shear walls”), plus all-new wiring. Out front, they had to build up the area in front of the main entrance door:

There had been something in front of that blank concrete wall for a bit, and therein lies a twist to this story – which Schilling e-mailed us (and King County Executive Dow Constantine) about on Wednesday:

During the construction process we have noticed that bus patrons did not have a place to sit while waiting for the bus at the stop in front of our property. We decided to make a gesture to the city and commission a custom bus bench at our expense.

While this bench was being constructed there must have been fifty people who expressed appreciation for the bench. Today a representative of the city approached us and told us to remove it or face daily fines. Apparently while the bench is not on any part of the sidewalk it does encroach on the City’s property.

The inspector did admit that there had been no complaints but that he was just driving by and doing his job. In order not to incur any fines we removed it while he waited. We just wanted to let people know that we were trying to do something nice for the city but have run afoul of bureaucracy.

The bench is now sitting on the west side of the Shoremont site:

We haven’t figured out yet which agency to ask about the bench beef, but plan to follow up. Meantime, if you’re interested in renting one of the Shoremont Apartments, you’ll have to go take a look at the postings on the windows at the site, which have more information.

65 Comments

  1. Is there a website where it shows rates or any other information on rent there?

    Comment by anonymous — 3:49 pm June 1, 2012 #

  2. “The inspector did admit that there had been no complaints but that he was just driving by and doing his job”
    .
    Another reason we as a society should stop being such cattle in the face of government bureaucracy. This inspector should lose his job for being a menace.

    Comment by Time to Think — 3:58 pm June 1, 2012 #

  3. This makes me so happy, I could cry. I have always loved those beautiful apartments, and I am so very grateful someone decided to put the work into preserving them, and a piece of West Seattle history.

    Thank you, Dennis Schilling!

    Comment by Elizabeth — 4:05 pm June 1, 2012 #

  4. Love the new landscaping out front. Not a big fan of the new staircase.

    Comment by AlkiAnne — 4:17 pm June 1, 2012 #

  5. Meanwhile, a private property owner encroached and paved a large swath of public right of way near All Star Fitness to create a parking lot which they then told me they are leasing to All Star Fitness for use as needed overflow parking. I’ve got no problem with the parking lot on private property, but once you start paving over city/public property and charging anyone for it it is wrong, wrong, wrong. A call to what I am assuming is the same city official that created this dust up at the Shoremont, and also calls to both DPD and SDOT has resulted in no call-back nor corrective action as far as I have been able to tell. Meanwhile, a private property owner gets to make money off of city property and also creates a problem when the time comes for a sidewalk and street tree’s to be planted.

    Comment by Down In Delridge — 4:42 pm June 1, 2012 #

  6. If it weren’t for the WSB, the only news would be bad.

    This is a great story! So glad to see that greed didn’t win the day.

    Comment by Baymo — 4:51 pm June 1, 2012 #

  7. You can’t build a bus bench like this. You have to do it the metro way. You know first put up no parking signs then dig up the place for about 3 weeks put in all kinds of unesseary stuff,and spend 30.000 dollars. Now that is how you put a bench at a bus stop.

    Comment by boy — 5:13 pm June 1, 2012 #

  8. Seattle Government SUX!

    Comment by RobJ — 5:15 pm June 1, 2012 #

  9. In my humble opinion this guy Dennis should be Grand Marshall of the HiYu Parade for preserving our proud past! Just what the beach didn’t need was a modern building sucking the history out of the beach for greed. Now lets get going on the Homestead.

    Comment by Dave L — 5:21 pm June 1, 2012 #

  10. Tell me why a simple bench causes a mass problem but horrible eye sore properties and junk cars never get tagged?

    Comment by coffee — 5:29 pm June 1, 2012 #

  11. I know WSB doesn’t publish private information, but where can I send Dennis Schilling a very nice bottle of wine (or other thank you gift)? Many of us rant on this site about destruction of historical properties, but can’t/don’t do anything about it. Thank you, Mr. Schilling, for doing what so many of us would like to do if we had the means.

