By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Two developments this morning related to the mixed-use project planned for the current site of PCC-Natural Markets-West Seattle (WSB sponsor) at 2749 California SW:
First, PCC announced this morning that it has set the closing date for the current store: May 31. PCC spokesperson Heather Snavely also tells WSB that “details around the logistics of the closure” are being worked out. And:
An important part of the next few months will be recognizing just how special the West Seattle community is to PCC. We want to celebrate our members, shoppers and the West Seattle community we’ve had the pleasure of serving for over 25 years – including providing a sneak peek into some of the features to come in the new store. Expect more details in the coming weeks.
PCC had said in December that it expected to stay open “through spring,” but no date was announced at that time. Meantime, the May 31st closure announcement came just hours after the team working on Madison Development Group‘s project for the store site gave a “sneak peek” to a special meeting of the Admiral Neighborhood Association, two weeks before they take it back to the Southwest Design Review Board:
First, the backstory:
While a new PCC store will be the commercial tenant for the project, PCC is not the owner/developer. It’s the longtime tenant at the site and will continue to be, as part of the new project. It’s been almost two years since we discovered documents on file with the city indicating a possible project involving Madison Development Group. Two months later, in May 2015, as also first reported here, Madison closed its purchase of the site for $5,750,000.
In June of last year, we reported on Madison’s proposal for a mixed-use project including more than 100 apartments. Then in July, PCC announced that it would indeed be part of the project.
The next – and possibly last – review is scheduled for 6:30 pm March 2nd at the Sisson Building/Senior Center (4217 SW Oregon), as we reported last month, and as they’ve done previously, the team from Hewitt Architects gave a preview to the Admiral Neighborhood Association last night, with about 25 people there.
This was a special ANA meeting at a different location – no slide deck, just a few renderings propped up on chairs, but we’ve asked the architects if they can share digital files, and will add to this story if we receive anything. The new “design packet” should be on the city website soon, as Hewitt said they’re submitting it to the city today.
Hewitt principal Julia Nagele explained that in this round of Design Review, the project is down to the final details. “Our goals haven’t changed for the project – we want to be a good neighbor,” Nagele said. The plan for a “mixed-use structure” is an important goal, too, for people being able to live, shop, catch transit in one place – a difference, she pointed out, from the current identity of the site as a store with a big parking lot.
They also, she said, intend to remain sensitive to the fact that the site is across from Hiawatha, rather being across from other commercial development.
The building is in sections. The PCC store will be about 21,000 square feet – bigger than the current one, but “a third the size of (the nearby) Safeway,” Nagele noted.
The plan now shows “a main architectural entry” to the store, though the remaining surface lot will have an entry too.
There will be a covered bus stop that will “have its own identity” with a canopy, bench, and other features.
The entry requested by the SW Design Review Board at midblock will have an “increased identity and visibility” with some covered seating under a sort of pergola – some piping and nearby street trees, “you can sit out here, have a coffee, maybe a pre-made meal from PCC, across the street from Hiawatha, enjoy the park.”
Continuing north along the building, the apartment entries are north of the store, and will have “a little more relief from the energy” created by the store. The residences’ fitness room will be on the fourth floor, looking out at the park.
She showed some of the planned exterior material, “with a lot of slats, stacked up like bricks,” that she says will provide texture for the exterior. The colors will get darker going south to north, “reducing the scale and giving variety to the length of the street front.”
The windows will be “set in” from the wall, Nagele said, and the apartments will have a “lot of glass” in front.
PCC is still developing its interior layouts,” she added, but a few details are known – bakery toward the south end, a “point of sale” near the midblock entry, though more will be on the south end and “perpendicular to SW Stevens.”
The relatively short presentation was followed by Q & A:
First attendee question was about whether the bus stop was being relocated. Yes, moved a bit north, she acknowledged. They “have some flexibility” with Metro, she said.
ANA president Larry Wymer asked about the timetable for demolition and construction. “Still in play,” Nagele replied – they won’t know until the permitting process is done. Construction will last about a year and a half. They’re trying to keep it so PCC and the apartments would open in the same time frame.
In response to a question about the height – 47 feet. Unit type and number? Apartments, 108 of them. Two levels of parking, one for the grocery store, one residential – they’re required to have about .75 of a space per unit, and have “tried to meet that ratio,” per the team. They also are providing what city code requires them to provide for the grocery store.
How does this compare to Springline Apartments (WSB sponsor) not far south of here? they were asked. That’s much bigger, said the project team. And this is more transparent – you can see into/through more of it, they said. “Standing on California, am I looking down into PCC?” asked an attendee. Yes, about a foot to a foot and a half down, said Nagele (Safeway, by comparison, is a five-foot drop from the street at one point). There will be many more specifics in the packet submitted to the city today.
Are they working on getting additional bus service to serve the added residents? That’s not in the scope of things they can affect, said the design team.
The building will have a “move-in, move-out space.”
Are there elevator penthouses? Yes, 15-foot overruns are allowed; there are two elevators and two stairs. The roof will have a “small terrace,” Nagele said. “More toward the west, but set back from the west edge … about eight feet.” Asked about exhaust from the building, she said they are following code.
Technically, the project is made up of six buildings – one concrete, five wood-frame. The interior walkways “branch off into groups of three apartment homes.”
Asked about the site grade, they’ve set the floor so that it’s down 2 1/2 feet at one point, at grade at another point, and up a bit at another spot. “We think we’re finding that average so that one point of the building isn’t buried and one isn’t too high.” Accessibility for disabled people in the parking garage would be via an elevator.
Who maintains ownership once it’s built? Madison (which also owns Spruce at Fauntleroy/Alaska/39th in The Junction and Element 42 next to Admiral Safeway), whose CEO Tom Lee was at the meeting, observing (though he spoke up to identify himself when the ownership question was asked).
What type of units? Most are “true one-bedrooms,” said Nagele. No 2-bedrooms.
What about the alley, which is blocked whenever PCC has loading happening? “We’re providing loading on site,” Nagele said, as detailed in the earlier rounds of Design Review. A trash room is just north of the loading dock.
The meeting ended after 45 minutes, with applause.
The Admiral Neighborhood Association will be back to its regular schedule March 14, 7 pm at The Sanctuary at Admiral, 42nd/Lander … before then, you’re invited to its quarterly Adopt-a-Street cleanup, 9 am on Saturday, March 4th, meeting at Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor), 41st/42nd/Admiral.