West Seattle, Washington
West Seattle development notes, all from along California SW:
SO LONG, EX-SPANKY’S: Last August, we reported that a demolition permit was being sought for the site we photographed today, 3276 California SW, a small, long-vacant commercial building to be replaced by live-work/townhouse units. Commenters noted that it was the former adult shop Spanky’s. (Our archives include a 2007 open letter from that shop’s former owner.) Today we noticed the teardown has happened since last we looked a couple days ago.
WORK ALSO HAS BEGUN … at 7002 California SW, where six rowhouse units are going up on the corner lot that previously held a century-plus-old house.
JUST UP THE BLOCK … the “design packet” for 7111 California SW is now available. As noted here last fall, instead of what was proposed when we wrote about it months earlier, it’s now going into Streamlined Design Review (no meetings required, but comments are accepted) with a three-story, five-unit, four-offstreet-parking-space plan. The design packet is linked from this Design Review page.
NORTH OF MORGAN JUNCTION … an early-stage eight-townhouse proposal is now in the system for an old apartment building at 5917 California SW that city files show has been the subject of numerous complaints.
In our development-notes roundup last weekend, we mentioned the Streamlined Design Review comment period was about to start for the microapartment project planned at 4807 41st SW – three stories, 22 units, no offstreet parking. Tonight, the official notice is out, setting the comment deadline as February 14th, and the “design packet” is now posted on the city website for public review. It’s embedded above, and also visible in PDF here. If you have comments on the plan, the notice explains how to send them to the city (and notes that this is the only opportunity for public comment; the Streamlined Design Review process does not include public meetings).
If you still don’t quite get what the proposed HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning plan is all about and what it would do – take some time to watch the video above, in which the City Council met for the first time as the Select Committee that will decide the plan’s fate. Monday morning’s meeting was largely devoted to a briefing presented by city staff, introduced by committee chair Councilmember Rob Johnson as “where we are and how we got here.” But it also included the toplines of what it’s hoped the upzoning would do – lead to the construction of hundreds more units of lower-priced housing in the city each year, by requiring developers to either include some in their projects or pay a certain fee to the city to fund them elsewhere.
As noted during the briefing, the council’s vote is at least six months away. And several councilmembers made it clear they are looking for lots more information: Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda asked for an overlay of publicly owned land that might be eligible for affordable housing. Councilmember Lorena González wanted to know more about affordable-housing projects already in the pipeline. Our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold voiced frustration that she doesn’t believe potential displacement has been adequately analyzed – there is lots of info about how many people are moving to Seattle, but not so much about how many are moving out, she noted.
During the staffers’ recap of the “engagement” efforts over the past year-plus, Herbold also brought up concerns she had heard about “missteps along the way.” She mentioned “several” events at which people walked away with concerns from changes to neighborhood plans, a lack of clarity about the MHA plan including zoning changes, and/or confusion over what upzoning would allow. And she pointed out that “Some of the promotional materials … did not give the impression” that big changes were being contemplated. She also said she’s being asked about councilmembers potentially developing “companion resolutions” that might address the plan district by district and said if that was happening, it needed to be discussed sooner rather than later. And she pointed out that while urban village rezoning in HALA MHA is presented as enabling more people to live closer to “good transit,” two urban villages without robust transit are in her district – Admiral and South Park.
After Monday’s briefing (which was followed by public comment you also can watch in the video), here’s what’s next:
NEXT COUNCIL ‘SELECT COMMITTEE’ MEETING: February 12th.
APPEALS OF THE FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT: As reported previously, the process for the appeals of the HALA MHA Final Environmental Impact Statement, filed by neighborhood advocates from around the city, is proceeding in parallel. Next step is a pre-hearing conference on February 14th.
WILL YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD BE AFFECTED? IF SO, HOW? Here’s the web map you can use to find out.
Variety of West Seattle development/construction notes:
4807 41ST SW MICROHOUSING: Almost a year after we first reported on this plan to replace a house with more than 20 microapartments and no offstreet parking, it has appeared on next month’s Streamlined Design Review schedule. As noted last year, that means no meetings, but public comment will be accepted. The design packet isn’t on the city website yet but should appear here soon.
