West Seattle Blog... » Development http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Tue, 26 May 2015 04:19:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 See Áegis Living’s 4700 SW Admiral Way early-stage design plan http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/see-aegis-livings-4700-sw-admiral-way-early-stage-design-plan/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/see-aegis-livings-4700-sw-admiral-way-early-stage-design-plan/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 04:51:11 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311388

That’s the “early design guidance” document for Áegis Living‘s planned retirement center at 4700 SW Admiral Way, providing the most details yet on what the Redmond-based company plans for the former Life Care Center site. We first reported in November 2013 that Áegis had bought the site, and subsequently reported more details about the project over ensuing months, including this February 2014 report. According to the project page on the city Department of Planning and Development website, no public meeting is planned for the project because it’s going through “administrative design review,” which means the review is done by city staff without involvement of the Design Review Board, though written public comment is solicited and accepted. The document now available online summarizes the project:

The proposed project will demolish the existing structure and construct a new Aegis community composed of approximately 48 Assisted Living apartments and 32 Memory Care apartments.

Both the Assisted Living and Memory Care units will be grouped into smaller neighborhoods that focus on community activities and dining as well as events with the other neighborhoods. These spaces will include dining, living rooms, activity rooms, and a cafe – all of which are distributed throughout the building which will activate various portions of the façade. Outdoor gardens and terraces will be provided, allowing residents to have access to the outdoors.

The proposed project will be a three-story wood structure over a one-story concrete parking level. The terracing of the building and the utilization of the natural site grade will present a facade more in line with a two- to three-story structure at the adjacent street levels on SW Waite and SW Admiral.

A covered drop-off area will be incorporated along the driveway on SW Admiral Way for resident use. The front entry will be in close proximity to both bus stops along SW Admiral. Visitor vehicle access and staff parking will be accessed off of SW Waite Street.

If you can’t see it in the full design document by architects GGLO, embedded above (which also can be accessed on the city website here), this is the massing (size/shape) option described as “preferred”:

Perhaps of more note than before, due to the Admiral Way Safety Project discussion, 36 offstreet parking spaces are proposed for the building – mostly in a garage, with its entry off SW Waite. Also of note from the design document: “The proposed project aims to use a stucco facade in keeping with the client’s vision of a Mediterranean oasis.” And: “For an urban neighborhood the site has an extensive tree canopy. On site there is a steep slope with a dense ravine of trees on the south corner. This large stand of trees will be preserved and there will be limited disturbance of the steep slope areas.”

HOW TO COMMENT: According to the city website, the official notice of this will go out on Thursday (May 28th), and that will start a two-week comment period, through June 10th. You can get a jump on that by e-mailing comments to the assigned planner, Holly Godard, at holly.godard@seattle.gov, referring to project 3017747, 4700 SW Admiral Way.

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West Seattle development: Charlestown Court comes down http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-development-charlestown-court-coming-down/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-development-charlestown-court-coming-down/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 23:49:26 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311238

4:49 PM: Twice nominated, and rejected, for city-landmark status, the Charlestown Court apartments across from the ex-Charlestown Café are coming down.

Townhouses will replace them, as we’ve reported previously.

5:40 PM: We’re adding images and backstory. Video:

And – thanks to Bryce for the tip that demolition was under way; unexpected at 4 pm on a Friday going into a long holiday weekend. This site has been on our watchlist for many weeks, and we’ve driven by daily to check for signs of impending teardown, but hadn’t been by today, until that tip.

Back in 2008, with a different demolition/development proposal pending for the site, the city Landmarks Preservation Board rejected a bid for landmark status, saying basically that it was nice-looking but not “special.” The proposal to replace it with a four-story apartments-over-retail building was scrapped later that year, and a new proposal emerged, one that would have preserved its distinctive facade:


(2008 NK Architects proposal incorporating Charlestown Court facade; eventually scrapped)
A land-use permit was granted in early 2009 but the project stalled in the economic downturn, and the apartments remained status-quo until early 2014, when we discovered a new teardown-to-townhouses proposal in the city files. Here’s the concept in the files, from architects S&H Works – 4 buildings, 2 townhouses in each one:

Last summer, as part of the process, Charlestown Court was again considered, and rejected, for landmark status. That cleared the way for the project getting under way now.

SIDE NOTE: Its block is about to have a whole lot of building going on – it’s across the street from the former Charlestown Café, with live-work and townhouses slated to fill that site, and a few doors down on the west side of California, demolition is expected soon at 3829 California, with a 29-unit apartment building to replace it. While demolition was under way to the north, we noticed firefighters training in the now-vacant building:

ADDED 9:54 PM: Sent by Jackie (who has also mentioned this in the comment section):

We saved the azalea, though! The kindest operator and my neighbor, who owns the truck, helped get it up and out of harm’s way. Thank you, Cajun Excavating! You made our day.

