(Proposed massing for the development; rendering courtesy Nicholson Kovalchick Architects)
Just got word from a spokesperson for the 166-apartment 3210 California SW development that its Early Design Guidance meeting, scheduled for tomorrow, has been postponed because of an error – “when the notice was published, one of the property parcels was not included.” Area residents confirm to WSB that they had sent the Department of Planning and Development a letter this past Monday asking for the postponement because of the error:
The February 21, 2013 Bulletin shows the development terminating at the southern edge of 3234 California Ave SW. In contrast, the design packet shows that actual boundary of the development is the south edge of 3240 California Ave. SW. This is a difference of 95 feet and 9675 square feet. The drawing of the project site on the Bulletin is more than 20% smaller than what is actually proposed. According to the Bulletin, several parcels on 42nd near the south end of the proposed development do not appear to share a boundary with the new building. In reality, the proposed five-story building will directly abut their property lines.
The Seattle DPD must provide proper notice that accurately reflects the size and share of the proposed development. The existing notice misrepresents the size of the development by more than 20% and does not comply with code.
The meeting cancellation is confirmed on the city website, but the new date is not listed yet; the development team expects it to be March 28th – already scheduled for the next meeting on the 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW megaproject – but we’re waiting to hear confirmation from the city. The “packet,” they say, will remain the same. If you still want to show up tomorrow night, 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle, the development team plans an “informal briefing” but with the caveat that “the board is not required to attend, there is no public comment taken, nor does (city) staff provide any guidance.” We’ll update this story when we hear back from the city about the new date for the official meeting
(Photo from King County Assessor’s Office website)
On the west edge of The Junction, the site of that little brick office building at 4535 44th SW is proposed for a new apartment building, 4 stories and 31 units. Here’s the project page on the city website. West Seattle-founded Nicholson Kovalchick is the architecture firm on the project, according to a preliminary site plan filed with the city that uses the term “micros” to describe the project (here’s more on the “micro-apartments” trend). The information on file is very preliminary so there is no mention of parking plans; it appears from an online notation that the project will go through the design-review process, though no meeting date is on the schedule yet. (Hat tip to DJC for first word of this.)
As-it-happened coverage: Crowd at City Hall as Design Commission looks at 4755 Fauntleroy’s alley vacationMarch 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 35 Comments
1:39 PM: About 25 people are in the audience at the City Hall Boards and Commissions Room right now as the Seattle Design Commission takes a look at part of the 4755 Fauntleroy Way megaproject – the requested alley vacation. We’ve never seen a crowd this size in five years of covering West Seattle project reviews here, so we’re going to publish live updates. Some of those here are wearing T-shirts with the logo of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21; we recognize members of the project team and some local community leaders as well. This will start with a presentation by project team members – Bill Fuller from Fuller Sears Architects and Lance Sherwood of Weingarten Realty (developing the site with Lennar) will lead. Land-use lawyers and representatives of the developers are here too. (Added: As introductions went around the room, West Seattle Thriftway [WSB sponsor] owner Paul Kapioski was among them. The project, if you don’t know, includes a Whole Foods Market.)
1:44 PM: The presentation has begun. This is the first time it’s gone before the commission, so the briefing starts with basics including where in West Seattle it’s located. Fuller says the building will have “approximately 400 residential units” – that’s 30 more than has been mentioned previously. Fuller notes the project site was upzoned last year to 85′ height (though this project is not proposed to be that tall – 70′ for most of the site). He also refers to Spruce across the street (“The Hole”) as “about to start up”; last time we were here covering a Design Commission meeting, that was the project, with an update last year. Fuller says this project’s streetscape will “complement” the Junction, rather than “compete with” it. He also shows a grid of alleys in the Junction/Triangle area, and an overview referring to development goals for the area, which includes respecting its status as a “gateway” to the area. While 4755 Fauntleroy is not a “transit-oriented development” by the city’s definition, Fuller says, they believe it will function as one, with its proximity to the RapidRide C Line, etc. He’s explaining everything around the site so that the commissioners, who are appointed from around the city, will have context (though we believe at least one is a West Seattleite).
2 PM: Background over, presentation begins. Fuller says they plan to improve the section of the alley they are not seeking to have “vacated” – the section that runs north-south north of SW Edmunds, east of the Masonic Lodge (which is adjacent to the project on two sides but not part of it). Fronting Fauntleroy, he says, there will be small retail spaces on the north part of that frontage, but they are proposing to move the drugstore drive-up to be on a driveway parallel to that north-south alley, rather than the original proposal on the east-west “midblock connection” between 40th SW and Fauntleroy. The site height will be mostly 70′ except for the “tower” element at the Fauntleroy/Alaska corner (something new since the first two Design Review meetings). He mentions the site across 40th just purchased by the city as a new park and says they are hoping to find a way for pedestrians to get from Fauntleroy to the park. The current mid-block connector section across the project site also will be utilized by cars. Fuller now brings up the mural that’s on the current ex-Huling building to be demolished and says that while it’s not in good enough shape to save, they plan to take a digital image to recreate it on the project site.
