FOLLOWUP: Your chance to ‘rescue’ this West Seattle house

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The photo is from Jeff McCord, a West Seattleite who has long worked for Nickel Bros., a company well-known for “rescuing” older houses by moving them to new locations. You probably recognize this house – 5458 California SW, headquarters of Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor), which has to move because its landlord plans to build six live-work units on the site.

After we first reported the redevelopment plan back in April, many wondered, couldn’t the 107-year-old house be saved? McCord was among those asking that question, so he investigated, and tells WSB today that his company has obtained permission to give it a try. They’re looking for someone with a lot in the West Seattle area; the price to buy it and get it moved is listed at $69,000. The house is 3 bedrooms, 1 bath – the process, McCord explains, involves moving it to an excavated site, where the buyer then puts in a foundation, and then Nickel Bros comes back and lowers the house onto it.

“It has been one of my favorite houses for a long, long time!” he adds. “We really hope to find a nearby local recipient who can ‘adopt’ the house for us to move to their lot.”

ADDED 8:59 PM: We talked tonight with Ventana co-proprietors Anne and Clarence Higuera; they are still seeking a new West Seattle location, but they still have some time, because their lease here goes through the end of July.

31 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Your chance to 'rescue' this West Seattle house"

  • Alan December 2, 2016 (3:00 pm)

    It’s listed at 990 sq ft which I believe means it could be moved (with permit) onto a lot with an existing house as an Accessory Dwelling Unit. 

    • Molly Kirkland December 2, 2016 (5:22 pm)

      ADU and DADU can be up to 800 sq. ft.  

      • Alan December 2, 2016 (9:29 pm)

        I was looking at the ADU, which allows up to 1,000 sq ft. I missed that the detached ADU is less. 

        http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/permits/commonprojects/motherinlawunits/default.htm

        You are correct that a DADU is limited to 800. 

        Rats

      • Jeanne December 3, 2016 (8:35 am)

        The city is in the process of changing these restrictions – you could see if they would grant an exception. Mike OBrien is heading this up. 

  • kim December 2, 2016 (3:33 pm)

     What are the other costs involved once the house is moved?

  • Todd December 2, 2016 (4:30 pm)

    Any idea on what the timeline/deadline is?

  • Diane December 2, 2016 (4:49 pm)

    thank you Jeff; I went to 1st design review for this project and asked the developer’s rep about saving this house; his response was that it wasn’t worth saving, and of course, he provided no proof of such a ridiculous claim; love your work Jeff and hope someone can come through to save this house

    • owners rep December 12, 2016 (3:47 pm)

      Diane, what I said was I loved the old building but I thought
      it was too rotten to be moved. The reason I thought that was because I asked several
      people that know the building very well and it was their opinion. If it in fact
      can be moved I am completely for the idea! In fact before I knew about the about
      the building condition I had looked into moving the house to the church yard on
      Juneau St. because esthetically it would make a beautiful city park building or
      even a private residence! This would be an easy place to move it too.

       You might  know the church of the Nazarenes is working on
      plans to dedicate some of the property for a city park. They are trying to
      raise funds to save the old church by partnering with a developer to put three
      units on the church yard. They and the developer have gone down that rode so I don’t
      think it is an option at this point hopefully someone else will have a nearby
      place for the house although I know it is not in good shape. 

  • miws December 2, 2016 (4:55 pm)

    Kim, although I don’t see any actual dollar figures,  the FAQ on Nickel Bros. website points out potential added costs:

    Mike

    • WSB December 2, 2016 (5:15 pm)

      Anybody sincerely interested should by all means contact Nickel Bros. directly. However, I did ask Jeff McCord before publishing it, and the asking price includes the move and the house. But the land and whatever else you’re doing on/with it is up to you – getting a “recycled” home is definitely not just a case of, it’s moved, plopped down, and ready to go.

