Another megaproject on the brink of beginning to build


The lot behind Petco in The Junction isn’t closed to parking yet but it’s apparently on the brink (the folks in the store are also waiting to hear when) – so suggests the sign on the fence, shown in our photo above; it discusses other parking options, and advises Petco shoppers to get store workers to help them with big items, and of course it also talks about the project coming to that site: Mural, which is the second project on this page at the site of its developers, Harbor Properties (side note, a power permit for the construction project was just granted). Petco, you may recall, wants to move to a new future building at the Charlestown Cafe site; things on that front have been publicly quiet (city project page here) since the last Design Review Board meeting four months ago (our detailed report is here, and it includes links to all the background).

38 Replies to "Another megaproject on the brink of beginning to build"

  • A.A. December 5, 2007 (2:17 pm)

    It’s really too bad this is happening. Among the many reasons, this is the only disabled parking on that block. Yes, one can go to the other side of California, but it is an awfully long walk for someone with a heart issue or other limitation that doesn’t allow them to walk far.

    I’ll end up doing less shopping in that block of the junction as a result of not being able to walk that far many days.

  • Kayleigh December 5, 2007 (2:21 pm)

    Losing that parking lot is irksome! We always park there when we get our cat litter/food or go to Elliott Bay.

    There isn’t really enough parking in that area to begin with and now there will be even less.

  • m December 5, 2007 (2:27 pm)

    This building looks like it is going to be pretty massive; i am worried about the fate of the Rocksport. Is the wrecking ball going to tear it down? If so, that is a shame. I know a lot of you probably would not be sad to see it go, but they have good food and it is a fun place to watch a game!

  • cherylc December 5, 2007 (3:09 pm)

    Petco’s customer service is terrible; it’s hard to imagine that they are going to help customers with big items.

    For instance, a few years ago, I was eight months pregnant, and stood at the front of the store for ten minutes after they paged someone to help me out to the car. Eventually, I got disgusted and lugged my own enormous bags of pet food out to the car myself. Recently, there was a salesperson there whom my six year old spoke to three times and she completely ignored her. When someone came in moments later to buy baby rats, she heard him just fine. If you hate kids, or if they terrify you, don’t work in retail! That was the last straw; I will never shop there again. (My child was much more charitable, she said, “Maybe she’s shy with kids.” I’m having a much harder time letting it go.)

  • Oh No!!!! December 5, 2007 (3:11 pm)

    Free parking is not a right.
    Things change.
    Get over it.
    Have a nice day.

  • Elizabeth December 5, 2007 (3:24 pm)

    While losing a convenient parking lot is going to be inconvenient for some, this project seems well designed and is just the type of thing that will help keep the Junction vibrant. More housing and density there is a good thing in the long run. Petco would really be better off in some sort of mall (like Jefferson Square, Westwood Village, or the new project across from Jefferson) than either their current space or their proposed one at Charlestown. (I’m no big fan of the Charletown Cafe, but a freestanding Petco is the worst possible replacement for it). Petco currently sort of turns its back on California (the front windows are filthy and appear to be messy storage areas rather than displays). Their current space could house several smaller specialty retailers/restaurants. It would be better for the business district if they move.

  • Jan December 5, 2007 (3:25 pm)

    I don’t think the complaint was about having to pay for parking….the complaint was having reasonable parking taken away. If you’re not disabled, that’s fine for you. For those who can only walk a short distance, it’s limiting. Whoever you are, Oh No!!! – try to show at least a modicum of compassion….geez…did ya get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?:)

  • villagegreen December 5, 2007 (3:54 pm)

    Good riddance to Petco. Their store is an eyesore and their customer service has always been poor. This project looks just like what the Junction needs to beef up the foot traffic and keep it vibrant.

    Check out Next to Nature just north of the Junction. Everytime I buy a large bag of cat litter they offer to help me out to the car with it. Only a few parking spots in the back, but usually I don’t have a problem.

  • CMP December 5, 2007 (4:01 pm)

    With over 100 apartment units planned, parking will be a mess on 42nd outside of Jefferson Square with visitors vying for parking against Junction shoppers. It’s bad enough already.
    I also can’t picture an apartment building in that space…it seems to be too small of an area to accomodate that many apartments. It will probably be a bunch of tiny studios renting for upwards of $900 or more…what a deal.

