West Seattle development: 7-story proposal for ex-Petco site

In every story we’ve published about the ex-Petco site in The Junction (4700 block of California), it’s been noted that the quirky Sound Advertising Group setup there – an office staff and ex-pizza-place animatronics! – isn’t there for the long haul. So why didn’t the owner seek someone who is? many have asked. Here’s the likely reason: A development proposal.

Even before the north side of the block – the future Equity Residential (ex-Conner) project – starts construction, a potential project is emerging further south. A few details are on the city’s Department of Planning and Development website:

New construction of a 7-story mixed-use building with approximately 80 residential apartment units, 18 L/W units, approximately 5,000 gsf of commercial space at ground level, and two level subgrade parking.

L/W is “live/work,” an increasingly popular development component – dozens of live/work units are open now on the north side of Morgan Junction, for example, with a variety of small businesses at ground level (some have moved there from elsewhere in West Seattle, like longtime WSB sponsor John Moore and his Northwest Insurance Group). Other details on the DPD page note that this is for “Lots 10-14,” which county records identify specifically as the ex-Petco building, so – pending further research – it doesn’t appear other parts of the block are involved, but we’re investigating further.

There’s not much other detail on the DPD webpages yet – not unusual for an early-stage proposal, and it should be noted that sometimes proposals appear and never come to fruition. There is an architect listed – Weber Thompson (which worked on the California/Alaska project) – and “ownership” is listed as The Wolff Company, an Arizona-based, Spokane-founded firm whose website is currently down but does have a cached description: “Acquiring, developing and managing investment real estate with a focus on multi-family properties.” They’re not currently listed in county records as owning the site, but we’ll be contacting them to try to find out more. (Looks like they have a sizable project going in Snohomish County.) Followups to come.

4:47 PM: Thanks to Peter, in comments, for pointing out that The Wolff Company is in the early stages of a Capitol Hill project, and actively seeking neighborhood feedback there. Here’s the story from our fellow community-collaborative neighborhood-news site, Capitol Hill Seattle. ::minutes later:: Taking cues from something mentioned in the CHS story, we have found a fledgling website for this project – 4724California.com – which includes a contact link and the slogan, “West Seattle Authentic.”

121 Replies to "West Seattle development: 7-story proposal for ex-Petco site"

  • Rebecca April 19, 2012 (4:03 pm)

    Yay! The junction area absolutely needs more $3000 a month apartments and way, way more people. I mean, when you try to patronize a business these days, you can almost find a parking spot! And there are still some people who can afford rent in West Seattle. Most shameful of all, you can cross the West Seattle Bridge in less than an hour during rush hour (though barely)! What a relief that we can build another apartment building and shovel some more Californian transplants into our neighborhood. I was getting worried there for a minute!

  • coffee April 19, 2012 (4:18 pm)


  • sw April 19, 2012 (4:19 pm)


    • WSB April 19, 2012 (4:34 pm)

      Aw, Rebecca, I’m a California transplant. Do I need to go “home”? This is more “home” than California ever was … been here 21 years and only lived in my birthplace, San Diego, an aggregate total of 9 years (between childhood and adulthood stints). We’ve owned a little bitty 1942 warbox for 19 years, after 2 years of renting on Beach Drive. I know lots of folks are concerned about overdevelopment – but I believe folks are moving here from other parts of the area as well as some from out of state …
      Peter – thanks. I have only just begun to research but wanted to get the word out in the meantime – I’m discovering a fair amount of major – not just one-off buildings – projects elsewhere in Western states, too. – TR

  • Peter on Fauntleroy April 19, 2012 (4:31 pm)

    The same developer and architect are working on a building on Capitol Hill. They seem to be very interested in neighborhood feedback and fitting in with the neighborhood. Here is the story on the CHS blog:

  • A April 19, 2012 (4:40 pm)

    There is not now nor has there ever been a problem with finding parking in the junction thanks to blocks of free lots.

  • Lura Ercolano April 19, 2012 (4:45 pm)

    We live in a city. Development is to be expected.

  • cjboffoli April 19, 2012 (4:49 pm)

    I won’t be sad to see that monstrosity of a PETCO building go away. Restoring small live/work storefronts is more appropriate for the vernacular of the Junction.

  • chuck and sally's van man April 19, 2012 (4:51 pm)

    @ Lura: well put. As much as I dislike the crowding, better we maximize an otherwise ruined “footprint” and put all the people where the blacktop and cement are already laid. As opposed to more sprawl…

  • Alex April 19, 2012 (4:54 pm)

    Ah, the building that will forever be known as the straw that broke the camel’s back in the junction –causing the city to install parking meters throughout the area.