Other sites set for denser redevelopment:
6506 42ND SW: That single-family house on a 4,000-square-foot lot was sold recently and someone asked us at a community meeting if we knew what was planned for the site, which is zoned for multifamily development. Nothing was on file then, but it is now – an early-stage plan for six townhouses, no offstreet parking. Most of the rest of 42nd SW on that block, across the street from the back side of West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor), already has been redeveloped into multi-family housing.
7329 BAINBRIDGE PLACE SW: The vacant land above, near the north end of Lincoln Park, also recently sold; the most recent development plan on file is for 10 townhouses with 10 offstreet parking spaces, to be accessed from SW Fontanelle on the south side of the site.
TOWNHOUSES AT 4518 40TH SW: Another one of the remaining 1930s-era stucco houses on this block of 40th SW is to be demolished, with five townhouses replacing it.
TOWNHOUSES AT 5447 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW: A house here will be replaced with 3 rowhouse-style townhouse structures.
TOWNHOUSES AT 4842 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW: Duplex to be replaced with rowhouse-style townhouses.
TOWNHOUSES AT 4534 DELRIDGE WAY SW: A house is proposed for demolition, to be replaced with a three-unit townhouse structure.
Also on Delridge:
NEXT SW DESIGN REVIEW BOARD MEETING: We first told you 2+ weeks ago that the self-storage project proposed for 9201 Delridge Way SW would go to the Southwest Design Review Board for Early Design Guidance on February 15th; this week, the formal notice of that meeting was published.
Also available online, the draft version of Caron Architecture‘s “design packet” for the meeting, with early feedback. Remember that the EDG meeting is about size, shape, and placement of the building on its site, not the fine points of exterior appearance, so that’s why the preliminary rendering above is so sparse.
OTHER DEMOLITIONS: Every so often we go through the permit list to see what’s been proposed and/or permitted in the past few weeks, mostly teardown projects smaller than what’s mentioned above:
–7925 18th SW (house to be replaced with a house)
–10434 39th SW (house)
–5447 21st SW (house and garage to be replaced with a house)
–3844 Belvidere (house to be replaced with a house)
–1928 Sunset SW (house, with lot split and two houses to follow)
–9002 Fauntleroy Way SW (house to be replaced with a house)
And a final note:
CRANE COUNT: West Seattle is down to two tower cranes. We went by the Upton Flats site today, and discovered that it had been taken down sometime since our last look at it, which was last week, on the day the 1307 Harbor SW crane was installed.
Thanks for the tip about a crane visible from North Admiral, looking toward the water. We went over and discovered it’s a tower crane going up for what you might know best as the project on the ex-Alki Tavern site. This is blocking the inland lane of the 1300 block of Harbor Avenue SW, and some staging is under way across the street at Don Armeni Boat Ramp.
This will be the third tower crane up in West Seattle right now – the first has been at the Upton Flats project (35th/Graham) since last February, the second went up two and a half weeks ago at the site of The Foundry (northeast corner of Fauntleroy and Edmunds, on the ex-pawn shop site).
Work started at this site last summer, more than four years after the tavern and other buildings were vacated. It’s planned as a 6-story mixed-use building with 15 residential units, office and “light manufacturing” space, ground-floor retail/commercial, and a public hillclimb/breezeway between California Way and Harbor SW.
As first reported here on Thursday, a purchase offer is listed as “pending” by the owners of the property where C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) has been open for 15 years. That came just a week and a half after they listed the 5612 California SW site for sale, asking price $1.25 million. When we contacted C & P proprietors Cameron and Pete Moores about the “pending” status, they told us they still have hope of buying the property – and now they’ve explained why: In an update this afternoon on the GoFundMe crowdfunding page that has so far drawn more than $53,000 in donations, Cameron wrote:
Pete and I have the right of first refusal as part of our lease. That means that any offer the owner accepts, we have 15 days to respond with our own offer, which we intend to do. That is only possible with your generous support and the commitment of many of our neighbors to invest in this piece of history. We will be posting more information as we approach the deadline …
In a previous GoFundMe-page update, Cameron wrote that the offer accepted by the property owners is from West Seattle-headquartered development/financing firm Blueprint Capital, for $1.285 million. The property is zoned Lowrise 3-Residential/Commercial.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
At the southwest corner of 63rd SW and Alki Avenue SW, that small plaque notes what’s believed to be the site of the legendary Denny Party cabin – the one that wasn’t finished by the time the settlers arrived, at which time some of them were reported to have sat down and had a “big cry”:
The site was later home to the Stockade Hotel (below) and currently holds the 11-apartment Pioneer Homes-Alki complex, built in the 1940s by Robert S. Wise, and still held by his family.