  • m December 5, 2007 (4:04 pm)

    That Petco is terrible; it didn’t take long for me to discover Next to Nature. I’d rather pay a bit more to support a local business (rather, businesses, since NTN is conveniently located next to the best dessert shop!) and visit with the cats in the back of the store than deal with unhelpful sales people in a dirty store. And Oh NO!, NTN has a few free parking spots in the back, which makes it even more enticing for me. lol.

  • Lachlan December 5, 2007 (5:31 pm)

    I have the same complaint as CMP- the congestion over there is already bad, especially at peak hours. Add that the QFC and the Office Depot project, and the traffic/noise will get really bad.

    I’m not against change or rebuilding (and that PetCo IS horrible!), but I question how well thought-out this was regarding the traffic and noise impact.

  • Coffee Gurl December 5, 2007 (6:58 pm)

    Does anyone else know about the peat bog/pond that is under ground below the project?

  • Vio December 5, 2007 (9:56 pm)

    I agree with Elizabeth, this is all-in-all a good project. Well designed and being built by Harbor Properties, about as good a developer as you can get. I’m glad they decided WS was a good investment.

    A peat bog… now that is something I had not heard about before. I suppose it is possible, there were many streams and ponds filled over the years. You can still see many of them in aerial photographs (ie Google maps) as areas a slightly darker shade of green, especially if the photo was shot in summer when the grass has turned brown. You can see bands of green lawn where the water still is moving underneath.

  • jrd December 5, 2007 (10:27 pm)

    I really hope this won’t become a trend for all of our wonderful free parking lots in the Junction.

    We’re one of the few areas in town with lots of free parking lots we can park in while shopping the local stores. Hope we don’t become the norm of $5-$8 per hours parking lot districts.

  • Kayleigh December 6, 2007 (6:27 am)

    Um, okay….I’ll remember next time to support things like increased traffic, paid parking or no parking at all, congestion, longer lines at the Safeway…. Those of you supporting the project: do you know how crowded that corner is even now? Try getting out of the Safeway parking lot during a busy time. Try finding parking in the disappearing lot.

    I walk to the junction when I can, but I really don’t care to carry a case of soda home, or a ten-pound bag of pet litter.

    But hey, Petco will leave and those windows will be clean.

  • dmd December 6, 2007 (7:55 am)

    I always have trouble finding a parking spot in that lot anyway, so I’ve started buying food for our cats at Pet Elements, my nearest pet supplies store. I like the kitty litter refills at Petco, but I certainly can’t see carrying a 30-lb bucket of litter to some distant parking place. Anyone know of another place to buy bulk litter?

  • Mary T December 6, 2007 (9:08 am)

    The link to the previous report wouldn’t work for me. Will this new project have a parking garage?

  • m December 6, 2007 (9:30 am)

    I looked at the link yesterday and there will be 130 apartment units and 130 parking spots. I guess this building is geared towards singles or one-car families. that also leaves no parking for retail users, assuming it’s one spot per apartment unit. the site wasn’t very detailed. That leaves everyone else fighting for parking on the streets. Good times ahead.

  • villagegreen December 6, 2007 (10:24 am)

    Safeway’s parking lot is annoying to get in and out of, but I’ve never had a problem getting a spot. The poor design of that lot shouldn’t prohibit the building of this project, though. More housing for singles or young couples is exactly what W. Seattle needs. And this is the perfect location to build such a project (within the heart of the junction – not out in the middle of nowhere). The residents will be able to walk for almost all their needs and it will be extremely easy to bus downtown for work if they so choose. I just don’t see the car traffic as being that big of a problem.

    I lived in the Adelaide complex just south of the Junction (the large metal and concrete building) for three years. It has five stories of condos with underground parking access off Hudson St. and California and we never experienced any problems with congestion getting in and out of the lot. I realize there will be more traffic at the Mural site due to Safeway and other businesses, but in all truth, for being within the city this area is not that crowded. We have friends from other parts of the city that marvel at how easy it is to drive and park in the Junction. Have you ever tried shopping on Capitol Hill? W. Seattle can’t stay a ‘small town’ forever and this project sounds like a good way to add smart density (not sprawl).

  • Kayleigh December 6, 2007 (12:09 pm)

    Please explain how as many as 130 additional cars will not create a traffic problem in an area that is already congested. Do you really think all of those tenants will take the bus everywhere they go?

