Southwest Design Review Board doubleheader, report #2: 3257/3303 Harbor SW gets through 1st round on 1st tryMarch 7, 2014 at 11:43 am | In Development, West Seattle news | No Comments
(Harbor Ave-facing view of project team’s preferred ‘massing’)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Both board members and two regular citizen commenters lauded Public47 Architects for an Early Design Guidance presentation that actually included divergent options for the project’s potential “massing” (size/shape), instead of paying little more than visual lip service to the requirement of offering options.
The project involves what are technically two adjacent sites separated by a 23-foot-wide “unimproved right of way” on which they mention an opportunity for public stairs. (There’s another unimproved right of way just north of the site, too.) We had made note of this site a few years back because it was previously owned by fugitive real-estate investor Michael Mastro (who also had owned what are now The Residences at 3295, a mile up the hill at 35th/Avalon). It then went into foreclosure, and was bought by new, unrelated owners who are behind this plan.
The proposal comes amid a mini-boom of projects along West Seattle’s northern waterfront, along Harbor and Alki Avenues; we reported earlier this week on new details of what’s in the works for the ex-Alki Tavern site, and one of last month’s Design Review meetings focused on the Alki Landing project at 59th/Alki.
Now, on to the details of last night’s presentation and decisionmaking:
Design Review doubleheader, report #1: California/Seattle project passes Early Design Guidance on first tryMarch 6, 2014 at 8:09 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 8 Comments
(North side of 1606 California SW; design concept by Roger Newell AIA Architects)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
In the front end of tonight’s Southwest Design Review Board doubleheader, board members agreed that a residential project proposed for 1606 California SW in North Admiral, first mentioned here last October, deserved Early Design Guidance approval on its first try.
Architect Roger Newell says the project is envisioned to include 14 to 20 units, on a lot now occupied by two structures, on the southeast corner of California SW and SW Seattle. It’s zoned Lowrise 3, just west of a stretch of single-family-home zoning; that means 30 feet, with some extra height under certain conditions. He showed four possibilities for the site, detailed in its “design packet.”
‘Alley vacation’ for The Whittaker? Preview what City Councilmembers will see at Tuesday’s public hearingMarch 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm | In 4755 Fauntleroy, Development, West Seattle news | 11 Comments
As we’ve been reporting for a month, next Tuesday is the official City Council Transportation Committee public hearing on the “alley vacation” request by the developers of The Whittaker, the 370-apartment, 600-parking-space project at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW, with Whole Foods Market the only announced tenant so far. Two days ago, we showed you the SDOT memo sent to the committee by the staff that’s been reviewing the request for months. Now, the committee meeting’s agenda is out, and it includes other documents:
*Slide deck explaining the Seattle Design Commission‘s four reviews of the project before it voted last June to approve the “public benefits” that are required for alley/street vacations – see it here or via the Scribd viewer below:
*The Whittaker’s presentation – see it here or via the Scribd viewer below:
Again, the SDOT memo and an attachment were featured in this WSB story on Tuesday (and are also linked in the meeting agenda). Toward the end of that story, we noted we were reading the 22-page memo so we could post excerpts for those who didn’t want to go through the whole thing. We never got to add them so we’re doing so now, after the jump:
By Patrick Sand and Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
With new development proposals appearing in West Seattle almost daily, the Southwest District Council is ready to keep a closer watch on what’s going on.
At tonight’s meeting, the SWDC – made up of reps from councils and organizations around western West Seattle – took steps toward forming a Land Use Subcommittee.
It’s a tool used elsewhere in the city (Queen Anne, for example), often providing a more consistent way for projects to get an early unofficial community review; right now, it’s literally and figuratively all over the map – sometimes developers engage community councils or round up stakeholders, sometimes they don’t.
SWDC co-chair Vlad Oustimovitch observed that development is one of the most top-of-mind topics in the area right now, along with transportation and public safety, so this is a natural move. He’s hopeful its members also can reach out to other neighborhoods to figure out more ways of collaborating when faced with similar challenges. The subcommittee’s membership isn’t final yet; once it’s up and running, it will provide regular reports to the council.