2:13 PM: Fuller shows what the project would look like if the alley vacation isn’t granted – including going to its full allowable 85′ height.
Then he recaps what the project is offering – retail frontage on Fauntleroy, “safe circulation for all vehicle classes” from trucks to bicycles, supporting the “green street” plan for 40th on its west side, and more. The presentation ends, and Beverly Barnett of SDOT – who handles alley vacations – says she’s glad to see so many people here.
She says SDOT is not satisfied right now that the configuration of the interior east-west mid-block crossing (above) would provide safe usage for everything from deliveries to people trying to park: “Right now, there’s so much happening in there, where we see drive-through for a drugstore, delivery trucks … we’re not satisfied that the design as proposed is going to meet all the safety fundamentals plus go so far as to provide public benefits.” She thinks either design changes to the loading area or pedestrian accommodations elsewhere on the site might help; she also expresses criticism of the proposed drive-through drugstore. “Design changes, space enhancements, figuring out how some of the functions might happen differently, or just go away” will be their recommendation. She says “West Seattle loves midblock crossings … but it’s gotta be safe … not putting kids (in the path of) grocery trucks backing up.” (Editor’s note: This concern came up in early design review meetings, too.) Now a City Council staffer, Michael Jenkins, speaks. He says Councilmember Tom Rasmussen is also concerned – especially about the midblock connector and the corner of Fauntleroy/Alaska – and has asked him to follow the project through this process as well as Design Review (where its next meeting is in three weeks).
2:21 PM: Public comment, now.
Steve Marquardt of UFCW Local 21 (above right) says he’ll speak for the group here (the commission asked for some consolidation) and for their 10,000 members, 750 of whom he says live in West Seattle. He says the design contortions are to accommodate Whole Foods, which they oppose: “This neighborhood already has 7 major supermarkets within a radius of 2 miles. Construction of an 8th supermarket … is a threat to the viability of neighborhood jobs.” He also says they believe this plan undermines the walkability viability of the Triangle site, as well as traffic trouble at Fauntleroy/Alaska, and has massing issues – all of which they want to see “better addressed.” .. “Our members don’t see a public benefit here” and “don’t think this is in the public interest.” Now Chas Redmond speaks for the Southwest District Council and Morgan Community Association, saying they have four concerns – seeking a “more striking structure” at Fauntleroy/Alaska; concerns about whether the midblock crossing is safe for pedestrians; concerns about the pedestrian access to the Alaska side of the project – “although there are windows, Alaska has become a showcase of brutalist architecture and we hope it won’t continue that way”; and “knowing there are 3 other projects to be built now or in the future adjacent to this intersection, we are particularly concerned about transportation – deliveries, residents (etc.)” Then a local resident stands up to speak, saying she lives in High Point, used to live in Junction area, and she agrees the additional grocery store is unnecessary and placing burdens on the design of the project. She thinks the pedestrian environment, as others said, will be dangerous, and thinks the midblock connector should be a public right-of-way without the loading dock and other elements. After her, another resident says “what you see now is an eyesore and a danger right now … I think the project that’s coming in is awesome and is going to be beautiful … for me, I think it’s a great project … I think it’s a great idea, is going to bring a ton of jobs, is going to bring a lot of life to the area.” A resident standing next to her says she feels the same way. “I’m concerned about my health, I don’t want to eat at Safeway, I don’t want to have to go to (various stores) … basically Whole Foods is amazing and if I have to sell it, I’ll sell it. I like shopping at Whole Foods and I have to go all the way to Interbay. I want to shop where I live.”
2:32 PM: Commissioners are now asking questions – starting with the “midblock crossing.” Trucks would enter it off Fauntleroy, headed west, “two or three a day” then would go into Whole Foods to the north (behind a door). Residential access would be into the alley off Edmunds on the south side. Visitor parking would be entered from Edmunds too. That side of the alley also would include the aforementioned drugstore drive-through, possibly with a one-way flow. In response to another question, the architects say, people would be moving in/out off Fauntleroy and two spots along Edmunds, which also is where most of the residential traffic is supposed to be. Access to the drugstore drive-through would be from 40th or from Fauntleroy, then “out the alley to the south.” Discussion veers into the Triangle Plan itself and how it envisioned these corners – but then goes right back to the traffic-flow issue. One commissioner asks how much vehicle traffic has been measured in the area; while the architects look it up, she says, “A lot, qualitatively.” 1,500 PM peak-hour trips on Fauntleroy, they find. How many will this project add? “We are adding … about 250.” Among a subsequent discussion of parking, a commissioner asks about bicycle parking; Fuller says “it will be a bicycle-friendly project,” meeting the city’s bike-parking requirements, and he says they’re working on having a bike shop as part of the project. They also are undergrounding utilities along Fauntleroy to make room for a bike lane along the Fauntleroy frontage while preserving vehicle parking there too.