    Comment by ohthehorror — 5:39 pm June 1, 2012 #

  12. Awesome story, the vintage picture screams “cool”.

    Comment by Harry Reems — 5:41 pm June 1, 2012 #

  13. I agree, kudos to Mr. Schilling and thank you. Boo to the city.

    Comment by rod — 5:46 pm June 1, 2012 #

  14. OTH – Mr. Schilling is based on Mercer Island, that much I know. If you google with – the quotes are important – “dennis schilling” “mercer island” in the same query you might see an address; I’m not sure if there’s an office, a home, a home-based office, or what. He owns other property but I believe privately, not as part of some firm. I think I originally tracked him down in Feb. of last year through a business license … not everybody has websites and other easy means of contact, so it took some sleuthing. He is a really low-key, unassuming guy, at least in my conversations with him thus far … TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:50 pm June 1, 2012 #

  15. If you can vacate the city’s right to a street end then maybe you can do so for a bench. I find it odd that steps servicing the property weren’t a problem, but a bench was. It appears the concrete wall removed the entry way so it would seem like the bench would not be a bad idea to replace it. That or one of those faux murals to make it look like the old entrance.

    Comment by JayDee — 6:19 pm June 1, 2012 #

  16. Thank you Dennis! I used to live there and loved it.

    Comment by Amy — 6:22 pm June 1, 2012 #

  17. yeah for preserving the building!! It’s such a beautiful building. I was so sad when I heard it was getting demolished and wish I had the funds to do what he did. Yeah!

    Comment by sp ed mom — 6:25 pm June 1, 2012 #

  18. I too have always been fond of that building and was upset to hear it would be torn down. What joy to learn it’s been saved and that the owner has preserved the interior as much as possible as well. Thank you Mr. Schilling for helping to keep West Seattle beautiful!

    Comment by CJ — 6:26 pm June 1, 2012 #

  19. Thank you Dennis, I love that building! With all the changes coming to the Junction, it makes me so happy to see a beautiful building restored.

    Comment by Mary — 6:44 pm June 1, 2012 #

  20. Thank you WS Blog for remembering my photo and thank you to Mr. Schilling for taking a big chance and saving a piece of WS history.

    Comment by Tom J — 6:49 pm June 1, 2012 #

  21. The resto looks beautiful!

    .

    I’m looking forward to finding out which agency—DPD, whatever, is involved, so that I/we can conact them with our displeasure at their actions.

    I sure hope that inspector didn’t make more than one pass, each way, along Alki. “No Cruising” law, y’know! ;-)

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 7:33 pm June 1, 2012 #

  22. The efforts by this gentleman are exactly the kind of thing that makes me proud and grateful to live here. I hope he is aware of how grateful this community is for what he is doing.

    Comment by Ben — 7:46 pm June 1, 2012 #

  23. Someone makes a bench for the public for free,oh the horror.

    Comment by MB — 8:09 pm June 1, 2012 #

  24. I grew up down the street from that building and always ADORED it. I was so sad when it was slated to be demolished.

    Sending such happy, thankful vibes to the new owner! I saw the For Rent signs the other day and was so thrilled it is staying in tact.

    Always wished I had enough money to buy it and turn it into a small inn.

    Comment by Spana — 8:30 pm June 1, 2012 #

  25. I also lived in the Shoremont (I think in the very downstairs unit photographed) for three months (it was during the “we’re going to condos so you can’t have a longer lease” phase) and it was absolutely exactly what I needed at the time. I was sad when they were just sitting vacant so long and would have been sick to see the new, modern architect’s dream become a reality. That the units are essentially the same (though, one might hope, with better hot water) gladdens my heart. I don’t know Dennis Schilling but I’m glad he “liked” the buildings and had the money to save them. (Also, a bench *would* be nice at that bus stop.) -Mary

    Comment by Mary — 8:55 pm June 1, 2012 #

  26. Thank you, thank you, thank you Dennis Schilling, for preserving this neighborhood GEM

    Comment by cruzer — 9:02 pm June 1, 2012 #

  27. Thank you, Mr. Schilling! Your efforts and actions are appreciated and have turned out beautifully! I agree with the grand Marshall suggestion!

    The bench thing is another sad example of the city not looking at the big picture. WSB, please follow up on this. Take names, write a story. Let’s all follow up!

    Saving this building is so lovely for the community!

    Comment by Claudia — 9:03 pm June 1, 2012 #

  28. God Bless you Mr. Schilling, I love this building you came along just in time to save it from the clenches of more ugly condo’s. I love the period authentic Rejuvenation sconces at the front entrance. Fantastic job!

    Comment by Silly Goose — 9:05 pm June 1, 2012 #

  29. Glad to see this play out, Seattle needs more developers like Dennis. Very well done.

    Comment by Eaglelover — 9:11 pm June 1, 2012 #

  30. This makes me so happy! It’s always so sad to see beautiful buildings with character and history demolished and replaced by cold, boxy, modern design (in my opinion). I just appreciate the aesthetic of that building.

    And, really, that whole bus bench ordeal is ridiculous.

    Personally, I would like to thank Mr. Schilling for trying to do good.