Also at tonight’s meeting: A farewell from Ed Pottharst, one of the neighborhood-district coordinators who has served this area for three years.
Ed’s not leaving city service, though – not even leaving the Department of Neighborhoods; he says a job came open working with the matching funds that help so many neighborhoods make dreams come true, so he’s moving to that side at the end of the month. His successor is being sought.
*Co-chair Sharonn Meeks brought up the Fire Station 32 rebuild (here’s our newest report) and the suggestion that electricity service be undergrounded in the area as part of the project, lest downed power lines keep crews from responding in case of catastrophe. She plans to talk with the city.
*New Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske came to introduce himself.
*New West Seattle Chamber of Commerce CEO Lynn Dennis came to introduce herself, and said the WSCoC would resume sending a representative to the SWDC meetings, which hadn’t happened regularly for a while.
The Southwest District Council meets first Wednesdays, 6:30 pm, at the Senior Center of West Seattle.
Another apartment project has surfaced in The Junction. We noticed the site, 4439 41st SW (map), last year, when eight townhouses were in the works (here’s that now-superseded proposal). Now, updated online records describe a different project making its way through the city Department of Planning and Development — a three-stories-plus-basement, ~40-apartment, 5-parking-space building, to replace a century-old home on an 8,600-square-foot lot. The land-use application was just filed Monday, so the formal notice will likely be in the Thursday Land Use Information Bulletin, but the project already has drawn public comments, some centering on its proximity to Hope Lutheran Church/School across the alley to its west, and the major increase in density around the church’s site – it’s kitty-corner from the proposed 50-unit 4505 42nd SW, north of the opening-soon 90-unit Oregon 42 apartments, and east of the proposed 80-unit Junction Flats apartments.
West Seattle development: New Design Review dates for projects at Alki Tavern, Charlestown Café sites, & 4505 42nd SWMarch 3, 2014 at 1:53 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 31 Comments
If you’re tracking local development projects – one or more of these might be of note for your calendar. Newly added to the list of upcoming Southwest Design Review Board meetings (all of which are scheduled to happen at the Senior Center of West Seattle at Oregon/California):
(One of three early ‘massing’ – just height, shape, etc. – options proposed for 1307 Harbor)
1307 HARBOR AVENUE SW (FORMER ALKI TAVERN SITE), APRIL 3: We’ve been watching for signs of activity ever since the tavern closed a year ago (you’ll recall, its closing party was on St. Patrick’s Day of 2013). Finally, a project description has turned up on the city website:
… 6-story, 19-unit residential structure with 3,400 for restaurant and 7,000 sq.ft. of retail at ground floor. 12,000 sq.ft. of office will be located at the south end of the building. Parking for 40 vehicles to located below grade. Existing structures (residential and retail) to be demolished.
This project is tentatively set for its first SW Design Review Board meeting at 8 pm April 3rd, after the already-announced 6:30 pm fifth review of 3210 California SW.
3824 CALIFORNIA SW (FORMER CHARLESTOWN CAFE SITE), APRIL 17: When this 30-unit (townhouses and live/work) project went before the board a month ago for its first Early Design Guidance session, they asked the project team to try again (WSB coverage here). Now the date for the second presentation is set – 6:30 pm April 17th.
4505 42ND SW, APRIL 17: A second project is set for that night too – and it’s also a second round of Early Design Guidance (here’s our coverage of its first review in January). It’s 4505 42nd SW, on the southwest corner of 42nd and Oregon, 7 stories and 50 residential units.
West Seattle development: Design packets online for next week’s reviews of 3257/3303 Harbor, 1606 California projectsFebruary 26, 2014 at 5:04 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | No Comments
(One view of project team’s preferred ‘massing’ for Harbor Avenue project)
One week from tomorrow, the Southwest Design Review Board meets again, with two projects on the agenda – a two-building, ~100-unit, ~85-parking-space project at 3257/3303 Harbor Avenue SW (map; first reported here last month), and a 4-story, 16-apartment, 16+-parking-space building proposed for 1606 California SW (map; first reported here last October).
