Video: 4532 42nd SW demolition is underway

(added noontime, photo by Christopher Boffoli)
ORIGINAL 9:14 AM POST: Just started a few minutes ago. More to come… ADDED 9:45 AM: iPhone photo:

10:33 AM UPDATE: Uploading video now. Big house, so the job’ll take a few hours. WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli took over at the scene so we could head back to HQ. For past coverage of this site, click here (archive of all mentions, newest to oldest – going back to 2006). A few people who stopped by to watch the demolition this morning in the early going had memories to share – one woman said she needed to go call someone who was born there 75 years ago, when it was a hospital. ADDED 10:48 AM: Video from the “first bite” (to be followed shortly by a clip from further along):

(video no longer available due to shutdown)

ADDED 10:56 AM: This clip is from about 20 minutes into the demolition work, as part of the upper story was torn away. As soon as this part was done, a massive cloud of paint etc. flakes wafted across the street to where we were watching, and beyond. Going to have to bring a mask to the next demolition.

(video no longer available due to shutdown)

Here’s the rendering of the future project, from the last Design Review Board meeting June 13:


You can see the entire presentation from that meeting here. Meantime, though the passages marked by these types of demolitions certainly can evoke nostalgia, that’s not the case for everyone, particularly when structures like this are left to deteriorate and be vandalized: One neighbor who came by in the early going — who said he’d lived in the area a long, long time and pointed toward the homes further north in the block that will come down for the 42nd/Oregon project — grinned, looking at the demolition work, “It’s about time.”

31 Replies to "Video: 4532 42nd SW demolition is underway"

  • so sad........... November 17, 2008 (9:32 am)

    to see the great old houses disappearing in West Seattle – all for what some consider advancement – too bad developers don’t see the value in retaining the character of our neighborhood instead of $$$$$ signs.

  • LP November 17, 2008 (9:34 am)

    “oh no. big ornage dinosaur eatiing the house” – my two year old

  • RobertSeattle November 17, 2008 (9:36 am)

    WSB – Is the address correct? I did a Google Map and it didn’t have match.

  • fiz November 17, 2008 (9:43 am)

    It’s 4532 42nd.

  • timeslid November 17, 2008 (9:44 am)

    I hope that they at least salvaged anything and everything from the inside. We should be in a time of thrift, saving and preservation.

  • KM November 17, 2008 (9:45 am)

    So sad….it was such a gorgeous house!

  • ahmom November 17, 2008 (10:02 am)

    timeslid- just think of all of the people who have a job right now because this person is building a new house. it only helps the economy to have money flowing.

  • Will November 17, 2008 (10:04 am)

    That would be ripping into the porch above my son’s playroom and right below his bedroom. Bye-bye old house! We had some great BBQ’s on that porch.

  • WSB November 17, 2008 (10:06 am)

    sorry, iPhone typing transposition, fixed now…. I’m heading to HQ to upload video and add links. Thanks to the tipster who e-mailed us so we could get here before they started…Christopher is taking over at the scene while we go upload and write about some of the people who have come by…

  • RobertSeattle November 17, 2008 (10:26 am)

    Hasn’t this house been vacant for over a decade? (and a target for lots of vandalism).

    To be replaced by 35 residential units.

  • DALYDBL November 17, 2008 (10:30 am)

    It hurts to look at that pic! Sad.

  • grr November 17, 2008 (10:31 am)

    sad indeed..what’s sadder than it being demolished is the fact that its owners LET IT get into such a state of disrepair to the point of it not being fixable. Can’t blame a developer for snagging a great piece of land when the previous owners let it deteriorate. Sad to see it go tho.

  • Rick November 17, 2008 (10:44 am)

    So sad. A friend lived there and there’s many great memories. Sold for the $.

  • WSB November 17, 2008 (10:45 am)

    RS, we have covered this extensively over the past couple years – I just added the coverage archive link – not as easy to do while posting via iPhone from the field, so sorry about that, but it’s there now. It’s been vacant at least as long as I’ve been watching it, since 2006, and you can see from the demolition scene that it had been trashed to some degree inside (fluorescent tagging revealed after part of the front was ripped away). This was the last design-review board meeting, which includes an image of the future building (I will add that image to this post after I get the video in) – TR

  • Cheryl November 17, 2008 (11:25 am)

    Always a shame to see beautiful old architecture go in the name of “progress” and yet another boring apartment/condo building. If only someone had cared enough to take care of this house … or sell it sooner so that someone else could.

    Yes, it’s a good thing that it’s being removed if it’s merely a haven for vagrants & vandals, but a shame nonetheless.

  • WSratsinacage November 17, 2008 (12:15 pm)

    For those who do not know, this was West Seattle first hospital or one of the first. It was slated for “land use” a few years ago but it got stopped so I was surprised to see the proposed action sign go up about a year later. Someone pulled some strings or something.

