Next new Junction megaproject: Details from developer

Just talked with Alison Conner from Conner Homes, the company that — as we reported last night here and here — is now going forward, again, with plans to redevelop close to half the east side of California and west side of 42nd between Alaska and Edmunds in The Junction. No renderings yet – but she did supply many other details that the bare-bones city online filings don’t get into:

The two buildings will remain separated by the alley that’s currently between Rocksport and Super Supplements (etc.), but she says they plan to widen it by four feet on the north (Alaska) end and add landscaping; she also says there will be a “midblock pedestrian connection” running from 42nd to California between their buildings and Harbor Properties’ Mural (plus Talarico’s etc.).

Conner described the west building, fronting California and Alaska, as “five stories of wood frame on top of retail on the first floor, which will have 18-foot-high ceilings and lots of open spaces.” The east building, fronting 42nd and Alaska, will be “concrete and steel,” six stories over first-floor retail. The two will not be connected in any way above ground, but the two levels of parking beneath both buildings WILL be joined, so they can have just one entrance. They will be seeking a “departure” that would allow them to have that entrance off 42nd, instead of off the alley, which has been SOP for many of these projects otherwise.

She also said that the underground parking will have 100 additional spaces for retail customers, which is more spaces than will be lost on the street.

Who’ll be in the retail spaces, which will total about 30,000 square feet (6,500 sf more than the current business spaces along those blocks adds up to)? According to Conner, which will retain ownership of those spaces as the landlord, nothing is set yet, but they are “hoping for more local tenants” and will offer space to the current tenants. She also noted that they plan to use “a lot of brick, with colorful awnings” at street level so the new business spaces are not completely out of character next to the pre-existing ones nearby.

What’s next? She says she’ll be meeting with some local groups starting later this month to talk more about the project and show whatever pictures are ready then, including the West Seattle Junction Association and West Seattle Chamber of Commerce (although not JuNO, she said, even though that group has a meeting coming up next week).

Asked if the company, better known for Eastside subdivisions — Conner was in fact out at one of them, Collage in Bothell — has any history with this type of project, she said yes: For example, “The Greenlake,” finished in 2004.

The Junction project does not have a name yet. As we reported last night, the first major public meeting about it will be the “early design guidance” Southwest Design Review Board meeting at 6:30 pm April 10, location TBA.

19 Replies to "Next new Junction megaproject: Details from developer"

  • vp March 7, 2008 (4:19 pm)

    It seems those busy people at Conner development would have enough on their hands without trying to develop the front yard of the “Painted Lady” Satterlee House.

  • sam March 7, 2008 (4:20 pm)

    No renderings yet ? will wait and see, but can bet the color palette will include brown

  • N March 7, 2008 (7:08 pm)

    I’m having a hard time picturing the scope of this project. Are they talking about razing everything between California and 42nd from just north of Elliott Bay Brewing to Super Supplements?

    I realize this may not be a popular position, but I welcome the change. The additional density and presence of full-time residents will, I hope, bring more good restaurants, shops and other businesses into the Junction. What about a movie theater with a few screens? What about a place where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables without having to make the trek over to Safeway? Even a Barnes & Noble or Borders would bring a nice vibe to the area. As good as it is, the Junction has so much unrealized potential.

    Of course, none of that will excuse bad planning and bad architecture. Let’s hope these guys have some taste.

  • WSB March 7, 2008 (7:45 pm)

    I’ve been trying to come up with a good graphic, will eventually hash one out. We included all the parcels in last night’s report but to recap – on the 42nd side, all the way from Alaska to the Harbor Properties project. On the California side, Super Sup through Rubato Records. Talarico’s and points south are NOT involved.

  • miws March 7, 2008 (7:51 pm)


    The entire building on 42nd, that houses Rocksport, the “Little City Hall”, AAA, etc will be coming down. That building runs along 42nd to the parking lot behind Rocksport.


    On the California Av side, the building involved (the old West Seattle Hospital Bldg up until about the mid ’60’s) runs down to, and butts up against the bldg that Talarico’s (formerly Luck Toy) is in.


    I guess 5 & 6 stories is not near as bad as 8 & 9, though I still don’t like to see that much of the character of the Junction to change.



  • lala March 8, 2008 (12:34 am)

    Again. Goodbye moderate traffic, goodbye free parking, goodbye walk all ways, goodbye Calif. Ave with non-metered parking…
    5 major projects in a 5 block area?
    – Petco development.
    – Whole foods development
    – QFC development
    – Condos behind QFC development
    – Junction development
    All at once. Yes, some are good ideas. But, really? All at once? Anyone who thinks positive things about this…think about what this is going to do to the heart of WS?

    And all these apts/townhomes/condos/new retail space… at the begininng of a recession? Who’s going to live/buy retail space there?

  • Jiggers March 8, 2008 (7:24 am)

    I’m curious why then did Super Supplements recentley moved their knowingly that they wouldn’t be their for long, unless they are going to be replaced within the same new multi-use complex after its completed?

  • sw March 8, 2008 (8:28 am)

    Ballard – meet West Seattle.

  • Eddie March 8, 2008 (8:57 am)

    Super Supplements could move out over night. It would take them longer to scrape that ugly sign off the building than it would to pile that stock into a truck, dump the empty cash register in the front and drive away. Good Riddence!

