(40th SW side of the 4755 Fauntleroy project, from the “packet” from last week’s Design Review meeting)
As reported – and extensively discussed – here on Tuesday, Mayor McGinn has put up a potential roadblock in the permit-seeking path of the 4755 Fauntleroy Way project, by telling SDOT to not recommend approval of the “alley vacation” the plan requires. While continuing to update that story Tuesday afternoon and evening, we sought comment from the development team, Lennar Homes (responsible for the residential component) and Weingarten Realty (handling the commercial component, anchored by a Whole Foods Market). Here’s the statement we received late today:
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to Mayor McGinn’s comments about our mixed-use re-development, located at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW.
Less than two years ago, the City Council adopted, and Mayor McGinn signed, an ordinance creating the West Seattle Triangle Plan. The Plan calls for the vacation of the alley in this block and the creation of a new mid-block connector – goals this project has fully embraced.
Mayor McGinn’s comments are surprising given the Mayor’s past support of developments that add housing and retail along transit lines and bike lanes. In fact, our re-development is designed with alternate modes of transportation in mind.
The statement continues after the jump:
We orientate the project’s most prominent architectural feature with the West Seattle’s RapidRide bus stop, three transit lines run in front of the project on Fauntleroy and we are voluntarily widening Fauntleroy Way SW to add a bicycle lane.
The re-development furthers the Mayor’s sustainability and public safety goals, creating safe, walkable streets by adding wide sidewalks and creating a new ‘green street’ with public plazas and community open spaces.
This project is consistent with City process. Seattle has a very thorough process for deciding if a project has created adequate “public benefit” to vacate a site’s public alleyway. This process respects the inputs and recommendations from City Boards and Commissions and the public.
The proposal to vacate an on-site alley went through exhaustive vetting by DPD, SDOT, the Design Commission and the West Seattle Design Review Board. Under the City’s established process, the Design Commission unanimously recommended approval of the alley vacation and, just last week, the West Seattle Design Review Board also recommended approval of the project. Strong public support in favor of the re-development was seen at all meetings.
A public benefit package valued at more than $2M is the result for the West Seattle community and includes the following:
• Activation of a city-designated Green Street on 40th Ave. SW
• Creation of 5,000+ s.f. of public plazas and open space on site
• Widening 40th Ave. SW on the north end of the block
• Creation of 6-10’ wide bands of landscaping around the project
• Addition of a 5’ wide bike lane on Fauntleroy
• Curation and installation of public art
• Funding for design of a new city park on 40th Ave SW
The parameters for our project, including its size, footprint and scale, were guided by the vision set forth in the community’s West Seattle Triangle Plan and are strongly supported by the community. This was the Plan approved by the community and the Council, and signed by Mayor McGinn.
We look forward to continued dialogue with the City and our neighbors in West Seattle as the project moves forward.
The regional president of Whole Foods issued a statement yesterday, and it can be seen at the end of our original Tuesday report. The full 12-item “public benefit” list that was presented to the Design Commission is in the packet from the June meeting at which they recommended approval – you can see it on page 40 here. The next step for the project is for the official SDOT report to be written and for the project to go to the City Council’s Transportation Committee, which in turn will make a recommendation to the council. If the council approved the “alley vacation,” the city and developers would then start talking about selling the alley; if not, the development could not proceed as planned, but would have the option of going back and redesigning without the “vacation.”
The property for the project was sold to the developers by multiple property owners late last year for a total of more than $18 million.