Meantime, we went back before sunset to see if the south side of the building had been taken down since we left; it had.

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West Seattle development: Design Review date for 35th/Graham mixed-use building http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-development-design-review-date-for-35thgraham-mixed-use-building/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-development-design-review-date-for-35thgraham-mixed-use-building/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 22:41:26 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311149 A Southwest Design Review Board hearing is now set for the mixed-use building planned on part of High Point’s most prominent undeveloped site, at 35th/Graham.

We last mentioned it here eight months ago, when it surfaced in the city’s online files. The outline on the project page hasn’t changed much since then; it now describes “a 4-story structure containing 89 residential units, 8,500 sq. ft. of office space and 1,500 sq. ft. of retail space located at ground level. Surface parking for 98 vehicles to be provided.” The “site plan” dated last month shows an L-shaped building stretching across all of the currently vacant 35th SW frontage, from the corner of Graham northward. The parking entry would be on the east side of the building. The rest of the sprawling site is still set for residential development – most if not all townhouses – but only the mixed-use building is involved in the Early Design Guidance meeting that’s planned for the SWDRB’s next meeting, June 25th at 8 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle. (As reported here on May 5th, the 6:30 pm project review that night is for the CVS drugstore project at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW.)

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UPDATE: SolTerra planning 125-unit, LEED Platinum building ‘Perch’ at 1250 Alki Avenue SW http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-development-125-unit-mixed-use-building-proposed-for-1250-alki-avenue-sw-and-beyond/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-development-125-unit-mixed-use-building-proposed-for-1250-alki-avenue-sw-and-beyond/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 19:25:59 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311041

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

ORIGINAL 12:25 PM REPORT: In a routine check of the city’s online files, we’ve found the first new triple-digit-unit development proposal in a while. This one’s on Duwamish Head, a 120-unit proposal planned for seven parcels, five of which currently hold single-family homes.

The project address is 1250 Alki Avenue SW [map] but the early-stage “concept” shows it stretches to 1262 Alki SW.

An unusual point: This is on the drawing board as a mixed-use building, with retail space included. That area of Alki Avenue has long been strictly residential. The early-stage information also mentions underground parking, and describes the building as 120 units and 4 to 6 stories, while also saying it’ll have to go through Design Review (no date yet). However, the “conceptual site plan” on file outlines:


Documents show the property as in the midrise zone, which the city says allows “limited commercial uses.”

The development team is listed as Seattle-based SolTerra and Portland-based Design for Occupancy Architecture. County property records show that Solterra bought the property from three separate owners in February and March, for a total of more than $5.3 million. It’s described on its website as a six-year-old firm that began “as a residential solar, living wall and green roofing company.”

2:11 PM UPDATE: We’ve just spoken with Melinda Milburn at SolTerra to get more information.

No rendering yet, she says, because design is in the very early stages. But SolTerra, she explained, is just starting to build sustainability-focused apartment projects – all designed to be certified as LEED Platinum, including “living roofs” and solar arrays. She says the company is “changing the way development works by hiring architects and contractors and all the Pieces under one company … everybody works together and you can build more efficiently.” Then, she explained, SolTerra will continue to own and manage the buildings.

This one, they’re planning to call Perch – “the idea is, to find your perch – to provide unique views to the tenants.” The sustainability features, she says, will help keep the units more “cost-effective and affordable.” The design features, she says, will ensure it’s a distinctive building that’s “not a box.” (The underground parking will meet the Alki code, she said – 1.5 spaces required per unit.)

As for the retail – Milburn said it’ll be “small.” A little store? Coffee shop? Restaurant? We asked. Something like that, she agreed.

Depending on how the permit process goes from here, they aren’t expecting to start construction until early 2016. While they already have a couple buildings in Portland, she said, they’re growing into the metro area here – where their Seattle offices are in SODO, near the West Seattle Bridge – by breaking ground on a building in Newcastle next month, and then one on Capitol Hill.

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West Seattle development notes: 2626 Alki application, & more http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-development-notes-2626-alki-application-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-development-notes-2626-alki-application-more/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 20:04:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310316 We start with news from along Fauntleroy Way:

FAUNTLEROY/JUNEAU DEMOLITION: Within the past week, the teardowns to make way for the 5915-5917 Fauntleroy Way SW townhouses/rowhouse development have happened.

ANOTHER FAUNTLEROY CORNER ROWHOUSE: Rowhouses are popular on Fauntleroy. An early-stage filing proposes a six-unit rowhouse with five on-site parking spaces for 5601 Fauntleroy Way SW, right across Findlay from a relatively new rowhouse.

And from today’s Land Use Information Bulletin:

2626 ALKI AVENUE APPLICATION: 14 residential units, 5 live-work units, commercial space, and 23 parking spaces comprise this project, which isn’t done with Design Review yet but has filed for its Master Use Permit – that’s why a new city sign has just gone up on the west side of the site. (Here’s our coverage of its second Design Review meeting last July – no date yet for the third and possibly final.)