2:52 PM: This was only supposed to go until 3 pm – it’s definitely going overtime. A commissioner says that while there’s a “plaza” proposed at Fauntleroy/Alaska, for the public, it seems from the renderings to have a “private” nature. This is a topic more for discussion at a later meeting of this group, when they talk about “public benefit” – the topic here is “urban design” of the site – but it’s agreed that they can discuss it. There is a four-foot-high or so buffer structure at the corner meant to be more about safety and separation from traffic, not to close off the “plaza.” Parking comes up again, and Fuller says the parking along Fauntleroy will be the only “visible” parking on the site aside from a few visitors’ spaces (for the leasing office) along Edmunds. How does the site speak to the Masonic Temple and its parking? the architect is asked. A currently blocked section of alley will be improved, which should benefit them and their visitors too, is the reply.
3:03 PM: Commissioners’ questions continue. One asks about utilities. The overhead power goes north-south but does not run along the alley, which was added after the site was originally developed. Now it’s on to the commissioners’ discussion among themselves. First one: The midblock crossing does not appear as pedestrian-friendly as the Triangle Plan suggests one should be there. Another commissioner says he agrees the midblock connection is “tighter and more active” than the plan would suggest, but the plan, he says, is a guideline, and this could just be seen as “a departure” from the plan. The next commissioner says she believes this project meets the “urban design merit” on which they’re reviewing it – the cut-through, for example, is an improvement over what’s there. But she has concerns about traffic impacts. Another commissioner says she too will have concerns about the cut-through if not improved by the “public benefit” review, but for now, “urban design merit” for the project is OK. Then two commissioners say they’re wondering why the project came to the Design Commission since SDOT has concerns.
3:18 PM: The idea of digitizing the mural and putting that replica on the site is not a hit with one commissioner (perhaps the original artist should be contacted, it’s suggested), who also says the plaza at Fauntleroy/Alaska strikes her as a “private space.” Another brings up the Spruce project across the street (“The Hole”) and says that it’s just not “a great corner to hang out.” Now, the review of the commissioners’ observations/recommendations – noting that “urban design merit” is the first of two reviews from the Design Commission before SDOT can approve the alley vacation (and send it to the City Council, which gets the final say). The member reading the list of concerns reiterates what has been voiced over the preceding hour and a half.
3:25 PM: The vote – unanimously against approving the “urban design merit” at this stage. So this project will have to come before the Design Commission at least two more times, one for UDM and one for “public benefit.”
West Seattle development notes: Avalon applications; 4724 California update; Design Review remindersMarch 7, 2013 at 8:32 am | In Development, West Seattle news | 9 Comments
As we continue tracking West Seattle development plans, notes of interest this morning:
(Image from November 2012 review – 3078 Avalon at left, 3062 at right)
AVALON PROJECTS APPLY FOR PERMITS: The city’s Land Use Information Bulletin has just arrived in the inbox, with the official announcements of permit applications for two neighboring apartment buildings on Avalon Way – 3062 Avalon and 3078 Avalon. Each is now described as 8 stories, 108 apartments, and 61 parking spaces (changes in the original descriptions for both). Comments are being accepted on both through March 20th; there are “how to comment” links on both notices – 3062 Avalon here, 3078 Avalon here. Neither project has finished the design-review process yet (and no dates are set for their next meetings); both early reviews drew a crowd of neighbors from the street just north of the sites – here’s our report on 3078 Avalon’s September meeting, and our report on 3062 Avalon’s November meeting. At the latter meeting, the architect said the two were likely to be built at the same time.
JUNCTION DEVELOPMENT MAY START IN MAY: With multiple development sites in The Junction in stages of near-readiness for construction, we keep checking with developers about their plans. Most recently, we talked with a spokesperson for 4724 California SW – about 90 apartment and live-work units on the former Petco/Sound Ad Group site – who tells WSB they’re thinking mid-May. The two-building California/Alaska/42nd development still has not announced a start date, after pulling back on two projected start dates last year.
DESIGN REVIEW REMINDERS: One week from today, the 166-unit apartment proposal at 3210 California SW goes to Early Design Guidance – here’s the story we published last week after talking with the architect; here’s the meeting “packet.” Then three weeks from today, the 4755 Fauntleroy megaproject (370+ apartments, 600 parking spaces, Whole Foods) goes back to Design Review (today, its alley vacation goes before the Design Commission).
Since an alley vacation is part of the 4755 Fauntleroy Way megaproject – slated for more than 370 apartments and about 600 parking spaces, as well as a Whole Foods Market and TBA drugstore – the Seattle Design Commission has to sign off on it. It’s on the commission’s agenda for this Thursday (March 7), 1:30 pm, at the Boards/Commissions Room on the lower level at City Hall downtown. Public comment is welcome at these meetings, as it will also be when the project gets its next turn before the Southwest Design Review Board (as reported here last week, that’s set for 6:30 pm March 28 at the Senior Center of West Seattle). The two hearings, however, serve different purposes – the Design Commission’s role in reviewing projects with alley or street vacations is to be sure there will be public benefit in exchange for the public giving up some of its right-of-way property (the street or alley).
