West Seattle, Washington
A new development proposal has just turned up in the city files for a site southeast of the north side of Westwood Village: It’s an early-stage proposal to replace a fourplex at 2222 SW Barton with an 80-unit complex. This would require Design Review, according to an online notation. Last year, we reported an early-stage 32-unit proposal for what was in the system at the time as 2221 SW Barton Place, but that project seems to have vanished from the files, and the preliminary site plan for this project appears to encompass that adjacent site, under the name (or at least, working title) Barton Terrace Apartments. The project is proposed for four stories “with partial basement” and no offstreet parking (not required, given the nearby transit). The architect identified on the site plan is Playhouse Design Group.
(King County Assessor’s Office photo)
From the city files: A new development proposal in the area some call “downtown Arbor Heights.” It’s an early-stage plan for nine live-work units at 4220 SW 100th, the property whose ownership is listed as the West Seattle Church of Christ. It’s zoned NC1-30, which allows commercial/residential development to three stories. The preliminary “site plan” filed last week, by Lemons Architecture, shows three units fronting on California SW, six on SW 100th, with nine surface parking spaces on the north side of the 8,100-square-foot site.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The tree was off the table.
At the start of the Southwest Design Review Board‘s doubleheader nightcap last Thursday, the third Early Design Guidance review of the mixed-use proposal for 4532 42nd SW, planner Katy Haima made that clear.
She declared that the issue of “tree removal on the site” – referring to what happened after the project’s last meeting in November, with an $11,000 penalty revealed recently – had been “referred to [the city] and had been resolved” and asked participants not to bring it up.
Only one did.
Compared to the lightly attended review at the start of the night (1606 California SW – see our report here), this one had more than a dozen spectators, though most were there to observe and not to comment. All five board members were present for this review – chair Todd Bronk, members Don Caffrey, T. Frick McNamara, Alexandra Moravec, and Matt Zinski.
At meeting’s end, they voted to allow the project to proceed to the second phase of Design Review. Here’s what happened along the way:
Here’s our first of two reports from last night’s Southwest Design Review Board meeting, the shorter one because this project had little critique and little controversy. The three-story, 15-unit apartment building proposed for 1606 California SW in North Admiral won SWDRB approval in the minimum number of review meetings – two – though they were two years apart.
Board chair Todd Bronk and members Don Caffrey, Alexandra Moravec, and Matt Zinski voted unanimously to give their final blessing. On hand for the city Department of Construction and Inspections (formerly Planning and Development) was the project’s assigned planner Katy Haima.
Here’s the design “packet” by Roger Newell Architects, whose Neal Thompson led the presentation, saying the project has a “great site” in terms of its view: Every living space will have a corner window. He said the project hadn’t been idle since its last review in 2014, since they had been working with the city “through four correction cycles” and changing the design to respond to feedback from the preview review.
The exterior will include stucco, paneling, wood soffits, and glass rails. The driveway into the garage (the plan includes 21 offstreet parking spaces) will have vertical planking along its sides, for “texture.”
The lone public commenter was former SWDRB chair Deb Barker, who recalled that she voiced concern about a section of “blank wall” back at the 2014 meeting – specifically the west side of the project, facing California – and it’s still there. She’s hoping for something honoring the “elegant nature of the project.” She said she’s “pleased with .. the palette and the materials.” And she “really, really like(s) the tower” on the building.
That same concern was voiced by board chair Bronk when members deliberated before voting. He and Caffrey both voiced support of the materials chosen. Caffrey also wanted to be sure sightlines for cars and pedestrians were considered in term the ramp to the garage. Bronk added his concern about “stacking” of cars in the alley. Moravec expressed appreciation for some of the landscaping along the ramp. Bronk, a landscape architect, did have a critique of the planned trees, thinking some evergreens would be called for, especially along the “blank wall” section on the building’s west side. Zinski said that with “a lot of corners exposed” on the building, it would be important to ensure the wood siding fit together well. He also said during deliberation that “those stairs [in the tower] had better be really nice if we’re going to see them.” Bronk focused on other details such as trellising shielding the trash area and also lighting being shielded on the alley side. Overall, he called the design “a great package.”