5608 23RD SW: This Land Use application proposes building a new single-family house in an “environmentally critical area” (ECA).

4564 53RD SW: This notice announces city approval of permission sought to build a three-story house in an ECA.

PUBLIC COMMENT OR APPEAL: The notices linked above all include links to information on how to reach DPD if you’re interested in either of those options.

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@ Junction Neighborhood Organization: Spruce developer says ‘thank you’; City Light & Parks on unused sites http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/junction-neighborhood-organization-spruce-developer-says-thank-you-city-light-parks-on-unused-sites/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/junction-neighborhood-organization-spruce-developer-says-thank-you-city-light-parks-on-unused-sites/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 18:18:09 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310142

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

What for years was “The Hole” is now, for some, “home.”

Last night, the developer of Spruce (3922 SW Alaska), Tom Lee from Madison Development Group, was among the guests at the Junction Neighborhood Organization‘s monthly meeting. He wasn’t officially on the agenda and didn’t have a presentation, but did answer some questions and offer a few updates:

*With one tower open and another expecting its “certificate of occupancy” soon, 30 apartments already are leased. (Which might explain the moving trucks we spotted while photographing the site this morning, above. Unless they are for …)

*LA Fitness, the project’s sole commercial tenant, is expected to “soft open” this Friday, Lee said he’d been told, provided it passes its last few inspections, including one that will allow the club to fill its pool.

*JuNO’s suggestion of a dedication for Lezlie Jane‘s plaza artwork out front (featured here Sunday) might be possible when “all the improvements at the corner” are done in a month or so.

Lee told JuNO he was there mostly to say thanks: “Thank you to everybody for being patient with us – it’s been a long project, a sore thumb in West Seattle for a long time, but it’s very close to being finished now and we’re excited that it’s almost done.” (His company bought the site/project for $32 million in October 2011, three years after the project stalled under previous ownership and its previous name Fauntleroy Place.)

Also at JuNO – a discussion about City Light property:

(Disclosure – we missed the first few minutes of this agenda item, delayed in getting back to West Seattle after covering the five-hour Port Commission meeting.)

City Light and Parks reps were there for a discussion not so much about the surplus substations – whose fate has yet to be decided – as about a property not on that list, the Avalon/35th ex-substation site. As we first reported in February, the former Beni Hoshi Teriyaki building is slated to become a Pecos Pit Barbecue restaurant; City Light owns the land as part of the former substation next door.

JuNO director René Commons, who lives in the neighborhood, wondered about the overall site’s future. For now, SCL said, the “bunker” building on the ex-substation part of the site is being used for storage, of which City Light needs plenty – transformers, poles, etc. This site, also, is NOT on the official “surplus” list, so it’s not slated for any kind of public process any time soon. SCL said that until a new tenant was found, they were being deluged with complaints about the site, from graffiti vandalism to drug dealing, so they were thrilled that someone wanted it, “somebody who’s willing to take care of the site and take pride in the site and provide a service to the neighborhood.” (As for how soon it will be developed into the new restaurant, that’s out of SCL’s hands; we’ve checked the file and no permit applications are in yet.)

Overall, Parks addressed the questions about why newly available city sites such as the official “surplus substations” can’t just be converted to parks. State law requires a formal disposition process, and even if they are transferred to another city department, they must be “bought.” In addition, departments such as Parks must consider how they would handle maintenance, which already is a challenge for existing parks.

More likely, some sites might become open space in a partnership with the community, when money can be raised to handle the cost; a site in Delridge is involved in this kind of process, for example, and has a relatively low valuation, $80,000, so there are efforts under way to get grants to cover the cost.

One question that was addressed: Why wouldn’t greenery on ex-substation sites be valuable as carbon offsets? Given the land’s value, it wouldn’t be cost-efficient, was the answer.

ALSO DISCUSSED: Another Junction-area Emergency Communication Hub, at Hope Lutheran Church, 42nd/Oregon, one that needs involvement, particularly from local apartment residents … In the ongoing community-council tours of local City Council candidates, District 1 hopeful Lisa Herbold spoke to JuNO. (This is the official filing week for candidates – by week’s end, we’ll know the official lineup for the August primary ballot.) … City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s legislative assistant Evan Clifthorne made sure JuNO members had heard that the Fauntleroy Boulevard project had made it into the revised Transportation Levy (as reported here a week ago) – if all goes according to the current plan, though, he cautioned, it still isn’t slated for construction until 2017. … JuNO’s settled on second Tuesdays as a regular meeting night for now, 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle.