(One view of project team’s preferred ‘massing’ for California SW project)
Both “packets” full of renderings, massing options, and other early details are now viewable online, so you can preview one or both if you’re interested – the Harbor Avenue project packet from architects Public 47 is here, the California SW project packet from architect Roger Newell is here. Both are going before the board for the first time, so they are both in the Early Design Guidance stage, which is focused on massing – size and shape – rather than specifics of how the buildings will look. Harbor Avenue is first up at 6:30, California SW at 8 pm, when the board meets Thursday, March 6th, at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon).
In case you couldn’t be there, we recorded video of last night’s community meeting at West Seattle Church of the Nazarene, focused on the proposed six-townhouse development on church-owned land known best as an informal “park.” (We first reported on the project, which would require a rezone, back in September, with subsequent reports here and here.) Architect David Neiman and developer Joe Paar presented the plan, and church leaders were there too; it was stressed that the townhouses will be put up for sale, not rented. The project is continuing to move through the city system; the rezone (to Lowrise 1 from single family) would require City Council approval and is proposed to include a special agreement to keep part of the site as open space.
(NK Architects‘ rendering of 3210 California SW from 2/6/14 meeting; click image to see larger view)
If you’re among the many tracking the biggest project on the boards for north West Seattle right now, the block-long mixed-use 3210 California SW, here’s the next date for your calendar: April 3rd (6:30 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle). That’s when the city schedule now says the Southwest Design Review Board is tentatively set for its fifth look at the five-story, ~150-unit, ~170-parking-space proposal, after deciding at its February 6th meeting (WSB coverage here) that the plan just wasn’t ready for final design approval.
That’s an animated rendering by architect David Neiman, taking the viewer around the six townhouses proposed for land that’s owned by and next to the West Seattle Church of the Nazarene (42nd/Juneau). The Morgan Community Association‘s newest e-mail bulletin included the video link along with word of a community meeting about the development this coming Tuesday night (February 25th). The project – first reported here in September – is seeking a “contract rezone” (specific to details of this plan), which ultimately requires City Council approval. The church says its future depends on the revenue the project will generate. Tuesday’s community meeting is at the church, 7 pm.
(Renderings: Roger H. Newell AIA Architects)
Eight months after architect Roger Newell presented the 2626 Alki Avenue SW proposal to the Alki Community Council – not mandatory, but always a gesture of goodwill to consult community groups early on – it debuted in the city public-meeting process tonight, before the five-member Southwest Design Review Board.
(Ironically, ACC members couldn’t be there because it was their regular meeting night, during which they heard about a different Alki project – we were there too; watch for the story tomorrow.)
After two hours, SWDRB members decided 2626 Alki SW (map) should come back for a second Early Design Guidance meeting, because “it’s too maxed out right now” on the site, as member Todd Bronk put it. A key point of concern will be the details along the 59th SW side of the building. They’re also interested in seeing it broken into two buildings, considering that the site has two different zoning designations – one building could address each.
The one-meeting project ran long, though, as the board slogged through new citywide Design Review guidelines that recently took effect.
You can follow along with the presentation via looking at the “design packet” here. Three structures on the site now would be demolished (current tenants include Lucky LadyZ marijuana dispensary, Saigon Boat Café, Alki Landing Properties and Alki Beach Dog); the proposal calls for a three-story building with up to 15 apartments, 5 live-work units, and more than 3,000 square feet of commercial space.
The subdivision proposal on that site at 6536 24th SW (map) will be the subject of a Department of Planning and Development public-comment meeting requested by neighbors. The formal notice is out today for the 7 pm March 20th meeting at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW). We have reported three times previously about the proposal for this site, two parcels whose owner wants to split them into eight lots, with a proposal on the drawing board for a single-family home on each lot.
Longfellow Creek runs through the front yards of homes across 24th, and neighbors there have pointed out past flooding (see a photo in this WSB story from last month) and concerns about more runoff if the undeveloped site involved in this proposal is built on. They told us they had been working on a possible flood-control project which is as yet unfunded; the land owner’s documentation suggests that not-funded project might deal with runoff from his site.