    • WSB April 19, 2012 (4:56 pm)

      Taking cues from the CHS article Peter found, I’ve found a fledgling website for the project:
      Adding to story.

  • Anne April 19, 2012 (4:57 pm)

    I second that ugh!

  • pam April 19, 2012 (5:02 pm)

    I don’t know if it will help, but I wrote a comment on the above website – begging them not to build.

  • MargL April 19, 2012 (5:02 pm)

    /me (former WSeattleite) waving to the West Seattle peeps from San Francisco… So, there’s a couple spots open for CA transplants up there. ;-)

  • DTK April 19, 2012 (5:07 pm)

    We need more bars, taverns and pubs ;)

  • Worried April 19, 2012 (5:11 pm)

    There is not enough parking in the junction already. Restricting parking to force people to leave the car at home doesn’t work. Adding another 80 apartments with more commercial space will only add to the problem.

  • JCM April 19, 2012 (5:13 pm)

    For me, it’s the seven stories, rather than five. It really makes a difference. I see this as the continuing over development of the Junction, the almost complete squandering of the opportunity presented by the Huling land.

  • Jiggers April 19, 2012 (5:25 pm)

    Why stop at 7, make it 20 stories all the way around to the Rocksport side. West Seattle is anything but authentic anymore..lol

  • B-squared April 19, 2012 (5:27 pm)

    I’m with JCM. Seven stories is too tall! i understand the need to give that area a face lift but jeeeezzzz :(

  • Neighbor April 19, 2012 (5:42 pm)

    Queen Anne doesn’t get this because they’re organized.

  • Density, Baby, Density April 19, 2012 (5:44 pm)

    The increased density of the Junction area begs for a better transportation system to the SODO/Downtown rail system (Link Light Rail and Sounder/Amtrak) from West Seattle.

    Sing the blues all you want, but this area is becoming dense, population wise.

    Either whine about it, or hop on board for improvements in mobility. The density is only going to increase. Good-bye one story buildings in the Junction. Nice knowing you.

  • Nitro April 19, 2012 (6:00 pm)

    Ok, this is probably a dumb question, but just to clarify- is this seven stories above ground PLUS an additional two stories underground for parking?

  • mightymo April 19, 2012 (6:01 pm)

    When people live in the Junction, they park in their garage and walk to businesses. That’s a plus for keeping available parking! Would you rather they build a seven-story building in the Admiral District (where there’s no free parking lots) and residents drive to the Alaska Junction to go shopping?
    I do agree that seven stories seems out of balance with other parts of that block but I forget the proposed height for the development to the north. I hope the rents for the street-level retail will be reasonable so we keep the small-business feel. The problem with some of these newer developments, like the ones on Broadway on Capitol Hill, is the spaces aren’t sized or priced well for small businesses and the chains move in.

  • Ben Dover April 19, 2012 (6:03 pm)

    7 stories, no thanks. Bohica. This is not downtown.

    • WSB April 19, 2012 (6:21 pm)

      Nitro – what we have reported here is the entirety of what we know at this point. It reads as seven stories above grade, two levels of parking below grade, but we’ll confirm that when we are able to speak to someone working on the project – I have messages out and hope to hear back from someone tomorrow. Mighty Mo – this would be in keeping with the Equity Residential project’s planned height, and pretty much the max that is in current zoning for this area, which dates back to the development of the neighborhood plan in the ’90s – TR

  • I'mcoveredinbees April 19, 2012 (6:23 pm)

    Why does it always turn into a ‘development happens’ battle when people oppose building in the junction?

    I am appalled at this idea. And is this in addition to the other one? Are they KIDDING? Why is there no common sense being exercised. Why can’t they build OFF the junction. Forget the footprint, I’m sure there are other options. The surface streets are already atrocious. I know this because I used to live in Altamira right before they built Link. The traffic got progressively worse. The Junction is a family gathering place and is one of the things that drew my family to West Seattle. That is rapidly changing. There is nothing wrong with development as a rule but it needs to occur responsibly and with an eye to the VIBE and historical significance of an area. These apartments will house transitory twenty-somethings who are not going to be invested in the same way in the neighborhood because they are, as a general rule, at a more fluid stage in their lives. That’s the general demographic. The height of these buildings is going to insure that there is shade ALWAYS over the intersection and street. If you go south on California to ‘townhouse row’ you will see what I am talking about. Any character that the intersection has now is going to be obliterated because it will be less friendly. The height of the current building let the precious light in and provide an sense of wanting to slow down, chat on the corner, etc. Nobody’s going to want to stand around in a shady, too busy, and overly commercial area that is no longer personal.