  • WSratsinacage November 17, 2008 (12:20 pm)

    If people keep saying “oh, it’s just one more building gone, what’s the big deal.” then what’s going to happen when there are no more old buildings in WS?

  • timeslid November 17, 2008 (12:24 pm)

    ahmom – salvaging the insides of the house employs people to remove the interior as does the storing and reselling of salvaged goods. Tell the people at Second Use, for one, that salvaging old homes doesn’t create jobs. Tearing it down and hauling it away is cheaper because it requires LESS labor.

  • swensi November 17, 2008 (12:54 pm)

    “West Seattle: The New Ballard”

  • Christopher Boffoli November 17, 2008 (1:12 pm)

    I did notice that the man operating the digger was very gingerly picking out pieces of metal for recycling. And as much as it is a shame to have all of that tight-grain lumber going into a landfill it is at least “green” in the sense that all of that wood contains sequestered carbon that will not be re-released into the atmosphere.

  • ss November 17, 2008 (2:02 pm)

    I wish they would post things like this for people to reuse the materials. Maybe siding and fixtures could be reclaimed. Hope someone is thinking about that stuff.

  • JaimeGummer November 17, 2008 (4:29 pm)

    ss: timeslid hit the nail on the head above. Disassembling such a large structure in a way that the materials would retain usefulness would be extremely labor intensive, not to mention the added liability of some kind of hand-disassembly.
    Things are torn down with economics in mind simply because things are built with the same economic focus. If we truly cared about the environment we could develop better building systems that would allow us to more easily disassemble and recycle structures into their component materials.

  • dq November 17, 2008 (4:32 pm)

    Do we know how many of the proposed 35 units have been sold/rented? With the economy, i’m surprised there is still building new instead of preserving old.

  • WTF November 17, 2008 (8:17 pm)

    Nice to see that our single family homes and neighborhoods are being destroyed by multi family, track buildings that will look like crap in five years. Great. Just great.

  • Todd November 17, 2008 (8:20 pm)

    dq – good point. The condo market is not as hot as it was. But I guess it’s hard to stop a train on a dime.

    Swensi – well put, I’m kinda partial to WS as Ballard south though.

    Happy Day all, not. Ah, “progress” greed whatever it is called, I am sick of it.

  • JaimeGummer November 17, 2008 (11:38 pm)

    dq: Recessions are temporary. Looking at historic market performance from past recessions, the real estate market will rebound and projections show Seattle’s population continuing to rise. More people means a continued demand for places to live.
    This structure had sat empty, engulfed in weeds and occupied on and off by squatters for as long as I’ve lived in the neighborhood. It was an old building that outlived its usefulness and now it is being replaced by something that will eventually outlive its usefulness and will be replaced. It is a never-ending cycle of growth and change.
    When I think of development and “progress” I don’t immediately think of greed. I think that it means we’re putting our space to better use with more urban density. It means jobs. It means businesses investing in our community. It means new neighbors who bring new talent and fresh perspectives to our community. It means increased foot traffic to support the small businesses and restaurants of the Junction.

  • Will November 18, 2008 (9:07 am)

    SS: The siding was aluminum, I believe. Some of the fixtures inside were beautiful. There was a grate covering a heating duct that was huge and awesome, right inside the front door.

    JamieBummer: Yeah, it’s been empty for a while. I think we were the last renters. It’s been owned by the development company for years. They probably didn’t rent it out because it was very drafty and had a slight (ha-ha!) rat problem.

    I think it should have/could have been saved but it would have been very costly to renovate it. Nothing in that house was square anymore, it had settled so much. But it was still lovely.

  • Will November 18, 2008 (9:08 am)

    Oh, by they way, I’m stoked to see that the tiny house next door is still there. Back in the day the lady that owned it refused to sell it. I hope she is still holding out. Now it will be sandwiched between a three story blank wall and a condo-building.

  • WSB November 18, 2008 (10:22 am)

    Re: aluminum siding – Given some of the sound I heard while watching the first part of the demolition, that makes sense.

    Re: the house next door … Records show the ownership transferred two years ago, to someone whose address of record is about two blocks away, but it was a “deed of personal responsibility” with no money changing hands. The gentleman who watched the early going of the demolition yesterday with me also mentioned the lady in the little house … and remarked on the parcel size … According to city records, just 2,875 feet. Wonder how that happened!? Sold off part of the land for the building next door?

  • Stephanie November 18, 2008 (11:07 am)

    WTF – my thoughts exactly!

  • DALYDBL November 18, 2008 (2:52 pm)

    What happens to the mature plants on a property like this one when it is demolished?

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