West Seattle Blog... » Development http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:40:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 West Seattle development: New Junction apartment-building proposal, 60 units at 4528 44th SW http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-new-junction-apartment-building-proposal-60-units-at-4528-44th-sw/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-new-junction-apartment-building-proposal-60-units-at-4528-44th-sw/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 04:57:31 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=292805

Scouring the latest Department of Planning and Development data, we turned up another new apartment-building proposal for The Junction. The 1952-built 8-unit building at 4528 44th SW (map), shown above in a King County Assessor’s Office photo, is proposed for replacement with what the city website describes as a “new 60-unit apartment building, five stories plus basement, five enclosed parking spaces.” The 5,850-square-foot site is zoned for development up to 65′ and borders the alley behind several retailers. It’s also almost directly across 44th from the under-construction 38-unit Lofts at The Junction at 4535 44th SW. According to the DPD website, this proposal will have to go through the Design Review process; no date set yet – it’s in the relatively early stages, with its newest “site plan” filed just this past Monday.

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West Seattle development: 3824 California SW finished with Design Review after 4th meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-3824-california-sw-finished-with-design-review-after-4th-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-3824-california-sw-finished-with-design-review-after-4th-meeting/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 04:34:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=292687

(Renderings by Johnston Architects)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The project proposed for the former Charlestown Café site at 3824 California SW went before the Southwest Design Review Board for the fourth time tonight. Board members agreed to allow it to advance out of the process, provided several conditions were met – mostly fine-tuning.

The project now includes 27 units in six three-story buildings, punctuated by courtyards, with 26 parking spaces on the east side of the site. (You can see the full “design packet” here.)

As the two-hour meeting began, Megan McKay of Johnston Architects reviewed changes to the project since last time around, including removal of a live-work unit, and revisions in landscaping and street-tree plans (they’re asking for a “departure” to maintain the existing street-tree zone along California, and they’re planning to add trees along Bradford, on the project’s south side).

Landscape architect Karen Kiest said the site will include a “lot of magnolias,” and the center courtyard having a water feature, large “harvest table,” and stone slabs to distinguish it from the streetscape. The development will have bike parking at three locations on the block, she added.

McKay showed the ground floor of the live-works will be focused on retail/commercial, while the ground floor of the all-residential units on the east side will have living rooms; second floor will be living room for live-works, bedrooms for residentials; third floors will be “master suites.” They’ve minimized the size of the residential units’ rooftop decks so they won’t be as “visually intrusive.” Entry doors will be “fir, for the warmth of wood,” and there will be brick trim too, especially on the units wrapping around the piazza/courtyard space.

Businesses along California Avenue will each have their own sign.

In response to a question from the board, Kiest explained the screening plants that will be around the common areas housing trash/recycling bins and other utility-type facilities.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Abdy Farid, long active in land-use and neighborhood issues locally, said that he “really likes the design” after some initial concerns about whether live-work would truly be suited to this area.

Another commenter who says she lives across the alley from the property said she wanted to be certain that privacy concerns had been responded to. The architects said they had tried to keep the windows on the east side of the residential units as small as possible, but a few were a bit larger for “livability” issues. They also pointed out the trees that will ultimately serve as screening. The resident also expressed concern about the penthouses on the buildings being too close to the neighborhood east of the project; architects noted that the stairwells on the southernmost and northernmost penthouses have windows, but the other four do not. (She also asked if there’s a start time for the project, for demolition and construction, but the board explained, as did DPD planner Beth Hartwick, that those dates are not part of this process and, once permits are in hand, the developer doesn’t even have to notify DPD.)

A third speaker wondered about potential changes in the commercial spaces’ configuration; and a fourth wondered about the alley sloping that will result from the project; DPD’s Hartwick offered to work with him to make contact with SDOT to be sure the plans address his concern.

BOARD DELIBERATION: Daniel Skaggs said he had some disappointment with the layout. Matt Zinski said he’s not happy to see cement-board siding.

Todd Bronk said he’s concerned overall with safety/security and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles in part of the courtyard that’s only 10′ wide – he’d like to see it wider. He said he appreciates the palette but also has concerns about the cement-board siding.

T. Frick McNamara‘s concerns included a “missed opportunity” to use a grade change to “tuck the parking underneath” and she’d like to see a different material used for the parking area, more “human scale” since that will be the first thing residents see when they come home. Bronk wonders about the amount of parking on the site – how much will be used for the live-works, how much for the residentials.

As they planned the guidance to give the developer, they again mentioned taking care to ensure the common spaces all work for the project and its residents. But aside from some fine points, board members pronounced themselves “very happy” with how the live-work units had turned out, in particular.

They also called for some differentiation in the materials and colors on the east side of the townhouses, to help make the transition between the project and the neighborhood behind it. The view from the west, into the “piazza,” also could stand some differentiation, said Zinski, since that would be a “key view” into the project, and currently looks toward the “cement board” on a few of the townhouses. Landscape architect Kiest said she had clearly heard “bigger trees” for the east side, too.