    This is the wrong choice. I wish they would just stick to building OFF the main intersection.

  • Herman April 19, 2012 (6:26 pm)

    Well at least we won’t have to put up with a bunch of pesky sunlight at the Junction anymore.

  • Ben Dover April 19, 2012 (6:28 pm)

    Density sucks.. Think about all of the things you complain about like sitting on the bridge in the morning trying to get to i5 in less than 30 minutes or how many times your car or home has been robbed. All that stuff you don’t like, get used to more of it.
    The article says mixed use is popular? I’ll have some of what they are smokin. I didn’t know the market had recovered :)

  • sw April 19, 2012 (6:29 pm)

    Ask Ballard what they think about “development happens.”

  • Walnut April 19, 2012 (6:34 pm)

    The magic 7 stories is because the building code maxed out multi-family residential at 5 stories wood frame over 2 stories concrete.
    Unless you have a crazy lot slope, concrete parking can extend below.
    The developers help shape the zoning code which in turn allows them create a system that basically guarantees a return on their investment.
    The problem is that nowhere in that formula is adequate money for quality design. Unless the developers are willing to take a loss (see: Bullit Foundation in SLU).
    Until the system changes, the best we can do is beat up the developers during design review, but the reality is most design professionals working on that project won’t have the fee or desire to build anything more than a 20-year box building with vinyl windows and hardie siding.
    I’m not adverse to increasing the residential density, and it makes sense at that lot given the existing 1-story eyesore. But with Seattle’s glut of ugly 5-over-2’s it will be an uphill battle to raise people’s expectations.

  • LL on Alki April 19, 2012 (6:35 pm)

    Herman–that was exactly my first thought. The scale of this project will overshadow Husky Deli and the surrounding store fronts. Do we really need such a big slice of the sky taken out?

  • cj April 19, 2012 (6:38 pm)

    Sounds like a remake of the same deal as before. I have to wonder what west of the junction is going to be like with no morning sun what so ever. Hope nobody in that area needed solar power generation.

    At what point do we say this is too much?

  • Herman April 19, 2012 (6:41 pm)

    Guys, look, it’s over. West Seattle has jumped the shark. It was inevitable that land-owners and outside developers would pull profit out of the neighborhood and leave the character in ruins, and the residents to deal with the traffic. It’s already too late.
    The best we can hope for now is an outcome like Fremont. It’s not great – Fremont was once an awesome and quirky place before it was ravaged – but they did manage to keep some kind of local interest there. Fremont at least kept the scale of development down, which WS has not done in the least.
    Queen-Anne style resistance is probably out of reach for us. We don’t have the money, and it would have had to start with the earlier mega-projects.
    I guess another way to go is to literally turn into West SEATTLE – another city with its own downtown core. In that case we need to pull some employers in.
    Otherwise we just have an overdense townhome/apartment area with massive commuting outflows each morning, reduced local interest and property values that are positioned for decline relative to the rest of the city as the new apartments age and depreciate.

  • Ben Dover April 19, 2012 (6:47 pm)

    Why has it taken almost 20 years since the neighborhood/urban village plan passed to get the defined buildings built? Something stinks about that timeline.

  • Ben Dover April 19, 2012 (6:50 pm)

    Hi. My name is Ben. I live in south Ballard, er I mean West Seattle. :(

  • JN April 19, 2012 (6:55 pm)

    Sprawl sucks. Think about all of the things that suck about it: being forced to drive everywhere you go, no neighborhood interaction, no social activities going on, very little business activity, and being surrounded by unfriendly and ugly streets filled with speeding vehicles. Face it, you live very close in to the core of a major city, if you want something to remain the exact same, move about 200 miles away. Change is natural, and is absolutely required for an area to remain vibrant and economically stimulated. All that I could think of when I heard about this was more people spending money in the Junction and more people for me to meet and interact with!

    Of course, I’m a “transitory twenty-something” who apparently invests nothing in my community, and worse then that, my parents were from *gasp* CALIFORNIA!!!!

