New development proposal for just-cleaned-up High Point site

(Photo courtesy Marco via Twitter)
After a few months of digging and hauling, most of the cleanup work is done at 35th/Graham in High Point (map), and as the photo tweeted Monday by Marco shows, right now it’s something of a lake. In the process of checking out “what happens next?”, we discovered a new development proposal for the site – two years after a flurry of activity for the previous proposal.

The new proposal turned up at the site’s official page in the city’s Department of Planning and Development system: 90 townhouses and live-work units. That’s dramatically different from the previous mixed-use proposal, last seen at a Design Review meeting more than two years ago. That plan had included 200 apartments and 16,000 square feet of retail. Regarding the new proposal,site owner Seattle Housing Authority‘s spokesperson Virginia Felton tells WSB they’re not ready to discuss it in depth: “We are in negotiation with a developer … I can’t provide details yet – we need to have the actual agreement in place first. We hope to have that accomplished in a month or so. We are excited at the prospect of seeing development move forward on this site and think this will be a very positive addition to the neighborhood.”

As for what’s happening on the site in the near future, following the stimulus-funding (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) cleanup of old petroleum contamination (as first reported here), Felton says, “The excavation will be filled in shortly – leaving a shallow depression to collect water so that the street is not flooded during heavy rains.”

25 Replies to "New development proposal for just-cleaned-up High Point site"

  • Sage December 28, 2010 (4:18 pm)

    Ugh. The 35th corridor desperately needs walkable retail, as had been part of the high point plan presented to the community from the beginning.
    And they seriously won’t talk about plans until after they gave an agreement with a developer? Sort of makes a mockery of the community process they’ll launch right after decisions are made.

  • Mary December 28, 2010 (4:33 pm)

    Some of us have been expecting just such a move from the very beginning. Why is SHA allowed to enter into any agreement that has not seen the public light of day? Why are they being allowed to reduce the number of housing units by over 50%, without any public discussion? How can SHA unilaterally change the plan that has been in place for two years? Does SHA effectively have no governmental oversight save that with HUD? This is hardly a move that engenders trust in anything SHA says or promises to our community.

  • Genesee Hill December 28, 2010 (5:17 pm)

    90 sounds better than 200.

  • Skeeter December 28, 2010 (5:46 pm)

    As a highpoint homeowner for 3.5 years, I’m totally confused. There is all sorts of residential land still available for builders. The townhomes should go in the residential area. The retail area, on the other hand, should be for retail. If there is no interest in retail development now, lets wait it out until there is interest. WSB, please keep up your coverage of this. Hundreds of families spent a lot of money and gambled on Highpoint. SHA need to be accountable to all stakeholders.

  • CitizenR December 28, 2010 (6:43 pm)

    How can they do this? It was supposed to be a Public discussion … Retail spaces, apt/condos … people were excited about this! It just seems like we are always being told :

    “OH, you didn’t really want that, this is better for you!”

  • sean December 28, 2010 (6:52 pm)

    I bought in 2007. Believed in the potential that SHA preached. They have not lived up to the sermon. Retail space was discussed and not delivered. A HOA also discussed and still managed by SHA who does not care. High Point is what it was and will always will be. Shame on SHA! But they got our money:)

  • Stewie December 28, 2010 (6:57 pm)

    High Point sold us on this neighborhood by promising things that have yet to come to fruition… this mixed retail space (promised as – just mom ‘n pop stores) is just another promise gone unfulfilled.

  • Andrea December 28, 2010 (7:45 pm)

    We also bought a home in highpoint almost 4 years ago and were told that retail space, a grocery store, maybe a coffee shop, would be coming soon. What about all the empty residential space still left? Why don’t they build more town homes there? This is very disappointing and confusing!

  • coffee December 28, 2010 (8:27 pm)

    I suggest flooding your city council members with emails, mail, messages, etc.

  • anotheresident December 28, 2010 (8:45 pm)

    All of you HP residents can go right to the top to let these decision-makers know. Let your block captains know you’re not happy so they can prepare for the next HOA meeting. Write and call the office of Tom Tierney, SHA Executive Director! Show up at the next HOA meeting (1/27) at 7:00 where Tom Tierney has stated in writing he will show up to address other issues. (West Seattle Blog is invited, too.) Call Tom Tierney’s board of commissioners (yes, he has a Board he reports to) and let them know!