An Admiral District site that’s had its ups and downs in recent years has just been listed for sale as a potential development lot. 2310 California SW (WSB September 2013 photo at left) was known most recently as the site of restaurants including Brickyard BBQ. In 2006-2008, the site went through Design Review for a mixed-use project that never got to the construction phase (not unusual back in recession times). Now it’s being marketed as a “highly desirable NC2-40 lot,” asking price $1,050,000.
West Seattle development, lot-split edition: 5028 Puget Blvd.; 3239 California; 4050 30th; 5303 21st; 3273 37th; 2450 55th; plus, Design Review remindersFebruary 14, 2014 at 10:01 am | In Development, West Seattle news | 13 Comments
Lot splits and boundary changes often portend development projects, so we’ve been tracking them in the city system, and some of the newest proposals top this update on West Seattle development:
7 LOTS @ 5028 PUGET BOULEVARD SW: One block east of Delridge, the overgrown 35,000-square-foot site shown above is under review for a seven-lot split. The proposal appeared in the city’s newest Land Use Information Bulletin – here’s the official notice, which triggers a two-week comment period (here’s how to send in a comment). There is no formal filing for construction permits so far, but online city files include a site plan originally filed more than a year ago, showing three homes fronting Puget Boulevard and four to the east, upslope, behind them. There is also an arborist’s report showing 63 “significant” trees on site, three of them considered “exceptional.” Concerns about this project, which will require environmental review, are outlined in a discussion in the North Delridge Neighborhood Council Google Group.
It’s on the west side of the block upzoned in 2010, with at least two other projects pending. The land-use permit application is now in for reconfiguring it into what the online file calls three parcels and two unit lots.
4 LOTS AT 4050 30TH SW (map): This is the long-idle townhouse site in a triangular spot at SW Avalon, SW Yancy, and 30th SW, which has lain idle since the project stalled in the recession.
BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENTS AT 3273 37TH SW (map) A project is in the works for this three-lot site with one 95-year-old house that’s targeted for demolition, according to documents available online. The official proposal is to adjust the boundaries.
2 PARCELS @ 2450 55TH SW (map): In the Alki area, this lot split is proposed with a site plan showing a duplex to be built between two existing houses, one fronting 55th and one fronting Wickstrom to the east. Here’s the official notice; here’s how to comment.
The Land Use Information Bulletins this week also included the three formal notices for the March 6th Southwest Design Review Board meeting, regarding two north West Seattle projects already reported here (one with additional information):
1606 CALIFORNIA SW (map): 6:30 pm March 6th, Senior Center of West Seattle. We first reported back in October about this proposed 3-story, 16-unit apartment building, with 21 planned parking spaces; this SWDRB date was set a month ago. Here’s the official notice.
3257 HARBOR AVENUE SW AND 3303 HARBOR AVENUE SW (map): The review is at 8 pm March 6th, also SC of WS. First mentioned here last month, the notices for 3257 and 3303 confirm this is a two-building, 6-story project proposed for a total of more than 90 units.
SIDE NOTE – LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW LAND USE WORKS: Have trouble slogging through notices, deadlines, comment requirements, when do you get to have a public hearing and when don’t you, etc.? Come to the next Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting on Wednesday (February 19th), 7 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, to hear from local neighborhood leaders who will break it down from a truly public point of view.
(WSB file photo of the east-west alley that the development wants, along with a north-south section)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One key approval still needed if the 4755 Fauntleroy SW (map) project, aka The Whittaker and “the Whole Foods project,” is to go forward is the one that became an issue in last year’s mayoral campaign: The “alley vacation” request, in which the developers are seeking approval to buy part of the alleys on the site, which are city-owned right of way. A date is finally set for the City Council review of the request to begin – March 11th, 9:30 am, the first hearing before the council’s Transportation Committee, chaired by West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.
Though the date technically is still tentative, Councilmember Rasmussen tells WSB they expect SDOT to get all the necessary documentation in by then.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: We briefly reported the decision, immediately afterward, last night; now, the meeting details)
(Click image to see larger view)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The Southwest Design Review Board seemed to have six and a half years on its all-volunteer members’ shoulders by the time its two-project meeting hit the four-hour mark last night, before a fifth review was recommended for 3210 California SW.