  • Amanda April 19, 2012 (7:05 pm)

    This is really disappointing. They did this to Broadway in Capital Hill, and then Market St in Ballard. I say let’s organize and let this developer know that 7 stories is 4 too many for California in the Junction. I mean – what’s wrong with 3 stories, or even 4? I’m sure it will look EXACTLY like every other development in Seattle. Ugly, ugly, ugly. When I lived on Capital Hill, I lived in the Biltmore Apartments on Loretta – a beautiful old brick building. While I was there, a developer planned to tear down three houses that were in the lots just west of the complex and built a new condo building. I went to all the meetings with the developer and we were able to force the developer to give the building some charm and class to match the majestic Biltmore. If you want or do not want something – fight for it! You can’t stop progression, but you can shape the face of it!

  • Big G April 19, 2012 (7:11 pm)

    Hmmm. . . A building on the east side of a street that runs North and South is going to block out the sun? I see.

  • Sound Ad Group April 19, 2012 (7:21 pm)

    Seeking home for gorilla, cheer-leading mouse, 2 bears, dog that plays drums, ventriloquist wolf and a bird in an oil drum.

  • Noelle April 19, 2012 (7:22 pm)

    I hope this project does not turn into another hole . . .

  • Chris April 19, 2012 (7:31 pm)

    Move to the country if you don’t like change. If zoning allows it…sorry.

  • JayDee April 19, 2012 (7:55 pm)

    Can you say Growth Management Act? The people will need to go somewhere, and Seattle, esp. West Seattle is attractive (even in its degraded condition it beats many other places including Ballard). Metro is instituting Rapid Ride and the future residents will/should ride it downtown.

    I like the fact that there are still farmers from Carnation to buy flowers from but still wince when I see the commercial development in the Green River valley (such rich good soils for growing things being entombed). Protest when you can and where it can make a few changes. But they are coming. What is your choice? Boise (not throwing stones–I bet they are having the same debate) or Elko, Nevada. I will take West Seattle. And try to ride the bus/WT more.

  • BT April 19, 2012 (7:59 pm)

    Noooooooo.Please no more apartments, just nooooo. adding at least 160 more cars that are trying to commute? Fight even more trying to find a parking place at the junction, longer wait at the restaurants? Create more expensive housing?? Lose the great, friendly neighborhood where almost everybody actually knows each other, talks at the restaurants and become even a larger family like environment??? Was this the reason to get rid of Petco and squish them in a small basement where they had to cut their inventory, and the shopping experience has become kind of unpleasant? NO just NO MORE APARTMENTS PLEASSEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! IS there a way to stop this crime?

  • Tracy White April 19, 2012 (8:03 pm)

    You people want to keep having kids, well of course they need to live SOMEWHERE. How many of those complaining have more than one offspring?

  • Marcus M April 19, 2012 (8:03 pm)

    good one Noelle

  • NotMe April 19, 2012 (8:50 pm)

    For those whiney people that are “from” West Seattle, we transplants also call West Seattle our “home.” Trust me, that makes us equal – even if you don’t believe it. The way you complain clearly proves I am happier living here, too. Oh, and I am not leaving.

  • Cascadianone April 19, 2012 (8:52 pm)

    We need a West Seattle Subway!

    Run it from at least Westwood Village Shopping Center, down California Ave, into downtown, then on to Ballard.

    That will take care of a huge amount of our traffic issues and allow us to densify according to our already-approved plans while maintaining a good quality of life.

    This building will provide plenty of parking, but it won’t give us more commuting lanes to downtown. Density is awesome, but it requires grade-separated electic mass transit!

    Are you listening, Seattle Leaders?

  • JJ April 19, 2012 (8:58 pm)

    I SO vote NO for this monstrocity! I have lived in W. Seattle for many years and have seen many changes, most of them smaller and positive. I voted no for the Monorail idea as I too do not want the tighter ‘community’ feel that our area has to go away. My kids have grown up here and it still is a pretty good area to raise a family. I know some of you say expansion is inevitable, but why? I love this area just the way it is, and desperately hope we can keep it this way. I know the family’s here don’t want more twenty-something-Ballard type ‘transients’ flowing in and turning our community into an identical Ballard or Fremont. I like Ballard for what it is and Freemont for what it is, and that’s where all should stop. Not turn into anything different. Grasping the sense of community and character of an area that took YEARS to get that way and has been that way for decades is what has drawn so many of us to live here and raise our family’s here. People are drawn here for the old character, friendly, family-orientated, small business area we are. Please don’t destroy that and think it is somehow bettering our lifestyle!

    • WSB April 19, 2012 (10:01 pm)

      Couple notes: (a) we have heard from the project team this past hour and will indeed get to follow up tomorrow. They say they’ve had the site “under contract” for more than half a year, so though information is just now publicly surfacing, it’s been in the works a while, apparently. To Mary – just a data point, these are not condos, nor is anything else being built right now; as the economist whose speech we covered at the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce awards breakfast yesterday said, NOBODY is building condos. It’s all apartments. Anyway, we’ll find out more tomorrow and report back soon as we can. – TR

  • Marcus M April 19, 2012 (8:59 pm)

    Why can’t they build the 7-story building in the Hole?