    One of the many many reasons I don’t live on Capitol Hill is because of Capitol Hill’s density; because there is little to no parking; because I *can* drive my car and park at the stores and restaurants here in West Seattle. I like it that way.

  • m December 6, 2007 (12:14 pm)

    Do we need every neighborhood morphing into the same thing? Call me old-fashioned (and I’m in my young 30’s), but I can do without the generic developments that have been sprouting up all over this city (and the West Coast for that matter). Pretty soon there won’t be any need to go anywhere because every place will be the exact same- same stores, same restaurants, same boring architecture, etc…

    WS’s free parking, vibrant Junction, smaller buildings and close-knit community are some of the things that set this neighborhood apart and make it appealing to the people that live here. If it was going to turn into Capital Hill, I might as well live on Capital Hill.

  • villagegreen December 6, 2007 (1:16 pm)

    The idea that W. Seattle could turn into Capitol Hill is absurd. Capitol Hill is the densest neighborhood in Seattle and has many many commericial streets/areas. The idea isn’t to morph every neighborhood into the same thing, it’s to add smart design so that the city as a whole can grow without morphing into suburban sprawl. By concentrating development in commercial areas (California Ave being W. Seattle’s only major one) you avoid unsightly large development in outer residential areas.

    Everyone loves the smaller buildings and close-knit community of W. Seattle, and I don’t think adding more density and (hopefully) affordable housing is going to ruin that. Higher density will actually enable the smaller independent businesses to thrive due to increased foot traffic.

    People may feel the Junction is fine like it is, but it wasn’t so long ago that businesses were failing and vacancies were prevalent. Increased development (housing) in the area is part of the reason the area is now enjoying a resurgence. However, the area could definitely still see improvement. The businesses that are doing really well are mainly the restaurants. Other types of businesses not so much. Increased density will definitely help these other businesses and also provide incentives for new businesses to meet people’s needs.

    If your primary reason for living somewhere is to drive your car everywhere and have free parking, you may need to eventually consider a move to the suburbs. There’s just no way that a sustainable city is going to be able to accomodate that.

  • willow December 6, 2007 (1:17 pm)

    M – You may thank our Mayor and City Council for the 1 parking spot per unit. And, as discussed here many times,- hasn’t anyone heard of the bus?

    If you take it, parking isn’t an issue.

  • Kayleigh December 6, 2007 (1:51 pm)

    The bus doesn’t go from everywhere in West Seattle to the junction, and taking it on the weekends is a nightmare, both in terms of the passangers and the frequency.

    I take the bus when I can and like I said, I walk to the junction when I can. But it’s not always possible or desirable (ie in 35 degrees and pouring rain, or when I am carrying a lot of heavy stuff.)

    When I buy a home, it won’t be in West Seattle,. I haven’t drunk the “growth and density are always good” kool-aid…

  • CMP December 6, 2007 (2:13 pm)

    The Junction already has the Jefferson Square apartments and the ones a block east of that as well and that’s plenty enough high density in that area. I’d never live at the Mural even though they’re probably catering to people like me b/c my friends won’t be able to find parking and would never visit. I bet that as soon as that project is finished, the merchants in the Junction will lose their battle against the city to keep free street parking. And if I have to pay for parking, I’ll either walk, take the bus or not bother.

  • jai December 6, 2007 (2:18 pm)

    The reason taking the bus is a nightmare is because the density levels of West Seattle currently don’t support having a lot of bus routes. Building denser dwelling units in a central area such as the junction helps to solve that problem.

    As Big Tom said in Tommy Boy, you’re either growing or dying. There ain’t no in between.

  • m December 6, 2007 (2:58 pm)

    Well, with all the development that has occurred in the last few years here, WS should be approaching the density needed for more routes. Metro needs to make some upgrades!

  • willow December 6, 2007 (4:01 pm)

    TO ALL – I remember, I’m that old, when our then time Mayor “Normie” Rice (aka Wormie)designated the California/Alaska junction, as a designated Urban Village.

    WELL, like it or not, that is what we will become.
    All the bus connections, apartments, local business and entertainment, that you could possibly want.

    AND, it is now approaching, BIG time, and very rapidly. TOO bad you weren’t here at the time to vote on it – – but a lot of us were, and we Voted.

    And, now, you will live with the rest of us that wanted THIS, as our environment. If you don’t like it, then you go out and petition, whine, cry, and p & moan that you were never consulted.

    And – you weren’t, most of you were not even a fetus then.

