New Triangle project Nova: Design Review Thursday, preview today

(The west side of the “massing” for the “preferred scheme” for the new development, from the packet)
We’ve been reporting on Harbor Properties‘ proposal for another development in The Triangle, just as they get ready to open Link. Here’s our latest report on the project, named Nova, proposed for what’s currently a parking lot immediately north of the Seattle West Suites motel. Nova’s “early design guidance” meeting – first meeting in many months for the Southwest Design Review Board – is tomorrow; the “packet” for the meeting is online today, with copious quantities of information about the proposal and the surrounding area. You can review it here. Caveat that this is NOT a plan for what the building would eventually look like; “early design guidance” is meant to bring forward at least three options for how a development might be “massed” and arranged on its site, dealing with its size and shape. The three options in the packet for tomorrow’s meeting include “Option A” with 63 units and one live-work unit, “Option B” with 65 units and four live-work units, and “Option C,” which is identified as the developer’s “preferred scheme,” with 62 units and one “community space.” Public comment is welcome at tomorrow night’s hearing, which is set for 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon). This is the first of what would be at least two Design Review meetings on the project – once it passes “early design guidance,” there would be at least one meeting to review a more fully fleshed-out plan for how it would look and what it would include.

29 Replies to "New Triangle project Nova: Design Review Thursday, preview today"

  • Sue March 23, 2011 (10:56 am)

    Is anyone else that’s a resident of West Seattle concerned about the ever-worsening traffic flow across the West Seattle bridge and how the continued development of multi-family housing in the neighborhood can only make it even worse???
    Why is there so little coverage or mention of the estimated traffic impact (# of cars) that will be added to the grid lock on the bridge every morning from 7:00 – 9:30 a.m. and the fact that it takes 20-30 mins to travel 1.8 miles at that time?

    • WSB March 23, 2011 (11:38 am)

      Sue – The Triangle is developing under the theory that many of the apartment residents will take transit, particularly the Rapid Ride line that is scheduled to start in September of next year. They are being built with parking-space-to-unit ratios below 1-to-1 (as allowed by the city). Whether that plays out, only time will tell, as the saying goes, but just so you know – that’s the theory. Traffic considerations, aside from placement of driveways etc., are not part of Design Review, incidentally – they are part of the environmental-review process, which does not have community meetings like this, but does have a public-comment process. – TR

  • Scott March 23, 2011 (12:12 pm)

    I say BS. Do you really think that people moving into the area are really going to take Rapid Ride line to work. Come on wake up the Rapid Ride idea is going to hurt the area.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident March 23, 2011 (12:29 pm)

    Not only that, but this is in support of the “Urban Villages” fiasco that Norm Rice introduced to Seattle.
    Build complexes that house both retail and residential. The concept was that those who worked in the retail spaces, would also live in the residential spaces negating the need for a car.
    In the past 4 years there have been plans for an additional 2000+ residential units in an 8 square block area of West Seattle with about 1/4 the parking added (when you total the spaces removed+ spaces at the new sites+remaining spaces). How many parking spaces were lost by the W’Hole’ Foods abandoned development? Not to mention the loss of West Seattle’s ONLY Auto parts store?

  • Linda March 23, 2011 (12:38 pm)

    Even if the tenants of these new apartment complexes use transit to get to work most will likely own a car. And that car needs a place to be parked. If the building doesn’t provide enough parking then those cars will be on the street during the day making a logjam for people trying to use the businesses in that area. Exactly how many off-street parking spaces is this new building providing for the 62-69 units?

  • WSJEEP March 23, 2011 (1:00 pm)

    People in West Seattle surly do like to complain about new buildings, parking and traffic. This traffic is nothing compared to most other major cities. Instead of complaining, how about figure out real ways to fix the issues that are there. Like building light rail to West Seattle or offer discounted mass transit fares for people who use it at least 4 days a week. Another one would be to allow tall commercial buildings to be built in West Seattle so that people would not have to drive to downtown for work.