Hartwick was asked to run through the conditions she had heard, since she told the board she thought the project could advance with a clear list of conditions:

-Activate the 10′ courtyard space so it’s usable (pavement, lighting)
-Lighting on the 6 main corners of the buildings, and the piazza
-No asphalt in the alley parking
-Less cement board, add other materials such as wood siding on the east side
-Where there’s concrete, vary the finish – “light sandblast” for example, not just “raw concrete”
-Robust landscaping from the start, especially on the alley, not starting with “1-gallon” plants

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: The board’s recommendations will be finalized in a report from Hartwick, probably within a few weeks. The project is continuing through the permit phase; we will be checking with the developer, Intracorp, to see what timetable it plans for construction.

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West Seattle development note: 4031 California lot-split, rowhouse plans http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-note-4031-california-lot-split-rowhouse-plans/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-note-4031-california-lot-split-rowhouse-plans/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 21:07:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=292482

The last house on the west side of California between Dakota and Andover is 96 years old but isn’t likely to reach the century mark. Now in the city files for that site at 4031 California SW – a lot-boundary adjustment proposal (involving two lot numbers, though county files say this is on the books as a 3-lot site) and an early-stage plan to replace the house with a 4-unit rowhouse building. Neither has appeared in the Land Use Information Bulletin yet, so the clock hasn’t started running on the comment period.

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West Seattle development: 3824 California’s new design; 4505 42nd back to Design Review; 7-lot Beach Drive site for sale; more http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-3824-californias-new-design-4505-42nd-back-to-design-review-7-lot-beach-drive-site-for-sale-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-3824-californias-new-design-4505-42nd-back-to-design-review-7-lot-beach-drive-site-for-sale-more/#comments Sat, 15 Nov 2014 03:25:57 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=292126 Development notes:

REVISED DESIGN FOR 3824 CALIFORNIA SW: The 14-townhouse/13-live-work-unit development on the ex-Charlestown Café site goes back to the Southwest Design Review Board next week (as noted here last week), at 6:30 pm Thursday (November 20th), Senior Center of West Seattle. And now, the “packet” showing the newest design proposal is online – see it here. This will be the fourth time the project goes before the board. It changed architects before the third meeting (WSB coverage here), and the new firm, Johnston Architects, remains at the helm.

ALSO GOING BACK TO DESIGN REVIEW, WITH A NEW COMPONENT: 4505 42nd SW, just across the alley from the Senior Center, now described as:

7-story structure containing 50 residential units, 6,900 sq. ft. of lodging use and 3,600 sq. ft. of ground floor retail use. Parking for 15 vehicles to be provided below grade.

No design packet yet; “lodging” was not part of the project in its previous reviews (most recently, seven months ago). It’s just been added to the schedule for the 8 pm December 4th SWDRB slot (following the 6:30 pm review of the assisted-living project at 4515 41st SW).

DELRIDGE SITE IN FOR ‘STREAMLINED DESIGN REVIEW’: 5206 Delridge Way is proposed for a “five-unit townhouse structure” that’s in for streamlined design review, which means no meeting.

7-LOT BEACH DRIVE SITE ON THE MARKET: Just spotted last night in an online listing, seven lots comprising 2 acres of potential homesites at 5606 Beach Drive, listed at $2,432,250.

TEARDOWNS: In the city permitting system, updated over the past week or so: Demolition permits issued or sought for 3810 California SW (aforementioned ex-café site that’s being developed as 3824 California); single-family house at 4035 36th SW (new house to be built); duplex and garage at 5003 Fauntleroy Way SW (7-unit rowhouse to be built); single-family house at 5269 California SW (West Seattle Nursery expansion site); 4500 40th SW (development plan reported here); single-family houses at 2835 and 2837 SW Adams (three-story, 6-unit rowhouse proposed to replace them).

BOUNDARY CHANGES: 5915 Fauntleroy Way, lot-boundary change sought (rowhouse project proposed); 5008 Fauntleroy Way, lot-boundary change sought (rowhouse project proposed and comments being taken).

P.S. – NEW WAY TO SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING WHERE: The city Department of Planning and Development home page has a map that will show you spots where projects are proposed. But someone outside city government has just come up with an even-better way to take a look at what’s happening where – at least, for now, the larger projects. It’s called Seattle In Progress. Ethan Phelps-Goodman explains it here.

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West Seattle development: Groundbreaking for The Whittaker http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-groundbreaking-ceremony-for-the-whittaker/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-groundbreaking-ceremony-for-the-whittaker/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 22:22:28 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=292033

(WSB video by Patrick Sand)
FIRST REPORT, 2:22 PM: With ice axes digging into dirt near the southwest corner of Fauntleroy and Alaska, ground has just been ceremonially broken for The Whittaker, ~400 apartments, ~600 parking spaces, and Whole Foods Market (the anchor, and lone announced, retail tenant). A two-year construction process now ensues; demolition and site clearing has just concluded, and excavation/shoring is expected to start in a few weeks. It’s been almost two years since we broke the news of an ‘early’ proposal for the site. We have the by-invitation ceremony on video and will add it, along with photos and more details, after our return to HQ.