  • Paul March 8, 2008 (10:53 am)

    As a small business owner here in West Seattle, I am wondering where all the new businesses are going to come from, and not the big box or chain stores. Also, given the rent and requirements for these new places, I don’t see much of an opportunity for a small sole business owner to move into one of these places. Rents will be sky high, they will want a huge prepayment, and they will probably want triple net, (for those of you who don’t know what that means, it means us small business owners cover everything for the building owner). I can see a future of blank space with only chain stores and no more fun little business owners like us.

  • PSPS March 8, 2008 (12:02 pm)

    To lala: We’re past the “beginning of a recession.” It’s been here for a while now and getting much worse. A new hummer house down the street from me has been sitting half-built and unoccupied for two years.

    Note that almost all of these new mixed-use buildings will be apartments, not condominiums. (They’ll be converted eventually if they can prop up the market with another ponzi-mortgage scheme.)

    Frankly, given the evisceration the credit markets are going through, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these yet-to-begin projects never materialize, or take forever to complete — like that hummer house.

  • Pelicans March 8, 2008 (12:50 pm)

    PSPS: I agree with you and the other posts here, but what is a ‘hummer’ house? A McMansion?

  • PSPS March 8, 2008 (2:16 pm)

    I think of a McMansion as an overly large house built in a suburb or ex-urb, often in a development full of others of that ilk. Common features include fake columns (formed styrofoam around wood.)
    On the other hand, if you have a city lot with a bungalow or other reasonably proportioned house for the neighborhood, and someone comes in, demolishes the house, and builds a new house that is built to the very limit in all directions, thus dwarfing everything around it, that’s a Hummer House.

  • wseadawg March 8, 2008 (11:33 pm)

    Quickly going the way of Fremont & other Seattle neighborhoods that were once fit for humans, not just branded consumers & hipsters.

    It’s not whether Tullys or Starbucks, but how many. Mall stores on California Ave! Whoopie! Screw Husky Deli! Give me a Cold Stone Creamery cone! How about an OUTLET MALL! Bye, bye Farmers Market!

    The pattern repeats like this: Hard-working people with love and elbow grease bring a place up, then come the crowds, which gets the bean counters attention, and WHAMMO, they’re in like vultures wanting a peace of the action. But never just a peace, ever more and more. Soon those who created the draw are pushed out by high-priced developers and we get the generic BS you find in every other Anytown USA.

    What used to make this neighborhood great is how it was different and unique from all the others. Not for much longer, and for what? Another Barnes & Noble, or some other standard, cookie-cutter chain store?

    The locals should fight these huge developments like the plague they are. And don’t anyone drone on about “affordable housing” or “transit” to me. Put a sock in it. Most people in WS can’t afford these prices, and every damn resident will own and drive a car. Bet on it. You see it everywhere the backyard “townhomes” have gone up.

    Gee-whiz. Lesser Seattle, where have you gone?

  • Eddie March 9, 2008 (9:29 am)

    Following up on PSPS’s comments above – what happens after the Junction buildings are demolished for construction – and then the construction stalls due to increasing weakness in the economy? The developers walk – albeit with less money in their pockets – but we the residents are left with ugly holes in the ground.

  • PSPS March 9, 2008 (7:46 pm)

    That’s a very good question, Eddie. With over $300 billion in margin calls due tomorrow (3/10) and more to come after that, it’s entirely likely that at least some of these projects will have their funding fall through or withdrawn.

    I wonder if the city imposes some kind of “performance bond” on such projects to avoid the situation you describe. Of course, any such bond would be worthless if the issuer went under. The ponzi-scheme CDO’s that have pushed our economy over the abyss were also supposedly “guaranteed.”

  • LA in the Junction March 10, 2008 (11:31 am)

    Usually I read the blog and come away with a sense of inspiration for the great people, businesses, and character of our community. But the list summarized by lala is just overwhelming, and wsedawg is right that it’s the hard work of all of us who made the Junction neighborhood great that are going to pay the price as the mega-projects move in and take over.


    I’m all for standing up and fighting, but for how long and on how many fronts? When you work full-time plus, and already volunteer all over the place, it just gets overwhelming trying to weigh in on all of the comment processes and public meetings for each additional development project…not to mention pro-parks, Junction parking, Urban Villages, and other city-sponsored initiatives. Even with the great work of the WSB keeping us informed, it’s just not possible for an average, working citizen — the kind of person who makes West Seattle great — to stay on top of it all, let alone influence the outcome.


    Wow, that’s the most un-empowered I’ve felt in a long time, and as a community organizer, I’m going to have to pull it together and snap out of it. Must be the weather and the time change getting me down. On to fight another day!

  • Jake March 10, 2008 (11:58 am)

    Any chance you could include a Google Map in the blog posts when you list a development address so we can see a visual?

  • ML March 13, 2008 (1:17 pm)

    While I applaud development in the Junction (it would be nice if the retailers there would stay open in the evenings – I’d spend more of my hard worked monies if the stores were open on Calif when I get off of work) I hope that all West Seattleites would vote with their wallets — dont shop at the national chains. Why ask for a Barnes & Nobles when we have a surperior Square One Books? why a Creamery when we have Husky Deli? We dont need to YUPIE’fy everything. We need to demand that there are more than 100 stalls in the unit and that they build with more than wood — in 10 years these could be slums, like some of ther cheap developemnt that is occuring in West Seattle.

Sorry, comment time is over.