While researching some real-estate/development sites tonight, we happened onto a new listing that might be of interest, particularly to people in Gatewood/Sunrise Heights: On the northwest corner of 35th and Holden, the “Complete Auto Repair” site at 7617 35th SW is part of a parcel listed for $1,195,000, described as “Rare development opportunity with over 13,000 sq. ft. of level NC-2-40 land with excellent westerly views … Can be assembled with adjacent additional 6,870 sq. ft. of NC-2-40 (with great 35th SW frontage) for almost 20,000 sq. ft.” Here’s the listing.
(Renderings in this story are courtesy Nicholson Kovalchick Architects)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
When we first reported last month about the five-story apartment building proposed for 3210 California SW – part of the south-of-Admiral block contentiously upzoned in a three-year process – we promised a followup with details.
At the time, we hoped to connect with the developers within a day or two. Didn’t work out that way, but this week, we sat down to talk with the architect, for a preview two weeks before the project’s March 14th Early Design Guidance session with the Southwest Design Review Board.
The 166-apartment building is planned for 400 feet of frontage along California SW – but the design proposed by West Seattleite-owned Nicholson Kovalchick Architects utilizes several means of breaking it up so it’s not, as NK’s Tom Steidl said, “a monolith.”
Two and a half months after Early Design Guidance approval for the 4755 Fauntleroy Way proposal – whose developers are calling it “the Whole Foods project” till it’s named – its next Design Review Board session has just been tentatively set for March 28. In addition to Whole Foods Market, the project includes a drugstore that a project spokesperson tells us they’re still not ready to announce, plus more than 370 apartments and almost 600 parking spaces, as well as some smaller retail spaces. While the design is being finalized, the city also is considering the alley vacation that the developers are requesting (here’s our February 12th story about the comment period on that). Meantime, online files include this document with some of the requests the city is making of the developers as the project proceeds. If the March 28th Design Review date holds, the meeting will be at 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon).
Two development notes today:
AND NOW THERE ARE TWO: That 61-year-old duplex at 7018 California SW in south Morgan Junction, across from the row of businesses anchored by Caffe Ladro, will be replaced by a five-unit “rowhouse” of 3-story townhomes. It’s next to 4250 SW Myrtle, where a similar, if not identical, development is on the way (as reported here last July). (added – aerial photo by Long Bach Nguyen showing both sites, the cleared one on Myrtle and the to-be-demolished duplex facing California)
Both are being developed by Renton-based Isola Homes, which also is building a five-unit “rowhouse” in The Junction (mentioned in that same July story). The 7018 California proposal is up for the city’s streamlined Administrative Design Review process, meaning it will be reviewed, but there’s no public meeting planned. From the city website, here’s a scanned version of the design packet submitted last week. County records show this site was sold to the developers less than a month ago for $400,000.
UPDATE ON THE BLAKE: When the owners of the 101-apartment development planned for 5020 California SW, just south of The Junction, announced its new identity as The Blake in December, they said work would begin in January. Since February is almost over with no sign of groundbreaking, we checked in with the company managing the project. They say the permits will be “pulled” this week, so the start is near. The site has had a land-use permit for more than a year but the construction permit is not yet finalized, according to online records.
While WSB has a special page to help reunite lost/found pets and people, we usually point the occasional the “pet in need of a home” notice toward the WSB Forums. This one, though, just screamed – meowed – front-page news … or perhaps mews:
Greetings …I am Magoo.
I am the current resident of 1311 Alki Ave SW as well as the neighbor to the Notorious Alki Tavern.
The land my home is on has been sold to developers and will be torn down along with the tavern.
So years living next to the Best Biker bar in West Seattle has brought me years of joy and excitement.
Watching everyone come and go on sunny summer days and hearing all of their tall-tales…
watching the Blue Angels scream across the water…they always make me hide under my box… seeing only the locals bundle up on cold winter days to go for a walk on the beach… enjoying curling up and watching the reflection of the sun off the buildings downtown… and hearing the sound of the seals out on the buoy barking all night long.
I loved watching the world pass me by from my tiny 1911 baby blue beach hut on Alki Ave SW.
With the selling of the land I now need to think about my next move in life. I have decided I am looking for a nice quiet place to retire and write my memoirs of my life next to the tavern.
I came to the beach in West Seattle as a kitten so I have…well…it’s is rude to talk about age so let’s just say I have lots of stories.
I am like a classic Mercedes…as long as you maintain the engine…the car will run forever.
My engine is strong, but I need a little extra tlc…just like a high-mileage car.
The man that lived here with me was a great mechanic and he took great care of me.
After learning the land was sold, he passed away … it truly broke his heart to know he had to leave his familiar home.