    Comment by WSEA — 9:21 pm June 1, 2012 #

  31. Dennis, you’re my hero. You hold true to what more should be like around here. I like you, you kick ass.

    Comment by Mike — 10:04 pm June 1, 2012 #

  32. Gorgeous! I drove by these a couple of years ago and thought it was such a shame such a lovely building was going to be demolished for, what I think, are ugly modern townhomes. Thank you for keeping these old buildings up and surviving!

    Comment by jedifarfy — 10:10 pm June 1, 2012 #

  33. Such wonderful news that this building was preserved! Way to go award for Dennis!

    Comment by Heleyna Holmes Photography — 10:24 pm June 1, 2012 #

  34. You know I can see the point of the inspector, but exceptions can always be made, so why did he have to tear it out immediately? Couldn’t the city and Mr Schilling have worked it out? Seems a bit silly to have him rip it out immediately.

    Comment by John — 10:24 pm June 1, 2012 #

  35. Thank you inspector for keeping our city streets safe from benches. Another crisis averted!

    Comment by Sound Ad Group — 10:28 pm June 1, 2012 #

  36. Love this building and so glad to see it preserved. Thanks Dennis – as to the bench Seattle City-get over it and grow up. Like an earlier post cars and unkempt yards never get tagged. No rational to the reason just like the big banks; government…sigh.

    Comment by West Seattle edge — 10:42 pm June 1, 2012 #

  37. @ohthehorror – Property owners’ names and mailing addresses are public information; you can find the mailing address for Shoremont Apartments LLC at the King County Parcel Viewer website.
    .
    Search by address or intersection, click “Get Property Report”, click “Property Tax Bill”, click the search button for Real Property Tax Number (pre-filled), and you’ll find the mailing address of the property owner.
    .
    The mailing address appears to be a residence – I used the Parcel Viewer to look up the mailing address for the LLC – so I won’t post it here. Of course, after all that, it’s the same result that shows up with WSB’s suggested google search.
    .
    By the way, the King County Parcel Viewer is a great way to verify property owner information if you’re looking for a rental and are suspicious of a “too good to be true” Craigslist post:
    .
    http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/GIS/PropResearch/ParcelViewer.aspx
    .
    Also sometimes you can find old photos of properties under “Property Detail”. Fun for history geeks like me! :)

    Comment by asteria — 10:55 pm June 1, 2012 #

  38. I also want to thank Mr. Schilling for saving and fixing up this beautiful property!

    Comment by asteria — 11:01 pm June 1, 2012 #

  39. “The plan never came to pass, and eventually, the site became bank-owned. Exactly one year ago today, we reported a for-sale sign going up at the site.”
    ~
    actually that was 2 years ago, per the date on your linked story

    Comment by Diane — 11:01 pm June 1, 2012 #

  40. thanks, how time flies. fixing!

    Comment by WSB — 11:11 pm June 1, 2012 #

  41. Memories! I was just emailed this by one of the Shoremont neighbors I came to know while living there nearly two decades ago. I lived in the very unit the lower window floor picture was taken from.

    Thank-you Dennis, this was and now IS a beautiful building. May you be blessed with wonderful tenants who pay you on time and care for the building as you have.

    Comment by Kate — 11:36 pm June 1, 2012 #

  42. I toured all of these apartments on May 9; they are gorgeous; I called your tip line from inside one of the apts to say “c’mon down and take a look, take photos, this place is fantastic”; talked to P; did he ever tell you? I also had one of their flyers that I read to P; I also posted on Facebook; they’re priced very reasonably considering all the work put into refurbishing; my fav is the high-end stackable washer/dryer in the bathroom
    ~
    I’m also VERY grateful to Dennis Schilling for saving the Shoremont, and bringing back to former glorious beauty; I’ve stopped by there many times hoping to meet him; add me to the votes for Dennis Schilling as Grand Marshall
    ~
    and thanks for thoughtful/kind gesture in providing a bench; boo to stupid bureaucracy

    Comment by Diane — 12:12 am June 2, 2012 #

  43. Thanks also to whoever protested and stopped building of townhouses in 07

    Comment by Di Di — 12:45 am June 2, 2012 #

  44. Hey Dennis,
    Can you give Tom Lin a call and see if you can “help” him with the Alki Homestead? It appears that you have some skills/knowledge he may not possess. Oh how glorious it would be to have the Homestead back (and it’s not too far from your beautiful apartments). Great job – thanks!