ADDED 6:12 PM: We’ve substituted a slightly longer YouTube version of the actual “groundbreaking” video above, in place of the short Instagram clip (which you can still see here). And here’s our video of the speeches that preceded it:

Most of those on hand for the event, held near the northeast corner of the project site – just south of where the gas station used to be – were affiliated with members of the project team – residential developer Lennar Homes, retail developer Weingarten, Whole Foods, local communicators, general contractor Chinn Construction, whose owner Kevin Chinn was there:

(WSB photos by Torin Record-Sand)
With him at left above is Josh Sutton from the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor). Sutton was on the community advisory group that worked with the city on the Triangle Plan a few years ago, as was West 5 restaurateur Dave Montoure of the West Seattle Chamber/Junction boards:

That’s Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals at right above with Montoure. Speaking on the Chamber’s behalf, its board chair Nancy Woodland (leaning to the left and smiling in photo below):

She mentioned the community’s strength and its many “opinions,” the only overt allusion to the controversy that beset the project for months, including former Mayor Mike McGinn’s instruction to SDOT in July 2013 to not approve the project’s “alley vacation” and a standing-room-only City Council hearing last March, followed by the council’s 6-3 approval vote in April, the last major hurdle the project had to clear.

That was three months after the development team had announced the project would be named for climbing legend and West Seattle native Jim Whittaker. He and wife Dianne Roberts were at today’s ceremony:

In his honor, mountaineering metaphors were plentiful. The groundbreaking was described as “base camp,” but with a long climb ahead – two years of construction, to result in this:

And even as today’s celebration continued, so did site-prep work on the south side of the site.

Development manager Kelley Kohout told WSB the excavation work will start from that side, and head north. The project is so big, two tower cranes will be required; he says they’ll arrive sometime in the first quarter of next year. It’s already been a month since the start of demolition/abatement.

As construction ramps up, Whole Foods will continue planning its store; VP of store development Tee Ayer promised the market will reflect the community’s spirit and personality, saying, “you will see West Seattle” in it. (Just a week ago, WF announced plans for another new Seattle store, on Capitol Hill.)

As for what else you’ll see in The Whittaker’s retail space – Weingarten executive Lance Sherwood told WSB today they have nothing to announce yet, but “lots of interest” and an expectation that they’ll “have no problem” leasing it all.

Our archive of coverage on this project is here, newest to oldest.

SIDE NOTE: The last ceremonial groundbreaking for a major development was in 2008, across the street at 3922 SW Alaska, then known as “Fauntleroy Place,” to be anchored by Whole Foods. After excavation, the project was stopped by legal and other problems, no fault of WF, which was just a planned tenant; terms of its lease, for store space to be available, never were fulfilled, which left the chain free to mull other WS possibilities – finally landing with this one. Meantime, after a foreclosure sale leading to an ownership change and name change to “Spruce,” that development re-started a year and a half ago and is close to completion, now with its entire commercial space to be taken up by an LA Fitness gym.

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West Seattle development: Whittaker, post-teardown; Avalon microhousing followup; assisted living to Design Review; more… http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-whittaker-post-teardown-avalon-microhousing-followup-assisted-living-to-design-review-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-whittaker-post-teardown-avalon-microhousing-followup-assisted-living-to-design-review-more/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 19:07:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=291139

(Photo by Long Bach Nguyen)
CONSTRUCTION NEXT FOR THE WHITTAKER: As teardown concludes on the site of West Seattle’s biggest development (4755 Fauntleroy SW), the project team says official construction is a few weeks away. First, they’ll be hauling off the demolition debris, and they have started work on promised improvements for the parking lot next door at the Masonic Center. While that work is under way, the center has parking space on the east side of Fauntleroy Way, north of Edmunds. Newest estimate of project completion for The Whittaker (~400 apartments, ground-floor retail, ~600 underground parking spaces) is end of 2016.

P.S. In case you missed it – over the weekend, we published a last look at the last and biggest building to be demolished.

MICROHOUSING FOLLOWUP: Vigorous discussion ensued when we published this Sunday night update on three West Seattle microhousing projects – particularly the two that are moving ahead after responding to a city memo issued in September, based on a court decision. One of those projects, 3050 SW Avalon Way, responded by saying it would remove “sinks, refrigeration equipment, built-in cabinet and counters outside the bathrooms” from the rooms so that the future building would still qualify to count up to 8 “sleeping rooms” as a single dwelling unit. The file for the other project, 3268 SW Avalon Way – where demolition happened last week – didn’t show a similar response, but DPD spokesperson Bryan Stevens tells WSB its developers made the same decision:

For this proposal, the applicant elected to redesign the floor plans so that these rooms are clearly sleeping rooms and not individual apartments. The bedrooms were modified so that they no longer have separate sinks, counters or food preparation areas. Each bedroom now only has a separate bathroom with a shower, toilet, and sink. The permit is for 7 units total, each with 8 bedrooms, a large kitchen and lounge area. This change was in response to the Superior Court ruling on the Harvard proposal and is not related to the recently adopted legislation regarding SEDUs.

