Admiral Neighborhood Assoc. report #2: Safeway sneak peek

Reps from Safeway and Fuller Sears Architects came to last night’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting to give the group a sneak peek at the newest proposal for the Admiral Safeway redevelopment project. What you see above is the redesigned entrance area along California. They also revealed that you’ve already had an effect on the project – because of comments on a story here – read on for more on that and what else they had to say, and show:

The drawings shown by architect Bill Fuller and Safeway’s Sara Corn were a preview of what will be presented to the Southwest Design Review Board a week from tomorrow (8 pm, Youngstown Arts Center). And they’ve got major differences from what the board was shown at previous meetings (most recently, last November, which was the second review; the first one was in September 2008).

For one, take a look at the residential component of the project along 42nd, shown in the drawing above. Its biggest change was hinted at here, when we published this story back in July about the possibility that part of the space east of the store would be used for “flexible workspace.”

Last night, Fuller said that’s definitely in the plan (for the section that is somewhat in the distance on the right side of the drawing shown above) – and he mentioned that the discussion here on WSB had actually been beneficial to the plan: He said they’d been a bit nervous to hear that the concept was publicized before it had been presented to the city (our source wasn’t Safeway but instead a realtor/developer who had put out a public online call for comment on the concept), but then, it turned out, the city reps were impressed by the largely positive comments here, suggesting community support for the concept.

That side of the site, at Lander/42nd, includes an old house:

View Larger Map

The project team hopes it will be bought and moved, saying it is currently listed with the regional firm that specializes in those moves, Nickel Brothers, through West Seattle-based rep Jeff McCord.

Right now, in addition to Design Review, they also are proceeding with rezoning of part of the site as well as alley vacation (discussed here last month). If all of that proceeds as expected, they hope to get permits by June, with construction starting about two months after they get the permits. They stressed that their comments were largely about the store itself – the residential/workspace project is being handled by a different developer (who was not present at the ANA meeting). They have a plan to build a section of the project along California first so that their pharmacy has minimal downtime; the fact they have to close any part of the business at all is tough: “In the retail world, it can be death to close a store. … We’ve been working and working to compress that schedule.”

Another drawing:

The “midblock crossing” from California to 42nd was once upon a time envisioned as having “alley” status but instead, Safeway says, will be kept a “shared street in private ownership … showing how pedestrians and cars can co-exist.” They say it will be like the street that parallels Pike Place Market – not a thoroughfare by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly passable.

They’re also proposing more of the DuraTherm crosswalk inlay such as the one installed more than a year ago at California/Lander on the walkway across to Lafayette.

And they revealed they are considering building the project “green,” though they haven’t decided what level of LEED status they might try for.

Other points:

*The loading dock on the east side of Safeway will be a “concrete box” so the line of sight is hidden

*As noted in our original report on the flexible-workspace component of the project, there will be some underground parking (with an entrance off Lander at 42nd), but there also still will be some parking on the roof

*They are planning art and windows on the south side of the store to tie in more closely with Hiawatha – they’ve had input from interested parties including the Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks, and part of the art on the store wall will be steel/enamel panels to call attention to the park’s historic status because of its legendary designers: “It’s an easy way for us to weave into something that is across the street and kind of a hidden gem.” They’re also offering some landscaping and staircase improvements on the park side of Lander across from the store so that it’s a “nicer experience” for people walking from the park toward the store.

*They plan to use the same historic-style light pole design you see along California just north of the store and “march it down California and up 42nd” to tie in the development with the existing streetscape

*The residential units will be priced at “market” rates – with studios and 1-/2-bedroom units – they say they’ve “canvassed the neighborhood to see what mix is popular and what’s lagged”

As the presentation wrapped up, ANA president Mark Wainwright said, “This has evolved. I think it’s evolved because everyone spent time on the site, in the neighborhood … I think what you’ve shown is moving in the right direction.”

In addition to the Design Review Board meeting a week from tomorrow (public comment is welcome and encouraged), you’re likely to hear more about this at a Seattle Design Commission meeting in November (though the agenda’s not out, they say it’s November 5th) at which they will have to explain what public benefits they are offering in exchange for the “alley vacation,” which is where the SDC gets involved in the process.

20 Replies to "Admiral Neighborhood Assoc. report #2: Safeway sneak peek"

  • Diane October 14, 2009 (11:24 am)

    hey TR, I thought Sara was going to give you their high quality digital pics to post in the story; even though you do an amazing job of getting great photos of their paper copies, I would love to see the better quality digital renderings if they will still make them available to us; thanks, Diane

  • KSJ October 14, 2009 (11:33 am)

    I think this plan looks pedestrian-friendly, the materials and scale look appropriate for the neighborhood, and it would be a huge improvement over the current cinder-block store and parking field. Well done, neighbors and designers!

  • WSB October 14, 2009 (11:38 am)

    Diane: They’re crashing their DR presentation, which should be online within a few days (today is their deadline), and I don’t know if the images will be available before then – of course I will publish them here whenever we get them, whether it’s directly from Safeway or via the presentation being made available online (we always put those links up here the second I see them on the preview page of the DPD site) – TR

  • WMF October 14, 2009 (11:44 am)

    Awesome! We’ll be indistinguishable from Bellevue in no time!