Now I am left without someone to type for me; my nails get caught in the keys… So… if you would be interested in helping me write my memoirs as well as take care of me…
the usual… feed me pet me love me… clean up after me… but most of all love me…
Please contact my assistant at: 206-388-8828
She will get you on my calendar for an appointment.
Magoo’s assistant, Kelly, says those who knew and loved Magoo’s dearly departed human also are “contacting artists to paint the side of the house in nothing but pink flamingos … if anyone knew JD and would like to show their appreciation and celebrate his life, they are welcome to place a pink flamingo anywhere around his little beach house.”
(For perspective – top of graphic is east, Fauntleroy Way frontage; ‘not a part’ is the Masonic Hall site)
Another chance to have a say on the 370-apartment mixed-use megaproject proposed for 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW – which the development team tells WSB is now dubbed “the Whole Foods project,” pending an official name: City Council approval is needed for the “alley vacation” included in the plan, but before it gets to them, the city needs feedback from you. SDOT is now circulating a letter to the community seeking comments on whether the vacation – allowing the development to build over what is currently publicly owned right of way – should be approved. We didn’t get an announcement of this, but a community advocate forwarded it to make sure it would get out to as many people as possible:
DATE: February 11, 2013
TO: Interested Persons
FROM: Moira Gray, Seattle Department of Transportation, Street Vacations
SUBJECT: Vacation of a portion of the alley in Block 3, Norris Addition; Clerk File 312783
The Seattle City Council has received a petition from West Seattle Project X, LLC to vacate a portion of the alley in Block 3, Norris Addition in the West Seattle Junction Hub Urban Village. If you are interested in commenting on this vacation please review the attached materials describing the vacation request. Your comments will become part of the permanent public record and will be included in the recommendation to the City Council. Return your comments to: Moira Gray, Seattle Department Transportation, PO Box 34996, Seattle, Washington 98124-4996, or e-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and whether you are responding as an individual or as a representative of an organization when you return your comments.
West Seattle Project X, LLC
Jessie Clawson, McCullough Hill Leary, PS, Jessie@mhseattle.com
COMMENTS REQUESTED BY:
Comments are accepted throughout the review period. Early comments are helpful in coordinating with the petitioner.
The complete file is available for review. Please contact Street Vacation Staff at 684-8272 to review the file or if you have any questions. Thank you for your review and timely response
The document mentioned above is here – it includes details of the alley-vacation request and various images from the project proposal.
Meantime, separate from this review, the project still awaits its next Design Review date; a project spokesperson tells us they’re hoping for March. (Here’s our report on the most recent design review.) And they are not yet ready to announce other retail tenants, including the planned drugstore.
February 28th March 14th* Southwest Design Review Board meeting is scheduled for the newest major project proposed in West Seattle – 166 units at 3210 California SW (map). We confirmed the meeting plan via the city website after seeing the project mentioned by the Daily Journal of Commerce (subscription needed to read the story). This is part of the property upzoned two years ago when the City Council gave final approval to an application filed by local entrepreneurs Roger Cayce and Mike Gain three years before that (WSB 2007-2010 coverage archive here). The project is described on the city website as five stories, 166 apartments, 166 parking spaces, and 1,000 feet of live-work space. (The 2010 rezone was for a 40-foot limit, which usually means four stories, so we’ll be checking on that.) The application says demolition is planned for the structures at 3206, 3210, 3220, 3228, 3234 California SW. The developer is listed as Intracorp, the architect as Runberg, whose online portfolio includes two projects in The Triangle – Nova and Merrill Gardens-West Seattle (both WSB sponsors). We plan a full story with more details as we get them.
*Updated date – since we published this story, the date has changed to March 14th on the “Design Review/Upcoming” page.*
Just north of The Junction, two development notes this afternoon:
SIX-TOWNHOUSE PROJECT: Across from the north edge of Dakota Place Park, the city has announced upcoming “administrative design review” – no meeting required – for a six-townhouse project scheduled on a 5,750-square-foot lot currently holding one almost-century-old home at 4044 California SW (map). Here’s the city’s project page. The owner is listed as Charlie Guyot, a member of the busy builder-finance group Blueprint Capital. Though it’s not on Blueprint’s map of West Seattle projects; two nearby ones are, including this:
NEW HOUSE AT 4010 SW GENESEE: Just east of Seattle Lutheran High School, the 1920s-era house on the northwest corner of 40th and Genesee has been demolished in the past few days (thanks to a WSB reader for sending the photo). City records say it’s slated for a new single-family home on the 6,440-square-foot lot; the Blueprint site says it’ll have three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and just under 3,000 square feet of living area.
Thanks to Jess for noticing a sign that the delayed start of work on the two-building Equity Residential development at 42nd/Alaska/California is NOT imminent: Part of the site is being turned into a pay-to-park lot. It’s been six months since the businesses formerly on the site had to clear out. In November, the development team had told WSB they expected to start demolition right after Christmas; then when we checked in a month ago, they said it would be “early (this) year” instead. So with the parking-lot striping, we renewed our inquiry with project spokesperson Sierra Hansen, who replied:
As we mentioned earlier this month, the start of construction has been delayed at the site. In the meantime, Equity has decided that there might be interest by Junction visitors to use the parking lot on the east part of the block, and are contracting with Diamond manage the lot until construction starts.
