By Linda Ball
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
A 6-live/work-unit project for California and Findlay and a 108-apartment building for Edmunds and Fauntleroy have both moved on to the second phase of Design Review.
Architects presented the Early Design Guidance proposals for 5458 California SW and 4754 Fauntleroy Way SW at the Southwest Design Review Board‘s Thursday night doubleheader at the Sisson Building/Senior Center. At this stage of the process, “massing” – size/shape – is the focus, rather than detailed designs.
5458 California SW was first (here’s the design “packet” and more on the city website):
Architect Andrew Finch presented three potential massing concepts for the six units that would replace the century-old log house that is the office for Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor), which is the current tenant at the site and not involved with the redevelopment project (as noted when we first reported on this proposal in April).
The fate of the old house is yet to be determined, but Finch said the logs are rotting, so moving it is most likely not an option. The six units would be live/work; there is no provision for parking, other than on the street. A RapidRide “C” Line bus stop is directly in front of the property, which already causes parking problems in the neighborhood, neighbors in attendance said, and most of the concerns they voiced were about parking and congestion. One neighbor said a school bus stops nearby as well. But Design Review doesn’t deal with parking; those concerns can be addressed to the city planner on the project (Crystal Torres).
Additionally, neighbors directly east of the parcel will lose a great deal of light and possibly be facing a windowless wall. The option the board favored would have the entrances facing Findlay, which will allow more space between the project and the neighbors to the east, but not much, since the lot is approximately 50 feet by 100 feet. With the zoning of NC2, neighborhood commercial, and frontage on California Avenue, a main arterial, some component of commercial space is required. Finch said his client is very security conscientious, so concerns about safety and privacy would be addressed. Garbage storage, signage and lighting are to be addressed in the next round.
Next: 4754 Fauntleroy Way SW (here’s the design “packet” on the city website).
The architects with Mithun – Ben Gist, Emily Hagen, Bert Gregory, and Rob Facio – gave a polished presentation for the yet-to-be-named project proposed at the corner of Fauntleroy and Edmunds, formerly home to the Capitol Loans pawn shop that closed in May.
It would be a seven-story structure with 108 apartments and 10 live/work units, and 106 below-grade parking spaces. The architects want to incorporate some of West Seattle’s history into the building by paying homage to Nucor Steel. The concept would include steel, mostly for show. Of the three options for massing that were presented, the board agreed with the architects’ preference, which would have an at-grade corner entrance, sidewalks along Edmunds and Fauntleroy, and with a 28-foot setback along Fauntleroy, room for two rows of trees, in hopes creating a positive pedestrian experience.
However, the neighbors who did comment all agreed that a live/work concept is out of context, particularly for the units that would face Fauntleroy. They would prefer retail space. A strong street presence to activate the pedestrian experience is what the board is looking for, but all in all, board members said they were pleased with what they saw, and allowed the project to move forward.
WHAT’S NEXT: Each of these projects will have to have at least one more Design Review meeting, for the “recommendations” phase. Dates are not yet set. If you have comments about the design or other aspects of the projects, you can e-mail their respective city planners:
5458 California SW – firstname.lastname@example.org
4754 Fauntleroy Way SW – email@example.com