  • Linda March 23, 2011 (1:13 pm)

    Well I found out the proposed parking situation: they plan to provide zero parking for the units. That’s right: Zero. Here’s a quote from page 3 of their proposal (see proposal link in WSB article above):

    No Parking provided per transit exception noted below*
    Note that we are investigating feasibility of parking below grade.
    *Per new zoning code (council bill number 117014) section 23.54.015, table B, section M: “NO MINIMUM PARKING REQUIREMENT” for “Residential uses in commercial and multifamily zones within urban villages that are not within urban center or the Station Area Overlay District, if the residential use is located within 1,320 feet of a street with frequent transit service, measured as the walking distance from the newest transit stop to the lot line containing the residential use.”

    So how many street-parked cars will 62-69 units add to this already congested area?

  • foy boy March 23, 2011 (1:30 pm)

    Just one more reason to add a multilevel park and ride building. The one under the bridge requires you to sit in mornning traffic just to get there. We need another park an ride. There are several empty lots the city could claim, then build, which would provide construction jobs. Put in a coffee shop to make extra money and wala you take 1000 cars off the road in the mornning. If the city won’t do it then this is a perfect chance for a private land owner to make alot of money. Just build your own private park and ride. Have decent monthly rates and even maybe have your own transport system. By pass the city and mayor Mc mumbles altogether.

  • Bill March 23, 2011 (1:32 pm)

    Linda, if as you say Harbor is not planning any parking, would they not have a huge challenge of renting any units? The time to fill the building with tenants w/o vehicles, that rely only on public transit, walking, and biking, would take years to fill. I used to live downtown and most buildings had one space per unit available to attract residents.

  • Thistle March 23, 2011 (2:00 pm)

    Yes, the building designs lack of parking is a legit concern for those who live in the area and those considering moving to the apartments. However, as far as traffic is concerned, do West Seattle residences know how lucky we truly are? Try commuting from Ballard, Greenlake/Phinny Ridge, or anywhere near the Mercer Street on/off ramps and see how long it takes to get to I-5. Granted, I start my commute at 7:20 am in the morning, so I do not know how bad the area is at 8 am or 9 am but being perfectly honest, short of an accident on the bridge, it does not take 20 to 30 min. to go 1.8 miles. I drive up Fauntleroy, over the bridge to I-5 North Mon-Fri and somehow manage to arrive at my Bellevue job between 7:50 and 7:55 am…. Yup, I get all the way to Bellevue in 25 to 30 minutes. We live in an urban city (just does not fell like it in our amazing neighborhood) and density is a fact of life. I personally prefer heavier traffic over sprawl any day of the week, hence why I choose to live in the city and not an outlining area. Pro-actively question building designs and neighborhood impacts, but just don’t think that you can have things both ways, you can not expect to live in an urban environment with all the amazing things it offers and yet somehow have all the cars and people magically disappear whenever you want to get somewhere incredibly fast.

  • Cjboffoli March 23, 2011 (2:11 pm)

    Wow. Lots of bridge burners here trying to keep the dream of car-centric suburban West Seattle alive. I vote for welcoming more people to our wonderful part of the CITY. They’ll make for a more vibrant community with new opinions, new skills, new ideas and more foot traffic for local businesses. I choose people over a priority of ensuring space for cars. Every traffic jam is full of big cars with one person behind the wheel. No mystery to me what the real problem is. It certainly isn’t greater urban density.

  • Linda March 23, 2011 (2:34 pm)

    Bill, Harbor seems confident they will fill the rental units since it’s their own proposal that says they are not planning parking spaces. Read the proposal, page 3.

    They aren’t saying they will rent only to non-car-owners, just that they won’t provide any off-street parking. While I don’t doubt that many of the tenants will take transit to work, I also think many will own cars that will be parked on the streets around the building while they are away at work.

    They are using a zoning code that is already in place so Harbor is just working the system that the city has already laid out. On the one hand they were smart to buy that piece of property within the parking exception zone, on the other hand they don’t appear to care much about the neighborhood impact.