(That’s “small efficiency dwelling units,” the city’s official name for microhousing.)

DESIGN REVIEW FOR ASSISTED-LIVING FACILITY: We’ve reported before about the assisted-living facility proposed for 4515 41st SW. Just added to the Southwest Design Review Board‘s schedule, for 6:30 pm December 4th (at the Senior Center of West Seattle), is the first meeting to look at the plan, now described as:

4-story assisted-living facility containing 48 sleeping rooms (66 beds total). Parking for 11 vehicles to be provided below grade. Existing structures to be demolished.

Here’s the project page on the city website.

Finally, not far from there …

REDEVELOPMENT AT 40TH/OREGON: Thanks to Jeannette for the tip – an 84-year-old house at 40th/Oregon is scheduled for teardown and replacement.

The project has just evolved in city files, she points out, from a rowhouse to a combination of two single-family homes and a 2-unit townhouse building. County records show the house and its 4,600-square-foot lot were sold two weeks ago for $500,000.

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West Seattle development: Next Design Review meeting set for 3824 California townhouses/live-work-unit project http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-next-design-review-meeting-set-for-3824-california-townhouseslive-work-unit-project/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-next-design-review-meeting-set-for-3824-california-townhouseslive-work-unit-project/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 04:41:56 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=290959

(Rendering from Design Review meeting in July – new ‘packet’ isn’t available yet)
For only the second time in two and a half months, the Southwest Design Review Board will be convened to consider a project. On November 20th at 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle, it will be the fourth SWDRB meeting about 3824 California SW, the ~27-townhouse/live-work project on the site of the long-closed Charlestown Café. The project needed three Early Design Guidance reviews to make it out of that first stage of the two-stage Design Review process; the third one was in July (WSB coverage here). The board hasn’t met since September 4th; it has two regular meeting nights most months of the year, but the meetings are canceled if there are no projects ready to be considered.

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West Seattle development: Microhousing on the move http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-microhousing-on-the-move/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/west-seattle-development-microhousing-on-the-move/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 05:04:27 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=290880 Updates tonight on three in-the-works West Seattle microhousing projects:

5949 CALIFORNIA: WORK EXPECTED TO BEGIN – The smallest of the three, at 5949 California SW in north Morgan Junction, has had its permits for a while, and now, Morgan Community Association president Deb Barker says she’s learned that construction is about to begin. The house in our photo above is to be replaced with a five-story micro-apartment building with ~38 “sleeping rooms” and no offstreet-parking spaces; we first reported on the project in May 2013.

The next two projects were considered to be more or less on hold because of a city letter sent in September, as reported here. That letter sent to these and other projects around the city referenced a court decision, saying that their current plans meant each room would have to be counted as a separate dwelling unit, so either those plans would have to change or the projects would need to go through Design Review.. But we’ve discovered new developments on both projects:

3268 SW AVALON WAY: Just before the city memo in late September, the start of work on this 50+-unit project (next door to an already-complete microhousing building) was considered to be imminent – a temporary power tower had gone up. But nothing happened until Friday, when we noticed toward day’s end that the old multiplex on the site next to the 35th/Avalon 7-11 had been torn down. The file shows that the construction and demolition permits were issued three weeks ago. But we haven’t yet found anything online indicating what might have changed, if anything, in relation to the city memo.

Different story down the street …

3050 SW AVALON WAY: This 100+-unit, no-offstreet-parking-spaces project also appears to be proceeding. After seeing the demolition work up the street, we checked the file for this project and found a memo from architect Jay Janette, dated Friday, responding directly to the September letter from the city, by saying:

So rooms are not counted as separate dwelling units, per the City of Seattle DPD letter dated September 22, 2014, all sinks, refrigeration equipment, built-in cabinet and counters outside the bathrooms have been removed from each room.

That’s followed by, “If there are any remaining issues that we need to resolve, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly to resolve over the phone or email in lieu of another review cycle.”

Future microhousing projects will be reviewed under the city’s new rules passed a month ago.

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WSB extra: Last look at what’s now a ghost of a building http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/wsb-extra-last-look-at-whats-now-a-ghost-of-a-building/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/11/wsb-extra-last-look-at-whats-now-a-ghost-of-a-building/#comments Sat, 01 Nov 2014 13:30:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=290685

(This photo and the next 8 by Mark Cohan)
What could be spookier than a big empty, long-vacant building? One of the biggest ones in West Seattle, the former Huling Chevrolet showroom, is no more on this extended Halloween weekend, as teardown concludes. Mark Cohan, who lives near Fauntleroy/Edmunds, “compiled a sort of photo essay of the old building just a few weeks before it was razed” – and shared the images, including the one above, as one last look. See more ahead (plus a few extra late-in-the-demolition photos of ours):

As you probably know, this site will become part of the largest development yet in West Seattle, The Whittaker – ~400 apartments, ground-floor retail including a grocery store, and ~600 parking spaces.