  • JanS October 14, 2009 (11:46 am)

    I’ve made it no secret that I live on 42nd right behind Admiral Safeway, and , to say the least, this will impact me, and others on the block, greatly. I’m glad it’s finally moving along, and hope that construction doesn’t take forever.

    As I am having some minor surgery 2 days before the meeting on 10/22, and may not be able to make it, I have a question that maybe someone can ask there. For those of us who use their pharmacy services, where will that shift to during construction? We have other options in the area for groceries(MM, PCC), but not so many for prescriptions, except for Bartells. So, what’s the story there?

    I like the design, and think that it will greatly improve the Admiral District. :) Of course, the(very peek) view of the Olympics that I have in mid-December, when leaves are off the trees, over the lovely present SW roof, will be gone. Instead I’ll be looking into someone’s windows across the street – lol. I can deal with that. :)

  • Diane October 14, 2009 (11:57 am)

    thanks TR; and thanks as always for the great report; I love it when you attend the meetings, so I can be fully present to listen/hear as much as possible without trying to take notes myself; your reports are awesome!!!
    and thank you to Safeway for listening to our community, making some great changes from the original design; though I’m with Mark, not thrilled with the roof parking; I’d much rather see a community space on the roof mixed with green roof and move parking underground
    I got to the meeting few minutes late last night because Greendrinks is same night, and last night was top of Columbia Tower; much of the view up there is fabulous, but looking down at all the ugly rooftops that are grey, dirty, full of mechanical junk; how can Seattle be in top 10 on most lists as a “green” city, but only a handful of green roofs?

  • WSB October 14, 2009 (12:06 pm)

    Jan – I believe that’s exactly why (as mentioned very briefly in the story) they are going to set up the pharmacy first – might even be a seamless transition, my notes don’t indicate, but I will see if I can find out sooner rather than later – TR

  • JTM October 14, 2009 (12:25 pm)

    I am very concerned about the impact the development will have on traffic in the area. Its already a fairly congested zone at times, and this plan will increase residences, increase traffic, and i am not entirely satisfied that parking is adequate. Are people living in or near the zone worried about this?

  • mark October 14, 2009 (1:49 pm)


    I was at the meeting last night. The rep from Safeway said having a pharmacy in place was a priority. They hoped the city would allow them to start construction on the other retail (and have a pharmacy in one of those spots) properties first and if the city didn’t allow the permits for that then they would use a trailer as a temporary pharmacy.

  • JanS October 14, 2009 (1:57 pm)

    well, I am about 50 feet from where the construction will be, across the street, and I can’t imagine that it will be any more congested than it is now. The parking will be underground and roof top, there will be parking for the residents. There may be an impact from people visiting residents, or other businesses that may happen. But we are certainly used to that here, with functions at the Sanctuary, Lafayette, Hiawatha, etc. I’m more concerned about street parking during construction, as I see clients in my home. They will be impacted, probably.

  • JanS October 14, 2009 (3:47 pm)

    Mark…and WSB..thanks..

  • Gilligan October 14, 2009 (4:04 pm)

    This whole construction and completion of the new Safeway is going to greatly impact the neighboring businesses in that there will be even less parking for those people. What about the school who utilizes the back parking lot of Safeway? It is known that that is not the school’s parking lot, but it has been a huge help in a situation that has no real solution. With the school bus zones considered, I fear there will be unfortunate decisions made and accidents occur. Anyone with a solution to the parking problem?

  • miws October 14, 2009 (4:21 pm)

    I wonder if Safeway could find some extra funds in their construction budget to supply, say, some mitigation steaks and wine for the neighbors, to compensate for the inconvenience inherent to the construction? ;)



  • nadia October 14, 2009 (6:39 pm)

    Is there a site plan avalaible online somewhere? these sketchup images dont really say much of anything about how the development integrates into the street grid, which as anyone who has a car knows is a disaster around that current safeway parking lot. Rock on with the roof parking! i always enjoy that more than garages. Bury the grocery store in the basement, not like they ever get day-lit anyways. In fact, bury the whole building and pop in some skylights al-la i.m. pei. It could be a field of native plantings with glass monitors popping out of it, Alas i get carried away. grocery stores are never that cool.

  • Forest October 14, 2009 (8:34 pm)

    I’d like the bottom drawing better if they’d resisted putting a Starbucks logo above the entrance door.

  • KBear October 15, 2009 (12:11 pm)

    Gee, should they leave the Safeway sign off, too? Good grief. If there’s a Starbucks in the Safeway, why shouldn’t they have a sign? Even the stalls at the farmer’s market have signs, so I guess you’ll have to grow your own food if stores with signs bother you. Good luck with the coffee, though.

  • mark October 15, 2009 (5:08 pm)

    I would like it better if they didn’t have a Starbucks. Period.

  • Demetria October 15, 2009 (5:14 pm)

    Yeah, Forest. That’ll be enough of you having a harmless preference on KBear’s watch. ;)

  • Living in West Seattle since 1985 October 15, 2009 (10:35 pm)

    its nice to see an up date to that Safeway! its been the same since I was a little girl!

  • TK October 18, 2009 (2:12 am)

    I grew up in the admiral district and now own a home in highland park. I have to admit that when I visit Safeway in my old neighborhood, I’m blown away by how little the store carries in comparison to the Roxburry store. You guys don’t even know what you’re missing!

Sorry, comment time is over.