Development east of The Junction: Finally (partly) revealed

A potentially big piece of the puzzle regarding future development in the area along Fauntleroy east of The Junction, in the wake of the closure of the Gee/ex-Huling dealerships, is clearer today with two things we’ve just learned: The first one is this new application filed by Harbor Properties for a 6-story mixed-use building at 38th/Alaska. We found it after learning that West Seattle Montessori School has sent home a letter to its students’ families informing them the school has to leave its current location, because part of the property has been sold to Harbor Properties (which is building “Mural” in The Junction) and is going to be developed into apartments. We have a message out seeking comment from Harbor Properties, but in the meantime, here’s the full text of the letter, a physical copy of which was provided to WSB by a source with ties to the school, followed by more info on the development application:

Dear Parent of West Seattle Montessori School:

This school began in 1980 in just the property that is now the preschool building. We grew quickly and were renamed as West Seattle Montessori School in 1985. Over the years we continued to grow and expand from that original two preschool classes and one 1st and 2nd grade class into a diverse campus that includes 5 preschool classes, 3 elementary classes, and our 6th through 8th grade Middle School program.

Through the years we made several offers to purchase the facilities that we rent, but were turned down. On February 5th, our landlord informed us that the preschool building property has been sold to Harbor Properties and will be developed into apartment buildings in 2009. Harbor Properties met with us to discuss how they could incorporate a space for the school into their property designs. They expect to begin reconstruction in early 2009 and would have the project ready for us for the school year beginning 2010, which would mean moving our preschool and lower elementary programs to an interim site this coming summer.

After absorbing the initial shock of this news, and in discussing this with our staff, we all agree that we want to try to keep all our classes together in one campus and are excited to seek a property that meets all our needs. We are now working with a commercial realtor and have been told that there are several properties available that could meet our requirements. We know what a supportive group of parents we have and hope that if you have any suggestions or leads for us, you won’t hesitate to share them.

The Board of Directors
West Seattle Montessori School

After getting that letter, we started checking city and county records for property ownership and development applications along that block of 38th. We found the development application filed for 4550 38th, which is the Huling-owned property immediately south of West Seattle Montessori:


As you can see on that city page, it describes the proposal as “Const of a 6 story mixed use bldg. (5) floors Residential, Type VA construction over one level commercial/parking garage.” The earliest date on the proposal is January 23, so this appears to have been in the works for at least two weeks. More later, when our research continues post-caucus.

12 Replies to "Development east of The Junction: Finally (partly) revealed"

  • Jan February 9, 2008 (7:30 pm)

    funny how this is going by the wayside, considering all the busy-ness of the day….so…retail, and apartments/condos…and what’s new? I think most of us thought that at least some of this property would go this way. I wonder what the bigger portion of the Huling property will become. Maybe that’s forthcoming, too….

  • WSB February 9, 2008 (8:07 pm)

    We’ve been watching each and every parcel closely; “what will happen to the Huling property?” is the number 1 question we get, having surpassed even “will West Seattle ever get a Trader Joe’s?” I was tempted to hold the story for a time when it might have been the biggest thing of the day, but our mission is “as soon as WE get the news, YOU get the news.” There’ll be more to say about it in the days to come, too, but at least we’ve got first word on the record now.

  • Emmett Blake February 9, 2008 (11:01 pm)

    The former Gee/Huling property on Fauntleroy between Alaska and Edmonds needs some vision. The West Seattle Junction needs to maintain it’s 1920’s small town feel with specialty shops and local culture. To do that we need something that will draw people into West Seattle to do their business as well as keep people here to do their business. The ample space on both sides of the street of this block is a great opportunity for Movie Theater, Mini-Mall, Entertainment, etc.

  • GenHillOne February 10, 2008 (7:46 am)

    Since developers aren’t really known for caring about current tennants, I find it somewhat refreshing that Harbor met with WS Montessori. It sounds like they were saying that there would indeed be space for the school in the new building when complete. I understand the school’s desire to move elsewhere, but wouldn’t that have been a cool new twist to “mixed-use”?!

  • miws February 10, 2008 (9:59 am)

    I had a thought come to mind, as I first read this thread.


    With the great success WSB has had, and it’s expansion to more coverage in recent months, including the growing list of contributors, it may be neccesary to face the inevitable. WSB may have to move primary operations to larger quarters.


    I usually have a bit of fear when businesses and other entities expand, considering how it often seems they begin to lose touch with their core values. I don’t foresee that with WSB however. I also enjoy the fact that WSB is such a small “business” that it is run out of a home. I especially like how they are atop Gatewood Hill, one of the highest points in Seattle, like a beacon, with a 360 degree “view” of West Seattle.