    Comment by 2 Much Whine — 7:06 am June 2, 2012 #

  45. Congrats Dennis!!
    Also to DOWN ON DELRIGDE: Allstar fitness is not affiliated with the parking lot and the owner ( not city) had it paved… Its her property , and approached All Star Fitness and was turned down…

    Comment by Over on Alki — 7:09 am June 2, 2012 #

  46. Over On Alki – The contractor that was doing the paving had said that the owner was going to be leasing her parking lot project to All Star. Sounds like that fell through or was never the case.
    -
    I agree that she has every right to pave her own property as long as she follows all the permitting processes in terms of curb-cuts and drainage codes. After all, Longfellow Creek is right next door and the amount of sheeting stormwater drainage into the creek from such a large impervious surface will not be a small amount.
    -
    The main point I am trying to make is that she and her contractor paved well into the SW Yancy Street public Right-Of-Way and through the use of curbing have now claimed that public property as their own to use as they deem fit. That is wrong. I presume she didn’t create the parking lot without some plans of trying to make money off of it, hence she will be utilizing public property for her own financial gain. She and her contractor were advised that they were about to overshoot their private property line before they laid down the asphalt and curbing but they went ahead and did it anyway. She and her contractor were asked if they had a survey done to make sure they were staying within private property in the creation of their parking lot and they replied with blank stares. IMO they knew all along what they were doing, but did it anyway.
    _
    All this reminds me of the situation along the Alki Point sidewalk project of a few years ago. Over the years waterfront owning property owners had extended landscaping elements and other constructed features into the public right-of-way. When it came time to construct the new sidewalk project their was a huge push-back from these same property owners. They had taken public property for their own use and wanted the whole sidewalk project to be modified so that they could keep using the public property. Of course, they being waterfront owners, well heeled and savvy they had the clout to be accommodated and the cost of the entire project went up accordingly. We as taxpayers paid for that additional cost.

    Comment by Down In Delridge — 7:54 am June 2, 2012 #

  47. Yes, this matches up with my comment in another thread about a “rack permit” that I got nailed for by an inspector as I attempted to open a second small business in the area. These inspectors are a waste of taxpayer money!

    Comment by Craig — 8:18 am June 2, 2012 #

  48. Down on Delridge.. Thanks for clarifying , like I said AllStar Fitness NEVER was interested and of course your comment could be viewed as wanting to do something against morals and ethics… Something all star fitness takes great pride in, being a valued business w good ethics in west Seattle!

    Comment by Over on Alki — 8:55 am June 2, 2012 #

  49. Continuing this branch of the threadjack – So if Allstar isn’t using the lot, who in the world would be? Stor-More (WSB sponsor and our longtime mailbox location) doesn’t exactly need parking. I don’t know that the wonderful adjacent park does. In our fleeting coverage of the demolition that preceded the parking lot, the only folks we ever found onsite to speak with were workers who professed to know nothing beyond the plans for a parking lot.

    Comment by WSB — 9:12 am June 2, 2012 #

  50. WSB: I don’t know … Maybe contact the owner of the property, it was her idea to do a parking lot ( probably in hopes All Star Fitness would use it and charge members , but like I said all star fitness has no interest …)

    Comment by Over on Alki — 9:49 am June 2, 2012 #

  51. WSB – You are asking the right question(s). I am going to try and make another attempt to get a straight answer from SDOT and DPD. Any efforts at trying to get the truth from the parking lot property owner IMO is futile.

    Comment by Down In Delridge — 9:55 am June 2, 2012 #

  52. PS – Sorry for the threadjack. And major kudos to Dennis Schilling for bringing the Shoremont back to life!

    Comment by Down In Delridge — 9:56 am June 2, 2012 #

  53. Thank you, Dennis Schilling, for investing in history and taking such good care of a beautiful old building!

    Comment by Laurie — 9:59 am June 2, 2012 #

  54. Wow, thanks so much Dennis for keeping Seattle looking great! The bench story reminds me of the coffee shop up in Lake City who made an awesome, movable bike rack and had the city come after them for it. Super lame!

