Major new apartment/retail construction proposed in The Junction

(this post is a work in progress, as we continue to research details available online on this major Junction project that’s just gone public; we’ll put it all together into a more coherent update once we think we’ve found everything there is to find online tonight)

Twice a week, the city sends out its Land Use Information Bulletin, Mondays and Thursdays. Today’s came fairly early. It did not include a rather newsworthy project that made its debut later in the day on the Design Review Upcoming city page (maybe just a coincidence, but we notice this sort of thing every so often — major new proposal appears on the city website hours AFTER the latest biweekly bulletin goes out). Anyway, enough backstory. This one, scheduled for an Early Design Guidance meeting of the Southwest Design Review Board on April 10, is listed for 4706 California SW, which is the address currently held by Funky Jane’s. It’s described as a building with 12,000 square feet of ground-level retail and 5 floors of apartments above , two floors of parking beneath – so that would be a dramatic change for the block (though Mural will be rising high almost directly behind it). County records show the parcel stretches all the way north to Alaska (Super Supplements corner) and south to 4710 California (Rubato). The same owners, “4700 California LLC,” also own the neighboring parcel (Rocksport etc.). According to a project number on the Design Review Upcoming page, a proposal for that site will be discussed at the April 10 hearing too; this page for the project at that address, 4203 Alaska, mentions a building with 21,500 sf of retail and 6 floors of apartments over that. We are still researching right now to find out more online, since it’s after business hours and we won’t be able to get ahold of any of the listed contacts before tomorrow. Contacts listed on the official city project page include Weber Thompson (architects) and Conner Homes. This obviously has been in the works a while, as the history on the “fees and receipts” tab of this page goes back to August.

28 Replies to "Major new apartment/retail construction proposed in The Junction"

  • miws March 6, 2008 (7:58 pm)

    There was a plan on the books several years ago that covered these two parcels. The Sup. Sup./Funky Janes/Classic Barbershop/etc building, which is also the old West Seattle Hospital, and the Rocksport Building. In fact, I believe it would have been completed, or soon would be by now, had the original plans gone through.


    If I recall, those plans called for one tower to be 8 stories, the other to be 9 stories. The way I remember/understand it, Rocksport, then, still had ten years on a lease they refused to break, plus that building encroaches on the alley a bit, which made it to where they could not get permitted to build just the one tower for the time being.



  • WSB March 6, 2008 (8:19 pm)

    That makes sense, since there was a 2002 filing on one of the city pages for this. Certainly times are different now, with so many other big projects (Mural, Capco, Fauntleroy Place, the new Harbor Properties proposal at 38th/Alaska) under way or soon to be. What I don’t know (and maybe a reader will answer this faster than I can find it out in research) is whether the entirety of the main Junction blocks (Oregon to Edmunds) is open to this type of development, or whether any of it is under historical protection of any sort. Will be looking that up as part of what we would have called, in my tv days, “continuing coverage” :)

  • Paul March 6, 2008 (8:37 pm)

    Aren’t we getting just a few too many apartment developments in West Seattle? My next question, how are all of these additional people going to get to work? Lastly, for the WSB, I was talking to a friend yesterday and the Motel that was just sold to our “good friends” Harbor Properties, they have no intention for another motel/hotel, more apartments. And I am just currious, besides the tons of money for them, how connected are they really? I am thinking that the interview that they granted to the WSB was a fluff piece to make them look good. I am not hearing much good about them with the current occupants in the “proposed apartment areas”. I am not trying to be negative, rather our lovely charming West Seattle will soon be a land of the same looking townhouses and steel/glass/cement apartment buildings and non of the cool old buildings will be saved.

  • miws March 6, 2008 (8:43 pm)

    I don’t recall hearing whether or not the full two blocks is open to that.


    And, just to add, the old WS Hospital Bldg runs down to, and butts up against Talarico. Of course, back then, it was the Luck Toy! :(


    I was shocked at the time, :o and still am not thrilled about this project, because it would be the first major redevelopment in that two block California core in my lifetime, and the first major in the Junction neighborhood since Jefferson Square opened in Nineteen-Aught-Eighty-Seven.



