West Seattle’s Swedish Automotive starts final week at old site

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

On Friday morning, Swedish Automotive owner Dave Winters looked out the front windows of his almost-finished new location at 7901 35th SW, as Seattle City Light crews hooked up the power – another milestone on the way to move-in day.

It’s been under construction six months (here’s our report from when the work began), but Swedish (a longtime WSB sponsor) has had this on the drawing board a lot longer.

This coming Friday, Winters and his team are scheduled to do their last work at their long-outgrown old site a few blocks north, before a weekend of moving. We visited him the other day to take a look at the new space, which you’ll be able to tour during a community celebration/open house on September 25th (that coincidentally is after the same day’s morning open house at the new campus of Chief Sealth International High School, which happens to be Winters’ alma mater).

He was one of three tour guides with us on Friday – joined by Sören, who’s handling parts, and daughter Farleigh, who was about to head back to the University of Oregon, where she’s studying architecture (while home for the summer, she’d done some work with project architect Curtis McGuire).

Click ahead for a look at some of Swedish Automotive’s new features, with a sustainability focus – plus what we’ve learned about who will move into its old site (when we first reported the lease-signing in late July, the tenant wasn’t ready to go public):

If you’ve driven 35th SW recently past the new Swedish site, bordered on the north by SW Kenyon – with businesses across the street including Sharon’s Westwood Florist and the future Locöl (hoping to open in October), as well as Kenyon Hall – you have certainly seen the distinctive new facade. But some of what else is distinctive about the project is subtler. Sustainability is a recurring theme, including the drought-resistant plants in the new landscaping:

The upstairs boiler will burn waste oil that’ll be collected from customers’ cars and kept in a thousand-gallon double-walled tank:

Besides warming up the main building through a piping system in the floor, water from that boiler will be heating the two-story building that Swedish kept on the site – its first floor has undergone renovations for its offices, while tenants continue upstairs (with one space left to rent, Winters notes) – the space in that building alone is almost equal to the size of Swedish’s entire original location, service bays and all. At the new site, both buildings, the new and old, are full of windows letting in light – but the 12-bay main building also has an insulated roof – designed for potentially adding solar panels someday, Farleigh points out.

Of those 12 bays, one is a dedicated wash bay; the bays also have exhaust ports hooked into a central ventilation system. (And one last sustainability note – the details go all the way down to a restroom in the office building, which has a dual-flush fixture – depending on whether you need less water, or more.)

Last but not least, if you live in/travel through the area and wonder about the traffic flow – the main entrance will be on 35th, Winters says, but there’s also an exit/entrance on the alley, which has been improved as part of the project:

The celebration open house from noon-4 pm September 25th won’t just be a “drop by and have a quick look” affair. There’ll be live music by The Shed Boys – a band with a Swedish Automotive customer (Glenn) among its members – and food from Down Home Catering. They hope to have some classic Swedish cars on display, too.

MOVING INTO THE OLD LOCATION: Chris Christensen and Todd Ainsworth are opening West Seattle AutoWorks in the old Swedish Automotive location at 7501 35th SW. We talked briefly with Chris, who says they’re both West Seattle residents – Dave Winters says he “couldn’t ask for better (tenants)” – and worked for several years at Alki Auto Repair. AutoWorks will be a full-time service shop, including emissions work, and will handle all makes – except for the ones that Swedish works on (Volvo, Saab, Subaru). The AutoWorks team tells us they’re particularly skilled in German and Italian vehicles.

They hope to be open in early October – but before they move in, Swedish has to finish moving out – and now that’s just days away!

7 Replies to "West Seattle's Swedish Automotive starts final week at old site"

  • Val Vashon September 13, 2010 (1:56 pm)

    Signing up for this program would fit in nicely with their focus on sustainability:


    Letting the public bring in their old oxygen sensors would be a good idea, too. I have one to start the collection (hint hint).

  • MB September 13, 2010 (2:06 pm)

    Yay! That’s my lil’ bro in the picture :) How funny. High five on getting the umlaut in his name!

  • kgdlg September 13, 2010 (2:22 pm)

    TR: Do you know if the trees they planted on 35th will match the other beauties we have along this stretch? I forget the name of them, but when they are all in fall colors, it is gorgeous, and I hope these can one day fit in??? I hope the City required this of them…

    • WSB September 13, 2010 (3:30 pm)

      Good question, and I will try to get an answer … The other ones as I’m sure you know are not just your average street tree … I need to look up the link but I remember they needed to get a special roundup of arborists a year or two ago to prune them … a very unusual grouping of trees.

  • bridge to somewhere September 13, 2010 (4:17 pm)

    I was thinking the other day that the Swedish Automotive building actually has a nice Swedish design aesthetic. :-) Well done!

  • Arbor Heights Mom September 14, 2010 (4:07 pm)

    I don’t have a Swedish car, but I aspire to one day. I just have to say that the people in this garage are so nice to deal with. I was witness to an accident once and waited in their waiting room and they were so kind to the person who had been hit. Nice place to have in the neighborhood, great new building!

  • Rachelle September 15, 2010 (12:54 pm)

    Dave is the BEST!! He’s been working on our Volvo for the past 5 years and always provides top-notch service. They have needed a bigger space for a while, so I’m so happy for them. The new shop looks great and we greatly appreciate the attention paid to sustainability.

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