  • Peter March 23, 2011 (4:26 pm)

    Sigh. Here we go again: whining about trafic and newcomers you don’t want in your neighborhood.
    First, I’d like to point out that before these new developments the Trinagle area was dying. You’d all rather have a run down slum in the neighborhood than new development? I say the city needs to double the hight limit (at least) to encourage more development and revive West Seattle.
    Regarding traffic: If your complaining about trafic, go look in the mirror to find the cause. YOU are the problem and YOU have other choices. I don’t accept that any of you have a right to take two tons of steel with you wherever you go. If you drive a care, you have no right to complain about traffic.

  • Emi March 23, 2011 (4:28 pm)

    As the WSB noted in the first story, the building parking count will likely be the same as our Link project which is about .6 or 60% of parking stalls built for the 63 units. The city code allows us to build the project with no parking, but we feel that isn’t feasible. The 60% is what has been the market demad at our apartments. Some have cars, some don’t. As with most EDG packages, often what is listed is just a placeholder reflective of what is required. Should you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact me.

    Without the support of the WS community, our other projects, Mural and Link would have failed.

    Again, I would be happy to chat with anyone about any questions or concers regarding the project.
    you can reach me, Emi at, or 206 812-6727.

  • Nulu March 23, 2011 (4:52 pm)

    Let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good rant.

    Linda Appears to have confused the code, which she cites and the proposal at hand. It’s easier to lynch the developer free of the facts.

    The actual proposal,
    “The applicant’s development objective is to provide the highest and best use for the site and to create a high-density,
    workforce/efficient housing development. The proposed project is a 5-story, 50-foot tall building with 63 units of housing.
    We are providing parking for 5 vehicles in a below grade parking garage, and there will be no commercial uses.
    The project takes advantage of the new code that sets no minimum for parking for residential buildings located within
    1,320 feet of a bus station. This site is within that distance of several bus stations including rapid-ride.”

    West Seattleites love to howl any time they anticipate they might not be able to park directly in front of their destination. And we seem to be incredibly adverse to new ideas. There is no winning here, just imagine our reactions if the developer was including an East Side style three car garage for every tenant, but they would not be allowed as: – “A-8 Parking & Vehicle Access
    Siting should minimize the impact of automobile parking and driveways on the pedestrian
    environment, adjacent properties and pedestrian safety.”

  • WMO March 23, 2011 (5:25 pm)

    Emi, Thanks for the clarification. Having lived at Harbor Steps for a few months, and had a very positive experience, I could not imagine Harbor not providing some parking in the decision making process, even if the zoning was such that you could skip it. As a regular reader, and occasional commenter on WSB, I would tell you to follow the conversations here (you may be a regular already) to keep on the pulse of WS residents.

  • LaLa March 24, 2011 (8:11 am)

    I am wondering if any representatives from the existing businesses in this area are commenting on this project. I used to work in this area and the parking is horrible; not everyone can take transit to work. Some of the businesses are car repair places which means there are lots of cars that need to be parked somewhere while they are “at the shop.” The YMCA also has a very large membership base, and participants have a hard time parking. It seems like this project is not a good idea for existing businesses in the area.

  • Process March 24, 2011 (9:08 am)

    As someone who attends a few EDG meetings, a friendly reminder. The meeting tonight is for the design review board to approve the bulding design. They have no authority to say the developer should add parking or approve or disapprove because someone thinks it’s good or bad for the neighbrhood. If you want to have a say in how you think the building should look, you should defintely attend! If you want to talk about parking or if the development should even happen in this neighbrhood, it’s pointless. In that the desgn review board will stop you, they have NO authority to do anything about either. If you have issues with those items, you should contact someone at Seattle City Council.

  • nulu March 24, 2011 (10:52 am)

    LaLa says, “I used to work in this area and the parking is horrible.”

    I hope she responds with support for that statement. I don’t see drivers repeatedly circling this area, or the adjacent areas, looking for parking.
    Even if its only an opinion, maybe LaLa can share with us how far away parking was. I hope LaLa was not trudging all of the way down from the Junction lots.