    So, that being said, if the inevitable happens, I propose the WSB buy, build, and move to one of the Huling properties. My first thought was the old Chev Showroom/Service/Parts location on the west side of Fauntleroy between Alaska & Edmunds. It’s all confined to one block, so everything would be right there with no need to cross the street.


    Then I thought about the Buick location, and the Chrysler Showroom across Fauntleroy as well. Two separate smaller properties, but, they are essentially at the “Gateway” to West Seattle. To eliminate the Car Salesman vs. A Zillion Speeding Cars-a-Day Deathmatch, a pedestrian overpass could be installed. My first thought would be to go with something similar to what’s up along Aurora, connecting Woodland Park Park, with the Woodland Park Zoo, perhaps with “Welcome to West Seattle” embossed on it.


    But then, I realized that type of design would not be conducive to hanging……BANNERS!!
    Yes, banners! WSB could lobby the City to allow banners to be tastefully designed and securely hung, with the understanding they would be removed after the event was over.


    For the most part, I haven’t been very fond of much of the development that has occcured in WS in recent years, but it is going to happen. I have faith that WSB would build Green, and would take the environment, and the nearby neighbors into consideration, so that the impact would be minimally negative, and would outweigh the impact many/most other developers would have, that would otherwise end up there.


    I figure in some areas of the project, two stories, maybe three , could be built, which would allow for realistically affordable apartments to be built, and there could be office space for other than WSB (although, it be designed for WSB to expand their operations at later dates, if needed) and retail as well. Of course, the retail would include a…….ready for this?……..TRADER JOE’S!!! This all would create addtional income for WSB to assist in paying the mortgage


    Now a name for the project.
    WSB Tower? No, there would not be any towers at two-three stories.
    WSB Plaza? No, in this day and age “Plaza” can have an outdated, and perhaps cheesy connotation.
    WSB Village? Bingo!



  • WSB February 10, 2008 (10:41 am)

    Gosh, Mike, what a great vision. All things in good time, though. First we’re saving up for a better computer. Then … why not … REAL ESTATE!

  • JW February 10, 2008 (11:34 am)

    Movie theater!!! Yes! Please!!

  • Jan February 10, 2008 (12:03 pm)

    hmmm…I like WSB Village. I’ll come rent some space from you and call it WSB Massage and Spa…of course with perks for the landlords ;-) Of course, it would be tasteful…no garrish neon “Massage and Body Shampoo” signs. And a Zen garden, with mini-waterfalls….

  • JenV February 10, 2008 (1:08 pm)

    Unbelievable. That is so sad about WS Montessori. I hope they find a new home!

  • seattle golfer February 10, 2008 (6:03 pm)

    To the Board of Directors and parents,

    There is a way to consolidate the school into the mixed use project. If you are a 501-c-3 non-profit organization you can apply for tax-exempt bond financing to build and furnish your school. You would condominiamize however many square feet you need for the school and as long as you qualify with the underwriting peramators of the bank, you can/may qualify for as much as a 2% reduction of the interest rate charged on a commercial loan. I know some of your parents and I will telephone your executive director tomorrow to explain the process and to answer any questions. Of course, the proposed property owner would need to sell you that portion of the building you intend to use as the school.

  • S.A.F. February 11, 2008 (9:45 am)

    I have lived in West Seattle for 23 years. When we moved here it was a quiet, calm, relaxed and not overpopulated community. We saw people we knew walking down the street. Now there’s a bunch of people we’ve never seen and might possibly never see again as they get shuffled back into the crowds of people. I am so sad and frustrated to see all these condo’s and townhomes going up EVERYWHERE! And all the cool old brick buildings going away. The charm of West Seattle is slowly being taken away. I live in the Admiral area. Untill about a year ago, I never had to sit through numerous (2+) lights to go any direction at the intersection of California and Admiral. I can’t even go to the grocery store sometimes because there is absolutely no parking. West Seattle is becoming a big city crammed into a little community. Have you tried to find a daycare or get your child in to a school lately? I can’t even get anyone to call me back! Waiting lists are closed for atleast 2 years?! That’s just crazy! What about going to the YMCA? That’s impossible.
    Thanks for Reading! :o)

  • kmac February 11, 2008 (2:36 pm)

    I too am sad for West Seattle Montessori but also agree I was pleasantly surprised to see Harbor met with the school to discuss their possible home in the new building. Living just up 38th from the fire station, we are VERY curious about what will happen with all the Huling props. I’m not crazy about the prospects of another apartment building there. Oh well.

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