West Seattle development: 4535 44th SW now ‘Lofts’; design packet online

April 26, 2013 at 5:33 pm | In Development, West Seattle housing, West Seattle news | 26 Comments

(“Character” rendering of 4535 44th SW proposal, by Nicholson Kovalchick Architects)>
With two weeks till the first Southwest Design Review Board meeting about 4535 44th SW, the project’s “design packet” is now online, for anyone who wants a preview (see the 27-page PDF here). When we first reported on the proposal in mid-March, the early online documentation referred to it as “micros” – a hot-button word citywide right now – and then a later version used the term “studios.” Now, the project bears the name Lofts at the Junction, with some other changes – the plan now calls for a 4-story building with around 27 studio apartments (depending on the final approved configuration) and six live-work units – three along the 44th SW facade, three along the Glenn Way facade. No on-site parking; none required under city code, because it’s near what’s considered rapid transit (on SW Alaska). The review is scheduled for 6:30 pm Thursday 5/9 at the Senior Center of West Seattle (here’s the official notice, which explains how to comment in advance, whether or not you plan to be at the meeting).

P.S. If you’re interested in the Design Review process in general, the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee plans a public hearing at City Hall next Monday, 5:30 pm, on new guidelines regarding how it works and what it’s about – here’s the agenda.

26 Comments

  1. omg, how funny; I thought that was a photo of huge house fire going on right now; it’s just a rendering with clouds?

    Comment by Diane — 6:20 pm April 26, 2013 #

  2. I’ve never seen a “storm clouds gathering” rendering, but yes, it’s from the packet, one of the later pages. As you know, this phase of design review is more for the shape and size than the actual look, but this seems to be a rendering of what the “preferred” massing option might be roughed out as … TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:35 pm April 26, 2013 #

  3. As part of the rental/lease agreement there should be a clause that the person/s have NO motor vehicle as parking will NOT be provided

    Comment by Ex-Westwood Resident — 6:39 pm April 26, 2013 #

  4. It’s a horrifying rendering. Great, if that’s what they are going for.

    Comment by shed22 — 6:47 pm April 26, 2013 #

  5. Will they allow hippies? hipsters? funky people?

    If so, welcome to the junction.

    Comment by Mia — 6:54 pm April 26, 2013 #

  6. Why is the woman walking in the street?

    How does she have such a sharp shadow, even though there doesnt seem to be any sun actually shining on her back?

    Comment by Lets have fun with this picture — 6:54 pm April 26, 2013 #

  7. I think they are totally wrong about the parking. People have cars, period. And they will take up already dear parking space in the junction. What ARE they thinking? Yes, in a perfect world, people will only use the public transportation. In a perfect world…

    The Element 42 apartments across the street from me only put parking in for 50-some people and there are 78 units. And they have to pay for parking. So, where do they park? On my street. It is always full, esp. in the evenings, when 2 hr. parking doesn’t apply. If I have evening clients (I see them at home), it’s difficult for them to find parking.I can’t imagine how 44th will be with no parking.

    Comment by JanS — 8:41 pm April 26, 2013 #

  8. LOL. No traffic, no parked cars. And, gee, see how it just blends in with the surrounding structures? Well, except for the 30 feet of height difference.

    Comment by PSPS — 9:18 pm April 26, 2013 #

  9. The City of Seattle doesn’t want condo/apartment developers to provide parking.
    .
    It’s all a part of the plan (which includes “road diets,” “bus bulbs” and ever-increasing street parking costs) to cause drivers so much pain that they use our non-existent rapid transit instead. Unfortunately, these things just make people unhappier with their city.
    .
    As for the condos, I’m glad the developers have settled on exactly which kind of gimmick they wanted to use, because well-built normal condos are apparently out of the question.

    Comment by Mel — 9:27 pm April 26, 2013 #

  10. I’m not a fan of the new trend to try to push people into multifamily housing but at least its not another monstrosity blocking out the sky.

    Comment by cj — 10:55 pm April 26, 2013 #

  11. I think the sky is symbolic of the storms ahead when developers try to stuff this soulless crap down the communities collective throat. The women in the photo appear to be trying to figure out which way to run from the storm. What a joke of a design – a shoebox on it’s side that sticks up in the air and has no character – nice – probably investment bankers or Californians.