    We regularly access businesses in the Triangle, including Diva, the Y, foreign car repair, Lien’s vet, and Alki Lumber. In our experience, the YMCA generates the highest volume of drivers seeking parking. But this generally ebbs and flows with the YMCA scheduling.

    Other than the Y, we usually find parking in the manner West Seattleites’ demand, i.e. within a few spaces of the front door. Come to think of it, we consider ourselves lucky to usually be able to park closer to our destination than if we were at COSTCO, Home Depot etc.

    The upcoming Trader Joes is the development that might be more interesting parking wise. Having witnessed road rage incidents at TJ’s parking facilities in the Pasadena/Los Angeles area, I can attest to their lengendary reputation for poor parking. As they enter Seattle, their Queen Anne, U-District and Capital Hill maintain the tradition. With its alloted parking our new Trader Joe’s might create more of an impact than the new apartments.

  • Diane March 24, 2011 (11:55 am)

    my observation with design reviews, when very concerning or contentious questions come up re parking, traffic, etc outside parameters of what DRB can do, the chair and/or city rep will usually either bring it up at start or sometime during meeting; they may step in to deflect questions, redirect to appropriate persons or depts to contact with comments, complaints; it’s been some time since we’ve had design reviews in our neighborhood, so I’m really looking forward to this one, and expect it to be a bit more lively than many in past
    Harbor is highly experienced and respected; they build fantastic projects, usually put money into building “green” instead of huge investment of time and money required for LEED process, which I applaud; and since this is on such a small plot of land, in area that is undergoing major changes with new business, Rapid Ride, streetscapes, potential code change, all while honoring longterm businesses in the Triangle; this meeting should be very exciting and informative; show up if you want to learn more and comment directly to the DRB and developer
    I do hope they (Emi?) will clarify some concerns at the outset re parking, so the meeting can focus on the intended building; I am especially perplexed about the parking, with new parking req’s changed (I didn’t realize there was a req of zero parking), and Harbor’s statement that only 60% of their MURAL residents have cars, and same plan of 60% for NOVA, but what I’ve read so far from dpd re this project only having space for 6 cars underground (why would you even bother with underground for only 6 cars?); I would like to know how many Mural tenants own cars but do not pay for parking, thus park on streets; and do they only calculate 60% parking usage based on numbers who buy a parking stall; I was very interested in renting a small unit at the LINK, but extra cost of a parking stall (was it $60 extra/month) could be a deterrent for many in West Seattle from paying for parking and included in their count of residents with a car; I would pay that amount and more for parking to live downtown, not in WS
    this area can be crazy busy with parked cars, depending on the time; last night I parked on south side of Alaska (at 36th) at 5:30 (where it’s 2 hr parking til 6pm) to catch bus downtown; the original RR plan was to remove ALL street parking on that side of Alaska, until the businesses loudly contested, rightly so, that removal of parking could destroy their livelihoods (ie, the medical clinic, Mountain to Sound)
    the Y often has no parking within blocks; should be no problem if your intention going there is to exercise anyway; it does appear that the great success of the Y makes parking scarce in that area much of the time
    there’s a 30+ unit apt building across the street from the Y, and next to this new NOVA project; I’ve viewed those apts, 1950’s brick; all those apts are allocated a parking spot; they have marked parking stalls on side and in back; and then there’s upcoming transit; if the Rapid Ride brings in tons of riders, it’s true that many NOVA tenants will use RR to get downtown for work, but it’s also likely that even more cars may try to park in that area to catch RR to get to work downtown; and RR is taking away some parking so it can actually be rapid.
    there is so much going on now and in planning for this area; I am so glad to have been in Triangle meetings, and Rapid Ride meetings, and community meetings re all of this for few years, all very fascinating to see how it flushes out in reality

  • Dan DeSantis March 24, 2011 (5:16 pm)

