New possibility for Admiral Safeway project: Flexible workspace

Is West Seattle ready for “flexible workspaces”? That’s what James Tjoa is trying to figure out, and he would love to know what you think. He is working on the residential side of the project that Admiral Safeway has proposed for redeveloping its site, and exploring an idea that came up in response to concerns voiced at previous Design Review Board meetings: Adding to the “density” of the residential section along 42nd (top-center of that rendering from last fall, which we use just as a reference) by turning part of that section of the building into workspace. The space in question involves about 18,000 square feet around what will be Safeway’s loading dock – Tjoa says they realized that having living units atop and alongside the loading dock wouldn’t be optimal anyway, with noise and other concerns. They took a look around West Seattle, and while there’s ActivSpace on Harbor Ave, there’s no flexible workspace of note in the business-district centers. The “flexible space” concept is very much in the roughing-out process, he explains — some of it might be small spaces for just one person (150 square feet?), some bigger (up to 700?). And he says they’re open to hearing thoughts on the concept of “shared space” too – one of those places where you pay a fee to have the right to use a desk on a drop-in basis. In addition to the density concern, Tjoa says this concept could solve another of the criticisms brought up during previous Design Review meetings – there was a “green wall” there by the loading dock, and now he says the workspace could come all the way down to the sidewalk and “activate” the area facing 42nd as a result. According to Tjoa, some additional parking would be added beyond what was previously envisioned – some underground parking on that side of the building, in addition to what’s proposed for the Safeway roof. As they continue roughing out this concept, they’re also wondering what people might want – a conference room? bike storage? or? If you’ve got some thoughts about what this kind of space would need, he would love to hear from you at or 206-726-6230 … or leave a comment on this story. As for the entire project’s official status – it’s been through two Design Review meetings (most recently in November), and the next one is not yet scheduled.

12 Replies to "New possibility for Admiral Safeway project: Flexible workspace"

  • homesweethome July 9, 2009 (8:19 pm)

    Excellent idea. Any workspace located closer to residential areas is a good idea to hopefully reduce some commuting or draw some smaller business owners or sole practitioners to the area. Hope this works out.

  • dogman2 July 9, 2009 (8:54 pm)

    WHATEVER they do, they should be required to pay for full completion up front…… Can anyone out there say “Whole Foods?”

  • JanS July 9, 2009 (9:50 pm)

    as long as parking is provided for, I’d have no problems with it…and I live right across the street from where they’d be. I worry about parking. hen Admiral Sanctuary opened, the owner said that they had permission to use the back parking lot at Safeway…they don’t. If there’s a big wedding reception, etc., they take up all the parking along the street, and on Lander, even parking illegally. So parking is my biggest thing. I’d love to have some small businesses in the area there. I just wish they’d get on with it.

    And, yes, let’s make sure it doesn’t end up a big hole in the ground.

  • Ryan July 9, 2009 (10:14 pm)

    I think this is a great idea – especially affordable artist space (which the smaller spaces could serve).

  • Mike July 9, 2009 (10:51 pm)

    I’m confused how they’ll handle parking. The design shows less space than currently exists for parking and they’ll be adding residences and more business locations? Anyone have a better bigger layout to look at?

  • WSB July 9, 2009 (10:55 pm)

    This is from the drawings shown at last fall’s Design Review Board meeting, long before this idea emerged, and as I noted, was just for locational reference. It will definitely be different. The underground parking mentioned in the story will add to it as well. But this is still a concept at the moment and we’ll be awaiting the next design proposal – after two “Early Design Guidance” meetings, it has to go to at least one more review, plus there will be other hearings/meetings for the rezoning and vacation/s that might be needed – TR

  • Forest July 9, 2009 (11:04 pm)

    Dynamic though it sounds, I imagine that a weak market for business real estate could lead to such a “flexible workspace” morphing into a warehouse for the Safeway store.

  • JanS July 10, 2009 (1:15 am)

    Mike, remember, that’s just a drawing. There will be parking on the ground between JITB and Safeway, and also rooftop parking , including a separate section for tenants of the apartments. There will also be a change in bus stops, I understand , with one being right in fron of the store on the southern half of the block. I f there is some underground parking made available, that would help, too. I do hope that they’ll be able to stick with the lower number of apartments – I think the # was somewhere around 34. I didn’t make it to the design review meetings because of work, but I think there is some question about providing more density. I don’t think there needs tobe upwards of 50 apartments there…that would definitely, IMO, be overcrowding.

    Forest, let’s hope not. Or we should at least require them to landscape in front of them so we can’t see it – lol

  • Evan July 10, 2009 (1:25 am)

    I think it’s a great idea. I think the trick will be to have a decent range of spaces–small ones that are cheap enough to draw people out of home offices that are essentially free, and larger ones for more well-established businesses.

  • Beth Yockey Jones July 10, 2009 (10:38 am)

    As a small business owner, I would love to see a space like Office Nomads over here. There are a lot of solopreneurs who I know who would really benefit from having a community of co-workers, and I’d really welcome NOT having to drive to capitol hill to go to the office, when I want to work among others.
    Count me in for sure!

  • Chris July 10, 2009 (9:04 pm)

    I think it sounds great, I am currently in a home office now and while I will always keep that, I would like a place besides starbucks to meet a client in a private setting. A conference room would be terrific or possibly allowing a pre-determined time share kind of situation where 3 or 4 people who may or may not know each other but have similar needs could share an office. I definitely agree with a previous comment that the rates will determine my interest. I can deal with a tiny office if it was cheap enough to get me out of my free home office.

  • James July 11, 2009 (8:13 am)

    Thanks for all the comments. The ownership would be separate from Safeway so there is no chance it would turn into warehouse space for the store. We just started looking at this project recently so many things such as residential unit count are in flux. Besides being energy efficient, the convenient location and having features such as bike storage and showers will hopefully mean fewer cars and less people having to fight the WSB traffic. We are trying to do as much homework as possible to make sure the project is successful and a vibrant, positive addition to the neighborhood. Our vision is that this project would be a hub for the small business community in West Seattle.

    Other small work places around town seem to be around $300-400/month for an office around 150sf, and around $1000-1200/month for about 500sf. Having an office one day a week, e.g. every Monday, could be $100/month. Conference rooms seem to go for around $50/hour. We’ll look into the Office Nomad concept; a portion of the project as a open cubicle arrange sounds like a good idea. The more thoughts and suggestions the better before we decide whether this is feasible or not so if you think other people would be interested, please have them contact me or comment here. Thanks!

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