If you have feedback on the project, there’s still time, even if you missed the meeting – e-mail comments to the planner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our report on last night’s second review, the board’s third look at 4532 42nd SW, will be published later today.
Four West Seattle development/construction notes:
DESIGN REVIEW DOUBLEHEADER TOMORROW NIGHT: Two projects go before the Southwest Design Review Board tomorrow (Thursday, April 21st) night at the Sisson Building (Senior Center) in The Junction. At 6:30 pm, it’s the second review – two years after the first – for 1606 California SW, a three-story building with 15 apartments and 21 offstreet parking spaces replacing two residential structures; see the design packet here. At 8 pm, the six-story, 54-unit, 50-parking-spaces proposal for 4532 42nd SW goes in for a third Early Design Guidance meeting, required because of the tree tussle; see the design packet here. As always, both projects will have public-comment periods. (California SW/SW Oregon)
LIVE-WORK UNITS PROPOSED FOR 5458 CALIFORNIA SW: Design Review would be required, according to city files, for a proposal that’s in the early stages for 5458 California SW, seeking to replace a 107-year-old house-turned-commercial offices with seven live-work units. This happens to be the headquarters of Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor); we checked with Ventana and they replied that they are tenants: “We have no knowledge of the owners’ plans for the property. We are in the process of identifying another location for our business, as our lease expires a year from this summer. We intend to stay in West Seattle, and hopefully in this neighborhood.” The early “site plan” in city files shows three units would face California, behind the northbound RapidRide stop, and four would face Findlay.
NEW PROPOSAL FOR 5414 DELRIDGE WAY SW: The proposal that went through Early Design Guidance last year to replace a house on this site has itself been replaced. A new proposal, with a new architect (it’s now Lisa McNelis; it had been NK), is now in the early stages, with its site plan showing a 3-story, 2,400-square-foot commercial building in front of a four-townhouse residential unit. The owner is still listed as Eric Christianson, who operates Community Care next door.
‘PET AFTERCARE’ AT 9205 35TH SW: City files show a proposal for the former West Seattle Refinishing site described as follows: “convert detached garage to commercial use … establish use as animal shelter for pet aftercare and disposition, construct tenant improvements in existing commercial building.” The documents point to Resting Waters, whose website says they expect to start providing “aquamation” services in June. We’ll be contacting them to find out more.
Two updates on two early-stage projects we’ve mentioned before, both in what’s becoming a very busy corridor along Edmunds between 40th and Fauntleroy:
4754 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW: New names and a new size for the project proposed for the parcels currently holding the Capitol Loans pawn shop and the parking lot to its north. We first reported last December that a seven-story building with 125 units and 90 offstreet parking spaces was proposed. Now, after a new filing with the city, it’s described as 133 residential units, 134 offstreet parking spaces (on two underground levels), still seven stories (the site is zoned for up to eight). The developer is now listed as Holland Partner Group, a Vancouver (Washington)-based company best known for apartment complexes; the architect is now Mithun (it was Caron). This will have to go through Design Review, but no date’s set yet.
Less than a block away, another update:
4800 40TH SW: When we reported on a proposal for this 40th/Edmunds site two years ago, but it went idle as its prospective developers moved their attention next door to 4801 Fauntleroy Way SW. That 53-unit mixed-use project which has since passed both phases of Design Review. Now, a new site plan has just been filed to reactivate 4800 40th for redevelopment; the city filing has only the summary, “demolition of existing structures on site, and construction of a new multi-family residential building with (1) level of below-grade parking, and (4) levels above grade. The ground floor will consist of both residential and commercial uses” – no unit count mentioned so far.
(UPDATED 3:37 PM with city reply to our followup inquiry)
(WSB photo, November 2015)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One of the discussion threads woven through the West Seattle tree-cutting case these past two weeks has been the monetary value of a tree.
In another West Seattle case, it appears that value has been set at $11,000.
You might recall the reader video last November 15th showing a big red cedar cut on a Sunday morning on the future site of the 4532 42nd SW mixed-use development (immediately north of the Junction QFC).
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It’s been a question spanning many years and many plans – what will be built at High Point’s last big vacant corner, 35th and Graham?
The two-building mixed-use project Upton Flats at 6058 35th SW might be the one destined to happen. It won final Southwest Design Review Board approval tonight.