  • WSB March 6, 2008 (8:46 pm)

    Paul – Of course their round of interviews were part of public relations – they talked to the PSBJ, the P-I, the Times, the DJC too (people have been sending us those links and I have been explaining, that’s just the citywide media’s versions of the same story we did). They certainly didn’t commit to a hotel but said they’re looking at it; no filing yet but we’ll keep checking. Meantime, they have West Seattleites on their high-level staff and have a presence with the Chamber of Commerce; they had a rep at a casual, small Chamber-facilitated brainstorm session we attended yesterday (and haven’t finished writing up yet). Whether that translates to connected or not, I couldn’t say for sure, but they seem to be making an effort, as is BlueStar, which now has two major West Seattle projects under development and perhaps more to come. This is both an amazing and unsettling time to be in West Seattle with so much change — call me an idealist, but I do think that with public discussion and as much information as possible (which is why we’re always trying to dig under rocks!) we do all have a chance to help steer it to some degree. (One micro-example was the design review process with BlueStar’s Spring Hill – neighbors revolted over the first round of designs, they came back with major changes and that’s what’s going forward.) Another key piece of the puzzle – can we attract and retain more business to West Seattle so that some of the new (and old!) residents don’t have to LEAVE to go to work? That’s a real biggie that the WS Chamber is interested in as well.

  • Paul March 6, 2008 (8:52 pm)

    I just hope that they can really care about us in West Seattle. I know that you, WSB spend an enormous amount of time prying and making sure to find every little piece of information possible, to which I am most grateful for this, because it allows me/us to stay informed about our great area. From what I was told yesterday, they already have plans for the motel space, just nothing filed yet.
    I wonder if they will be at the next chamber lunch, I will be looking for them!

  • Jiggers March 6, 2008 (8:54 pm)

    The Juntion is losing its identity if you ask me. Small shops ran by independent owners is what made the Juntion to what it is today–who have no choice but to give it back to the landlords. Its all about profit making for the landlords whether you like it or not. How can a multi use building be attractive to me? When I moved here the Junction was personal, it had a small town feel to it with friendly faces. Today, it feels more like a mad rush to get to first base.

  • WSB March 6, 2008 (9:45 pm)

    Paul – Harbor Prop’s Emi Baldowin is on the WS Chamber Board of Directors so it’s probably a safe bet she’ll be there.

  • lala March 6, 2008 (11:03 pm)


    So, the idea is to destroy all commerce in West Seattle and to replace with townhouses/condos/apartments (BUT! with retail below – like investment places, or clothing shops no one visits or nail salons or shoe shops or holisitic therapy offices – you know, the hallmark of every single freaking bottom level of these townhome developments for the past 5 years).

    I love how the float featured for the WS parade celeabrates WS history while we all sit around and watch the history and our neighborhood being destroyed.

  • JunctionMonkey March 7, 2008 (6:50 am)

    Say goodbye to sunshine on the west side of California Ave.

  • Hills March 7, 2008 (7:39 am)

    It would be nice if these apartments aren’t 1-bedrooms for $1200/mo. In WS you either get a crappy old apartment with a joke of a kitchen sink (what, do renters just not cook?) or a ‘remodeled’ unit that is a ridiculous price.

    Can you tell I’m in the market right now, and frustrated!??!

  • Kayleigh March 7, 2008 (7:43 am)

    Wow. This really will change the character of the Junction. I hope they protect the Easy Street and Cupcake Royale buildings for the future, though I don’t hold much hope. We have so few record stores any more, and the Cupcake Royale building is just cool.

  • yumpears March 7, 2008 (8:25 am)

    Dang!! There goes the cute little West Seattle I moved to 3 years ago. I was fleeing the mass development of Ballard and it follwed me…

  • westseattleite March 7, 2008 (9:57 am)

    This makes me actually want to move out of W. Seattle. I moved here for the small town feeling and the quaint downtown.

  • villagegreen March 7, 2008 (10:14 am)

    I love the Rocksport, but must admit, that corner of California/Alaska is already quite ugly (Super Supplements especially). I’ve always felt that those buildings just don’t fit in with the charming character of the rest of the junction. That’s not to say the new building will fit in any better (or be less ugly), but it could turn out to be a good thing. Maybe a new Rocksport could move into part of the ground floor space.

  • JenV March 7, 2008 (11:18 am)

    This is all just awful. And isn’t the building that houses Easy Street the oldest building in the Junction? Isn’t there some sort of a historical preservation board we should be talking to? And for the record, I find it appalling that someone who works for Harbor Properties is on the board for the WS Chamber. Gee, I wonder what interests she will try to protect? Certainly not the citizens of West Seattle! :(

  • wsb March 7, 2008 (12:04 pm)

    Re: the Harbor Properties rep on the Chamber – any business that does business in West Seattle is eligible for membership. In this case, I believe the person in question also happens to be a “citizen of West Seattle.”