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Next Design Review Board meeting set for CVS at 4722 Fauntleroy http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/next-design-review-board-meeting-set-for-cvs-at-4722-fauntleroy/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/next-design-review-board-meeting-set-for-cvs-at-4722-fauntleroy/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 05:03:23 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309293 The Southwest Design Review Board‘s calendar has been empty since its last meeting in mid-April, but now that’s changed: The second review for West Seattle’s first CVS drugstore is on the schedule, for 6:30 pm Thursday, June 25th. It’s another Early Design Guidance meeting, since board members had enough concerns and critiques to not allow it to pass that stage the first time through, back in March (WSB coverage here; official city report here). Despite the site being zoned for 8 stories, the drugstore is proposed as a single-story, one tenant building (the land also will be rented, and the project team says the height limit is part of the lease), with 49 parking spaces. The June 25th meeting, which includes public comment, will start at 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle in The Junction.

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West Seattle development notes: Whittaker’s 1st crane; Harbor Ave., Beach Dr. projects http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-notes-whittakers-1st-crane-harbor-ave-beach-dr-projects/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-notes-whittakers-1st-crane-harbor-ave-beach-dr-projects/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 18:29:23 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=308419 Four development/land-use notes so far today:

FIRST CRANE @ THE WHITTAKER: As previewed last week, the first of two tower cranes planned for The Whittaker on the east edge of The Junction is going up today. It’s on the south side of the project and when we went by around 9:30 am, the installation operation was centered off the street at 40th/Edmunds, with no additional traffic effects except for some intermittent truck maneuvering. We’ll be checking back on it for an update later. This makes three cranes currently working in West Seattle, with the one at Broadstone Sky on the west side of 40th/Edmunds and the 4435 35th SW project.

ADDED: Above this line, our photo from noontime; below, a midafternoon photo courtesy of Eddie:

No date yet for the north-end crane.

1201 HARBOR SW: From today’s Land Use Information Bulletin, the city has approved the land-use permit for a 4-unit rowhouse at this location (map) in an “environmentally critical area” (ECA). That opens a 2-week appeal period; the LUIB notice includes links to the decision and information on appealing.

ALSO ON HARBOR SW: The construction-permit application is in for 3005 Harbor SW (map), a six-unit apartment building; that’s two fewer apartments than were planned when this project was first mentioned here in early 2014.

6001 BEACH DRIVE: Further south along the West Seattle shore, applications are in to demolish the single-family house that’s currently at this location (map) and build a replacement. The same project also has filed a land-use-permit application, because it’s in an ECA; that application says the house will have “surface parking for five vehicles.”

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West Seattle development: 1st Whittaker crane next week http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-1st-whittaker-crane-next-week/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-1st-whittaker-crane-next-week/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 04:30:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307892

Thanks to LB for noticing that tower-crane base installed at the site of The Whittaker (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW), and sharing the photo. Crane arrivals are of interest for a variety of reasons, from traffic effects on installation day(s) to the draw of spectators, so we checked with the project team: The first of its two cranes is set for installation Monday-Tuesday of next week (April 27-28). More details to come; no date yet for the second crane. Meantime, in case you’ve been wondering – Whole Foods Market remains the only retailer confirmed for the project, which also includes 389 apartments and 594 underground parking spaces.

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West Seattle development: What’s coming down & going up http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-whats-coming-down-going-up/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-whats-coming-down-going-up/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 05:29:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307752 Development notes and updates – nothing major, but of interest to several neighborhoods:

40TH/OREGON: Demolition day today (thanks to Eddie for the tip) for a house mentioned here in November – a stucco-and-tile house more the type you’d expect to see in Southern California. Here’s the photo we ran then:

(WSB photo, November 2014)
The crew at the scene told us that salvagers removed the roof tiles before demolition. The house’s 4,600-square-foot lot is slated for construction of two single-family houses and two townhouses.

LAND USE APPLICATION FOR 4515 41ST SW: Not far from there, the memory-care facility proposed at 4515 41st SW has officially applied for a land-use permit, which opens another comment window – the notice from today’s Land Use Information Bulletin explains how. The project still has at least one more Design Review meeting ahead – no date yet; here’s our report on its most-recent review.

3112 SW JUNEAU: Also from today’s Land Use Information Bulletin, an application to build a three-story house on a smaller-than-usual parcel – this notice also includes information on how to comment.

4464 23RD SW: This early-stage proposal in the land-use files seeks a permit to “cluster-develop 4 single family homes in an ECA. Due to potential wetlands, steep slope, and potential landslide ECA’S we propose to reduce setbacks equivalent to cottage housing per 25.09.260. A future Unit Lot Subdivision would be submitted.” (ECA = Environmentally Critical Area)

STREAMLINED DESIGN REVIEW FOR 3215 CALIFORNIA: Across the street from the 3210 California megaproject, the old commercial buildings are vacant now, and one section of the future redevelopment is in line for “streamlined Design Review” – no meeting, but public comments will be accepted. It’s 3215 California SW, four townhouses and two live-work units. While its “design packet” isn’t available on the official DR site yet, you should be able to download the 26 MB PDF here.