No one seems to have an easy role in Seattle’s unique Design Review program. It often provides the only public meetings regarding sizable developments, and that frustrates community members who want to speak out about more than the design, considering they are the ones who ultimately will be living with the results. Architects and developers bring a project to the table without knowing what changes will be recommended and whether the process will run months or more than a year, costly in more than one way. The five volunteer board members get conflicting messages about how much authority they have to order changes, and have to make their decisions in a theater-in-the-round environment, with affected parties usually staring daggers at them from all sides. (Those aren’t even all the stakeholders.)
And then, some projects have long, controversy-pocked backstories, like this one, rooted in a block-long upzoning requested in 2007 (hence our “6 1/2-year” allusion above), contested by neighbors, finalized in 2010 (all WSB coverage is reverse-chronologically archived here), then affected by a Department of Planning and Development rule change in 2012.
That rule change, as well as the backstory, was discussed extensively last week at a community meeting outside the Design Review process, a meeting scheduled after neighbors petitioned the city for it. (Here’s our report on that meeting, held January 29th at the Senior Center of West Seattle, same location as last night’s Design Review session.)
Last week’s meeting did not involve the SWDRB, though at least one member reported attending. But it included a discussion of the board’s role/authority, and last night there was more muscle-flexing as the board told the project team to come back for a fifth review – something that hasn’t happened here since the Admiral Safeway project, which came before the board (different membership then, though the same city planner was on that project and this one, Michael Dorcy) five times between September 2008 and February 2010.
At one point during the board deliberations last night, architect Boyd Pickrell from Nicholson-Kovalchick implored the board to offer directions and conditions so the project could move ahead.
Board members, however, indicated they saw shortcomings too big to do that.
Here’s how it unfolded:
In an intense second session of the night, the Southwest Design Review Board expressed as much frustration as neighbors of the proposed 430-foot-long, five-stories-in-a-”40-foot”-zone 3210 California SW, with both groups saying the project team hadn’t addressed concerns about height/bulk/scale – especially making the project look like three different buildings in truly distinct ways, with more space between them. So they told the project team to bring it back for a fifth meeting – at which they want to see options for a shorter building or a building with upper-level setbacks. More to come (Friday – eta 12:30 pm – update: here’s the full-length story).
Design Review doubleheader, report #1: Thumbs up for 4400 SW Alaska, across from West Seattle Farmers’ Market – with conditionsFebruary 6, 2014 at 8:19 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 33 Comments
Kitty-corner from the West Seattle Farmers’ Market, that image is what you’re going to see – with a few changes – if Isola Homes goes ahead with 4400 SW Alaska, 36 residential units and four live-work units that got thumbs-up from the Southwest Design Review Board tonight. As noted in our first report last May, it will replace this:
And though you don’t see it in the renderings, you will see brick, as part of the conditions laid out by the board.
Early in the review, board member Daniel Skaggs expressed some concerns about the green/white colors, and noted that Isola had been building projects all around the area and “they look just like this.” What about some brick? he wondered. Steve Fischer from Nicholson-Kovalchick Architects mentioned the nearby brick project (4535 44th SW, which passed Design Review in December) and said this one just didn’t seem to be the right kind of project for that. But he also said the project green might not be as “apple green” as it was showing on the projection screens in the meeting room.
Here’s a look at the courtyard area of the front of the building, which evolved from some suggestions given by the board last summer:
You can see the full set of renderings in this “packet”). The project passed Early Design Guidance – the first round of the city’s design-review process – seven months ago, in July (WSB coverage here).
Fischer said tonight that the materials would include an aluminum composite that bends and facilitates “a clean transition” (where you see white and black) and then “Hardie panel” where you see the green color in the design. Board member Laird Bennion pointed out via a sample that he was able to write on it using a key – raising concerns about graffiti vandalism. The project has two streetfronts, and the landscaping along Alaska will have a much different feel than the landscape off Glenn, the project team said. Bennion wondered about the “vine wall” shown up the middle – what if, like other projects, the vines fail to thrive – what would it look like?
