West Seattle Blog... » Development http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Mon, 27 Apr 2015 00:45:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 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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Design Review Board doubleheader, report #1: West Seattle CVS sent back for second round of Early Design Guidance http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/design-review-board-doubleheader-report-1-west-seattle-cvs-sent-back-for-second-round-of-early-design-guidance/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/design-review-board-doubleheader-report-1-west-seattle-cvs-sent-back-for-second-round-of-early-design-guidance/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 03:11:41 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=304445

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

In the first of two Southwest Design Review Board sessions tonight, the early-stage plan for the proposed West Seattle CVS drugstore at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW was sent back, with the project team told to try again.

Key concerns included the fact that the project team hadn’t brought three truly distinct shape/size/siting options for the board to review, as required, and the fact that the one siting option would appear from the Fauntleroy/Alaska gateway nearby as if it were floating in “a sea of parking.” The entirety of the discussion, from public comment to board discussion, was underscored by the awkwardness of this 1-story building being on the drawing board for an urban, rapidly densifying area and a site zoned for much more than this project would bring – even though the early design does include some “plaza” area and could accommodate a food truck as community members had hoped. Pedestrian safety all around the site was also a key concern. (See the design proposal in the “packet,” here.)

Here’s how the meeting unfolded on the way to the “try again” decision:

Four board members were present: Matt Zinski, Daniel Skaggs, T. Frick McNamara, and the newest member, Alexandra Moravec.

A rep from the Velmeir Companies, developing the site for CVS, said various aspects of the project – 12,000 square-foot store with 49 parking spaces – were shaped by conversations with the Junction Neighborhood Organization (JuNO) and also noted that the site is being leased and that a condition of the lease is that the building remain a single story.

John Feit from architect Schemata Workshop opened the presentation with toplines of the project, most of which you can see in the packet, such as the project objectives and the design context from the surrounding area (Junction and Triangle).

He showed the store’s envisioned relationship to Fauntleroy, with parking to the north and east. The perimeter of the store, visible to pedestrians, will not have “decals” or anything else obscuring pedestrians’ views into the store, Feit said.

As is customary for an Early Design Guidance meeting, three options for the project were shown (they are summarized and compared in the packet). Option 3 is the project team’s “preferred” configuration. Its characteristics include an angle that’s “more deferential” to a future midblock crossing, plus a ramp and stairs toward the entry that are more oriented toward Alaska and Fauntleroy, and they would like to keep the food truck that’s now on site (Beloved Mexico) or something similar. Option 3 also has “landscape walls.” This option’s roof has a “flip-up” facade facing its plaza, which Feit said would give it a more “proud presence.”

Materials are not usually included in Early Design Guidance presentations, but Feit showed some of what he said would guarantee a “high-quality building,” including masonry (brick) touches. The siding near the roof might be flat aluminum instead of sheet metal, perhaps a polished piece for the soffit, with wood nearby. The south wall “presents a bit of a challenge because it contains the pharmacy and concerns include privacy for the clients using the pharmacy” – so instead of windows, they suggest “a highly detailed, crafted facade.” This option could include “site furniture” and landscaping options such as seating walls, a raingarden. The project’s landscape architects also worked on the Southwest Precinct project.

BOARD MEMBERS’ CLARIFYING QUESTIONS: McNamara opened by saying the three options didn’t differ much – the building was generally the same size and shape, and in the same position, in all three. One reason for that, said Feit, was having the midblock connector as far south on the site as possible. She also asked how the drive-through would work being so far below the alley. Feit said it would have guard rails and a landscape buffer as well as lighting. In response to another question, he mentioned permeable pavers would be used on part of the site. McNamara’s questions also brought out more about the fact that some of the store would be at a level raised from street/lot level because of the grade of the site/ steps are envisioned from the Fauntleroy sidewalk to the entrance.

Skaggs asked about the ceiling height inside the store, resulting from the grade change. Feit noted that his firm is not involved with the interior design but said some of the roof’s underside would be view.

Moravec asked for more information on the flow into the site; if you were driving south on Fauntleroy, for example, Feit said, you would make a left turn into the drive-through lane on the south side of the site. For loading, a truck would be parked in the alley on the east side of the site, and there would be some kind of elevated entry into the building from an area adjacent to the alley. About two-thirds of the motorized-vehicle parking would be east of the north part of the alley. Bicycle parking is near the northeast corner of the store.