Four of the five board members were present along with the project’s assigned city planner Tami Garrett: Chair Tod Bronk, Matt Zinski, Alexandra Moravec, and Don Caffrey, to take one more look, and offer one more round of feedback on, the project with two 4-story buildings, about 100 residential units, 10,000 square feet of commercial space, and 100+ offstreet-parking spaces, now planned below grade.
Four West Seattle development notes this afternoon:
MORE EARLY DETAILS ON PCC-SITE PROPOSAL: When we most recently reported on the early-stage plan for 2749 California SW – current site of the PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) West Seattle store, purchased by Madison Development Group a year ago – little information was available. But a new document in city files has a few more tentative details: According to the “pre-submittal” form, the proposal is currently envisioned for 92 residential units, 145 parking spaces, and 24,000 square feet that are described as “grocery/retail.” Will that be PCC? When we last checked with Madison, they did not have a tenant signed; PCC told us they expected to be in West Seattle for a long time, whether at this location or elsewhere, but had nothing to say yet either. Stay tuned for updates.
AEGIS LIVING PROJECT UPDATE: Also in Admiral – the land-use permit for the Aegis Living project at 4700 SW Admiral Way cleared a major hurdle this week, with the key decision detailed here. We checked today with Aegis regarding its plans for demolition of the three-years-empty former Life Care Center; spokesperson Charlotte Starck says they are expecting the demolition permit in June. As reported in our coverage of this month’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, police say the property is now part of a trespassing-crackdown program that gives SPD the ability to boot people found there. Meantime, this week’s approval opens a period for appeals – deadline is April 11th; this city page explains how to file one.
4528 44TH SW COMMUNITY MEETING: We stopped by the Senior Center of West Seattle on Monday evening to ask a few questions at the project team’s “drop-in community meeting,” part of the community outreach they needed to do while the permit’s being finalized for the 6-story, ~58-unit building. Toplines: They’re expecting to get started around the end of April. The work shouldn’t affect the alley behind nearby businesses, except when they’re getting deliveries, which they will try to schedule to avoid conflicts. Their staging area should be limited to the paid-parking lot closest to the building’s south side, steering clear of the Wells Fargo lot south of that.
4 PROJECTS UPCOMING AT DESIGN REVIEW: The Southwest Design Review Board hasn’t met this month because the city hasn’t scheduled any projects for review. Starting next week, that changes. We reported two weeks ago about the project reviews scheduled for 6058 35th SW (6:30 pm April 7th) and 1606 California SW (6:30 pm April 21st). Now a second review has been added for April 21st – at 8 pm, the board will have its third Early Design Guidance review for six-story, 84-unit 4532 42nd SW, which you might recall is the site where a big tree was cut after the last review, despite the board’s interest in seeing it remain. And a May 5th review is scheduled (6:30 pm) for a proposed 40-apartment building at 9030 35th SW in Westwood, coming back to the SWDRB eight years after its first review.
The developers of 4528 44th SW in The Junction – the six-story, 58-microapartment building in the rendering above – are holding a community meeting for anyone interested in construction-related info before work begins. They sent us the announcement today – it’s a drop-in meeting, 4-6 pm on Monday, March 28th, upstairs at the Senior Center of West Seattle. The project already has made it through design and environmental reviews, so this isn’t a meeting for comments, but rather a meeting to learn what’s ahead in the year or so that it will take to build. They also promise to post construction/traffic-related information here. The latter is of special note since this construction site abuts an alley and parking behind Junction businesses in the 4500 block of California. The project team says it’s expecting the building permit to be issued by the end of April.
We’ve been overdue for a development/construction update – so here are some notes, starting with the next two Southwest Design Review Board meetings:
6058 35TH SW: This will be the third Design Review for the two-building proposal at High Point’s last remaining major corner, 35th and Graham. Currently it’s described as “two 4-story structures, one containing 61 residential units above 5,533 sq. ft. of commercial space and one containing 41 residential units above 4,612 sq. ft. of commercial space. Parking for 109 vehicles to be provided in a below-grade garage.” (Links to last year’s June and September meeting reports are here.) The review is set for 6:30 pm April 7th at the Sisson Building/Senior Center (4217 SW Oregon).