  • let them swim April 19, 2012 (9:00 pm)

    @LL on alki, Huskies, I believe owned Petco property. So in reality we have Jack to thank.

  • Mary M. April 19, 2012 (9:13 pm)

    Props to the PR departments of these development companies for coining the phrase “multi-family” housing. It sounds so much better than “condos”, and also negates my clever use of the phrase “condominimizing my neighborhood”. Give me a break. Families do NOT make up the majority of residents in these buildings. And everyone that has referenced Ballard in this comment string is spot on: that is a perfect example of what happens when a nice neighborhood is over developed. WSBlogfolks, please tell us, your loyal readers, how we can make this stop.

  • JOE CORSON April 19, 2012 (9:35 pm)

    I have lived in WS for 41 yrs… Change happens…

    Butt 7 stories….Too much !

    This in NOT Ballard !

    And try to find a parking spot at Lincoln Park….. NO Luck.. Too many people… enough already..

    GEZZZ !

  • Danny April 19, 2012 (9:40 pm)

    I am not in love with the old Petco space, but 7 stories is too high for that area. I think they should get rid of the street parking on CA ave in the junction proper, and make that part of the street for outdoor seating for the restaurants and things like that. Go ahead – flambé away, HA!

  • JN April 19, 2012 (10:05 pm)

    Problems with parking? The only solution is to discourage individual automobile use, and provide good public transit options as well as safe, protected, separate pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. Cars driving through an area (in this case, the Junction) does not equal customers coming into shops. The vast numbers of those cars are using that area as a highway, and not stopping to visit the stores. When developments such as these go up (though 7 stories MAY be a little tall), it encourages more transit/pedestrian-friendly tenants, thereby increasing economic vitality in the area tremendously (probably much more than the people here who complain about these “20-somethings”, as if that is a bad thing. Sounds like a bunch of old fogeys relieving the good ‘ole days).

  • JN April 19, 2012 (10:07 pm)

    Danny, amen to that! Outdoor seating would be a much bigger economic boost to those areas then one parking space.

  • Neighbor April 19, 2012 (10:24 pm)

    Actually, I believe it’s Joe Miller we have to thank.

  • SittinBull April 19, 2012 (10:31 pm)

    We need more skyscrapers in West Seattle! where are we going to put all the single 20 somethings with 14 dogs and no kids?

  • Diane April 19, 2012 (11:05 pm)

    that’s funny @Sound Ad Group

  • JanS April 19, 2012 (11:16 pm)

    and here’s a thought, folks. There will be a design review board. I suggest that you all attend every one, and become very vocal as to what you want and don’t want.

    I do, however, feel bad for those people in the mural apartments who pay premium price for an apartment with a view…that will be gone…

  • Dave April 19, 2012 (11:23 pm)

    1. The only constant in the universe is change.
    2. Sprawl bad. Density good.
    3. Current PetCo building is horrible.
    Seems good to me. Sorry about reality but our city is growing. You have only two possible choices, expand your city boundaries (we can’t), or add more people in the same space (density) …so…

    And there is TONS of free parking in the junction. 3 main lots, street parking, QFC garage, Jefferson Square upper lot, etc.

  • M April 19, 2012 (11:50 pm)


  • love my neighborhood April 20, 2012 (12:14 am)

    Please don’t.

    Sure. People need housing, more business is swell. But don’t build something five stories higher than almost everything else on the street. It will look ridiculous, not to mention destroy the character of the surrounding area (we have such a terrific small business, classic main street, friendly community vibe). If you simply must have 7 stories, there are PLENTY of other places to build in West Seattle, some that could really benefit from the investment.

    Build to a scale that’s appropriate for the neighborhood, or build somewhere else (please).

  • smokeycretin9 April 20, 2012 (12:20 am)

    West Seattle is the new Ballard

  • Traci April 20, 2012 (3:14 am)

    They don’t care about the West Seattle community. This is simply profit for them.

  • Dunas April 20, 2012 (3:16 am)


  • Rick April 20, 2012 (5:47 am)

    The 7 story structure will nicely compliment the 8 story buildings that will occupy the north half of the block on both sides of the alley.

  • JD April 20, 2012 (6:33 am)

    How about some condo’s instead of apartments

  • DBMS April 20, 2012 (6:47 am)

    What’s your exit strategy? I’m working on mine.