4111 DELRIDGE WAY SW: Full details aren’t in the files yet but there’s an early proposal for a lot-boundary adjustment here – the site is on record as three lots – and a site plan showing the 106-year-old house there now is to be demolished, along with garages and driveways.

OTHER NOTES: Demolitions/replacements that recently showed up in city files: 5956 38th SW, 97-year-old house just sold & to be replaced by a new single-family house … a demolition permit is sought at recently sold 8443 12th SW, with “existing structures” to be removed and a permit sought for a new house, as well as a lot-boundary adjustment … 4103 Delridge Way SW (not far from a project mentioned above) has a demolition permit application and a note about two single-family houses to be built.

(P.S. – WSB development coverage is archived here, reverse chronological order.)

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‘They listened’: 7520 35th SW eye-clinic project makes changes, passes Design Review at third meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/they-listened-7520-35th-sw-eye-clinic-project-makes-changes-passes-design-review-at-third-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/they-listened-7520-35th-sw-eye-clinic-project-makes-changes-passes-design-review-at-third-meeting/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:36:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307305

(Renderings by PB Architects)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The planned Clearview Eye Clinic at 7520 35th SW won approval from the Southwest Design Review Board last night, after major design changes in response to previous critiques.

“They listened, hard,” observed fill-in board member Jill Kurfirst, who also had filled in during an earlier meeting on this project, “and hit it out of the park.”

The board still had suggestions, of course. Here’s what they saw, and how the meeting went:

(The design “packet” for the meeting)

ARCHITECT’S PRESENTATION: The clinic, run by three opthalmologists, is currently housed at Westwood Village. 20-25 staffers will be employed there when it starts, and the doctors expect to be headquartered there for the two decades plus of practice they foresee ahead. The clinic is expected to “significantly activate the neighborhood,” said Michael Shreve of PB Architects, adding that the biggest challenge of designing this building has been fitting in space for everything that would be done there, from eyewear retail on the ground floor, to surgery. Different parts of the business will have different entries.

On board direction from the previous two meetings, the design took a “90-degree turn” with the parking no longer taking up much of the 35th SW frontage. The bulk and scale “emulate the apartments to the south.” They’re planning a landscaped rooftop deck and a solar array; windows are on the east and west facades, both of which also have voluntary setbacks. More retail space has been added at street level since the first version of the plan. The alley will be screened, landscaped, and fenced. They’ve already coordinated the streetscape plan with SDOT (see the packet, above, for details).

While planning the entrance’s new configuration, they talked with local transportation services including retirement centers that might bring patients by bus. None of the pedestrian pathways will have curves – they’re working to make it as accessible as possible, said Shreve.

The shadow studies show no impact on the nearby single-family homes, the architect added, also noting that their traffic-flow studies show their solution will work well with the expected rechannelization of 35th SW.

BOARD QUESTIONS: T. Frick McNamara wondered if, with 20-25 employees and 29 parking spaces, they had a plan to encourage transit. Reply: A lot of the staff currently do come by public transportation, so they expect most of their spaces to be available for customers. The original plan had 40 spaces, but now with the 29 spaces, they expect to schedule appointments without as much overlap. McNamara also voiced concern about the green-wall plan and what’s envisioned to keep it from turning out like the anemic “green wall” spaces at Admiral Safeway. Variety in the types of vines envisioned for the green walls would likely hold off the problem, said the architect. Alexandra Moravec wondered about all the angles on the front of the building.

Kurfirst wondered about fencing material. Answer: They haven’t settled on it yet. And she asked about lighting – for some elaboration on the lighting plan in the packet, which she said gave her the feeling that even more lighting figures into the project. “Talk to me about what’s really going on.”

Obviously in the hours when the building is closed, it’s about safety. For the apartments next door, the light sources here will be recessed so they don’t have anything harsh shining into their living spaces. “We’re not trying to make this a bright parking lot – just a soft glow.” Some of the envisioned features “light the path,” he said, and in some spots there will be “accent lights” up-lighting trees on the site.

Acting board chair Matt Zinski wondered about signage plans. It might be something more than what’s shown in the renderings right now, Shreve allowed.

PUBLIC COMMENT: One nearby resident attended the meeting and offered comments. Signage was what she was concerned about, for starters, as she observed this is a transitional neighborhood. She thought a large sign saying CLEARVIEW might suggest that the neighborhood itself is called Clearview, as it’s “one marquee in the neighborhood, overpowering, rather large … It’s a rather large marquee for a residential neighborhood that wants to be pedestrian-based on the weekends.” (The neighborhood is actually Sunrise Heights.) She also wondered about possible water backsplash and UV fade where the north retail area seems unprotected. Shreve agreed that’s “a great point.” He said that “all the cladding is a rain-screen design.”