What you might not know is that the family also owns a parcel right behind it that holds two wood-sided duplexes and a house, also dating back to the 1940s.
And they’re looking to redevelop that parcel – 3015 63rd SW – into a new 11-apartment building, replacing those three structures.
12:40 AM: We’re in the 1200 block of Alki SW, where – as we reported Friday afternoon – the structure-moving specialists of Nickel Bros are moving another West Seattle house that otherwise would be destined for demolition.
This time, it’s 1262 Alki SW, one of the beach houses on what’s now the future site of SolTerra’s development Perch. The house is being towed by a truck, foot by foot, off the lot, in the start-stop-start mode right now, and once it’s in the middle of Alki Avenue – which will be closed for the operation – it’ll be taken to Don Armeni Boat Ramp and put on a barge. Eventual destination: New site in B.C. Updates to come!
12:58 AM: The house is now fully off the lot and on the road.
1:08 AM: We’re on the way to Don Armeni to check the progress from the end of the route. Above, what the house looked like as it passed – two stories, compared to the single-story log house the same company moved cross-peninsula last month, so literally a larger undertaking. And as noted in our afternoon preview, commenters pointed out that this house does have history – until a few years ago, it was home of Fred and Marjorie Dau, owners of Admiralty House Antiques (2141 California SW, where Mioposto is now). She died in 2013; he closed the shop later that year, and died in 2014.
1:27 AM: Thanks to Lynn Hall for the photo above, an overhead view as the house – built in 1962, according to county Assessor’s Office records – passed Luna/Anchor Park.
1:57 AM: After a brief return to HQ, we’re back in the Don Armeni vicinity, and the house is too. It’s on Harbor Avenue just outside the entrance to the boat-ramp park and the road is fully blocked there, which is a surprise to drivers arriving where we’re idling just before the roadblock.
2:21 AM: The house is now in the Don Armeni lot and the road is open again.
2:37 AM: Looks like part two of the operation will be a while, and the barge is not at the ramp yet, so we are going to check back in a few hours. (High tide is at 7:30 am.)
7:45 AM: Thanks to Richard for this photo taken minutes ago:
(added) And thanks to the anonymous reader who sent this photo:
We all know development is happening at a fast pace. And in some cases, it’s a bit repetitive – in the 5200 block of California SW, four side-by-side parcels are proposed for nine townhouses each. And we just noticed one parcel has this sign:
(Our favorite reaction on Twitter, where we shared this a little bit earlier: “When templates attack!”)
12:40 PM: Seven weeks after moving an old log house across West Seattle, the “house-rescuing” firm Nickel Bros is about to save another local house. The 55-year-old house in our photo, at 1262 Alki SW, will be trucked off the site around midnight tonight and taken to a barge that will be waiting at Don Armeni Boat Ramp. That means road and parking restrictions for a few early-morning hours – you might already have seen the signs. From here, Nickel Bros tells us, this house will be going to a new owner in British Columbia. It would otherwise have been demolished to make way for the new SolTerra development that’s planned for the site; Nickel Bros says the developer asked them to try to find new owners for other houses at the project site too (including the one in the background of our photo above) – you can see the other listings here.
8:09 PM: In comments, readers have pointed out that this is the former home of Fred and Marjorie Dau, best remembered for Admiralty House Antiques (which closed in 2013 in the North Admiral building that now holds the restaurant Mioposto). We will be on Alki Avenue later tonight to cover the move.