  • A April 20, 2012 (6:51 am)

    As has been pointed out, if you don’t like living in the city nobody is forcing you to be here. Plenty of space for your automobiles in snohomish county still (not that there isn’t in the city if you’re able to walk a block or two to your destination).

  • pam April 20, 2012 (7:09 am)

    This is the response I received from my short note to the developers:

    First, thanks for taking the time to reach out to us and to share your concerns. I will make sure every member of the project team gets your note.

    While the specifics of the project are still early, I can assure you that we share your passion for the unique character of the Junction – it is why we are making a significant and long-term commitment here. We will do everything possible to contribute to that character, not water it down or recklessly build over it. We get the positive contribution a well planned and high quality project can have on a neighborhood and are committed to building something the entire team can be truly proud of for decades to come. Really.

    It is our intention as the project matures to use the 4724California.com website to keep everyone up to date and in the loop. Give us a week or two to get it going… We will also continue to keep a totally open door for comments, ideas, input, concerns or complaints through the site and will keep Tracy @ the WestSeattleBlog in the loop too. We have learned from past projects that some of the most valuable insights and ideas come from our neighbors…we love that input.

    Again, thanks for the note and please keep in touch…


    The entire 4724 California Team

  • datamuse April 20, 2012 (7:19 am)

    Y’all are contacting the developer directly with your concerns too, right?
    You could always come down to Highland Park. There’s nothing taller than two stories here, and all the parking you could want.

  • Theresa Anderson April 20, 2012 (7:35 am)

    @soundadgroup..i have ideas for your crew…

  • Jason April 20, 2012 (8:10 am)

    Yes, change is inevitable… visible change up front, that is. What you don’t consider is that with every additional person/residence that is added to an area, you increase the odds that if you call 911 because someone is having a heart attack, your house is on fire, or you’re being robbed that the closest help may be busy helping those additional people somehow. “But there’s other stations and police out there” you say! True, but this dense growth isn’t just occuring in the Junction, it’s happening everywhere – they will be busy too. Those odds are increasing city-wide. Does the City take police/fire coverage or response into account when approving this growth? The answer is a big fat NO. Is adding additional police or fire coverage ever considered? NO. In fact, the city is actively looking at ways to REDUCE the coverage of each of these services. Makes sense, huh?

  • Marley April 20, 2012 (8:16 am)

    As a 20something who’s lived in an APARTMENT in West Seattle for a while now, reading these comments makes me feel VERY NOT WELCOME. Despite the fact that we spend our money in the local establishments, attend community events (including the tree lighting, farmers markets, fundraisers, etc), and talk to people, this comment thread makes us out to be the devil.

    Not sure what all you have against us but we are the future. We have jobs, many of us take public transportation instead of drive everywhere, and volunteer. Just because most of us are just now building up our savings to one day buy houses and thus are apartment dwellers, does not make us the scum of the earth.

    Please, a little kindness for your younger neighbors.

  • Neighbor April 20, 2012 (8:50 am)

    Why have we allowed our community to be controlled by developers? While projects like this provide private profit the real cost is being paid by our families and communities. How much time is spent away from your family and on the bridge? Developers haven’t paid enough in infrastructure. Why are we being made to foot the bill in our everyday lives?

  • WSratsinacage April 20, 2012 (9:19 am)

    I am happy to see I am not alone in my concerns. It’s great to read so much support. I was afraid to open this thread and read the usual support for density. It’s high time we stop rolling over and takin’ it. I wish there was this much support a few years ago.

  • datamuse April 20, 2012 (9:49 am)

    You know, I don’t get it. You guys keep saying you want a walkable neighborhood, then discourage the kind of building that will encourage people to walk in the Junction rather than drive there and park.

  • AdmiralGal April 20, 2012 (9:56 am)

    Right on, Marley. I’m a homeowner in W. Seattle and am saddened by the intolerance I’m hearing from people about apartment-dwellers. Since when does a neighborhood of one type of resident thrive? Most homeowners were renters once, and we didn’t all live in Belltown or Fremont or whatever ‘hood some folks seem to think apartments “belong.”