PUBLIC COMMENT: First to speak was Diane Vincent, who said she “love love love(s) the green and … the angles,” as well as “the open stairway.” The white color, though, she’s “not thrilled with.” She echoed concern about the projected “green wall,” pointing out that Admiral Safeway’s planned green wall has never happened. But overall, she voiced appreciation for the “creative” aspects of the project.
Next, Deb Barker, who said she is “very glad to see … that this project has transitioned and addressed some concerns” from its first review. She said she hopes that retail can be successfully attracted to the spaces penciled in as live-work. She said she was “fine with the color scheme, less thrilled with the treatments along the Alaska facade.”
A man identifying himself as “living a block away on 46th” said there’s “no warmth” in the colors/materials, and “no texture … everything is smooth.” It won’t match anything in the area, he said. “I will walk by this building every day … I want to be able to enjoy it, because this is a neighborhood.” He wondered what kind of signage it would have – saying he didn’t want to see neon – and also feared the spaces are too small for retail. Offering a few comments of appreciation, he said he did like the fact it’s not a “flat facade.”
The next person to comment said he hopes the board will strongly encourage retail instead of live/work in those spaces.
“Maybe the two at the corner could be retail, and the other two could be live-work,” he suggested.
Another nearby resident said he likes some aspects including the use of wood along the stairway, the “boldness” of the green.
A man who said he was representing the developer said they are hoping to get retail on the corner – maybe even before construction so they can “build to suit” – and that there will be a beam so that a wall could be knocked out in the future for a bigger space.
BOARD DELIBERATIONS: The first major point of discussion involved the lighting that had been shown in the renderings
Board members thought the “podium level”/corner should be lit more than the residential windows. The colors came around again. Todd Bronk said at one point that if the colors were taken off, the building had the right proportion, but there needed to be more details and he thought that being entirely devoid of brick didn’t necessarily work for a building that’s part of The Junction. Other board members agreed it needed to have some brick, as part of the base getting a “finer texture, more human scale, more timeless” feel. Their recommendations also reinforced expectations that the corner spaces will be retail-focused rather than the not-so-retail uses that “live-work” have been taking on lately – at one point they were going to suggest, rather than require, but Bennion said, “Let’s go big or go home.” The “aggressive” conditions of approval, as the board put it, also include a “more substantial entry canopy at the corner to promote retail use.”
WHAT’S NEXT: Until the project gets final land-use approval, you can still send comments to its assigned city planner, Lindsay King – email@example.com.
West Seattle’s second ‘pedestrian retail zone’ presentation planned at Tuesday’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights CC meetingFebruary 3, 2014 at 4:13 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 5 Comments
(Click image to see full-size citywide map)
Tomorrow is your next chance to find out more about the new kind of “zoning overlay” the city is proposing for some business districts – “pedestrian retail zoning.” We first reported on this last month after a presentation at the Morgan Community Association‘s quarterly meeting. Now, the same city rep who made that presentation, Aly Pennucci from the Department of Planning and Development, is coming to another local meeting – tomorrow night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting (6:15 pm, Southwest Branch Library at 35th/Henderson). The city has two “study zones” in the WWRHAH area, as noted in the map above – here are direct links to the city’s “preliminary recommendations” about each of them (scroll to the last page of each one for the site-specific information):
#50 – 35th & Barton
#51 – 35th & Roxbury
Ahead, tomorrow night’s entire agenda as shared by WWRHAH president Amanda Kay Helmick, featuring other major topics including the potential change in garbage-pickup service:
3210 California SW: City explains how 40-foot zone got a 5-story project, as neighbors ask, ‘Who’s our advocate?’February 3, 2014 at 3:07 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 34 Comments
(Click image to see larger view)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
There is seldom solace to be found in “I told you so.”
That admonition could be ascribed to some of the longtime residents behind 3210 California SW, the site proposed for a block-long, five-story mixed-use project that they say is exactly what they feared might happen because of the upzoning they fought six years ago.