(Rendering by Nicholson Kovalchick Architects)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Junction Landing – the apartment building proposed for 4417 42nd SW – will have to come back for a third Southwest Design Review Board meeting.
Concerns about consistency of exterior-material use were a big part of what led to the 4-1 board vote tonight to require another review.
The project plan has 58 apartments and 4 live-work units in a 4-story building, and 29 off-street parking spaces beneath it. It was reviewed by all four members of the current board, chair Matt Zinski, Don Caffrey, Alexandra Moravec, and Crystal Loya, plus past and fill-in board member Robin Murphy. In attendance from the city Department of Construction and Inspections was the project’s assigned planner, Sean Conrad.
ARCHITECTS’ PRESENTATION: Steve Fischer and Chie Yokoyama from Nicholson Kovalchick Architects presented the project (see the design packet here). As Fischer noted, the same local owners/developers built Junction Flats on the same block (separated from this site by the West Seattle Eagles‘ east parking Lot).
Next up at the Southwest Design Review Board: Thursday at 6:30 pm, board members will take their next look at the Junction Landing apartment project, 4417 42nd SW [map], a short distance north of the same West Seattle developers’ Junction Flats. The packet for Thursday’s review, from architects Nicholson Kovalchick, is now available – see it (PDF) on the city website, or embedded below:
Junction Landing proposes 58 apartments, 4 live-work units, with 29 underground parking spaces (accessed from the alley), in a four-story building, replacing three houses built in the 1930s. This is its second and potentially final Design Review; the project received Early Design Guidance approval at its first review last May. There will be a public-comment period during Thursday’s meeting, which is upstairs at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon)
One week after we showed you the long-awaited start of demolition at the former West Seattle PCC Community Markets (WSB sponsor) site – which will become the Luna Apartments/new PCC mixed-use development – we have updates. A spokesperson for site owner/developer Madison Development Group sent an official announcement this morning that the project is under way. It included this new information:
-The 25,000-square-foot store and 108 apartments are expected to open “by late summer 2019”
-The apartments will be a “mix of studio and one-bedroom” units, that will “include 27 apartments available at affordable rates between 50 to 80 percent of area median income under the City of Seattle’s Multifamily Property Tax Exemption program”
This is Madison’s third West Seattle project, after Spruce in The Junction and Element 42 in Admiral. (Both of those projects were initiated by other developers, then stalled, and were taken over and built by Madison. Luna/PCC has been a Madison project from the start; MDG bought the site two and a half years ago.)
The automotive-business site on the southwest corner of Delridge and Barton has a new redevelopment proposal – described as a four-story building containing “mini-storage with office space at ground level,” a caretaker unit, and parking for 12 vehicles. The project has to go before the Southwest Design Review Board because of its size, and a tentative date has been set for the first (Early Design Guidance) meeting – 6:30 pm February 15th (Sisson Building/Senior Center, 4217 SW Oregon).
(WSB file photo)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Thanks for all the tips about this – a brand-new real-estate listing that startled a lot of West Seattleites when it went up this morning: 5612 California SW, site of the century-old Craftsman house that is the home of C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), has been put up for sale in a listing describing the parcel as “a terrific development opportunity.”
The coffeehouse is far more than a place to get your latte – it’s a beloved community center and hangout, a place that hosts music and meetings, bazaars and bake sales, donation drives, and one-on-one conversations that no doubt have changed some lives.
The building is NOT owned by C & P Coffee’s proprietors Cameron and Pete Moores (shown at right in WSB photo from C & P’s 10th anniversary in 2013) – they are longtime tenants. We talked with Pete minutes ago. They are “scrambling to try to figure out some way to not only save the building but also save our business too,” he told us. Their landlord just told them days ago about the plan to put the site up for sale – and it “hit us like a ton of bricks” – but they were still “staggered” when the $1,250,000 listing went up this morning.
“We still have a lease that gets us through 2020 – so it’s two years-plus before they can boot us out,” Pete said, but that’s not much consolation. The business he and Cameron have built for 15 years – opened on Valentine’s Day 2003 – “has become more than a coffee shop in the neighborhood, it’s become an important part of our community and we want to save that. So we’re reaching out to everybody we know, looking for somebody who might want to partner with us to buy the property.”