The building had been empty for almost seven years – the backstory’s here.

County records say it was built more than half a century ago, in 1952.

It was a classic car-showroom building, big walls of glass:

We reported first word of the development proposal two years ago, and even once the building was fenced off, vandals still had a field day:

The “Alki in the Twenties” mural on the building’s eastern face could not be saved, the project team said, but it will be re-created on the new building.

Thanks to Mark Cohan for sharing his photos.

Below, two of our unpublished views from the demolition – the south side and the east side:

(One of the more interesting published views was this one.) The only structure now left standing between Edmunds/40th/Alaska/Fauntleroy after 3 weeks of teardown is the Alki Masonic Center, which is not part of the project, and will remain. Its parking lot is currently closed because work to shore it up is being done by the developer; in the meantime, its members, guests, and visitors have temporary parking on the east side of Fauntleroy. Construction of The Whittaker project is expected to take about two years.

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West Seattle development: Equity Residential announces art-commission program, other details for Junction 47 project http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-development-equity-residential-announces-art-commission-program-other-details-for-junction-project/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-development-equity-residential-announces-art-commission-program-other-details-for-junction-project/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 22:33:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=290213

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The two-building Equity Residential project in the heart of The Junction, at California/Alaska/42nd, is “on schedule,” according to an ER executive, and expecting its first tenants to move in next summer.

Today, ER has just announced a plan to commission local artists for work inside and outside the project. This, though the company’s first vice president of development, Bradley Karvasek, says the original mandate for an art project no longer exists – the project has “abandoned” the underground alley vacation that was approved for the original development after a community agreement contingent on public benefits including art.

Karvasek talked with WSB today for the first official update on the project in almost two years; it’s now been under construction for one year, since demolition began in October 2013.

(added) We’ve also learned the project has a name: Junction 47.

(back to original report) The current numbers for the project: 206 apartments, 202 parking spaces (25 “prioritized” for retail); Karvasek says they expect to lease units in the west building, fronting California/Alaska, in June of 2015. That building is topped out and getting its roof (“as weather allows”), with the east building, fronting 42nd/Alaska, a few months behind; its garage (with a dedicated elevator for retail) will have an entrance on 42nd, while the west building will be entered from the alley.

No retail leases to announce yet for its nearly 20,000 square feet of space, but that could be as close as a month away, Karvasek said, describing “fantastic” interest from “a lot” of prospective tenants.

Now, more about the art program. “We install public art in a lot of our buildings” but never quite like this, Karvasek said. The local artist who curated a wide-scale art program for Youngstown Flats (WSB sponsor) in North Delridge, Sara Everett, is on board as a consultant to manage what’s in the works for the Equity Residential project.

ER currently has a Request For Proposals (RFP) for its Artist Engagement Program, which today’s announcement says “will incorporate art into the architecture and design of both interior common spaces and exterior walkways of the project … Equity’s goal is to source locally focused, site-specific artwork that will be directly purchased or commissioned from West Seattle artists, without a curatorial commission percentage.”

The first RFP, continues the announcement, “will address art for the building’s 20 exterior support columns, each given a specific art niche. Two artists will likely be chosen for exteriors, and separate calls for submissions will be issued in the next few months for the project’s interior spaces. The focus of the work will reflect the idea of a ‘junction’ as a transition, or a boundary between two places, things or ideas – such as between city and quiet, water and land, or neighborhood and industry, according to Everett. The program will pursue visual representations of industrial contemporary, or those which span between nature and man-made.”

Interested artists can see details on Everett’s website and/or e-mail her at info@saraeverett.com.

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West Seattle development: Views of the old and the new http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-development-the-old-and-the-new/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-development-the-old-and-the-new/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:33:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=289691 Two scenes from the Junction/Triangle area:

FAUNTLEROY/EDMUNDS: Most of the future site of the mixed-use Whittaker is now cleared; just the last section on the southeast corner, the old Chevrolet showroom and service area to the west, remains (our photo was taken from Fauntleroy, looking southwest). A few blocks west:

4730 CALIFORNIA: Michael shared that photo showing that the facade of the midblock mixed-use project on California between Alaska and Edmunds is finally in view. Work on this project began with demolition in June of last year.