    Comment by Jack Loblaw — 6:37 am April 27, 2013 #

  12. Since you ask – while indeed, many of the larger projects around West Seattle have out-of-state developers, this property is owned by a West Seattleite (whose LLC bought the site this month for $558,000), and the architecture firm is owned by West Seattleites (NK was headquartered over Easy Street until a recent move to Pioneer Square).
    .
    Time and time again in the past six years, we’ve seen Design Review meeting comments lead to noticeable changes in projects – if you can make it to the meeting, please share your comments (or follow the link in the story to e-mail ahead of time) – TR

    Comment by WSB — 7:01 am April 27, 2013 #

  13. West Seattle: We’ve got ours, but you can’t have yours!

    Comment by Galactus — 8:42 am April 27, 2013 #

  14. They’re not trying to “push” people into multifamily housing! Some people actually can’t afford to live in single- family dwellings! Or they may prefer apartment living . Plus do you really want more sprawl further and further away from job centers and cities, so that people have to drive farther and farther to work?

    I agree about the lack of parking, the traffic, and already crowded buses being problematic. But I’ve also noticed a definite bias among some commenters in here against apartment dwellers (For instance implying that we wouldn’t be concerned if we saw someone seeming to be prowling around our building, or that we don’t pay taxes – as if landlords don’t build the costs of property taxes into our rents!) people , we pay rent for our apartments!! We either pay for utilities or the cost is built into our rent. Why do people act as if we’re getting a free ride?

    People who live in apartments vote. Many are active in their communities. Some have either lived in their apartment a long time, or at least have lived in the area a long time. Many go on to own houses, but even if we don’t that doesn’t make us bad people or criminals.

    We are not second- class citizens! We do not have to own land/property in order to be full citizens in this country, and we shouldn’t have to do so to be considered real citizens of West Seattle!

    What do people have against renters anyway?

    (I realize I’ve gone way off topic and Tracy will probably need to delete this, but I just get so tired of the feeling that seems to permeate these comments that we don’t want more of “those people” ( apartment dwellers) in West Seattle. I don’t think it’s all about parking transit or traffic either.)

    Comment by West Seattle Since 1979 — 11:22 am April 27, 2013 #

  15. I do understand about the parking and transit-crowding though, and I don’t think everyone who comments on this is just doing it out of dislike of apartment-dwellers or new people. I wish some of the parking and transit issues could be worked out before building. But we do need more options for people who either can’t afford to,or for various reasons don’t prefer to live in single-family dwellings .

    Comment by West Seattle Since 1979 — 11:35 am April 27, 2013 #

  16. crazy to see this property has increased in value 600% since I moved to WS in 2000

    Comment by Diane — 11:36 am April 27, 2013 #

  17. I’ve been to a “Design Review” meeting and when I brought up the parking issue I was told that they don’t discuss that at these meeting. To address that you had to go to a different meeting with the dept that deals with those issues. I gave up going to these anymore.
    .
    Is that still the case?
    .
    Or have there been enough complaints about parking at these developments that they decided to allow the parking issue to be discussed?

    Comment by Ex-Westwood Resident — 11:39 am April 27, 2013 #

  18. ‘WS Since,’ no, your comment doesn’t break any rules, so nothing to delete. Glad you spoke up; as on any news site, unfortunately, comments on most stories only come from a tiny fraction of readers (15,000 people read the site daily and a really lively discussion might hit 60 or 70 comments) – it’s great to hear more perspectives in that fraction, if people have time to speak up. Side note: I got e-mail from someone wondering about the timeline on this project, because they would like to live closer to a relative in this area and a small affordable apartment might help them do so. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:44 am April 27, 2013 #

  19. WSS 1979,
    I have one issue with apt dwellers/renters. If they are going to rent a unit that does NOT have on site parking and they own one/two vehicles, then they should look elsewhere where there IS parking provided. THAT is the only fault I see is the apt renters.
    .
    The main issues I have is with the city and developers.
    .
    The city does NOT require a parking space for each unit. You can’t tell me that EVERYONE in the building ONLY gets around by walking, biking or the bus. Because of that, many in the surrounding neighborhoods resent the renters because they see the streets of their area and in front of their houses, where they once parked, being crammed with the cars of renters. The city has a skewed view that people don’t need cars and can do EVERYTHING by walking, riding or the bus.
    .
    I have issues with the developers because of the lack of creativity in the exterior design of these buildings that do not fit in with the local “flavor” of buildings. Maybe West Seattle needs to get an ordinance akin to the Pioneer Square area where ANY new construction MUST “fit in” with the existing architecture.
    .
    My trips to the junction have dwindled over the past few years because of the explosion of apt buildings that have inadequate parking for the tenants who then park on the street or the free parking that people visiting or working in the junction would normally use.