Without a partner, Pete says, $1,250,000 is way out of their range. “We’re just a little mom-and-pop business and it’s like we’re up against the big boys. … Our fingers are crossed that somebody can help us.” Or else, another of those “beautiful houses on California Avenue” is going away, Pete laments; the real-estate listing assesses the site simply as “Value in land – 50X150, level, paved alley.” (The 7,500-square-foot site is zoned Lowrise 3.)
If you – or someone you know – might be interested in/able to help them, e-mail email@example.com. In the meantime, Pete says, they’re just going to “work their asses off and try to figure it out.”
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) January 8, 2018
(WSB video substituted 11:14 am for originally published photo)
FIRST REPORT, 10:41 AM: Seven months after the West Seattle PCC Community Markets (WSB sponsor) closure at its once-and-future site – demolition is finally beginning. We just went to the site to confirm after a tip, and indeed, the demolition equipment is there and the crew confirmed they are about to get going. (First, they have to haul one last store fixture out.) Though there have been lots of rumors, when we last checked on the project three weeks ago, it was reiterated that they were just waiting for permits. PCC is a tenant at the site owned by Madison Development Group, which is building 100+ apartments as well as the new, larger store.
11:13 AM UPDATE: The building teardown is now under way. Video substituted atop the story.
3:33 PM: This video is from less than an hour ago, right after the two excavators now on site brought down the west wall:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) January 8, 2018
The new building will cover the site of the old store and the parking lot to the south of it, but not the southwest lot west of the alley – that has different zoning and is to be kept as surface parking, in addition to two levels of parking beneath the building.
(From Design Review in March 2017: California SW-facing side of the project; rendering by Hewitt Architects)
ADDED 4 PM: Aerial view from WSB’s Christopher Boffoli:
PCC told us last month that they’re expecting to open next year. (Construction of a project of this size typically takes a year to a year and a half.)
11:26 AM: Thanks for the photos and tips! The tower crane for The Foundry on the northeast corner of Fauntleroy and Edmunds is going up right now.
The crane is going up two months after work began at the 4754 Fauntleroy Way SW site, planned for 100+ apartments, ~10 live/work units, and ~100 underground parking spaces.
2:37 PM: Here’s how the crane-in-progress looked when we went by about half an hour ago:
By the way, this will be the second tower crane currently up in West Seattle. The other one went up last February at Upton Flats (35th/Graham) and won’t likely be up too much longer.
SATURDAY NIGHT NOTE: We drove by the site tonight – the crane installation appears to be complete. We’ll add a photo on Sunday.
Two townhouse projects in development news this morning, both on corner lots along SW Brandon:
TOWNHOUSES FOR THAITAN CORNER? An early-stage site plan has appeared in city files for 5258 California SW, current home of The Thaitan. 9 rowhouse (townhouse) units are proposed, two facing California, seven facing Brandon, with nine underground parking spaces. What’s particularly interesting is that while the adjacent, recently vacated Papa John’s site has had the same ownership, there’s no proposal in the files for that site – yet – though the site north has an 18-townhouse plan. Meantime, since the corner site is an early-stage proposal, not yet to the formal application stage, there’s no official comment period open yet either, but if you have anything you want to tell the city, you can contact PRC@seattle.gov and refer to #3030600. As for the restaurant’s future, we’ll be checking on that. (Photo: County Assessor’s Office)
(1:19 PM UPDATE: As Scott points out in comments, since we published this, a similar plan has turned up in online files for the ex-Papa John’s site – 9 townhouses, in this case, 3 fronting California, and three rows of two each behind it.)
And about four blocks directly east …
TOWNHOUSES AT FAUNTLEROY/BRANDON: A project much further along in the pipeline has received a key approval, per this notice in the city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin. Six rowhouse-style townhouses have been approved for the northwest corner of Fauntleroy/Brandon, at 3914 SW Brandon, with six offstreet-parking spaces; today’s notice is the determination of environmental non-significance, and opens a two-week period for anyone interested in filing an appeal.