Zinski noted that the graphics seem to infer a corner site without showing how the site will relate to Les Schwab and its parking to the north. Feit said the orientation is attempting to strengthen the connection to Alaska/Fauntleroy corner “even though we are distant from it.” He also noted that “having the parking in front of the building” is a requirement of the client.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Sierra Hansen spoke first, noted for disclosure that she worked with the project team in the early going but no longer does and is commenting as a longtime West Seattle resident. She said she’s happy to see features such as the angling and landscaping “to tie it in and make it more of a pedestrian amenity.” She said the south wall near the drive-through is an opportunity for a public-art project rather than “simple brick.” Second, the integration with the bus stop is vital, she said, as there are currently “very few bus amenities in the area.” Third, she requested more native/edible landscaping, maybe even a P-patch or community park, which she said was suggested in the early going. Finally, she wondered how this ties in with the potential Fauntleroy Boulevard project (which is in the city’s Move Seattle vision but not currently part of the newly proposed levy).

2nd, Sharonn Meeks, a resident of the nearby Triangle/Fairmount area, spoke. She wondered about parking in the alley because of a community staircase nearby, asking how people will be guided through the alleyway to reach it. She would like to see the alley more pedestrian friendly. She also stressed the importance of being able to see into the store, and not seeing ads “on” the store.

3rd, Elaine from Seattle Green Spaces Coalition said she likes the raingarden feature but would like to see even more greenery on the site. She also wondered about other green integration, and what percentage of the site is devoted to “open space and greenspace.” The architect wasn’t able to answer.

4th, Junction resident and JuNO member Brian Kenny said he’s been involved with vetting this project out of concern that it’s a car-oriented project in a walkable neighborhood, a “suburban-style development.” He mentioned the CVS project in Queen Anne working closely on a “neighborhood-specific urban solution … an amazing evolution through Design Review” and thought there could be something better. Maybe a 3-story building with 2 stories of office over retail, to offer new office space to West Seattle companies? Or even a solution that would offer covered parking? “Walkability must be prioritized,” he stressed.

5th, Chas Redmond, who was on the Triangle Planning Committee. He says he’s encouraged by the use of pervious pavers but “there’s a large roof area” and wondered if perhaps electricity could be generated through solar or something else “that might pay off for CVS.” He noted the site’s current lively status with multiple vendors, and also mentioned that additional canopy for weather and sun protection might be helpful.

6th, Abdy Farid from JuNO said that parking is a concern – he said the 49 parking spaces were “at least 19 over what was needed,” 3,000 additional feet of “impervious surface.” He said, “That area could be used to satisfy some of the design guidelines” such as public life and open space, “to have more outdoor uses and activities,” such as Hansen’s mention of a P-Patch, or maybe more vendors. The pedestrian connection to 38th could be improved by that extra space, too. “The north parking lot is not needed,” he suggested.

7th, nearby resident Diane said she’s concerned about property values and adequate neighborhood parking.

8th, Deb Barker, former Design Review Board chair and Morgan Junction resident, recalled the long-ago Design Review meetings about the Petco building once proposed for the Charlestown Café site. She had praise for the CVS sites that Velmeir and Schemata have worked on so far, including a Wallingford site where part of an old building will be preserved as part of the project. She also mentioned the Queen Anne project’s evolution. She said she was part of four of the five meetings the project team had with JuNO and had “high hopes for this big-box project,” harkening back to her days as a land-use planner in a suburban city to the south. But this is in an urban village, she said, where buses pick up people every few minutes, even before 700 or so more apartments come on line within steps of the site. “At this key location, there’s a huge responsibility to respond to the neighborhood plan and the visions of the neighborhood.” Her specific comments: Same thing McNamara pointed out, the siting/massing options don’t diverge enough for an appropriate Early Design Guidance review. Also, pedestrian connections, especially in regards to the alleys, are lacking, she suggested; they need to be treated like the ones across the street at The Whittaker project, where the alleys will include sidewalks, for example. She said the connection to the north, including the RapidRide bus stop, will be stronger than the midblock connection eventually envisioned on Fauntleroy. And she voiced concern about the character of the plaza outside the building, saying it needs a stronger identity, and might just “dribble away” later in the project engineering process.