1606 CALIFORNIA SW: Two years after the first Design Review meeting for this 3-story, 16-apartment, 24-offstreet-parking-space project replacing a smaller multifamily building in North Admiral, it’s going back to the SWDRB at 6:30 pm April 21st, also at the Sisson Building, in what could be its final review, as it moved on to the “recommendation” phase after the 2014 meeting (see the official city report here).
Also from the development/construction/land-use files:
‘STREAMLINED DESIGN REVIEW’ FOR 1714 CALIFORNIA SW: Also in North Admiral, this 4-unit residential proposal is up for “streamlined design review,” which means no public meeting (despite what this city webpage would suggest), but you can send comments to the assigned planner, at email@example.com.
‘STREAMLINED DR’ AHEAD FOR NEW PROPOSAL AT 5448 DELRIDGE WAY: “Streamlined design review” also is ahead for a new, denser proposal for this site just south of the Cottage Grove Commons complex, described on the city website as:
Demolish existing house. Remove exceptional trees and replace canopy as needed. Construct four-story building at west side of site containing two commercial spaces at ground level and two dwellings above. Construct three-story building at east side of site containing two townhomes and four parking spaces off of alley.
Watch for the formal comment-period notice.
‘STREAMLINED DR’ FOR 5224 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW: And one more “streamlined design review” plan has turned up in the city files – 5224 Fauntleroy Way SW, replacing a single-family house with five townhouses. This, too, is early stage, so watch for the comment period to be announced.
TOWNHOUSES AT 4311 SW BRANDON: An early-stage proposal for 4311 SW Brandon (across Brandon from West Seattle Nursery) would replace a single-family house with four townhouses.
OTHER DEMOLITION PERMITS/APPLICATIONS: Recent addresses on the demolition-permit list, in various application stages (could even be gone already), include these single-family houses:
3700 37th SW
3021 61st SW
3519 SW 97th
5940 21st SW
2161 Harbor SW
4817 38th SW
4823 38th SW
2211 41st SW
Two developments related to development. First, the mayor has nominated a planner from Boulder, Colorado, to lead the city’s Office of Planning and Community Development:
— Seattle OPCD (@SeattleOPCD) March 9, 2016
OPCD is one of the two entities into which the Department of Planning and Development split. The mayor’s nominee – at the podium in the tweeted photo above – is Sam Assefa, senior urban designer for the city of Boulder, Colorado, who also has worked for the cities of Chicago and San Francisco. Mayor Murray says Assefa would bring “a holistic approach to urban planning that integrates land use, transportation, design and sustainability” and the perspective of an immigrant, having left Ethiopia in his teens, after his father was killed in a coup. He would succeed Diane Sugimura if confirmed by the City Council, and is expected to start work June 1st. Read the full announcement here.
DESIGN REVIEW CHANGES: Also today, the city has opened a month-long comment period for its proposed changes to the Design Review program. If the changes are finalized, they could mean fewer public meetings, as the threshold would be raised for what makes a project eligible for a full review by one of the city’s Design Review Boards. (Right now, for example, the SW board could meet two Thursdays a month – unless there are no projects to review, which is the case this month.) Meantime, board membership would expand – the Southwest board, for example, would have seven members instead of five. From this page, the “presentation” is the best place to review what’s being recommended. If you have something to say, short or long, they’re asking that you use this survey – which is really just one question, asking your feedback. April 8th is the deadline.
Three West Seattle development notes tonight:
4122 36TH SW APPLIES FOR DEMOLITION PERMIT: The four-story, 20-unit microhousing (“small efficiency dwelling units” or SEDUs) project at 4122 36th SW, north of The Triangle, is advancing. A permit application has now been initiated for demolishing the house that’s on the site now; one was already in the works for building the project, which does not include offstreet parking, and isn’t required to because it’s in a “frequent transit” zone. We first reported the plan last July; the proposal has since gone through “streamlined design review,” which does not require a public meeting. At right in our photo is the house next door at 4126 36th SW, which has a sale “pending” according to online listings; its marketing materials described it as another potential site of 20-plus units.
5251 CALIFORNIA SW: Three and a half years after tenants (including “The Psychic Barber”) were cleared from 5247 California SW – with demolition a short time later – construction has finally commenced.
