Commercial site? Park? Housing? What’s best for ex-substation in Highland Park?

September 30, 2013 at 9:18 pm | In Highland Park, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

One of the former substation sites that Seattle City Light might sell is right in the heart of a Highland Park crossroads.

With this Wednesday’s formal public hearing on the ex-substations’ fate approaching, what’s called the Dumar site – on the southwest corner of SW Holden and 16th SW – got a spotlight at this month’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting.

After City Light rep David Barber‘s presentation about the process that’s under way, community discussion revealed some sentiment that it might be optimal for that site to become commercial/retail property, like two of the three other corners at 16th/Holden (NW corner is 7-11, SE corner is Seamart and Wanna Teriyaki/Burger, and the NE corner holds Fire Station 11, which SCL says is using part of the ex-substation for parking).

One attendee voiced surprise that a park/open space wouldn’t be considered the highest and best use of the site, but HPAC co-chair Carolyn Stauffer said some community members with whom she had spoken suggested that HP has a relative abundance of park space already, but not of open space. Most other commercial properties in HP are scattered in one-off sites, until you reach the South Delridge business area.

The 10,000-square-foot site is officially zoned for potential single-family home (5,000-sf parcel) development.

Wednesday’s public hearing is at 6:30 pm at High Point Community Center (6920 34th SW); you can also comment online – as explained here. City Light says it’s not expecting a final decision on this and the other surplus sites before next year.


  1. 6 uber-modern 3-story townhomes obviously :)

    Comment by wsn00b — 9:30 pm September 30, 2013 #

  2. Let’s put it aside as a potential light rail stop :)

    Comment by Amanda — 9:52 pm September 30, 2013 #

  3. More housing,there’s not enough people here yet. Or maybe another bar.

    Comment by Alki Resident — 9:54 pm September 30, 2013 #

  4. nooo…apodments w/ no parking…just a big , dull, square building…;-)

    Comment by JanS — 11:14 pm September 30, 2013 #

  5. New tent city!

    Comment by Darryll — 12:40 am October 1, 2013 #

  6. I am a member of a group that is doing a survey of the trees and shrubs in each of the substations. At Dumar we found~
    Arborvitae, Dogwood, Pendula Birch, Madrona, Parrotia, Fir, Pines, Big Leaf Maple, Hazelnut, and more. An impressive list of trees and greenery. We are all for each neighborhood voicing their own thoughts on their substations. But you have to remember, once these are gone they are gone. It would take several generations to regrow and naturalize this site, and it would never be as natural as it is at the moment.

    Comment by trying! — 7:16 am October 1, 2013 #

  7. Put them up for auction re-zoned for general use commercial/residential and sell to the highest bidder. Use the money to repair roads or remove dangerous or duplicative bike lanes (Alki needs TWO bike paths on the W. side? Really?)

    Comment by GayCynic — 10:38 am October 1, 2013 #

  8. This would be an amazing green space to have a few greenhouses set up to provide food for locals & to educate the community on urban agriculture! Fresh Food for all!

    Comment by rcl — 11:00 am October 1, 2013 #

  9. Amanda – Like the future Highland Park light rail station idea! Until that miraculous day arrives,a greenspace with possible community garden would be nice.

    Comment by Jason — 11:52 am October 1, 2013 #

  10. Darryll – That was the first thing that popped in my head as well! hahaha

    Comment by Andrea — 2:14 pm October 1, 2013 #

  11. There’s already a P-patch at Westcrest, though another community garden would be nice.

    Comment by datamuse — 4:07 pm October 1, 2013 #

  12. Parks was on hand at the last HPAC meeting to tell us that they were not interested in the property(apparently adoption of the property by Parks is the only option for non sale of the property). Seattle City Light was there to let us know that they WILL be paid “fair market value” as per a law with a number that was read to us.. Basically the property must be sold. Of the people that I’ve talked with, the majority want to see the space rezoned commercially before the sale. For this to happen, we need to write the City Council with that request, we were told. Personally I hope the City/Council listens to the community and promotes the walkability of Highland Park further developing the area commercially.

    As for green space, the “White Center” property would be a welcome addition as a rain garden if that option pans out.


    Comment by craig — 7:57 pm October 1, 2013 #

  13. Why bother debating it. It will end up another park that can’t be kept or managed because our council members (city and county) are too lazy to put any real thought into it.

    Comment by Westwood — 9:27 pm October 1, 2013 #

  14. I am a home owner on this block between Holden and Kenyon and I would very much believe a library would be wonderful, an invaluable asset to the neighborhood! It would service a low income section of our neighborhood and provide computer access to many without it,including children, remember, there are two elementary schools within walking distance of this intersection. Otherwise, I have no problem with the Firemen continuing to use it as safe parking for their vehicles. Thank you!

    Comment by on16th — 6:23 am October 2, 2013 #

  15. the truth is that a park at that location would ideally turn into a blight. i live three blocks away and know what this neighborhood can generate if given the opportunity. a commercial space could bring in more services that are needed for all; cafe, bar, quick service restarant, grocery…

    Comment by Fansman — 7:36 am October 2, 2013 #

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