BOARD DELIBERATIONS: This is where Kurfirst said, “I think they listened really hard and hit it out of the park.” McNamara said the fencing needed some tweaking near the main entry, and she still had concerns about lighting and the vine walls. Zinski also wanted to talk about landscaping, lighting, and signage. The parking lot, in his view, should be “highly lit,” for security. McNamara said her concern centered especially around winter, when it gets dark so early. Kurfirst also thought lighting should illuminate the on-site bioswale, so that nobody falls into it if it’s full from a rainstorm. McNamara thought an artistic metal might work for the fencing in the area, echoing some of the metal on the building. A discussion of the fence’s height ensued, and what height it would be to at least cover vehicles’ headlights.

The board said that they like the big blade-sign idea, and would rather have the lettering CLEARVIEW on both sides rather than the logo shown on the north side (the logo could be on smaller signage closer to the street, they suggested). The developer’s planned material palette worked for them, though, for example, the red highlighting material showcasing the street-side floor and the sign-blade zone might even be taken further, possibly toward the back parking area (where none of it is currently shown). The “dark mass” section of the building was a subject of some discussion – they want to “see consistency” in how the darker materials are treated; its use on the 35th side is preferable to the use on the east side. Also, some fine points of the entryway were discussed – one of the benches by the entryway could be better located, for example, instead of where it seems to be blocking the path of someone getting dropped off. The benches should all be perpendicular to the street, the board agreed. McNamara had a few other landscape/streetscape points – the vine maple and barberry seemed too small, for example. They approved all three of the requested departures (exceptions), which are detailed in the packet.

WHAT’S NEXT: Since board members voted to allow this project to advance, it’s up to the Department of Planning and Development to finalize their recommendations. If you have something to say about the project, you’re still welcome to e-mail the assigned city planner, Tami Garretttami.garrett@seattle.gov Timetable for the project depends on how the permitting process goes (if you still can’t place the site, it includes the former home of Red Star Pizza, but NOT the John’s Corner Deli building at the 35th/Webster corner).

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West Seattle development: Ex-Charlestown Café; 23rd/Findlay houses http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-ex-charlestown-cafe-23rdfindlay-houses/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-ex-charlestown-cafe-23rdfindlay-houses/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 18:31:24 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=306315 Two West Seattle development-related notes today:

CALIFORNIA/CHARLESTOWN: Thanks to those who messaged us to say crews are on site at the former Charlestown Café site again today, continuing deconstruction work that started last week. No heavy equipment on site at last check – this part of the work is being done by hand – but we’re checking with developer Intracorp to see about the timetable for full demolition of the four-years-vacant building, which has been ravaged by tagging/graffiti vandalism at an increasing pace. A 27-unit complex, split between townhouses and live-work units, is planned; we noted its land-use-approval decision four weeks ago. ADDED 1:03 PM: Dan Swallow from Intracorp replied to our question: “Current activity is abatement. Actual demo and heavy equipment will be end of April/early May.”

HOUSES ON SLOPES: Today’s Land Use Information Bulletin has two notices for single-family houses proposed in the 5400 block of 23rd SW (map). The notices are out because, the city says, building on these sites would require a variance of the city’s Environmentally Critical Area rules regarding “steep slope buffers,” and each one says, “This comment period may be the only opportunity to comment on the environmental impacts of this proposal.” The notice for 5462 23rd SW is here; for 5456 23rd SW, here. The comment period is open for two weeks, until April 19th.

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West Seattle development: New mixed-use project; 9 more notes http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-new-mixed-use-project-9-more-notes/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-development-new-mixed-use-project-9-more-notes/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 20:07:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=305867 Starting this roundup of West Seattle development notes and updates – a new mixed-use project on the southeast edge of The Junction:

MIXED USE AT 4801 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW: This is the site on the southwest corner of Fauntleroy and Edmunds, formerly a parking lot and now headquarters to operations trailers for The Whittaker, the 400-apartments-plus-Whole Foods-and-more project across Edmunds. We just found the online site plan and early-stage proposal for a plan with 7 live-work units fronting Edmunds, 2 ground-floor commercial spaces under 9 apartments facing Fauntleroy, and 21 more apartments on the south side of the site, with 6 offstreet vehicle-parking spaces and 6 bicycle spaces. The site is zoned NC3-40; architect is David Foster; notations suggest this will go through Design Review. Last May, we reported on an early-stage proposal across the alley, on the former preschool site at 4800 40th SW; it doesn’t appear to have advanced in the system since then, but records show that site and this one were sold together back in February for $3.5 million.

6416 ADMIRAL WAY: A boundary-adjustment proposal is in for land along Admiral Way on Alki Point, between 64th and 65th. It would create three sites of 3,725 square feet each, and a fourth at 18,270 square feet. While no building-permit requests are in yet, the documents in city files indicate two houses fronting Admiral will be torn down.