On a related note, they discovered signs of trespassing and will be hiring a security firm to patrol and monitor the buildings until demolition.
The site had been long held by Eastside-based Conner Homes, which shepherded the development plan through the approval process, and then sold it to Chicago-based Equity for $11 million in December 2011. No new date for the expected start of work.
We’ve heard from a few people wondering about two sites currently being readied for construction; here’s what we know so far:
The land west of the Arco station at 7301 Delridge Way [map] was up for lease for quite a while – and now, work is under way. City records show a permit granted one month ago for construction of a new 4,000-square-foot “retail building,” We have inquiries out to see if we can find out what sort of retail is planned, given that the existing station already includes a mini-mart; no reply yet.
Also in the earth-moving stages:
That’s 3266 SW Avalon Way [map], the second lot to the east of the 35th/Avalon 7-11 store. (Our photo was taken last week; the lot has even more heavy equipment in action now.) City records say the site is slated for a 7-unit “boarding house” building, same owner/developer as a Delridge project including boarding houses, and same one on record as in the early stages of pursuing a 14-unit boarding-house project at 3050 Avalon Way, as noted when we updated our West Seattle development map a month ago.
In a policy published last year, the city listed characteristics and requirements for boarding houses, including private bathrooms for a “high percentage” of the units, and pathways inside the building leading more to the exterior entrance/exit rather than to common areas. County records say the 3266 Avalon site previously held an 87-year-old house.
As noted last week in coverage of a neighborhood’s concern about a one-home lot potentially soon to be divided so it can house three, single-family-home development is an increasingly hot topic these days. Two notes today:
NEW ADVOCACY GROUP: After the aforementioned story last week , a reader e-mailed us to point out this Publicola story about a new group called Smart Growth Seattle. Its primary sponsor is the housing-funding group co-founded by West Seattle-residing developer Dan Duffus, Blueprint Capital, whose members include the two companies involved with the project in last week’s report. Today, Smart Growth Seattle officially announced its launch, with this news release. The group seeks to change the city rules regarding development in single-family neighborhoods, including a change in minimum lot sizes – relative to the existing lot sizes in any given neighborhood – as outlined on this page of its website.
33-HOME CONSTRUCTION SITE FOR SALE: Back in 2009, we reported on a proposed subdivision east of Puget Park at 4741 15th SW (map) and an appeal of a city ruling regarding the site,. The site hasn’t been built on, but the land-use permit for a 33-home development was issued in 2010. Today, a reader forwarded this a marketing e-mail she had received, announcing that the site’s up for sale, asking $1,848,000. “Why start from scratch? We’ve already done the work,” declares the e-mail, noting that the price breaks down to $56,000 per lot.
Three notes this afternoon from North Delridge, and two relate to that photo. It’s an aerial view of Youngstown Flats, the 26th/Dakota apartment building whose developers (who provided the photo) now say the almost-200-unit project is 90 days from expected completion in the first week of April. “It’s almost over!” wrote Legacy Partners’ Steffenie Evans in a note to area residents. The crane is expected to come down “within a few weeks,” she adds; workers are currently painting and installing fixtures to finish the apartments’ interiors. Youngstown Flats also will incorporate 14 local artists’ work inside and out, from sculptures to lobby decoration. And sidewalks and landscaping is getting under way along Dakota.
In the lower right of the photo, you see part of the city-owned grassy area known as the Dakota Street Right-Of-Way – an undeveloped street end. As reported here last month, the North Delridge Neighborhood Council is getting a $52,200 city grant for improvements, to make it more of a mini-park and to enhance its access to Longfellow Creek. Area businesses are contributing to the project – including maintenance promised by Youngstown Flats – and now NDNC needs something from you. The city wants the group to ask for community input on the mini-park’s design and materials, so if you have any thoughts on it, now’s the time to speak up! Here’s the park plan for your review. NDNC says even simple comments of support would be great. And if you don’t want to post a comment here, you can also have a say at one of two meetings this week at which it’ll be discussed: NDNC’s monthly meeting tomorrow (Monday, January 14), 6:30 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW), or the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council on Wednesday (January 16), 7 pm, same building.
Speaking of tomorrow’s NDNC meeting – you’re invited, as always. Other agenda items, according to NDNC’s Kirsten Smith, include the council’s support for other community-grant applications, a visit from School Board rep Marty McLaren, and community crime issues. The meeting room is near Youngstown’s north entrance.
(King County Assessor’s Office photo of 3650 55th SW in 1953, shortly after it was built)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
While our coverage of – and your comments about – West Seattle development tends to focus on multi-family projects (with more than 2,000 apartments in the works), single-family-home development is intensifying too.