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West Seattle development: Last phase of Whittaker site teardown http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-development-last-phase-of-whittaker-site-teardown/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-development-last-phase-of-whittaker-site-teardown/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:39:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=289533

Rain or shine, the demolition and construction work in the heart of West Seattle is proceeding – and today, at the future site of The Whittaker (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW), the last round of demolition has begun. Teardown of the 1952-built former auto-dealership buildings on the south side of the site started this morning. The view in the top photo reminds us of the same stage of demolition on another formerly Huling-owned site five years ago. *added* Here’s a photo from just before the beams were revealed:

Just in case you’re a new arrival: The project to be built here includes ~400 apartments, ~600 parking spaces, and retail (Whole Foods remains the only announced tenant so far). The Masonic Center at 40th/Edmunds is not part of the site and will remain, getting some parking-lot improvements as part of the “public benefits” promised by the developers next door.

P.S. Speaking of development – the West Seattle Land Use Committee‘s scheduled to hold its third meeting tonight, 6:30 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle (Oregon/California).

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Touring the Junction/Triangle ‘walkshed’: Proliferation of plans http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/touring-the-junctiontriangle-walkshed-proliferation-of-plans/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/touring-the-junctiontriangle-walkshed-proliferation-of-plans/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 19:51:13 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288643

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Seattle Comprehensive Plan

West Seattle Junction Hub Neighborhood Plan

West Seattle Triangle Streetscape Concept Plan ..

Seattle Transit Master Plan

Seattle Bicycle Master Plan

Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan

Seattle Right of Way Improvements Manual

Seattle Pedestrian Retail Areas plan

Fauntleroy Boulevard plan

One thing was clear during last Saturday’s “walkshed” tour of the Junction/Triangle area, with Seattle Planning Commission reps listening to local community reps: There’s no shortage of plans and documents covering the area, but there’s a shortage of understanding in how they interact, interface, intersect, and what they mean.

The tour itself was linked to the Planning Commission’s ongoing work on the city Comprehensive Plan update, dubbed Seattle 2035. The next big milestone for that is the environmental-impact statement, expected to be out early next year. And this is no bureaucratic bit of wonkiness to ignore: As was pointed out at the start of Saturday’s event, this type of discussion preceded the 1990s-generated plan for “urban villages” including The Junction/Triangle – much of which is only now coming to pass, as was underscored by the current, future, and recent development sites passed (and often discussed) along the way.

But the topic wasn’t just the dense heart of the Junction/Triangle, but also its single-family zones – like a stretch of 40th south of Edmunds and the major project sites bordering it on the north.

For backstory on the tour, see our coverage of last month’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting (which included a slide deck setting the stage). To see what happened during the tour – read on:

First, Jeanne Krikawa (above, 3rd from left) and Luis Borrero (above, left), the West Seattle-residing Planning Commissioners who had come to JuNO in September to explain their work and deliver the invitation, were there for the tour. So was Jesseca Brand, the commission policy analyst who had accompanied them to JuNO. Two of the commission’s highest-ranking people introduced themselves as well – executive director Vanessa Murdock, and commission co-chair Amalia Leighton. A future commissioner, too.

Many of those – but not all – who came to join them were familiar faces from neighborhood groups, not just in The Junction, but elsewhere in West Seattle – Admiral, Morgan, Fairmount, Genesee – as well as cross-neighborhood groups such as West Seattle Transportation Coalition and Seattle Green Spaces Coalition. There was some business representation – Frances Smersh from Click! Design That Fits (WSB sponsor) in The Junction. And a regionally known pedestrian advocate – author Cathy Jaramillo from Seattle Stairway Walks.

As the group gathered at Junction Plaza Park at mid-morning Saturday, Leighton explained the importance of looking back as well as ahead – “where did we miss the mark” to “what do we want for the next 20 years?”

Krikawa stressed that they hoped to hear thoughts and ideas: “This isn’t about us talking ‘to’ you.”

Specifically to the point of the Junction “walkshed,” Leighton said they hoped to “understand what YOU think is important regarding walkability.” Ultimately, the work might lead to some kind of algorithm, but it couldn’t be created without input on topography, pedestrian structures (sidewalks, ramps, etc.), waiting times. intersection visibility.

It didn’t take long for talk to turn to some of the plans and designations, even as eyes were cast ahead to that upcoming comprehensive-plan update. Admiral Neighborhood Association president David Whiting mentioned the Pedestrian Retail Areas project that has brought a city rep to almost every neighborhood council on the peninsula in recent months. Leighton tried to say that was about zoning, while this was about transportation – possibly designating the Junction as a “Transit Community” – Whiting said the pedestrian-zone project had a lot to do with transportation and how it would be available and functional in neighborhoods.

Borrero expressed concern about pedestrian-zone boundaries, calling the lack of continuity in some spots “absurd.” The group soon had walked west to Walk-All-Ways at California/Alaska and down the west side of California south of Alaska, pausing outside Puerto Vallarta. Krikawa pointed out how the group – more than two dozen – had had to “funnel” along the sidewalk. On the positive side, she pointed to the raised crosswalk at midblock (there will be a midblock passage on the other side after construction of 4730 California is complete).