  • kumalavula December 2, 2016 (6:20 pm)

    i wonder how long it will take this community to look back upon all the single family houses and other west seattle landmarks  that were lost to modern multi story multi purpose box buildings currently being built not just here but all over the city. i am so saddened every time i see another one of the charming houses or buildings of our immediate community torn down or repurposed for what seems to be the hot architectural trend du jour.  look around right now: we’ve already transformed a lot of areas we walk, bike and drive past each day into box buildings while fewer and fewer traces of what once made west seattle a quaint community remain.  someone please save this great house!

  • JanS December 2, 2016 (6:57 pm)

    I’m so tired of hearing “not worth saving”. Yes, it is…it’s part of West Seattle history…and that is definitely worth saving. Developer will put up another square, brown/tan/odd green/yellow building that looks like all the other newly developed building around this part if town…and make a pile of money on it…no sense of caring for what we are definitely losing to mediocrity :(

    The new building will be as heartless and as soulless as the rest of the new builds in WS….

  • ACG December 2, 2016 (7:13 pm)

    I have always loved this house. I pass by it multiple times a day as I run errands. I hope someone can save it!!

  • zephyr December 2, 2016 (8:32 pm)

    I seem to recall that this was built as a hunting lodge back in the day.  If so, then it would be rather historical.  Can anyone verify this?  Was West Seattle still fairly forested in 1909?  

    • miws December 2, 2016 (9:07 pm)

      Zephyr,  I would guess so. I remember as a kid around 50 years ago, the senior next door neighbor lady saying she could remember when our neighborhood was pretty much all trees.  Granted, this was up on 38th in the Charlestown water tower/Belvidere area, so a good hike to any retail areas,  but West Seattle pretty much started in the Admiral district,  and  progressed southward.

      Mike

  • ImmaMom December 2, 2016 (10:39 pm)

    Ahem.  JanS, soulless?  The next homes will house several more contributing community members and they will make it a soulful home. And yes, change is hard but it happens.  Lifestyles have changed and the new construction will fit this better (open layout and more than 1 bathroom!) + 5 more families close to the bus lines rather than driving I-5!

    • Robert December 3, 2016 (10:16 am)

      Still can’t make assumptions that:

      1) Everyone moving to West Seattle, or Other neighborhoods, from different parts of the country will all be contributing community members

      2) Not everyone enjoys open floor plans

      3) The thought that any and everyone moving close to a bus line won’t drive is still laughable. 

      • WSB December 3, 2016 (10:31 am)

        You can’t assume that people who grew up here are contributing community members either. Please, let’s stop demonizing those who move here. Even if you were born here, unless you are Native American, somebody moved here somewhere along your family tree. We moved here in 1991 when the not-really-a-joke was that if you don’t get WA plates immediately, somebody will slash your tires. Not funny. Whether you approve of the way properties are being redeveloped or not, they are bringing people here who in many cases *are* an asset to the neighborhood. We have met them via e-mail, at neighborhood meetings, at events where we table, etc. – TR

        • John December 3, 2016 (11:24 am)

          Thank you WSB.

          I returned in 96′ to realize I had lost my birth rights and was flipped off for our California plates.

          West Seattle Character is interesting.

          Which West Seattle would you be talking about?  Not the depressed one, not the one with WWII slum housing, not the one with an absence of fine restaurants and few amenities, not the one with only a draw-bridge into Downtown Seattle?

          The character of housing will still remain primarily what is currently except for the relatively compact  growth areas. 

          There still is and will long remain an abundance of styles in our SFRs.  The actual statistics bare this out.   

          I appreciate anyone with the energy and resources to recycle homes like this.  It takes great planning and commitment.  Up-rooting a house of this era inevitably releases lead, asbestos, DDT, mercury and other toxins.  The new owner must mediate and dispose of them.  

          Steel plumbing, lead waste pipes and knob and tube wiring will need to be removed.  

          Beyond that is the requirement of a suitable vacant lot (close by) where utilities and required parking must be established before a foundation to move the house onto is poured.