  • JasonP December 28, 2010 (9:16 pm)

    We also bought into Highpoint 4 years ago. This move doesn’t surprise me. It sounds just like, “The SHA won’t control the Home Owner’s Association after a couple of years.”

  • Stacey December 28, 2010 (9:25 pm)

    I didn’t know about any promises, but I understand why the buyers in this area are disappointed. Most people are choosing to buy homes in mixed use spaces because they want to walk when they “run” their errands. We need to get away from 1950’s suburbia dream and grow new communities.

  • Andrew B December 28, 2010 (10:13 pm)

    As a former HOA board member we have an opportunity to speak to SHA management at the nest HOA meeting. as homeowners we need to unite and share our displeasure of the underhanded manner in which we are managed. Originally, there was supposed to be a Trader’s Joe but in the wisdom of Brian Sullivan and Tom Tierney who would not grant TJ some special concession to enable transport trucks we stand without retail. We need to fight for the promises made to us and form our own association separate and distinct from the SHA

  • Elikapeka December 28, 2010 (10:58 pm)

    I’m so disappointed. We don’t live in Highpoint, but nearby, and were really excited about the mixed retail that was supposed to come in. It was one of the big selling points of the redevelopment and hopefully revitalization of the area. To renege on that is just not acceptable. Does anyone have e-mail addresses/addresses/phone numbers of who to contact about this?

  • LyndaB December 28, 2010 (11:04 pm)

    What? There could have been a trader joe’s down the block from me!?!?! People, let’s rise up! We need good business development for the residents here. Soon, too. That area literally stinks right now. Couldn’t smell for a block.

    • WSB December 28, 2010 (11:17 pm)

      That was one of many rumored TJ’s sites before it all landed at Fauntleroy/Alaska/39th, across from The Hole. Around the time we started WSB five years ago, TJ’s was supposedly slated for Admiral/42nd (the building that’s now home to Muttley Crew, CrossFit, etc. was going to be a mixed-use development, that’s all long since gone by the wayside, or at least on longterm hold). Anyway, we will definitely continue to follow this. All I can tell you at the moment is that the site remains owned by the Seattle Housing Authority – at one point during the review process for the previous proposal, it was supposedly being sold to the proposed developer, but county records suggest it never wound up changing hands:

  • bolo December 28, 2010 (11:16 pm)

    If this development has any impact on the Murray Catch Basin project (and it appears it would impact, because it likely will add storm water runoff to the basin), it should be a part of the Murray Catch Basin project and vice versa.

  • RPH December 29, 2010 (7:33 am)

    SHA’s false advertising is still posted online –
    (bullet point #6)

  • Krystal December 29, 2010 (10:34 am)

    90 does sound better than 200, I agree Genesee Hill.

  • Sage December 29, 2010 (1:52 pm)

    Good catch by RPH there. For when SHA staff cleanses that bullet point to reflect their new desired reality, what they say as a “neighborhood highlight” is: “Future mixed-use retail center with grocery, shops and conveniences.”
    This was a huge part of the premise of the project — mixed use means mixed uses, not just various sorts of housing development.

  • Chris December 29, 2010 (3:30 pm)

    should have just left the land for Marination!

  • sean December 29, 2010 (5:10 pm)

    Second Chris. 90 sounds better to 200 until you think what you are giving up. It would be nice to walk to a place to get some basic proteins then the hot pockets at the gas station on the corner.

  • Monarch Ridge Hill December 30, 2010 (8:11 am)

    No doubt that the retail end of this development has not been delivered. By promising these retail spaces, buyers were lured to this site, specifically for it’s attempt at new urbanism, i.e. walkability and sustainability, etc…
    The area is awesome, but Sean is right, Hot pockets don’t feed a family of 4 very well.

  • Yardvark December 30, 2010 (9:15 am)

    That’d be horrible if that land just ends up as more houses and fails to add anything to the neighborhood. This is definitely an area that has been recognized as having less access to retail and we can’t continue to design spaces that require cars to get around. Why would you scar such an otherwise great project at this point?

  • Mc December 30, 2010 (5:26 pm)

    As a nearby resident, this so far, is very disappointing. Hopefully the voices of displeasure are seriously considered. Interestingly, construction has begun on new housing in HP near the cemetery and Land Use Proposal signs have sprouted on many of the unbuilt sections. Any indication on whether these or the 90 town homes proposed will be subsidized rentals or for sale (or mixed)?

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