That’s the view behind the canvas-covered chain-link fence that replaced a frequently tagged/vandalized wooden fence at the scene. Records indicate it’s the same small mixed-use building described years ago, described only as three stories, commercial and residential.
FUTURE DEVELOPMENT? While there’s nothing on file yet, looks like something is brewing for the northeast corner of California/Hinds. the listing for a short-term lease at 3280 California SW, former home of West Seattle Curves, says it’s to be demolished for “new development” next year. The site is zoned NC2-40, part of the block-plus that was upzoned in 2010, and county records show it was sold last month for $770,000. Checking next door, we see the same previous owners also sold the parcel immediately north at the same time, for $1.1 million. And state records show that while the individual LLC names are different, the same owners now hold those two sites and the one north, totaling 12,000 square feet, all with the NC2-40 zoning that has enabled other redevelopment further north in the area, primarily Springline.
(Rendering by architecture firm Ryan Rhodes Designs)
When we mentioned earlier this month that the “streamlined design review” comment period had opened for four 2-townhouse buidings at 9043 18th SW [map], there was one glitch – the design packet hadn’t been posted online, so anyone interested in commenting couldn’t see it for themselves. We contacted the project’s assigned city planner, Magda Hogness, to ask if that would be fixed; she replied to say it’s there now, and because of the delay, the comment period has been extended a week (that would make the deadline March 3rd). You can see the packet on the city website by going here. “Streamlined” means no public meeting, so this is your one chance to have a say. The project has eight parking spaces along an alley behind the buildings instead of built into the three-story townhouses themselves. It’s going onto a site comprised of two lots, one vacant, one with an old house set for demolition (if it hasn’t been torn down already). To comment, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and include the city’s project number in the subject line – #3020870.
(Preferred “massing” – just size and shape; details come later – for 3039 SW Avalon Way)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Alley or Avalon?
The city will have to decide how 3039 SW Avalon Way’s parking is accessed – if it has parking at all.
That’s one aspect of the ~70-apartment project that was discussed, but not settled, at its first Southwest Design Review Board meeting, during the second half of Thursday night’s SWDRB doubleheader.
The presentation was led by Steve Fischer and Peter Johnson from NK Architects. You can see the renderings in the “packet” by going here. As they were for the first meeting of the night, all five SWDRB members (bios here) were present for this one.
Because it’s in a “frequent-transit” zone, the project isn’t required to have parking, but currently is designed with 21 spaces. How they would be accessed is the heart of the aforementioned issue:
(4801 Fauntleroy Way rendering by David Foster Architects)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The Southwest Design Review Board gave its final OK – with conditions – to the first of two projects it’s considering tonight.
This was the second and final review for 4801 Fauntleroy Way SW (just south and across Edmunds from the south side of The Whittaker). It passed each of the two Design Review phases on the first try – Early Design Guidance back on July 23rd, the Recommendations phase tonight. Primary concerns involved the colors and materials proposed for its exterior, since it has such a prominent spot in the Junction/Triangle transition zone.
All five board members were present for tonight’s review – chair Todd Bronk, Matthew Zinski, T. Frick McNamara, Don Caffrey, and Alexandra Moravec. (Read more about them here – click “Southwest” to open the list with photos and short bios. Board members are confirmed by the City Council and are uncompensated volunteers.) Planner for the project, Katy Haima, was present as well. The full “packet” with design renderings is on the city website here.
Here’s how the review unfolded:
One West Seattle project of note in today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin: It’s comment time for a South Delridge project going through Streamlined Design Review (a process that doesn’t require a public meeting). Four 3-story, 2-unit townhouse buildings, with 8 offstreet parking spaces, are planned to replace a house at 9043 18th SW (map). February 24th is the comment deadline if you want to be sure the city takes into account potential design issues for this project and this site. Here’s the official notice published today, which includes information on how to send a comment. No design packet is visible on the city website yet, and we’re asking the planners if one will be available; you can watch for it here.