9th, René Commons, director of JuNO, said they worked hard to uphold the vision for the area, which was intended to be mixed use at this spot in particular. A 275-foot-long building in this spot on Fauntleroy “is a concern,” she said. Perhaps small retail could have been mixed in to make it more of a complement to the neighborhood. She pointed out the “gateway corner” across the street nearby. She stressed that it’s important to consider “what’s happening across the street.” She added that “awnings are important” and showed images from University Village, with landscaping and awnings that “provided a nice break between businesses there.” She requested “serious buffering” to the midblock connector which “is in the Triangle Plan to have a crosswalk and a light someday.” And she agreed the alley needs to respond to pedestrian needs, including the staircase mentioned by Meeks.

BOARD DELIBERATIONS: Moravec re-stated that she wanted to see more distinct massing/siting options, including at least one positioning the store at a completely different spot on the site. Zinski said he’s struggling with the one-story drugstore on a site zoned for so much more – how could this be urban and dense? Skaggs declared it a “suburban building set in an urban lot” with “too much suburban parking” and wants to see “another scheme that looks at that.” The drive-through did not seem to have been “figured out” yet, he said, adding concerns about the access point from Fauntleroy. McNamara said she is “really surprised this project is in front of us” with “massing schemes (that all include the same) mass void” – she said they’re not even seeing TWO different schemes. She agrees it needs a more “urban” look, with more pedestrian-oriented site. “It’s very visible from the north end and right now, we’re coming into a sea of parking.” The south end of the site did not appear to be working either as currently envisioned, she said, especially in terms of safety. And the project has “five sides,” not just north/west/east/south, but looking down from above: “I would like to see something done with that rooftop,” which will be visible from all around, including The Whittaker across the street.

As discussion continued, it was suggested that the store might even need an entrance at the spot facing the mid-block connection. And board members agreed that it needs to do more to meet the “streetscape compatibility” requirement, given the much-developed streetscape that is evolving almost all around it. And it needs to be appropriate for the rapidly developing/changing area it’s in. Another look at the grade change across the site – particularly regarding the “plaza” on the north side – was strongly suggested. And the importance of pedestrian safety was stressed over and over.

Finally, a vote was taken, and all four members who were present agreed the project needed to make another try at Early Design Guidance. So, there will be at least one more “early design guidance” meeting for this project, date to be set later. If you have comments on the project, contact the assigned city planner, Katy Haima, katy.haima@seattle.gov.

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Neighborhood Conservation Districts to honor history? Next step includes 3 meetings, one in West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/neighborhood-conservation-districts-to-honor-history-next-step-includes-3-meetings-one-in-west-seattle/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/neighborhood-conservation-districts-to-honor-history-next-step-includes-3-meetings-one-in-west-seattle/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 23:32:46 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=304429

(From the Seattle Municipal Archives, 1900 photo of store in 1600 block 44th SW)
Last fall, we reported on Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s study of whether Neighborhood Conservation Districts might help some areas work to keep some of their character, even in a time of growth and change. Now, he’s taking the next step – public meetings to find out if neighborhoods are interested in the idea. One of those meetings will be in West Seattle next month. Here’s the announcement:

Does your neighborhood have strong character that should be preserved, but isn’t eligible or appropriate for historic district status?

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen is holding a series of Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) public meetings to gather resident input about establishing a program in Seattle. NCDs can be best described as a hybrid between Seattle’s Landmark Review Districts and our Design Review Program where unique neighborhoods can help dictate architectural style, square footage requirements, or other design elements.

Learn more & share your perspective:

· West Seattle, April 7, 6:00 p.m., High Point Center, 6920 34th Ave SW

Wondering how this relates to yesterday’s announcement about a “historical character survey” of The Junction? That *could* be a preface to a special district, although, as Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals replied when we asked a related question during yesterday’s briefing, creating a district would mean going through a “political” process – while the survey, for starters, has no strings attached.

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West Seattle development: Preview Thursday Design Review projects – Junction microhousing, CVS – & other updates http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/west-seattle-development-preview-thursday-design-review-projects-junction-microhousing-cvs-other-updates/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/west-seattle-development-preview-thursday-design-review-projects-junction-microhousing-cvs-other-updates/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 05:00:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=302720 We start this roundup with a preview of tomorrow (Thursday) night’s Southwest Design Review Board doubleheader at the Senior Center of West Seattle:

WEST SEATTLE CVS, 6:30 PM AT DESIGN REVIEW: First up will be the Design Review debut of 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW, the proposed CVS drugstore that turned up in city files in summer 2013. It’s a one-story, 12,200-square-foot building proposed with a drive-through and 49 parking spaces; the “packet” prepared for the meeting notes that the land is being leased with a stipulation that it not be developed to the full zoned height (8 stories). Above, the “preferred” massing (size and shape) – looking southeastward over the site – shown by the architect, Schemata Workshop. See the full packet here.