The group crossed California at Edmunds and headed east to 42nd SW, where the view proved instructive. On the west side of the street, which continues to redevelop, with Mural completed five years ago and the east building of the Equity Residential project under way, the sidewalk is wider, and there is street-level interest with businesses such as Wallflower Custom Framing (WSB sponsor) and Fresh Bistro.

Look on the east side, with Jefferson Square and Safeway, and you see a narrower sidewalk and the blank wall alongside Safeway and its parking lot, until you get past the entrance to its lower-level lot.

From the 42nd/Edmunds corner and eastbound down Edmunds, tour attendees called the Planning Commission reps’ attention to the new and future development – especially the Alliance Realty project at 40th/Edmunds, and The Whittaker to the east – that likely will turn Edmunds into a much-busier arterial. JuNO’s Commons mentioned the park site that the city has “landbanked” north of the Alliance project. Transitionally, someone else pointed out, it will be temporary home to Fire Station 32, which itself is being rebuilt at its 38th/Alaska site in The Triangle.

Transition was a keyword for the walk – and for the ongoing state of The Junction and Triangle.

The group turned southward and walked down 40th into what is mostly a neighborhood of single-family houses (after the southeast 40th/Edmunds corner, which is proposed for commercial development at the old site of Bella Mente preschool, which moved to Morgan Junction).

So many different types of housing and zoning in such a relatively small area – a “patchwork,” as one person described it – so, how to address their diverse transportation needs? some wondered. Looking at the area in the cup-half-full spirit: A place where families could and do live; family-size apartments are in short supply, it was noted.

Looking east, Click! co-proprietor Smersh voiced hopes the Junction and Triangle will “converse.”

Several participants were part of the process that resulted in a plan for The Triangle, primarily involving streetscapes – Sharonn Meeks from the Fairmount Community Association (south of The Triangle), Josh Sutton from the West Seattle Y (WSB sponsor). The tour headed into The Triangle next. Meeks mentioned newly reopened Fairmount Park Elementary, the closest school, a few blocks south on Fauntleroy, and the stairway some students use at Edmunds to come down from her neighborhood above. The challenges posed by stairways and sidewalks in disrepair became a topic; Leighton wondered how many were aware that sidewalk maintenance is generally the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. The city’s Find It Fix It app got a mention here.

“Transition” was again the prevalent atmosphere as the group turned to Fauntleroy and walked north to Alaska, past The Whittaker’s site – where major demolition has continued in the days since the tour – with Spruce (the former “Hole”) in view to the north, and the proposed CVS drugstore site on the east side of Fauntleroy. (Since that first surfaced in July, in case you wondered, no new documents or other activity has come up publicly, but the CVS projects in other parts of Seattle and in Burien have been proceeding.)

At the Fauntleroy/Alaska RapidRide stop, JuNO’s Commons (at right in photo above) pointed out the cars zooming by: “This is a freeway.” She offered a vision for a transit center instead of a drugstore, with businesses where people could stop to shop and dine – maybe a public market, food trucks. “Missed opportunity,” she says.

The tour was now solidly in The Triangle, continuing east past Les Schwab – another of the converted ex-Huling properties, as is Trader Joe’s to the north – to 38th, crossing by Link, another newer development, apartments over a child-care center, restaurant, fitness studio. The group was headed to 37th/Snoqualmie for a look at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor), getting ready for an expansion project.

Y executive Sutton spoke, saying almost as much about his facility’s surroundings as about the Y itself. To the south, SK Center – a food-processing business – has long been up for sale, he pointed out. To the north and south, he referred to properties owned by the Sweeney family – Alki Lumber, the renovated motel. (Asked their thoughts about the lumber yard’s relationship to everything around it in the transitional Triangle, many agreed it’s important to have a local business playing a role like that – it’s the last of its kind, where the area used to have more: “We need a local place for lumber.”)

Back to the Y’s plan – Snoqualmie is in the new Triangle Plan as a “festival street,” Sutton noted, and yet sometimes when they deal with the city, that seems to be forgotten, so they “have to keep reminding” city departments about the vision spelled out in that plan.

What about bicycle infrastructure? The Fauntleroy Green Boulevard being designed for Fauntleroy Way, barely a block north, is expected to have protected lanes. That brought up the subject of what seemed to be conflicts with the city’s Bicycle Master Plan: “Do the overlays talk to each other?” One Planning Commission rep then brought up the city’s Right Of Way Improvement Manual. Commissioner Krikawa observed that the “relationship between all these plans” was difficult to ferret out.

Yes, plans exist, but Sutton observed that they are “not very community-friendly, because we don’t live in that wonky world.” Even engaged neighborhood advocates like those on the tour “have trouble understanding how to make change.”

Some plans might be missing key components; when talk turned to area parks, and the lack of greenspace in The Triangle itself – though Camp Long and West Seattle Stadium are directly east – Leighton noted the Comprehensive Plan is missing a “parks element.”