3054 63RD SW UPDATE: Also toward the west end of Alki, construction work is about to start here, with the existing structure here torn down two Fridays ago – thanks to Daniel for the photo:

Online permits say two townhouses and a single-family house are on the way.

3015 60TH SW: Today’s Land Use Information Bulletin includes notice of a decision approving subdividing one development location into eight lots. As is standard, the notice opens a two-week period for anyone who wants to appeal.

3811 CALIFORNIA SW: Demolition-permit reviews are completed for this brick 4-plex considered (and rejected) twice for landmark status. 8 townhouses are planned, and the lot-subdivision proposal is in.

Also from the demolition-permit files – permits recently granted or in the works:

3008 63RD SW: Demolition permit sought for a single-family house, to be replaced by six townhouses and a house.

3838 59TH SW: Demolition permit sought for a single-family house to be replaced by two rowhouses.

1529 44TH SW: Demolition permit is issued for this triplex, with four townhouses planned to replace it.

3219-3221 CALIFORNIA SW: Demolition-permit filings are in for these commercial buildings. Townhouses and live-work units are planned, as previously reported.

4011 53RD SW: Demolition permit for a house, though nothing’s on file about what if anything will follow.

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West Seattle development: Project possibly ahead for PCC site http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/west-seattle-development-project-possibly-ahead-for-pcc-site/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/west-seattle-development-project-possibly-ahead-for-pcc-site/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 23:50:41 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=305195

(WSB photo)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Will the PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) location in West Seattle be the next Admiral District supermarket site to be redeveloped?

Making a routine check of city permit applications, we discovered a very-early-stage plan suggesting a new building is being contemplated for much if not all of the 2749 California SW site, where the current store and its main parking lot are.

But what it will be is too soon to say, as well as how/whether it will proceed.

One of the two documents in the public city online files so far suggests that the proposal is coming from Madison Development Group, the developer that is currently finishing Spruce at the Fauntleroy/Alaska corner once known as, when it stalled under previous ownership, “The Hole.” Kirkland-based Madison bought that site at auction and is completing a project with about 200 apartments plus an LA Fitness gym. Madison also built Element 42, the mixed-use building on the east side of the redeveloped Admiral Safeway property.

As for the PCC site:

We’ve been researching this for several days now. Before we found the document listing Madison as the prospective applicant, we inquired with PCC’s media-relations department, asking whether an expansion might be in store for the market, which opened in 1989 and underwent interior remodeling four years ago.

The reply came from Cate Hardy, the West Seattleite named CEO of PCC back in January. “We recently became aware that our landlord is in discussions about the possibility of selling the site where our store is located. We do have a current lease that is in effect for the next several years.”

We hadn’t realized that PCC didn’t own the property at California/Stevens; records show the landlord is Development Services of America, another of the companies owned by the late Tom Stewart, who had been headquartered in the West Seattle Corporate Center before moving to Arizona.

We continued rooting around for info and contacted PCC CEO Hardy again to clarify that whatever is in the works so far, it wasn’t a PCC-proposed project. She subsequently told us, “At this time, we have not been brought in to any conversations with the potential future owner, so do not have any real insight in to their plans or timing. Our lease is in place through most of this decade, and we would certainly hope and expect to be part of West Seattle well beyond that. We anticipate an introduction to the new owner in the near future, and will look forward to conversations with them about how best to ensure that West Seattle is well-served by PCC Natural Markets for years to come.”

We’ve reached out to Madison’s principals for comment; no reply yet. The “site plan” page in the online file shows only the most rudimentary of outlines for a possible new building covering the footprint of the current one plus most of the parking lot; Hewitt Architects is the firm listed as applicant, and the online file carries notations about a request for “paid zoning coaching” plus an expectation that any resulting project would require Design Review. The site is zoned NC2-40, mixed-use development with a four-story height maximum.

We’ll continue to keep watch.

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Southwest Design Review Board doubleheader, report #2: 44th SW Studios advances to 2nd round http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/southwest-design-review-board-doubleheader-report-2-44th-sw-studios-advances-to-2nd-round/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/southwest-design-review-board-doubleheader-report-2-44th-sw-studios-advances-to-2nd-round/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 09:11:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=304450

(‘Character rendering’ of design option 3 – in the full-size version, the red lines point to text boxes)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The first West Seattle microhousing project to go through Design Review made it out of the first stage of the process in its first try on Thursday night.

Most of the concerns voiced about the 44th SW Studios project at 4528 44th SW in The Junction had to do with whether the building could be shrunk a bit in order to more creatively inhabit its site. (See the design “packet” here.)

In the end, the board voted unanimously to let it advance out of the Early Design Guidance stage:

Tim Carter from the architecture firm, Alloy Design Group, led the presentation.