    Harbor Properties, (who just built the most recent large apartment buildings in the area, both built with less than 1 parking space per unit), are only required to provide nominal parking for their new tenants, as per the ridiculous parking requirements passed by our Seattle City Council. Their application states they can have as low as 5 parking spaces for their 65 units. This will be totally detrimental to the Y parking, and to the businesses nearby who are already struggling in our economy.
    I believe this is total disregard for the well-being of all in the area.
    I have always been a proponent of development to make West Seattle an even better place to live, but consider this an atrocity. I do not know if anything can be done to stop this, but unless we express our concerns and outrage, we will never know. All concerned should contact their council representative and protest this absurd project.
    To think that there is any appreciable % of people who do not own a car & will only use public transportation is a totally unrealistic expectation.
    West Seattle resident for 45 yrs.,
    Dan DeSantis
    Coldwell Banker

    • WSB March 24, 2011 (5:25 pm)

      Dan, that has been addressed in the thread on our previous story about the development, Nova (the story is linked in this one). But that aside, I hope you will be there tonight to find out more about it; we will be there, as always to cover it … TR

  • Nulu March 24, 2011 (7:36 pm)

    “I believe this is total disregard for the well-being of all in the area.” Dan DeSantis
    Coldwell Banker

    Interesting belief, considering the source.

  • Diane March 24, 2011 (9:11 pm)

    Dan DeSantis, did you show up at the design review tonight to voice your concerns? there was ample opportunity

  • Dan DeSantis March 24, 2011 (9:43 pm)

    Yes,I did attend,but was not allowed to discuss the parking at this meeting.

  • Nulu March 25, 2011 (9:17 am)

    “As someone who attends a few EDG meetings, a friendly reminder. The meeting tonight is for the design review board to approve the bulding design. They have no authority to say the developer should add parking or approve or disapprove because someone thinks it’s good or bad for the neighborhood.” – Process

    Looks like Dan DeSantis did not bother to read before he posted or, before the 45 year resident attended his first Design Review meeting!

    • WSB March 25, 2011 (9:38 am)

      At the meeting, parking was discussed, though not as part of the board’s deliberations. I am finishing the story and hope to have it up within an hour, if breaking news doesn’t get in the way … TR

  • Diane March 25, 2011 (11:45 am)

    there was also opportunity to chat afterwards; I approached developer (Denny Onslow) and architect (Brian Runberg) right after the official meeting ended, and they were both very welcoming to answer my questions re parking, etc; Brian had shown a photo rather quickly during presentation of a 2000 project his firm did here in WS on California, example of style; so I asked specifically where it is located so I could go look, and I went to see right after leaving meeting (5001 California, near Hudson); Denny was very open to discussing parking, how/when the rules changed, and how Harbor came up with their 60% parking count; and I shared with Denny that my first design review was for the LINK that is just now opening; that first meeting was filled with WS Montessori families who were essentially losing their longtime home at that site; now we have Bright Horizons coming in; it’s been a great learning experience for me to see a project from start to finish; and thankfully Harbor has the resources & know-how to get their projects completed even through the horrible recession that left giant holes all over Seattle

  • alki March 26, 2011 (1:33 pm)

    Reading some of the posts here and the complaints about development, it reminded me of the saying……..’I cried because I had no shoes until I saw someone with no feet’. In Seattle…….W. Seattle, we are fortunate to have a strong economy that results in solid development. Not every city is so lucky. Here is just city blog where nearly every development, whether its the construction of new apts or the opening of a restaurant, is greeted with a great enthusiasm…you might want to read over some of its posts.:

    I think its much easier to mitigate the negative effects of development than to create a strong economy where development and growth thrive. I am glad that Seattle and West Seattle are in the former position. We will find solutions to our growth ‘problems’ whether it be building true mixed use developments where offices are included amidst the retail and apts, or developing rapid transit bus lanes which have proven to be very successful in other cities, or building a light rail line to downtown. I suggest we stop harping and work toward those solutions. I know we can make West Seattle and Seattle a better place to live and work.

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