    Comment by Ex-Westwood Resident — 11:58 am April 27, 2013 #

  20. Thanks TR. I thought it might have gone too far, and like I said, I do understand about the parking, traffic and transit issues.

    Comment by West Seattle Since 1979 — 12:10 pm April 27, 2013 #

  21. I’ll say it before somebody else does … whether you or I or anyone else agrees with this or not, people who live in houses have no more right to the street parking in front of them than anybody else, so by the “don’t rent an apartment in a building without a garage” logic, for example, since Patrick and I have always had two cars, we shouldn’t have bought a house with one 1-car garage (which, at that, is a 1950s basement add-on that is too small for either of them, and the only reason we’re not therefore taking up parking in front of someone else’s house is the fact that our little lot has streets on three sides). Just a datapoint. And certainly one generating some stress – we have had multiple reports of people getting notes under their windshields if they park in some other neighborhood (even a business got a note from grumpy neighbors, recently posted in the WSB Forums) … TR
    .
    And no (I see the followup comment that came in while I wrote this one), parking is NOT a Design Review issue. The building’s shape, size, materials, where the garage entrances are (if any), landscaping, ARE, among other things. Comments on traffic/parking go directly to the assigned city planner (who also can take comments on the other issues at any time, too, though the high profile of speaking out publicly in the presence of the board, the planner, onlookers, reporters, etc., is optimal for many reviews we’ve seen).

    Comment by WSB — 12:27 pm April 27, 2013 #

  22. re: “I have one issue with apt dwellers/renters. If they are going to rent a unit that does NOT have on site parking and they own one/two vehicles, then they should look elsewhere where there IS parking provided. THAT is the only fault I see is the apt renters.”
    ~
    are you unaware that most homeowners also park their multiple vehicles on the street, which is public access; that means for everyone
    ~
    most of the homeowners I know, even if they have a garage, they use it for storage, and park on the street
    ~
    there is ample street parking in my ‘hood, so not at all an issue; my apt building has a small lot (8 cars/22 apts) that I would not even park in if they paid me; there is 1 apt here renting half the spots; probably ½ the apts here have 2 cars parked on the street; still not a problem; we are in the middle of a single family zone where nearly all the homeowners park on the street
    ~
    p.s., please stop bashing renters
    ~
    thank you “West Seattle Since 1979″
    ~
    from a lifelong renter, community activist, and 13yr West Seattle resident
    ~
    and thank you TR; seems you added a comment re parking while I was writing mine

    Comment by Diane — 12:48 pm April 27, 2013 #

  23. This is one of the few spots in West Seattle that a tenant can rent monthly parking across the street in the Wells Fargo lot or the Key Bank lot for less than s/he would pay in most any apartment building that has been built in the past 20+ yrs.
    One comment I read over and over again has to do with parking, the availability and cost of such. Apartment owners charge for parking (period). It is an additional cost to the owner (to build) and that cost gets passed on to the tenant, either in higher rents or an additional monthly charge. The same goes for homeowners and condo owners. A home with a 2-car garage or a condo with two parking spots, costs more. The homeowner, the renter or the tenant has to cover the cost to build the parking garages. There are no free lunches!
    This looks like it will provide housing at a price that today’s children will be able to afford when they fly the coop. It is located within walking distance of most anything. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that not everyone owns cars and the gas money and insurance to drive them.

    Comment by Jack Carson — 1:18 pm April 27, 2013 #

  24. Not all modern architecture sucks – but this does. Looks more like something slated to be torn down than newly built.

    I agree with Ex-Westwood about the parking issue. While single-family homeowners also use street parking, it’s not 20-40 vehicles per dwelling on a comparable sized lot.

    Comment by anonyme — 12:29 pm April 28, 2013 #

  25. “I live in the Gulag on the left, just across the street from the Burning Bush.”

    Comment by Privet — 12:14 am April 29, 2013 #

  26. I have spoken with the Seattle Department of Planning and Development about the Early Design Guidance meeting happening on 5/9 at the Senior Center.

    You are correct, Ex-Westwood, that they do not allow comments about environmental issues, parking, noise, construction, etc. at this meeting. I was told that if there is significant community interest in the project and 50 signatures gathered in a petition, then another meeting is scheduled to address environmental concerns.

    As the owner of the Community Acupuncture business next door, I will be at the meeting tonight in hopes of finding other neighbors concerned about the impact this large construction project will have on the neighborhood.

    Comment by sonja — 9:59 am May 9, 2013 #

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