(‘Conceptual’ rendering by Lemons Architecture, from April 2017 Design Review presentation)
The project passed the first phase of Design Review back in April (WSB coverage here), which meant the developer was cleared to go ahead and apply for land-use permits. They have now just done so, which is the reason for the notices published today, opening a new public-comment period until January 8th (each address above is linked to the notice that in turn includes a “how to comment” link).
NEXT STEP: The second round of Design Review – no meeting date yet.
While some sites on the north/west side of Avalon Way that once were proposed for apartments have turned into townhouse projects instead, the south/east side seems to be a different story. In an early-stage proposal that just turned up in city files, the Golden Tee Apartments complex on the southeast corner of Avalon and Genesee is proposed for demolition and replacement by a building with ~160 units and ~100 offstreet-parking spaces. Golden Tee spans two buildings at 3201 and 3211 SW Avalon Way, with 28 units, according to King County Assessor’s Office records, which say they were built 50 years ago. The preliminary site plan on record is by the prolific multifamily-project specialists at NK Architects. NK also designed 3039 SW Avalon Way, a 71-unit project about a block away, still making its way through the permit system after passing Design Review earlier this year.
While townhouse-building along arterials is not unusual, the plan for 9238 35th SW [map] is: Instead of demolishing the 84-year-old single-family house on this multi-family-zoned (Lowrise 2) site, the early-stage proposal that’s just appeared in city files would move the house forward on its current lot, and build four townhouses behind it. The detached garage on the alley at the back of the site would be removed, replaced by surface parking spaces. A house two doors north of this one had two townhouses built behind it in the ’00s but as far as we can tell, the house remained in its original spot. We have a request out to the project team for comment.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It’s the most-common question in the WSB inbox right now: What’s up with the “PCC project”?
It’s been almost seven months since the May 31st closure of PCC Community Markets‘ (WSB sponsor) West Seattle store, shut down so it could be demolished and replaced by a mixed-use building with a new store and 100+ apartments. But the site remains virtually idle.
(If you need a refresher: PCC doesn’t own the site; it’s a tenant. Madison Development Group bought the site from PCC’s former landlord in 2015 and pursued the redevelopment plan.
Some PCC fans tell us they’ve been shopping at other stores and asking staffers what they know, and hearing various things, so they wanted an official update. So here’s what we can tell you, from checking around and reading documents in city files:
-PCC says it’s still on target for a 2019 West Seattle reopening.
-Two key permits for the project – demolition and excavation – were issued November 8th, according to the city’s online files. But the main construction permit is still making its way through the city system, exactly one year after the official application was filed.
-While the site would be upzoned from 40′ to 55′ under the HALA upzoning proposal that the City Council will consider next year, we asked the project designers, Hewitt, if that was leading to any changes, and principal Julia Nagele replied, “No HALA increases are anticipated for the project. The design team is simply waiting on the City to finish their permit review process.”
-What we don’t know is if there’s a projected start date. The construction-management plan on file says “late 2017,” with a tower crane expected on site in spring 2018. We have messages out to leadership at Madison and will add anything we hear back from them.
-For PCC fans who are looking forward to shopping at its future Burien store (15840 1st Ave. S.), while in the meantime ordering delivery and/or going to other stores like not-too-far Columbia City – a PCC spokesperson tells us the Burien opening is expected in spring.
Two West Seattle development notes:
SOUTH DELRIDGE LOT PROPOSAL: That vacant lot at 9419 17th SW, long-ago home to a fire-damaged house that was demolished several years back, has an early-stage development proposal: “2 new mixed use buildings, consisting of 8 individual commercial/residential units.” The site is zoned for mixed-use development up to 40 feet; that would increase to 55 feet under the HALA MHA “preferred alternative.”
FIRST DESIGN REVIEW MEETING OF THE NEW YEAR: The Southwest Design Review Board‘s calendar has been empty for a while but the first meeting of 2018 has just been penciled in: 6:30 pm January 18th, the board will take its second and possibly final look at 4417 42nd SW, a 4-story, 62-unit (58 apartments plus 4 live-works), 26-underground-parking-space project. It got Early Design Guidance approval in May. (This too is zoned for 40 feet but proposed for 55′ under HALA MHA.)