Update: Final version of SW District Council letter re: “The Hole”

We first told you last Thursday about the Southwest District Council‘s plan to send a letter about The Hole – aka the stalled development site originally known as Fauntleroy Place – pending some final tweaks, as well as a determination of who should receive the letter. Late today, the original drafter, Susan Melrose from the West Seattle Junction Association, sent around the final version, which has been sent by e-mail and postal mail to site owner Seattle Capital Corporation, and cc’d to 22 people including Mayor McGinn, members of the Seattle City Council, and various city department heads. As per the intent expressed during discussion at last week’s SWDC meeting, the letter voices concern about “over the condition, esthetics and most importantly the safety” of the chain-link-ringed, 4-story deep excavation. We’ll check tomorrow with Seattle Capital regarding any response that they plan to make; meantime, read on for the full final text of the letter:

April 8, 2010

Seattle Capital Corporation
Attn: Robert E. Story, Jr.
190 Queen Anne Avenue, #100
Seattle, WA 98109

Re: Community concerns over Fauntleroy Place construction site

Dear Mr. Story:

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter; it is representative of the sentiments of a large number of West Seattle community organizations, our constituents, and the general community of West Seattle who we endeavor to represent.

Our concern is over the condition, esthetics and most importantly the safety of the now stalled Fauntleroy Place construction project site. The current fencing is an unappealing chain link that presents an unwelcoming presence at what is essentially the gateway to our West Seattle neighborhood. It is also a serious safety hazard to have temporary fencing protecting vehicles and pedestrians from a 4-story drop at one of West Seattle’s busiest intersections. In addition, parts of the sidewalk do not meet ADA standards. And finally, the area of landscaping on the corner named Triangle Park (as described on page 48 of the West Seattle Junction Neighborhood Plan) was created with community time, resources and pride. This park is haphazardly surrounded with chain link fence and is subsequently overgrown which only adds insult to injury.

We are all struggling during these trying times. We are trying to keep our businesses open, we are trying to keep our homes and neighborhoods attractive and welcoming, and we are trying to build a future where West Seattle emerges prosperous and revitalized. The reaction that residents, visitors and retail shoppers are having to your site – as expressed to us as by the community – is that of seeing urban blight and neglect at the heart of our neighborhood.

We hope the future of West Seattle will include a complete and successful Fauntleroy Place project. The majority in our community were eagerly anticipating the addition of your residents and retail, as evidenced by the primarily positive community response to your proposed project at the Design Review Board meetings.

The above prefaces our request that you please take steps to make your project site more appealing and safe during the time it remains fallow. At a minimum, we are requesting a screening fence, a vehicle barrier, at least 4 feet of continuous sidewalk clearance to meet ADA standards, and the fencing removed from Triangle Park. We would welcome a dialogue with the responsible party from your organization regarding how to put these requests into motion.

We hope to resolve this amicably before West Seattle Summer Fest (July 9, 10, 11) which is the first of several community summer events.

At the April 7th Southwest District Council meeting, the following council members voted unanimously to submit this letter:

Admiral Neighborhood Association
Alki Community Council
Fairmount Community Association
Fauntleroy Community Association
Junction Neighborhood Organization (JuNO)
Morgan Community Association (MoCA)
Ocean View Community Beach Club
Senior Center of West Seattle
Southwest Seattle Historical Society/Log House Museum
West Seattle Chamber of Commerce
West Seattle Junction Association

The letter also endorsed by Harbor Properties, Inc.

Thank you for your attention to this very important matter.

Sincerely, Sincerely,

Erica Karlovits, Co-Chair Chas Redmond, Co-Chair
Southwest District Council Southwest District Council

Cc: Mayor Mike McGinn, City of Seattle
Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, City of Seattle
Deputy Mayor Phil Fujii, City of Seattle
Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess
Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark
Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin
Seattle City Councilmember Jean Godden
Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata
Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien
Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
Diane Sugimura, Director, Seattle Department of Planning & Development
Peter Hahn, Acting Director, Seattle Department of Transportation
Michael Dorcy, Seattle Department of Planning & Development
Tracy Krawczyk, Seattle Department of Transportation
Peter Holmes, Seattle City Attorney
Susan McLain, Seattle Department of Planning & Development
Marshall Foster, Seattle Department of Planning & Development
Denny Onslow, Harbor Properties
Emi Baldowin, Harbor Properties
Southwest District Council File

The site has been idle since late 2008, when work stopped and multiple lawsuits erupted. The firm that currently holds the note for its financing had signaled last year that it would seek to foreclose, but that hasn’t happened yet.