This Thursday (February 6th), the proposal goes back to Design Review, for its second major meeting in eight days. The first was this past Wednesday, a neighbor-requested meeting that included moments reminiscent of a neighbor-requested meeting six years earlier about the upzoning proposal.
As quoted in our coverage of the 2007 meeting, one of the then-property owners asked opponents, “Is 10 feet really that big a deal? With 30 feet (of zoned-at-the-time height), you’re talking three stories. With 40, this would be four stories.”
In response to that, skepticism remained. There was a suggestion of waiting until there was an actual proposal for the site, and pursuing a contract rezone instead that would be tied to the specific project. But the general upzoning moved forward, with a few years dormancy, without a specific project, and was finalized in 2010; then, exactly one year ago, a five-story development proposal appeared.
“At the time [in 2007], we weren’t thinking it would be five stories,” acknowledged Jerry Suder, a supervisor in the city Department of Planning and Development, at last Wednesday’s meeting, over which he presided along with Michael Dorcy, senior planner who has worked on 3210 California for years, including the end of the upzoning process. Suder said a few changes in city rules in the past few years opened the door for that extra story – particularly this one in 2012.
Southwest Design Review Board doubleheader, report #2: First proposal for former Charlestown Café site sent back for another tryJanuary 31, 2014 at 12:16 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 14 Comments
Does that look to you like three different size/shape options?
It didn’t, to the Southwest Design Review Board, which told the project team for 3824 California SW – the site that’s been vacant since the Charlestown Café‘s 2011 closure – to go back to the drafting board and try again.
Last night’s review was the first one for the plan first reported here last June – 30 townhouses/live-work units filling the site between Charlestown, California, Bradford, and an alley lined with single-family homes on 42nd SW. (Here’s the design packet as presented to the board; this project’s developer is Intracorp, which also is behind 3210 California SW, the block-long mixed-use building that returns to Design Review next week.)
Southwest Design Review Board doubleheader, report #1: 4505 42nd SW told to come back for 2nd round of ‘early guidance’January 30, 2014 at 8:14 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 8 Comments
(Option 1 – with elements the board said it preferred over the project team’s preferred Option 3)
In the first of two Southwest Design Review Board sessions tonight, board members called for a second round of Early Design Guidance for 4505 42nd SW, a site that’s steps away from where the board convened (upper floor of the Senior Center of West Seattle).
This phase of design review is about a building’s “massing” – its size and shape – so that’s what was addressed by most of the “design packet” is here. For the mixed-use building, it’s “the very beginning” of the process, as city planner Beth Hartwick explained to attendees – a single-digit turnout, unlike many recent SWDRB meetings, even counting project team members including site owner Leon Capelouto.
With the guidance offered tonight, its height and number of units are in play – at least seven stories and at least 50 units, though how much more, depends on how the next round goes.
(King County Assessor’s Office photo)
12:02 PM: A new West Seattle project just turned up on the city’s Design Review calendar – for 3257 Harbor Avenue SW (map), on a site previously owned by notorious real-estate-magnate-turned-fugitive Michael Mastro. Though the property once was proposed for a development to be called Aqua Bella – here’s the flyer we linked from this WSB story in 2009, at which time it was listed for $6.4 million, suggesting a development with 80 units, 3,600 square feet of retail, 107 parking spaces, its current ownership has designed something a bit smaller. After foreclosure, it was bought by CRE Harbor Avenue LLC for $1.2 million, and that’s who is advancing the new proposal – described on the city website as six stories, 44 residential units, 2 live-work units, and 44 parking spaces, on a 10,575-sf lot. This project’s debut before the Southwest Design Review Board is scheduled for 8 pm March 6th, right after the first review for 1606 California SW.
3:03 PM: As pointed out in comments, this appears to involve half the original site. Checking further into the DPD’s online files, it appears a similar-sized project with a separate land-use-application number is proposed for the other half of the site, at 3303 Harbor Avenue SW. We’re checking with the city to see whether or not that means this is really one 2-building project. (Update: It is.)