    Comment by AJP — 10:13 am June 2, 2012 #

  55. Mr Schilling I can’t better any of the -great- things written here…so, echoing a simply Thank You!

    Comment by WTF — 9:56 am June 3, 2012 #

  56. This purchaser is simply smart, but I have to disagree with the public gushing here. This purchaser bought this property for its money-making potential. In the current market, what this purchaser has done is simply what’s most lucrative for him — and to accomplish getting the rental sream flowing, he’s invested a couple tens of thousands of dollars in a few cosmetic fixes just to make the units habitable. Renting is the lucrative thing to do with this property right now, and that’s all that’s happening here. These days, renting and holding is what’s lucratuive. That’s what this and many other land prospectors in Seattle are doing. But when the market’s right, mark my words: these apartments WILL be torn down. Please, I do not mean to imply that this purchaser is a bad guy, but let’s not pretend he’s any special savior. He’s an investor. And this business of buying a bench — not a big deal, but isn’t it atleast possible he’s done this as a public relations move, to give himself a good reputation and relationship with the city whose blessings and approvals he’ll later need when he demolishes these apartments and wants to turn this property into somthing more lucrative for him? Seriously, this is prime real estate. The dirt alone is worth millions. For the bench, he deserves a simple, kind ‘thanks,’that’s all. Nothing more. He’s probably not evil, but the many developers who have pillaged Seattle neighborhood real estate and permanently marred its character are perfectly law-abiding people. If this purchaser was truly sincere about valuing this property and its aesthetic and historical consideration, he would agree to designate it for its protection. My bet: if asked, he would never do any such thing. Because to do that would not net him the money he’s counted on getting one day when he turns this into another tear-down. When the market turns, so will this unobstructed view property.

    Comment by (required) — 10:39 am June 3, 2012 #

  57. Required, not to say your scenario is not possible, but while I failed to mention it in the story, he said he expects to hold this one “lifetime.” I also didn’t quite do complete justice to everything that’s gone into it, because I wrote this rather quickly, having to leave the house for something time-sensitive. I also should note for any skeptics that aside from e-mailing about the bus bench situation, he didn’t seek out publicity – last year while following the sale and the permits, I had to track him down. There are plenty of self-promoters out there; this guy is rather low-profile. FWIW – TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:12 pm June 3, 2012 #

  58. I use to walk by and peek through the dusty windows, holding conversation with friends on how I thought this vintage brick building could be so beautiful if restored! So happy to see the result! … I recently got to peek through the clean windows and loved what I saw! wooo-hoo! expensive rent, yet glad the restoration took place! ;D Maybe I will live here one day!

    Comment by Taylor — 1:52 pm June 3, 2012 #

  59. IMHO, Dennis has helped keep some of the flavor of Alki intact. I am very glad he did.

    Comment by kaarisa — 2:59 pm June 3, 2012 #

  60. @(Required): “Debbie Downer: …A slang phrase which refers to someone who frequently adds bad news and negative feelings to a gathering, thus bringing down the mood of everyone around them.”

    Comment by ohthehorror — 5:18 pm June 3, 2012 #

  61. Thank-you Dennis for not tearing down these beautiful apartments! Kudos to you! And the bench for bus passengers? Seriously? Reminds me of neighbors who had a contractor that didn’t get permits but installed a heat pump in the side yard – under our bedroom window. When we inquired, contractor’s hands got slapped and heat pump was moved to back yard. BUT, in the process, the City in their infinite wisdom told US our heat vent was too noisy and we spent months working with the furnace company and a very ‘macho’ City employee who threatened to fine us! Where did common sense go? Again, thanks Dennis. The apartments are beautiful!

    Comment by Genessee neighbor — 5:33 pm June 3, 2012 #

  62. OMG! Thank you so much to my dear friend, Michelle, for sending me (here in Marseille France) the link to this blog!!
    I lived with my husband and then 6-yr-old son in the top right-hand apartment at THE SHOREMONT in 1996-97.
    To see the new photos from inside our old home is simply overwhelming. When I saw what *could have* happened to this incredible building (proposed plans) I shuddered. Thank the stars above to Dennis for recognizing true architectural brilliance. I always thought the SHOREMONT should be on the National Register!!
    I have many happy memories of evening bonfires across the street from my home at the SHOREMONT, with lots of friends, watching the ferry boats flow back and forth from the islands and the downtown terminals… VIVE LA SHOREMONT!!!
    I wonder, if a bench in front is going to cause such a ruckus, what commotion would rise up from a big bonfire in the “front yard” i.e. Alki Beach?

    Comment by Parma — 5:51 am June 4, 2012 #

  63. Dennis, you are my hero! Thank you! You give me hope. The proposed design was so ugly.

    Comment by denise — 9:07 pm June 4, 2012 #

  64. $1495 for 625sf. Yeah, really awesome.

    Comment by OverpricedSeattle — 1:31 pm June 6, 2012 #

  65. I’m so glad this building has been saved. Last summer, I’d go on epic walks along Alki every weekend and would often stop in front of the Shoremont and peek in. Every weekend they seemed to be looking worse and worse. I haven’t been keeping up with Alki news or walking along the beach as much but I was around last weekend and noticed the renovations immediately!! Perhaps one day, should I ever return to Alki, I can call one ‘home’.

    Comment by audrey — 12:00 am June 8, 2012 #

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