    It doesn’t sound like the details of this development are a done deal at all, and the space as it is currently is pretty awful. The potential live/work lofts, at least, sound very promising to me–that many fewer people commuting in to a downtown office, while also patronizing Junction businesses and fostering a creative community–sounds like a partial win, at least…

  • WSB April 20, 2012 (10:19 am)

    A comment on a not-really-related story this morning brings this multi-part question to mind:
    Would density be such a painful topic if there were real mass transit here – set aside the reasons there isn’t, and just imagine – whether it be the monorail-that-didn’t-happen, light rail, a subway, or … Or, if there were more jobs on the peninsula, rather than it being a bedroom community that most people have to leave to earn a living? Or, even if we didn’t have the chokepoint over the Duwamish, even if we had a fast-moving 10-lane bridge, grade-separated mass transit, AND more jobs here, is it a “doesn’t matter, this should be a low-rise, small-town-atmosphere place” sentiment? Sorry I don’t have a multiple-choice poll to put up for that (including “none of the above”) .. Any answers appreciated. We’re thinking about a more macro look at the issue as we also take a wider look at what’s now on the drawing board for the area and how it correlates with some of the topics I asked about … TR
    P.S. We have an interview set up a bit later today and will report back on details as soon as possible after that.

  • Happy WS April 20, 2012 (10:22 am)

    I would love to see more density around the Junciton. This sounds like a better use for the site, I am happy to hear that more housing is going up in the Junction. To the developer: Not everyone in WS is opposed to this!!

  • Anne April 20, 2012 (10:33 am)

    Who is saying apartment dwellers are “the scum of the earth”?? No one I know-just because there are questions/concerns about a 7 foot tall complex being built on THAT PARTICULAR site doesn’t mean new neighbors are not encouraged or welcome. I’m a 4th generation West Seattlite & have seen our community change –a lot–over the years. I love how busy & vibrant our junction & the surrounding areas have become & hope it continues-but there is something to be said for trying to maintain some of the character of our neighborhoods.Growth & change happens & is usually all for the good-but surely there is room for differing viewpoints as well.

  • natinstl April 20, 2012 (10:33 am)

    I would be fine with it if they made it look a bit more historic. It’s very disppointing to go to places like San Francisco and Portland and see how they’ve preserved so many of their old buildings while we just knock them down here. The whole metal box thing is hideous and in a few years will become dated. Some nice architectural elements would be nice rather than the ugly Petco building.

  • Chris April 20, 2012 (11:11 am)

    There is an article on page 15 in the latest issue of The Stranger worth checking out. The same developer is involved.

    • WSB April 20, 2012 (11:22 am)

      Do you mean this one?
      While the story linked MUCH earlier in this comment thread involves another Capitol Hill site in which the same people are involved – and it’s a Capitol Hill Seattle story, not Stranger – this Stranger story (if it’s the one you mean) mentions Madison Development Group, which is NOT involved with this particular site (so far the names we have heard – pending verification at our forthcoming interview – are The Wolff Company and Urban Evolution). They ARE the new owners of “The Hole,” the plan for which has yet to be revealed, and also built Element 42, the apartment building that has just opened on the east side of the new Admiral Safeway (separate from the store, which was built by Safeway itself) …
      If you mean a different story, please provide the link – I am pretty sure The Stranger puts everything notable from the print edition online, or else its work would be seen by far fewer people. – TR

  • Sean April 20, 2012 (11:19 am)

    I agree seven stories is too much of an impact and will destroy the character of the junction. Too much shade, and too much congestion.

    I typically favor increased density but it must be done sensibly and with an eye toward infrastructure needs and maintaining quality of life. There is very limited alternative to surface street congestion, and projects like this will make it worse.

    If this sort of development is inevitable, the developers need to pony up and accept financial responsibility for the transportation needs of our impacted community.

  • E April 20, 2012 (11:28 am)

    I’m all for density and progress and apartment-dwellers and new shops and people from California or anywhere else getting a chance to live in West Seattle — BUT seven stories is just too tall for that location. Make it four stories and I’d be completely behind it. Seven stories makes me want to cry.

  • Herman April 20, 2012 (11:37 am)

    TR – here are my answers to your questions.
    [1] Yes, bring employers to WS. The Triangle is a great place to put large office space. The mass transit there would be ideal. Without employers, the higher density will turn out badly.
    [2] More mass transit is good, mainly buses or streetcars. The monorail would have been really ugly, as I recall the design of the support structure. A subway is impractical. The Rapid Ride is flawed because it has only a single route and the other routes have been sacrificed and are not as desirable due to the transfer.
    [3] Fewer mega-full block developments. The width is just as bad as the height in terms of aesthetic and conveys a sense of too much mass. I would rather have a row of different 40′ wide 7 story buildings rather than a single, monolithic 6-story one spanning the entire block.
    [4] More brick. Less concrete and vinyl. The 1920’s era buildings here were done in brick.
    [5] Good pedestrian walk-throughs and penetration. California Ave is great for allowing pedestrians to walk through the buildings or small alleys between them.
    [6] All storefront access points along the street, rather than e.g. a single entrance to a mall area. For design purposes, think of Halloween at the Junction; the parade; and how all the kids meet the shop owners out on the sidewalk. That is a great family event.
    [7] Sunlight.