And because much of it is “infill,” since a city neighborhood like this tends not to have wide stretches of undeveloped land – it often touches the nerve related to the same issue that swirls around apartments: Density, which means taller structures with smaller footprints.
Citywide, the One Home Per Lot movement has gained attention – residents in various single-family-home neighborhoods opposed to new homes being built on smaller lots that were originally used as side yards or backyards.
Much of their scrutiny (as detailed in this Seattle Weekly story last summer) has focused on West Seattle developer Dan Duffus, who is a prolific “infill” developer, houses as well as townhomes and live-work units, here and around the city.
Duffus is co-founder of the Blueprint Capital funding group, which declares itself the leading residential-housing lender in the area, and which has a membership list including two companies who have just bought and are seeking to subdivide a corner site in a northwest West Seattle neighborhood where neighbors rallied this week as part of their attempt to stop the plan.
10:12 PM: Reminder if you are tracking Junction development: The newest proposed project, Junction Flats (4433 42nd SW), gets its first Southwest Design Review Board meeting tomorrow (Thursday) night. The time is unusual, and was in fact wrong on the city’s “Design Review Upcoming” page until a few days ago – though it’s the only review of the night for the board, it’s at 8 pm (Senior Center of West Seattle, California/Oregon). Also unusual, the packet of early-design graphics and information has not appeared online, though the city planner assigned to the project confirmed when we contacted her today that packets are supposed to be available to the public a week in advance. The proposal (first reported here in November) is for a four-story, 71-unit complex on a site that now holds three houses.
ADDED 9:47 AM: The city has added the packet to the website this morning; the developer tells us the delay isn’t their fault, as they got it to the city in plenty of time. See it here.
View Major active/upcoming West Seattle development, updated for December 2012 in a larger map
Looks like 2013 will be “The Year of the Crane” in West Seattle. We have finally finished updating the latest version of the development-in-the-works map, first published in August (separate from a version we updated repeatedly back during the 2008 boom) – click any marker to find out more about the project at that site. Just as well we didn’t publish it earlier, since this week has brought more updates. A three-block stretch of California SW’s east side will have three projects under way by spring, if current plans come to fruition, including Wednesday’s announcement about The Blake.
When we published the previous version in August, we counted about 1,500 units either under construction or on the drawing board; now, with a few additions and a few subtractions (noted below), we count more than 2,000. A few notes:
-In addition to what is visible in the map window above, our current list has one more development on the map, but it’s out of view because it’s in south West Seattle at 9051 20th SW – you can grab the map to manipulate it to see that 41-apartment project (or click the small blue link below the map to see it full-size on Google Maps); otherwise, everything of note is concentrated in the area shown by default – the Junction/Triangle/Avalon area.
-Though they are not apartments in the classic sense, we include the 66-unit DESC Delridge Supportive Housing project in North Delridge and the early-stage proposal for a “50-60-unit Alzheimer’s housing” project in The Junction, as both are of significant size and neighborhood impact.
-We’ve used a variety of methods – maps, databases, city webpages, driving around, etc. – to keep watch for new projects. But it’s possible we’ve missed something – so if you know about an early-stage proposal on a site not mentioned here, please let us know!
Update since we first reported six days ago that the signs were up and the comment period had opened for the 370-apartment 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW project’s land-use permit application: The deadline’s been extended two more weeks, to January 23rd. In our December 21st report, the project’s assigned DPD planner Bruce Rips had pointed out that the extension was available on request, and he confirms to WSB this afternoon that (as commenter Steve noted here) it’s been requested and granted. To comment on the project by January 23rd, e-mail him at email@example.com. Meantime, the project awaits its third Southwest Design Review Board meeting; no date set yet, though the project team has told us they hope it’ll be within the next month or so.
West Seattle development: Groundbreaking soon for 101 apartments at 5020 California SW, now called The BlakeDecember 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 33 Comments
Yet another Junction-area project is getting ready for groundbreaking. It’s a site we have been tracking for more than five years – 5020 California SW, formerly known as “Spring Hill,” dating back to its time in the fold of BlueStar Development, the original developer of what became “The Hole.” When BlueStar’s West Seattle plans went awry, 5020 California SW went into foreclosure, and then was sold to a Burien-based company last year. Four months ago, we spoke with the site’s new managers, who told us nothing was likely to happen before year’s end, and that the project hadn’t changed much; today, the management company, Indigo Real Estate Services, just sent an official announcement of the site’s new name and imminent construction::
After much anticipation, groundbreaking for The Blake (formerly known as Spring Hill) at 5020 California Ave SW is slated to begin in January 2013 with a target opening of summer 2014.
Named for the most prominent island seen from the building’s expansive rooftop deck, The Blake will offer sweeping views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains for all residents to enjoy.