12:40 PM: Thanks to Christine for the photo from the 3200 block of California SW, where part of the old commercial building on the west side of the street was demolished this morning. This is part of the area upzoned more than five years ago, across from the biggest development that resulted from the upzoning, Springline on the east side of the street (seen in the background, under construction now for exactly a year). While a medium-size apartment building was once proposed for the west side – which also is owned by Intracorp – the plans were later changed, and today’s demolition location is planned for a mix of townhouses and live-work units, as reported here early last year.
2:07 PM: Adding video of this morning’s demolition, from WSB’s Christopher Boffoli:
The newest development plans on SW Avalon Way are for nine 3-story townhouses on each of two adjacent parcels, one of which was previously proposed for a 7-story, 100+-apartment building. The sites are 3062 SW Avalon Way and 3070 SW Avalon Way, which county records show were bought together for $1.4 million this week by Isola Homes.
The city file for each site shows an early-stage plan for three rows of three 3-story townhouses, with each of those nine-townhouse clusters having seven parking spaces along the alley to the north. The previous plan for 100+ apartments at 3062 SW Avalon Way, under different ownership, idled after one Design Review meeting in 2012. The new proposals are described in the city files as candidates for what the city calls Streamlined Design Review, which does not require public meetings but does have opportunities for public comment. Watch for those when the formal applications are filed for 3062 and 3070, which currently hold a duplex and 6-unit apartment building, both built in the 1950s.
These proposals do not involve an adjacent site that had been proposed for an ~100-unit apartment building, 3078 Avalon, which has separate ownership and was caught up in an appeal filed by a neighborhood group; a quick check of that file shows the most recent document activity back in September, and we’re still looking into that project’s status.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The Aegis Living assisted-living/memory-care complex planned for 4700 SW Admiral Way has won Southwest Design Review Board approval in the minimum number of meetings – two.
Giving unanimous approval were the three board members present for the second review tonight – Matt Zinski, T. Frick McNamara, and Alexandra Moravec. Joining them was the city’s assigned planner for the project, Holly Godard. The board members agreed that Aegis had listened and responded to the feedback given at the first review last July (here’s the official city report from that meeting).
Here’s what the project team, board, and community members said before the board made its decision:
11:59 AM: Just announced: The tower crane for the mixed-use project Aura on 35th SW just south of SW Avalon is coming down on Saturday, and that means lane closures on 35th. Also note work on Avalon to follow next week. From contractor Compass:
This Saturday (February 6th, 2016) we will be closing down the 4 lanes on 35th Ave SW adjacent our site to dismantle our tower crane (all of which has been approved by the City of Seattle). The road will be signed accordingly and a police officer will be present to direct traffic (see attached traffic control plan for reference). The plan is to roll on site at 5:00 am Saturday with a mobile crane so we can start work by 7:00 am.
Weather permitting, we’ll have the crane completely dismantled and hauled off by 9:00pm. Though we are permitted to work until 10 PM with the lane closures, we are confident (weather permitting) we will be out of there before then. However, if we run into complications, we will wrap up Sunday morning. We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause to your weekend commutes.
Lastly, we will begin work an Avalon St. next week as we connect our underground utilities. This work will take almost 2 weeks, and will be performed between 8:00am and 4:00pm. The lanes will be modified as we trench across the street, however, they will be signed accordingly and hopefully will not impede the daily commuters significantly.
1:10 PM: We’ve added a photo and corrected the project’s name – it’s Aura, as previously reported here.
That’s one rendering (by the architecture firm GGLO) from the new 42-page “packet” for this Thursday’s review of 4700 SW Admiral Way, the assisted-living center that Aegis Living plans to build where the old Life Care Center of West Seattle awaits teardown, three years after its closure, two years after Aegis bought the site.
The project is currently described as a 3-story, 80-unit complex with 36 offstreet vehicle-parking spaces and 20 bicycle spaces; 48 of the units are expected to offer assisted living, with the remaining 32 providing memory care. The packet notes, “The proposed project aims to use a stucco facade in keeping with the client’s vision of a Mediterranean oasis.” At 6:30 pm Thursday, the Southwest Design Review Board will take its second and possibly final look at the project, with the meeting including a public-comment period. The project’s first review was last July; here’s the official city report. This Thursday, it’s the only project the board will review, 6:30 pm upstairs at the Sisson Building (West Seattle Senior Center), California/Oregon.