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:
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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.”
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.
*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.