Petco @ Charlestown Cafe site? Here’s what’s next

This Thursday night, the city’s Southwest Design Review Board will take a look at the latest design for the proposed Petco store at the Charlestown Cafe site.

We’ve received a pre-meeting update from Mark Wainwright with Our Town West Seattle, the community group keeping a close watch on this project and the restaurant’s fate; the group met last Thursday to look ahead to this week’s Design Review meeting.

Mark says there’s a new architect for the Petco plan, Sienna Architecture, based in Portland but with a Seattle office. He adds, “The project design is, in a word, better … this design may have the potential to be Petco’s nicest store.”

Click ahead to read what else Mark says:

“The main message at the meeting was to ‘keep our eyes on the prize,’ which is still fighting for ‘the best’ for our community. Whether that means keeping the Charlestown Café as-is, or working for a better development that would offer a new home to the Café, additional retail, and possibly some (much needed) housing options, we still don’t know.

“But our key messages still are:

“1. We want the best thing for our neighborhood. What the Charlestown Café represents to our community won’t be replaced by a big Petco store or by many other large retailers who could go there. Whatever happens on that site, we want it to make our community better.

“2. The landowner and developer have not been responsive to our many requests to meet and talk about the project. The project does not exist ‘on an island’ – it has value and importance because of the surrounding community, so the community has an inherent stake in what happens there.

“3. Lastly, when and if we do meet with the project stakeholders, we’ve been hard at work assembling smart people with good ideas about what could happen there. We haven’t driven a stake into the ground and said ‘we don’t want anything to change”, because we understand how unrealistic that would be. We’ve been working to come up with our own ideas about the kind of changes we’d like to see there.”

Thursday’s meeting is at 6:30 pm in the community meeting room at the Southwest Precinct. Immediately after the board looks at this project, it will take up an Admiral District proposal (2310 Cali).

8 Replies to "Petco @ Charlestown Cafe site? Here's what's next"

  • Vanessa Carr August 7, 2007 (5:03 pm)

    IF we lose our beloved Charlestown Restaurant, which I hope we don’t, and the corporate monsters move their Petco store in, why don’t we simply boycott and pickett this store, make them lose business and close their doors? I know by then the restaurant will be history, if they don’t move to another location, but we have to take a stand somewhere.

  • John August 7, 2007 (7:40 pm)

    The Petco moving there is not the true issue. The landowner wants more money for that property than the Cafe is willing/able to pay. If it was not Petco, it would be another “big box” that would offer for it. I do not think that enough people would boycott the Petco to get it to close. I am a very avid Petco shopper, and everytime I go in to that store it is busy. A store that receives 3000 plus (estimation..) customers a week is in good shape. I am excited for a new Petco store as the old one is worn down and I will be looking forward to shoping in a new store in WS.

  • chas redmond August 7, 2007 (10:30 pm)

    There’s really two issues. The demise of Charlestown Cafe is one. The horrible, parking-lot front side of the proposed replacement is the other issue. A city works by having a streetscape which is friendly to all users. A parking lot, huge or even moderate, along such a walkable avenue as California is really an insult to everyone – to the architectural community, to the residents who live along and adjacent to the area, to the other businesses which have done a good job of applying good design sense, to the overall development community. The original proposal was practically a definition of what an ugly development would be. We don’t need that no matter who the landlord or tenant is. It’s about fitting in with the existing neighborhood and so far the proposed development doesn’t fit in well. I doubt West Seattle will ever turn into Federal Way, but it’s vigilance which keeps that from happening and not random luck.

  • Jan August 8, 2007 (10:58 am)

    you would think that the property owner would, by now, be monitoring the WSB to see what the consnnsus is. I don’t know the (man), and I already dislike (him) for not being upfront and forthcoming to the community. Chas, you are right on. How hard can it be to build something that has more street appeal with parking to the side., etc…I simply don’t get it…

  • Aaron August 8, 2007 (12:56 pm)

    I know this is completely subjective and in no way helpful, but the food at the Charlestown Cafe is horrible.

    And why would any respectable westside resident even set foot in Petco when they could be supporting one of the other three, independent pet stores on California Ave.?

    Give Pet Elements, Next to Nature, or Mud Bay a try and support your community.

  • WSB August 8, 2007 (1:01 pm)

    Aaron — The two additional pet stores opening in WS soon (Pet Pros in Westwood Village and All the Best on Alki) also appear to be regional-based chains. Data point. Jan — Mark W has mentioned that it’s hard to find even an e-mail address for the development company involved in the Petco/CC site project, so somehow we doubt they know we are all here. But you never know.

  • Velvet Bulldog August 8, 2007 (4:48 pm)

    Because we can’t get to the land owner, many of us are writing polite letters to PETCO and the developers. Hopefully we’ll get someone’s attention. Mark W is doing an amazing job coordinating this effort.

  • Wes August 8, 2007 (7:08 pm)

    I say a Wal Mart at the Charleston St Cafe and a Best But at the old Als! YEAH!!!!!!
    Shop at Next to Nature!

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