The notification signs are up, one week after the prospective developers of 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW – the 350-apartment, almost-600-parking-spot proposal for Fauntleroy/Alaska/40th, with Whole Foods signed on – applied for its Master Use Permit (as reported here). The sign is a reminder that the formal comment period is open – including issues beyond design, such as traffic, noise, and other “environmental” factors. Here’s the application’s official page on the DPD website; if you have a comment, send it to the official planner, Bruce Rips, at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP (we’re checking on the deadline). Meantime, the project still will have at least one more Southwest Design Review Board meeting, also including public comment; the date is not yet set, but a project spokesperson told us they are hoping to return to the board in a month or so.
ADDED: Regarding the deadline for comments, DPD’s Bruce Rips replied, “The comment period ends on January 9, 2013. It can be extended by two weeks upon request. I accept comments throughout the review process.”
‘We’re really happy to get ‘The Hole’ filled’: New owner’s team discusses Spruce West Seattle at first public reviewDecember 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 44 Comments
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Almost exactly six years after its last look at what was then Fauntleroy Place, the Seattle Design Commission got a look this afternoon at what is now planned for the notoriously idle West Seattle development site at 3922 SW Alaska, which since has become widely known as “The Hole.”
The land-use lawyer who led the project team at the hearing told WSB they hope to start construction “as soon as possible” – once the last few approvals are in place.
As first reported here last July, the project now owned by Madison Development does have a new name – Spruce West Seattle – and that was publicly shown on renderings for the first time at this afternoon’s downtown review. (We photographed some of the key images, but hope to get electronic copies later.)
Though the project obtained some permits long ago, its master-use permit won’t have a final signoff until the City Council gives one last OK, which can’t happen any sooner than January, when council meetings resume. They, the Design Commission, and SDOT are involved because the project involves an alley vacation – part of public right-of-way being in effect given to the developer, though as was pointed out at the hearing, they are creating a new alley at another spot on the site. Much of the discussion centered on the “pocket park” that will be right at the Fauntleroy/Alaska/39th corner:
Project team members at the hearing included land-use lawyer Roger Pearce from Foster Pepper, lead architect Joe Workman from Collins Woerman, landscape architect Andy Rasmussen, and West Seattle artist Lezlie Jane, whose role in the project we learned about for the first time – she is designing art for the “pocket park” at the 39th/Alaska corner.
West Seattle development updates: Junction project demolition delay; ‘The Hole’ back to Design CommissionDecember 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm | In Development, West Seattle news | 29 Comments
As we continue to track major local projects, we have two updates on two Junction-area plans that both have been long in the works (and both on sites visible in the photo below by Long Bach Nguyen):
JUNCTION PROJECT DEMOLITION DELAY: When last we talked with Equity Residential‘s team about their two-building, 206-apartment project coming to California/Alaska/42nd, they told us they planned to start demolition right after Christmas. (The businesses that had been on the site, you’ll recall, had to clear out by July 31st, but the project team says site cleanup issues have taken more time than expected.) We just checked in again to see if they’re still planning on starting work by year’s end – and now the answer is “no.” It’ll be “early next year.” They have not yet chosen a general contractor, we also were told.
‘THE HOLE’ GOES BACK TO THE DESIGN COMMISSION: The agenda for this Thursday’s Seattle Design Commission meeting caught our eye with an item titled “Spruce Project (Hancock Fabrics).” As we first reported in July, “The Hole” at 3922 SW Alaska – formerly Fauntleroy Place – is now Spruce West Seattle, and Hancock is no longer part of it, according to the plans we’ve seen (instead, the retail space is sketched out as an L.A. Fitness outlet). So we called the Design Commission office to see if that’s the project they’re taking up, and indeed it is, according to spokesperson Valerie Kinast. The 216-apartment plan has undergone some revisions, as summarized in this city memo, which presaged the project’s return before the commission:
The final plan for the public space within the right-of-way, as required by the City Council’s preliminary street vacation approval will be reviewed by the Seattle Design Commission, with final approval by the Seattle City Council when the final alley vacation approval is considered.
The meeting is open to the public, on the lower level of City Hall downtown, and this item is scheduled to be considered at 1:30 pm Thursday (December 20th).
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One big step came last month when the mixed-use megaproject passed the Early Design Guidance phase of the city’s design-review process, on the second try.
That in turn paved the way for what the project team did yesterday (Tuesday, December 11th) – formally meeting with the city Department of Planning and Development to apply for the Master Use Permit (explained here), according to Lance Sherwood of retail specialists Weingarten, one of the project’s developers, along with housing specialists Lennar, and Seattle architects Fuller Sears.
They also confirm they are continuing to meet with community members who are watching the project closely and still concerned about some of its fundamental design elements, while preparing for another Design Review meeting that could come as soon as next month.
Demolition is under way right now at 47th and Othello, just northeast of Lincoln Park and south of The Kenney (WSB sponsor), where Build Urban plans to build 6 detached single-family homes (according to this webpage, which says they’ll be “Built Green 4 star”). The firm, headquartered on Lake Union, has at least one previous West Seattle project – Solamar on Alki, on the once-contested 59th/Stevens site across from the Alki Elementary School playground
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