44TH SW STUDIOS, 8 PM AT DESIGN REVIEW: This project – first noted here in November – is also debuting at Design Review, and the “packet” prepared for the meeting shows it’s being designed as microhousing: 6 stories, 58 units, described with the city’s new term, “small efficiency dwelling units,” replacing a two-story eight-Since it’s the Early Design Guidance stage of the process, the board will be focused on its massing (size and shape); below is the “preferred option” as listed by the architect, Alloy Design Group.

See the full packet here.

Now, from reader tips and permit files, among other sources:

3829 CALIFORNIA SW: Thanks to Ted for the tip – a fence (the type that usually precedes demolition) is now up around these brick multiplexes. This site hadn’t been on our radar for a while because the apartment building proposed here seemed to have stalled; the site had gone up for sale shortly after passing Design Review in summer 2013. The planned 29-apartment, 29-parking-space project still has open demolition/building permits, through next year.

6315 42ND SW: This single-family house in Morgan Junction has been proposed for demolition for a while, but its replacement plan has changed a bit. Now six townhouses are proposed. It’s expected to go through the “streamlined Design Review” process – no public meetings, but there will be a chance for public comment.

3310 HARBOR AVENUE SW: An old industrial building at 3310 Harbor SW just north of the West Seattle Bridge has an early-stage land-use proposal described as demolition and replacement with a new three-story self-storage building.

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Happening now: Triple demolition at Junction Flats project site http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/happening-now-triple-demolition-at-junction-flats-project-site/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/happening-now-triple-demolition-at-junction-flats-project-site/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 17:52:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=304291

While Junction leaders were gathered at Husky Deli to launch a survey of the area’s historical character, another development project was ramping up just blocks away. Thanks to Sally and Carl for sending photos from 42nd SW in The Junction, just north of SW Oregon, where three houses are coming down at the Junction Flats site, weeks after the demolition equipment was brought in and parked in the houses’ front yards. This is right across the street from Hope Lutheran School, which has provided an audience of sorts:

It’s been more than a year since Junction Flats finished going through Design Review.

The 4-story building is planned for 80 units (all apartments except for two live-work units) and 52 off-street parking spaces.

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How much transit = no need for parking? Mayor says he’ll vet new proposed ‘Director’s Rule’ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/how-much-transit-no-need-for-parking-mayor-says-hell-vet-new-proposed-directors-rule/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/how-much-transit-no-need-for-parking-mayor-says-hell-vet-new-proposed-directors-rule/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 22:36:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=304085 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Mayor Murray promised today that his office will review the proposed development-rule change regarding transit availability and offstreet-parking requirements, formally known as Department of Planning and Development Director’s Rule 6-2015, before it takes effect.

We wrote about this week before last, before the comment period closed. First, here’s the proposed rule:

We asked the mayor about this during a wide-ranging conversation at City Hall today, his first in a series of planned meetings with “neighborhood press” (the invitation was sent widely; along with WSB, journalists from CapitolHillSeattle.com and the Capitol Hill Times were there – photo above – we’ll have a full report on the entire event tonight).

The West Seattle-based group SeattleNERD. (Neighbors Encouraging Reasonable Development) contends the proposed rule runs counter to what city Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner said in her ruling last year on their appeal related to an on-the-drawing-board development at 3078 Avalon Way SW. SeattleNERD’s official comment is in this letter:

Note Tanner’s observation (see section 15 in her conclusions) that the distinction would have to be changed by legislation – in other words, by a new action the City Council. But Director’s Rules don’t go through the Council; the mayor noted in our conversation this morning, however, that the buck stops with him, since departments such as the DPD report to him, and so that’s why it won’t go forward without mayoral review.

This also is becoming a campaign issue; City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) candidate Lisa Herbold sent a news release saying she also has sent a letter to the DPD, saying in part:

I believe that the City Council did not intend for the DPD to interpret the Land Use Code in this way, and that the department should instead follow the Hearing Examiner’s December 1, 2014 decision. Further, the proposed rule will unnecessarily and unjustifiably reduce parking availability as West Seattle moves towards finding ways to make transit service more reliable, frequent, and consistent.

Read her letter in full here:

That is the point many have made here – while the ultimate goal of less car use and more transit use is supported by most, this area does not currently have the volume and range of transit, even with what Proposition 1 funding is about to pay for, to enable car users to renounce private-vehicle use en masse and eliminate the need for new parking to accompany new residential units.