The project is proposed as six stories with about 60 SEDUs (small efficiency dwelling units, aka microhousing) – no offstreet-parking spaces (none required because of what the city considers “frequent transit” nearby), but they’re planning triple the required bicycle parking (enough to accommodate 45). The site is zoned for 65′, though Carter noted the zoning changes six times in the vicinity. The upper stories will have “pretty good views,” he noted. Infill on 44th, he said, is seen as “filling in the missing teeth” (the gaps, ostensibly, are the current parking lots).

The project team’s preferred option, #3 (at right, above), would include “three distinct pods of dwelling units per floor,” most facing either 44th or the alley – which would make a difference when the parking lots to the north and south are inevitably developed someday – “more than a third of them corner units.” It would include 58 dwelling units and would “treat the sidewalk edge as an active space.”

The landscaping would use existing trees on the street and on the south side of the site, and would seek to “soften up” the project’s south edge. (One tree, a tall birch tree, IS proposed for removal.) It also would have a rooftop “amenity” with plants and seating. And they envision a mural or some other kind of “public art” on the alley side of the building.

BOARD QUESTIONS: Daniel Skaggs asked how this would affect the accessibility of the apartment building to the north. It has no entrances/exits on the side that would face this building, Carter said, though it does have a business on its southwest side. T. Frick McNamara wondered why the north side of this building is where the pedestrian access would be (doors from the stairways, for example). The ground floor does have a few units – the building’s largest units, though “still under 300 square feet,” per Carter – but aren’t currently designed with access. McNamara thought moving the building’s laundry room might fix that. Matthew Zinski, filling in for absent chair Todd Bronk, wanted to know more about the massing articulation. Carter said they had to deal with the challenge of “the number of units we’d been asked to fit in.”

PUBLIC COMMENT: Brian Kenney, a Junction resident, was the first of two speakers. “The two fundamental truths that people notice about a project like this is the lack of parking and how small the units are, so I appreciate the big move, to go big, on bikes. So – how could that be really celebrated?” He said that he understood “the instinct to put bike storage on the alley,” but what if it was “a major activation feature on the (44th SW) side?” That might be a “statement by the building to strongly express that bike storage is a response to a lack of parking” as well as a way to dissuade theft. He also wondered if there could be some sort of “light-shaft feature” for the interior units that are light-challenged and will be even more so when adjacent development happens in the future. “If it’s higher quality, they might stay longer and become part of the community.”

Frequent Design Review attendee/critiquer Deb Barker (a former board chair) suggested there might be more opportunities for massing and utilizing the site if it wasn’t planned as a property-line-to-property-line project. “You might be challenged by the applicant using terms like ‘hemmed in’ or ‘we’re going to be blocked’ … but … because they’re designing this project, they do have a choice on how they respond to this site.” She said some aspects were admirable, but “I’m sure this project would still be profitable if it had less of itself,” including fewer units. Her message: “You are designing this, you are not as challenged as you think you are.” She thinks it might be relying too heavily on “offsite amenities” … “The building needs to stand on its own and represent the massing opportunities from inside.” She had words of praise for the building’s amenity space at street level, but not for the fact this building would fully shades the building to the north (older and shorter) in winter – she thought there should be some consideration for the existing building. As for the bicycle storage/parking area, she thought that actually should be somewhere else, maybe even in a basement, and open up space for perhaps a bicycle shop at street level.

BOARD DELIBERATIONS: Skaggs said he would like to see more happening on the south side and the alley side. “You’re going to be able to see this building from California,” he pointed out. McNamara talked about the “ton of foot traffic” that goes through the area, especially because of the alley behind a full block of Junction businesses to the east. She voiced concern about protecting the trees on site and thought activation of the ground-level units in this building might help – suggesting patios, if the building could be set back – and she advocated moving the pedestrian connection from the north side to the south side. She also mentioned the modulation of the under-construction Equity Residential project, Junction 47, at California/Alaska, and how it feels good at that corner because of the “stepping” of floors above the facade, but not so much at its 42nd corner because it lacks stepping. Zinski said it seems to him that the west facade of the building is critical – a vertical change, perhaps, something like contorting the shell, or putting in a light shaft. They discussed the north wall, which on one side has a lot of blankness but on the other side does have privacy issues in relation to the neighboring building. Alexandra Moravec spoke in favor of the bicycle area on the alley side.

Recommendations as the board worked through the checklist included more attention to the “human scale,” including the entries, and the materials – “I hope this doesn’t turn into a cement-board building,” said Zinski – durable, simple materials. They want to make sure attention is paid to all four sides, and to the organization of the ground floor, activating both the alley and the front facade, and making a safe east-west pedestrian access, preferably on the south side. They are “on board with Option 3″ in general.

WHAT’S NEXT: The project will have at least one more Design Review meeting, for final recommendations, date TBA. You can comment on the project in the meantime by e-mailing city planner BreAnne McConkie, breanne.mcconkie@seattle.gov.

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