  • CMP December 6, 2007 (4:44 pm)

    Well, I’d like to see those of you in favor of this high-density urban village design to actually live in one of these units at Mural. Bet you wouldn’t b/c it’ll be expensive, noisy and no one will visit you since parking will be difficult to find. A lot of us have chosen West Seattle over other neighborhoods because it’s not as urban and now it’s being taken over by developers and their boring condos/apartments/townhouses.

  • willow December 6, 2007 (5:55 pm)

    CMP – You don’t get it. No one may be in favor of it – YOU WILL HAVE to put up with it.

    IT IS A DONE deal, no quarrels – no discussion – no comments. Done – done- done.

    Noisy, no parking, no friends, and, apparently,
    no you. If it offends you that much- BYE.

    DONE deal. Get it?

  • CMP December 6, 2007 (8:50 pm)

    Well, I’ll still complain about it along with a lot of other West Seattlites who don’t sound too pleased. With some of the snippy comments on this blog coming from fellow neighbors, it IS tempting to move back to Capital Hill…at least I expect to get some attitude over there, along with overcrowding and no parking. Gentrification is overrated.

  • Todd December 6, 2007 (10:34 pm)

    I own a house near California in the Admiral area and just wanted to let those concerned (Kayleigh, CMP, M, and others) know that they are not alone. Sadly there is little to nothing we can do except endure the abuse on this blog for simply stating a concern or a fact about a neighborhood that we care about. Never gets old I tell ya. For the last 2 years I thought just Chet and I had these concerns! So, it is nice to hear people share the same concerns. I could write a book but my health is starting to be affected so I will leave you with this advice, BOHICA.

  • chas redmond December 6, 2007 (10:40 pm)

    Or, you could rent or buy a house which is not in the urban village boundary. Genesee area, Delridge area, Seaview, there’s plenty of less than 10 minute-away places with block after block of single-family-5000 square-foot yard homes – all zoned that way and likely to stay that way for a long time to come. The Junctions (Admiral, Alaska and Morgan) and a few other areas here in West Seattle are “designated” urban hubs or villages – their density limits, height limits, parking limits, etc. are controlled by the zoning code and its amendments. As Willow states – this is a done deal in that sense. Me, I live in Gatewood and can walk to the Alaska Junction in about 30 minutes (or take my car, or ride the bus, or bike) and love having all those places I can go to. Density brings that kind of environment. And, no, California Avenue will never be Broadway and no one wants that to happen anyway. There’s Broadway and then there’s California Avenue. They’ll each evolve in their own way. There’s no Broadway Performance Hall or Harvard Exit here. We know that. But there’s no pleasant, tree-lined four mile boulevard with Sound, city, and mountain views there either.

  • chas redmond December 6, 2007 (10:44 pm)

    For the record, I kind of like the way Roosevelt, 65th, Greenlake Way (all of them) are developing. I wish Aurora, 15th NW, Elliott, and Lake City Way were evolving as nicely. I also can’t imaging living in one of those new condos right off Aurora between 99 and Dexter – those folks have one hell-of-a-backyard (Aurora) and one steep climb down to their front yard (Dexter). But, I’ll bet they have dynamite views of Lake Union, the U-District and Capitol Hill!! Lots of trade-offs in a modern, evolving city. Lots of choices, too!

  • G. Williams December 6, 2007 (10:54 pm)

    I don’t know, I guess I don’t see how one building, even if all its parking is dedicated to residents, is going to cause the entire neighborhood to collapse. I mean–since we’re comparing to Capitol Hill–I visit and shop over there all the time, and I can’t remember the last time I paid for parking to do so. Okay, admittedly you have to be a little creative. On the other hand, even when the Jefferson Square parking lot is packed, the garage underneath it is almost empty.

  • Todd December 6, 2007 (11:21 pm)

    I used to live in Gatewood on Ida .. sometimes I wish I would have stayed there, LOL

  • m December 7, 2007 (10:19 am)

    Willow, I don’t understand why you have to be so rude and condescending about this. There are several people stating legitimate worries and complaints as they are CONCERNED WS residents, and trust me, if we had been living in WS when Rice was Mayor, we would have been involved. We were born when we were born, so you should accept that instead of throwing insults around about it.

  • sayo December 9, 2007 (7:38 pm)

    More bodies in the junction during weekdays/nights is good for local business. This is good-

Sorry, comment time is over.