Another issue of coordination came up – components of private projects, and how they relate to public infrastructure. Example: The hillclimb that’s planned as part of the 4535 35th SW mixed-use project now under construction (at left in rendering above), likely to be a major connection from The Triangle to the stadium/Camp Long area, not to mention the RapidRide stops at 35th/Avalon. How is that plan acknowledged and addressed when all the others are brought up?

No answers, but lots of questions, and much to think, and to keep talking, about, in this time of transition.

Those interested in continuing the morning’s conversation moved on to a Junction coffee shop; we weren’t able to stay for that, but here are some ways to speak up:

*As mentioned above, the environmental-impact statement for the Seattle 2035 comprehensive-plan is in the works. Thoughts about where the city should be going? Here’s how to send in yours.

*For the specific area traveled on the tour, get involved with the Junction Neighborhood Organization, whose next meeting is Tuesday (October 21st), 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle (Oregon/California).

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West Seattle development updates: Demolition at 4101 SW Oregon & Fauntleroy/Alaska corner; plus, High Point ‘cover-up’ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-development-updates-demolition-at-4101-sw-oregon-plus-high-point-cover-up/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-development-updates-demolition-at-4101-sw-oregon-plus-high-point-cover-up/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 18:47:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288772 Three development-related updates:

4101 SW OREGON DEMOLITION: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli caught demolition starting this morning at this 87-year-old house making way for a 4-unit rowhouse. This project has been in the works for almost a year.

FAUNTLEROY/ALASKA CORNER DEMOLITION: Crews are continuing to bring down the buildings at the future site of The Whittaker, ~400 apartments, ~600 offstreet parking spaces, street-level retail including Whole Foods. Today, they’re working at the Fauntleroy/Alaska corner, demolishing the old Shell station and the former Howden-Kennedy (they moved) building.

The former auto-dealership buildings are expected to be torn down next week. A project spokesperson tells us the plan is still on to digitally re-create the mural that’s on the east side of one of those buildings; the image will be taken from a Southwest Seattle Historical Society photo that is clearer than the faded mural, which couldn’t be moved because it’s on cement block.

HIGH POINT ‘COVER-UP’: In our late September update on 35th/Graham, the photo showed a big sign for Polygon, saying NEW HOMES COMING 2015. Then, a commenter pointed out, the sign was suddenly covered over in green canvas/tarp/plastic, both sides (and we discovered the same thing on a sign a bit to the east).

Why the “cover-up”? We checked with the Seattle Housing Authority, which owns the site, and deputy executive director Anne Fiske Zuniga explained, “The Polygon signs went up prematurely and were covered up because the information was not accurate.” She added,
“Polygon and SHA are in conversation regarding the development of the site at 35th & Graham, the site is not under contract. Polygon is in the preliminary planning stages, so nothing is definite at this time.”

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Charge a development fee to encourage ‘affordable housing’? Seattle City Council committee says yes http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/charge-a-development-fee-to-encourage-affordable-housing-seattle-city-council-committee-says-yes/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/charge-a-development-fee-to-encourage-affordable-housing-seattle-city-council-committee-says-yes/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:45:46 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288680

(Click the image to go to the full-size map on the city website)
Would a new type of development fee lead to more affordable housing in the city? The City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee has just voted in favor of a proposal for a so-called “linkage fee” intended to make that happen. If it became law, it would affect commercial and multifamily development in certain parts of the city, shown on the map above – including parts of West Seattle:

A City Council committee today recommended approval of a plan to create an affordable housing linkage fee to preserve and create affordable housing in Seattle. The resolution directs City departments to develop legislation whereby new construction in multi-family and commercial zones would mitigate the cost of increasing rents by funding housing affordable to those households making $45,000 – $65,000 per year, which is 60% – 80% of area median income (AMI).

“If we want Seattle to be an inclusive city for people of all incomes, then we need to see more housing produced that’s affordable to more people. Up until this point, the market has clearly not given us the housing we need,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien, chair of the Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee and the legislation’s sponsor.

Developers could either pay a per-square-foot fee, which is variable based on project’s location in the city, or avoid the fee by dedicating at least 3% – 5% of the units in their project to households making less than 80% AMI. The money generated from fees would be invested in workforce housing.

“Our expert economic consultants suggest that at this fee level, development would absorb the fees without constricting new supply or significantly raising rents,” Councilmember O’Brien added.

The (above) map illustrates where the linkage fee would be applied in multi-family and commercial development in the city.

Full Council is expected to vote on the resolution on Monday, October 20. Draft legislation for Council consideration is expected by June 1, 2015. The final legislation is anticipated to gradually phase-in over a three year period and would not affect existing projects or new projects with permit applications already submitted.

Additional information about O’Brien’s proposal for an Affordable Housing Linkage Fee in Seattle is available online.

This is separate from the city’s Multi-Family Tax Exemption program, which enables a partial tax exemption on projects that commit to below-market rents for part of their units. The city’s current list of projects in that program includes nine buildings in West Seattle.

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