          In all quite a feat.  

          And one that I appreciate when I see it done. 

          And one that makes me appreciate the financial reality of  “not worth saving” .

  • Chris December 2, 2016 (11:05 pm)

    One more home and possibly a historical home gone for more development. West Seattle has lost its charm. So sad. 

  • Rick Cook December 3, 2016 (7:30 am)

    It is definitely losing it’s character.

  • Cmt December 3, 2016 (9:07 am)

    I wish someone could rescue all the 100+ year old homes on my street (42nd) that the City plans to replace with expensive apartments in its proposed rezone😢

  • Patt December 3, 2016 (10:52 am)

    Why couldn’t  there a move to locate it on the property of the Alki Homestead or the Log House Museum down on Alki?

  • Amy December 3, 2016 (1:08 pm)

    I love this cabin.

    What about Camp Long? The environment of “you’re in the middle of the woods but still in the city” would be perfect. 

  • Meredith R Langridge December 3, 2016 (2:44 pm)

    I am interested, but does anyone know of a decent lot in WS? thx.

  • Holly December 3, 2016 (5:31 pm)

    There are a few lots for sale that might work. I would KILL to buy one and move this house onto it. But.. I won’t be ready to do anything until summer and will miss out. Seriously.. someone should snap this up. It’s a beautiful home and would be amazing on a lot in West Seattle. 

    At least then I could walk by it. :)

  • TJV December 3, 2016 (9:16 pm)

    Too bad for $69000 plus foundation and hook up fees that someone doesn’t grab it. Here’s a really crazy idea. Someone buys it, donates it and moves to where the dry cleaners and short stop were (at Morgan Junction)  and it becomes a community house and/or museum  of sorts. We don’t want to loose it, yet it can’t travel far….so make it a gathering spot for the community. I would l d love to see it stay and be around for not only old West Seattle but those who choose to make West Seattle part of their soul as well.

  • DH December 4, 2016 (7:25 am)

    I agree with John. I’ve been here over 20 years and things are changing. I like the look of this house but don’t know its quality. Some older houses are worth saving, and some are not. Not everything old is good and not everything new is good. We are in a densifying city. IMHO It needs to happen because people are coming (which isn’t going to stop unless the economy tanks) and they have to go somewhere. Its better for the environment this way. 

    • Mike December 4, 2016 (9:53 am)

      Better for the environment?  More pavement equals more runoff.  More toilets equals more sewage.  More electronic devices in more living quarters equals more power needed, More people equals more demand on our water supply.  Sewage alone should scare the crap (literally) out of you.  Where do you people think everything goes?  We’re operating on utilities built for the capacity of Seattle in 1980.

      • John December 4, 2016 (11:28 am)

        Mike often expounds his errant theory.

        Density does mean indeed equal efficiency. 

        Whether its is toilets,  electronic devices or any thing else Mike claims, density leads to standards that lead to efficiency.

        Toilets for example, Mike may be roosting on an old ‘they just don’t build them like they use to’ toilet that flushes 3-4 gallons.  Old toilets waste several times as much potable water as well as tripling the sewage waste water.  

        Old computers sucked up energy  and created heat problems as did cathode ray tubes of televisions.  New devices are efficient.  New heating is more efficient.  The electrical loads are also being  drastically reduced by those of us employing LED lights.

        Hard surface run-off is dealt with like never before.  New construction is required to collect run-off and utilize green methods such as infiltration, cisterns and other techniques.  The overwhelming majority of established homes in West Seattle  (like the one being discussed) do not collect all hard surface run-off and have downspouts directly attached (hard-lined) to the combined sewer, not storm drain, where they are a big cause of raw sewer dumps into Puget Sound, for which we receive fines from the Feds.

  • Brook December 4, 2016 (9:58 am)

    I would be interested. I live on 40th and Juneau so it wouldn’t have to go far. But it will be up to the city as it would be classified as a DADU…but I have plenty of room on my lot.

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