14 Replies to "Update: Final version of SW District Council letter re: "The Hole""

  • Doug April 13, 2010 (6:49 pm)


    This hole in the ground is not only ugly, but indeed unsafe. It is time for the site owner to step up and take responsibility. Everyone involved in this mess owes the West Seattle community an apology.

    City Council, take note!

  • Mary T Sheely April 13, 2010 (7:13 pm)

    Thank you for writing this! It would be bad enough to have it as merely an eyesore, but I am amazed something so dangerous has been allowed to sit for so long. I think we’ve been lucky no accidents have sent any cars into the hole. : (

  • sophista-tiki April 13, 2010 (7:43 pm)

    and we got screwed out of our fabric store

  • CB April 13, 2010 (8:27 pm)

    too bad the lawyer only cares about his fee.

  • CurlyQ April 13, 2010 (8:57 pm)

    Well said. It is such a stark contrast to the way development is moving forward in the Triangle. I wish they’d move forward or sell the property to someone who would.

  • miws April 13, 2010 (9:00 pm)

    Yes! Thanks to all involved in the composition, sending, and support of this letter.



  • Chris April 13, 2010 (10:29 pm)

    Thank-you for looking out for us West Seattlites and speaking up. Excellent letter and hope that this brings the community concerns to someone who will listen and actually do something.

  • cjboffoli April 13, 2010 (10:47 pm)

    I think the safety issue is the most compelling point of the letter. Bringing up the aesthetics of the fencing in an area dominated by ugly sprawl seems like singling out three snowflakes in a blizzard and blaming them for spoiling the driveway.

  • chas redmond April 13, 2010 (11:34 pm)

    singling out three snowflakes in a blizzard and blaming them for spoiling the driveway…
    true, but sometimes it really is true – to shamefully allow to go to ruin the only park in an urban wasteland is to throw away hope – ah, come on, the aesthetic is also of value and though it does not pertain to a life-threatening experience in a physical sense, a despoiled aesthetic is certainly value and hope threatening in a metaphysical sense –
    Yes those three snowflakes are spoiling the driveway…

  • Alki Area April 13, 2010 (11:38 pm)

    You’d think bringing up aesthetics is perhaps silly and not a city issue, but keep in mind, have you ever noticed what it takes to get a new project through design review now a days? The city goes over every street front facing element including style and color to make sure you’re not just slapping up a brink wall. Funny you have to go through ALL this design review (think of the new Admiral Safeway) but yet you can leave a 4 story hole for years. If the project doesn’t exist anymore (there is NO plan filed with the city for construction THIS YEAR) then they should be required to refill the hole and landscape back to level.

  • Trina April 14, 2010 (5:24 am)

    Someone mentioned building a nice 3 or 4 screen theatre there. I think that’s a great idea. The Admiral Theatre is still good but West Seattle is big enough to build another one that is more modern. With a lot of pretty landscaping around it and the entrance facing the bowling alley it would be nice! Perhaps build a movie themed cafe on top!
    Me and my friends are waiting!!:) Get rid of the HOLE!

  • Carson April 14, 2010 (7:35 am)

    Maybe if we each walk by once a day and toss in a handful of dirt we can get it filled. I wish I was kidding, but it might be the fastest way to get it filled in.

  • flynlo April 14, 2010 (9:54 am)

    While the letter brings up good issues to be addressed, to me it ignores the “elephant in the room”, that is – Is the shoring that is currently holding up the walls engineered for long term use or is it designed as temporary to stabilize the “hole” until the foundations and backfill are in place? I suspect the latter, in which case, why isn’t there bonding requirements in the building codes to protect the adjacent property owners (us the taxpayers and private property owners) from damage? Consider the property damage from an earthquake if the shoring fails! The city and private property owners would just get in line for lawsuits behind all the current ones? You think closing the South Park bridge will bring chaos, imagine Alaska St at the bottom of the hole! I would love to hear an answer from Seattle DPD, but considering their response to a nine year old hi-rise building being “dismantled” I’m not going to hold my breath!

  • dawsonct April 15, 2010 (9:05 am)

    What the hell are you talking about CB!?
    There is absolutely no mention of lawyers or their motives in this story! Don’t think we need lawyers in this world of ours? You are delusional.

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