The calendar for today was a little skimpy, so we didn’t publish a preview roundup, but we do want to remind you that there is one major meeting on the list for tonight: The requested-via-petition meeting for the city to take general comments on 3210 California SW, the block-long mixed-use building proposed for the east side of the upzoned block in South Admiral. Here’s our most recent report, including a link to the newest design proposal, which is the focus of a separate meeting February 6th. Tonight’s meeting is at 6:30 pm, upstairs at the Senior Center of West Seattle (enter off SW Oregon just east of California).
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“It’s going to be a good thing.”
We first wrote about it almost four months ago. The site holds an old house, hidden behind hedges and fencing, on the southwest corner of 42nd and Oregon, across the street from the almost-complete Oregon 42, across the alley from the Senior Center of West Seattle (where the Southwest Design Review Board will meet to consider the project at 6:30 pm Thursday).
The site also happens to be adjacent to one of the West Seattle Junction Association‘s free parking lots, which Capelouto has supported for decades as a longtime Junction retailer and stockholder in Trusteed Properties, the lots’ ownership.
4505 42nd is proposed for fewer parking spaces than units – as is allowed in the area because “frequent transit” is nearby – but Capelouto says everyone who needs a parking space will get one, because he has parking to spare in his first Junction development, just down the block. This project – proposed for 7 stories, 50 units, and 16 offstreet spaces – is less than a block north of 2009-opened Capco Plaza, built with more than 360 spaces for the 160+-unit Altamira Apartments and the building’s retail tenants, more than zoning required when it was built (and far more than would be called for today).
Before we get into more about the 4505 42nd SW proposal – whose design packet can be seen here – a little more about its developer.
See the newest design for 3210 California SW, with special meeting this Wednesday & fourth Design Review next weekJanuary 27, 2014 at 3:29 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 24 Comments
(Click image to see larger view)
Does that look enough like three separate buildings to satisfy the Southwest Design Review Board? It’s the newest design proposal for the biggest project currently in the works north of The Junction, 3210 California SW, the block-long, ~149-apartment, ~168-parking-space South Admiral proposal with two public meetings coming up – the special neighbor-requested meeting (announced last week) this Wednesday, 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle, and, at the same location, its fourth session before the SWDRB, 9 pm February 6th.
The rendering is from the new design packet, just made public and viewable here. Developer Intracorp and architects Nicholson Kovalchick were also asked to show more of how the back (east) side of the building will interact with the single-family-home neighborhood behind it, and this is one of the depictions:
Hard to tell unless you click for the larger view, but that is an overlay of how and where windows on the back of 3210 California SW will face the homes right behind it. Note: The new design proposal will be formally presented at the February 6th board meeting; this Wednesday’s special public meeting is mostly for the public to voice other concerns, including aspects covered by the State Environmental Policy Act such as traffic and noise.
WSB coverage of previous meetings about the project:
3rd SWDRB meeting (“recommendations” phase), November 2013
2nd SWDRB meeting (“early design guidance” phase), summer 2013
1st SWDRB meeting (“early design guidance” phase), spring 2013
West Seattle development: Comment time extended for 24th SW subdivision proposal near Longfellow CreekJanuary 26, 2014 at 10:46 am | In Development, Environment, West Seattle news | 13 Comments
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
We first wrote about it in December, and then again when the city formally published notice of that application on January 16th. That notice launched a comment period that now has been extended two weeks by request of neighbors, until February 12th.
Though this application only covers the proposed lot-splitting, city files (as mentioned in our previous reports) include plans for eight homes on those proposed eight lots. The creek runs through the front yard of homes across the street, neighbor Cyndie Rokicki points out, sharing this version of the same view as the top photo, when the water runs high in heavy rain:
She says, “The creek has gone over the banks and flooded the road 6 out of the 8 years that I have lived here. While at flood state, we are unable to get in or out of our property. My concern is, what the impact of cutting a road to establish access to the subdivision (which has an extreme slope which runs directly into the creek) will have on the already bad flooding situation, not to mention the effect of 8 more homeowners’ ability to reach their property during the flooding.”
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