So what are the next steps on deciding all this? We asked DPD that on Friday, and spokesperson Wendy Shark replied, “We will take the range of comments we received into consideration as we make final edits to the Director’s Rule. Then the Director will sign the final rule, it will be published on our website, and filed with the City Clerk.” (As for a timeline – we’re still waiting for the answer to our followup question about that.)

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‘Urban villages,’ 20 years later: Encore presentation in West Seattle tomorrow night http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/urban-villages-20-years-later-encore-presentation-in-west-seattle-tomorrow-night/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/urban-villages-20-years-later-encore-presentation-in-west-seattle-tomorrow-night/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 19:45:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=304082 The “urban villages” neighborhood-planning strategy from the ’90s paved the way for much of the development you see today. As part of the city’s process to map the next 20 years, former City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck and his consulting firm presented a study in January looking at how the plans have played out, closely examining some of the designated urban villages around the city, including The Junction and vicinity, as well as Westwood-Highland Park. If you couldn’t make it to the downtown presentation but are interested in the topic, tomorrow night you get a chance to find out about it without leaving West Seattle, as Steinbrueck is a guest at the Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting – 6:30 pm Tuesday at the Senior Center of West Seattle (Oregon/California), all welcome.

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West Seattle development: Land-use decision for project at ex-Charlestown Café site http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/west-seattle-development-land-use-decision-for-project-at-ex-charlestown-cafe-site/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/west-seattle-development-land-use-decision-for-project-at-ex-charlestown-cafe-site/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 15:59:36 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=303295

(Rendering from final Design Review meeting, 11/2014, by Johnston Architects)
One West Seattle project on this morning’s city Land Use Information Bulletin: Land-use-permit approval is in for 3824 California SW, site of the four-years-closed Charlestown Café, where 27 townhouse/live-work units are planned. You can read the decision here, including conditions the project will have to meet, and a parking assessment (26 spaces are planned along the alley on the site’s east side; the study projects the townhouses and live-work units will generate nightly demand for 20+ more spaces, which are expected to be available on the streets alongside the site).

Publication starts the clock on a two-week window for anyone who wants to appeal the decision – the official notice links to this page explaining how. We’ll be asking developer Intracorp if they have a date yet for demolition of the four-years-closed café. Checking county records, we note the sale of the site closed last month, in two parts (different owners), just under $1.8 million for the half-acre on the north side, just over $1 million for the quarter-acre on the south side.

SIDE NOTE: This was not the first redevelopment proposal for the site; a 2006-2007 proposal to build a standalone Petco on the site had big trouble in Design Review and was finally scrapped in 2008; a mixed-use proposal emerged shortly after the café’s closure in spring 2011, but had fallen through within a year; the townhouse proposal was first reported here in June 2013.

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West Seattle development: 4515 41st SW passes Early Design Guidance on second try http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/west-seattle-development-4515-41st-sw-passes-early-design-guidance-on-second-try/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/west-seattle-development-4515-41st-sw-passes-early-design-guidance-on-second-try/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:40:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=302982

(Rendering by NK Architects)
From last night’s Southwest Design Review Board meeting: The proposed 66-bed Living Care Lifestyles memory-care facility at 4515 41st SW passed Early Design Guidance on the second try, after addressing issues brought up at the first review in December. This means the project will get at least one more look (the process is explained in the notice that preceded this meeting).

Board members and meeting attendees were generally in support of Option #4, observing that it had lost the “suburban” aspects that were criticized in the December review. Steve Fischer from NK Architects said the building had been turned around, with administrative offices, kitchen, and in-house hair salon at the front of the building instead of the back. The courtyard has been redone to start on the second floor. Public comment centered on two points: having the entry at street level rather than sunken, and parking. (Regarding the latter, questions involve what will happen on the street when the project is built with one curb cut where there are now three, and whether a short-term space might be available for family/caregivers/friends dropping off residents; the project itself will have 11 offstreet spaces.)

Board members’ guidance for the project focused on weather protection, especially around the entrance; exterior and street lighting; planned signage; facade materials (the project team says there’ll be brick on all sides); window design to ensure privacy for neighbors on all sides of the 4-story building; landscaping for privacy; how the alley side will be configured. When the project is ready for its next review, the city will post a meeting date; meantime, comments about the project can still be sent to the assigned planner, BreAnne McConkle, at breanne.mcconkie@seattle.gov until the final decision is issued, which won’t be until some time after the next meeting.

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