  • Eddie March 7, 2008 (12:14 pm)

    JenV – Think about what you just ranted about: “…a business person on the board of the WS Chamber”

    It’s called The Chamber of Commerce ! Not the chamber of neighborhoods, or the chamber of friendly puppies, or even the chamber of beer (“…….hmmmmm, Beer” he says in his best Homer Simpson…). Chamber of Commerce! There to promote business, commerce!

  • WSMom March 7, 2008 (1:09 pm)

    This could be a wonderful addition to our West Seattle neighborhood! Let’s hope that our Funky Jane’s and other small businesses will find a new home in this development.

  • Jiggers March 7, 2008 (2:37 pm)

    Losing a true man’s sports bar like the Rocksport because of re-developement and conveniance for me, would be a blow to West Seattle in my opinion. I’m just trying to imagine this area without a real sports bar.

  • villagegreen March 7, 2008 (2:59 pm)

    I don’t know about “man’s” sports bar, but Redline must be salivating. Too bad it’s such a dump. That’s the lamest remodel attempt I’ve ever seen.

  • BORN &RAISED WEST SEATTLEITE March 7, 2008 (7:04 pm)

    Wow they have talked about doing that since Danny L.sold the” New Luck Dump” how many years ago now??They will continue to destroy what we all know and love about West Seattle and the Junction area.Who is going to stop all this?Not the West Seattle Chamber that’s for sure!! I am all good about developing areas of West Seattle but do they have to wipe out almost entire blocks at a time? and the Junction…wow very sad!!When are they going to take the other side of the Junction?

  • lala March 7, 2008 (11:51 pm)

    “Let’s hope that our Funky Jane’s and other small businesses will find a new home in this development.”
    Are you kidding? Imagine what the leases will be.

    What will go in will be the usual chain stuff – cell phone outlets, investment outlets, drug store outlet, I bet anything a Tullys or a Starbucks, another $200 a pair of shoe outlet… or if we’re lucky, a new “art” place that also sells $300 purses with gobs of empty space that can be included on the art walk.

    Goodbye Junction. Hello stripmall. With $1500/month apartments above.

  • Alkiwoman March 8, 2008 (4:57 pm)

    I am demonstrating for my 84-year-young mom how to post on a blog. She is outraged about this development!

  • MellyMel March 8, 2008 (8:55 pm)

    I dont mind re-development. But it always seems so out of scale and monolithic. Three stories is in keeping with the heights that surround the Junction. Bigger isnt better. When folks think of charming and interesting places, the think of Cannon Beach where strict development codes keep things small and in keeping with the exisitng development. Or — at the high end — Carmel, CA. Its developed as a walking town. Sure, they have some chain stores, but the profiles are made to blend. I dont know why our area doesent aim similarly high.

  • WSB March 8, 2008 (9:01 pm)

    We have been researching past Junction development for something we hope to post before weekend’s end. But one thing worth noting is that The Junction, like several other West Seattle neighborhoods, has an official Neighborhood Plan – zoning was part of that – and these buildings actually are not going up quite as high as the zoning would allow. Just a data point.

  • jmland March 20, 2008 (12:25 pm)

    To all the naysayers, keep in mind that change is inevitable. However, with Weber + Thompson working on the project, we can expect more horribly designed schlock to grace that very important corner.

  • Sue Scharff March 31, 2008 (2:28 pm)

    Come to the meeting, April 10th, 6:30 pm, Chief Sealth HS. I’ve talked to many many many neighbors, residents and business owners in and around the Junction, and NO ONE is in favor of the development taking place. Those who aren’t outraged are simply resigned, saying it’s inevitable and there’s nothing we can do about it — which may be true. But if we don’t show up and say “STOP!” the developers won’t know how much we hate what they’re doing.
    The Harbor Properties “Mural” project (behind Petco) is actually billing itself as “affordable,” with studios renting at $900/month and 2 bedrooms up to $1800. Um, what? There is only one thing driving development in this area – and all over this city – and that is GREED. This is not about economic opportunity for the people already living/working in this neighborhood or any other. These landowners are just trying to get a piece of the action before the entire national economy comes crashing down around all of us. We might as well stand up and say NO!
    Funny how, the more they build, the more homeless people there are…….


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