  • Herman April 20, 2012 (11:43 am)

    One question for you TR –
    Would you consider using WSB as a focal point for community input into West Seattle design and planning? There are a lot of interested parties dropping off their comments here.

  • Jim April 20, 2012 (11:56 am)

    I’m surprised that people think they are living in Mayberry here. Density is good. It makes the area more walkable, cars less necessary, public transit more relevant, bikes more practical.

    California transplants? Are you serious?

  • Neo-Realist April 20, 2012 (12:07 pm)

    RE:WSB comments at 10:19am concerning real mass transit, I agree.

    I have no problem with the proposed 7 story structure or density per se, but the fact that with the increasing population of WS, the City, County or State has not taken any steps to increase the transportation infrastructure to get in and out of the peninsula-nor do I see any forthcoming, surprise surprise. I can forsee more cars clogging the bridge and the entry to the viaduct in the morning and slowing the buses even further so that the bus lane on the bridge will make little difference at all.

  • Jiggers April 20, 2012 (12:08 pm)

    I guarantee that the owners of restaurants, bars and misc..businesses are all for for more gentrification in the Junction.

  • CJ April 20, 2012 (12:08 pm)

    To those who say move to the country if you don’t like it-likewise, if you’re into over development, move to NY, Tokyo, London, Mexico City.. It is the character of the neighborhood, cultivated by its residents, that has attracted these developers. Their expression of appreciation by over developing is the very thing that is quashing its character. It is like a toddler squeezing a kitten too tightly.

  • Ben Dover April 20, 2012 (12:13 pm)

    Right on Anne

  • Rhonda Porter April 20, 2012 (12:48 pm)

    my response is “ugh” too and it makes no difference to me if it’s condos or apartments that are in the proposed building in the junction. It’s just too tall and we’re already over-crowded in West Seattle. Our current traffic and WS streets are a mess.

  • steph in wseattle April 20, 2012 (12:57 pm)

    The reason we have such bad traffic problems due to crappy transportation alternatives here is because no one wants ‘growth in my back yard’. I don’t like how tall it will be ether but we have to get used to it and then VOTE FOR transportation alternatives PEOPLE!

    BTW, I moved from the Bay Area 20 years ago but I still have the right to be here because: I. Was. Born in Bremerton!

  • WSTroll April 20, 2012 (12:58 pm)

    You guys can bicker all you want, until we build more schools we should not have any more population growth in West Seattle. Twenty-somethings in apartments like to breed.

  • Lura Ercolano April 20, 2012 (1:51 pm)

    My take on that 10:19 question is to recognize that we live in a society where the property owners get to make most of the decisions about how, when, and why to develop their lots.
    The community gets to set up zoning rules, height restrictions, building codes, and so forth, and through representatives and levies our community gets to make decisions about the publicly owned and managed stuff – parks, transit, schools.
    Like everyone else here, I may have endless opinions what I hope gets built, but mostly my opinions are irrelevant – it’s not my property.

    • WSB April 20, 2012 (2:05 pm)

      Just wrapped up conversation with the development-team leads and will have followup up as soon as possible. No bombshells – but some additional details – TR

  • Tucker April 20, 2012 (2:05 pm)

    7 stories right in the Junction?
    I’m all for development but I’ve always found something nice and homey feeling about the buildings not being so tall in the Junction. It’s going to lose that “open” feel it has.

  • Seattlite April 20, 2012 (2:09 pm)

    Gentrification is not what’s happening in the junction. New bldgs are not replacing low income properties or residents. It’s simply overdevelpment. Anything over two stories is distracting from the big junction’s character. Whoever is leading the big junction’s comprehensive planning committee is doing a poor job. Overdeveloping instead of blending new structures with the big junction’s character will make it an eyesore. Growth and change are good if done w/exemplary planners and developers. It’s rare to find a developer who cares for a community like it was his own and to do the right thing.

  • T-Rex April 20, 2012 (2:20 pm)

    This is all about money people, it is never about the neighboorhood.

    Let’s hope that when they start digging they find out is was a Native American burial site and they have to stop.

    And before ANYONE claims that was a rasist remark, it was not. It was a glimmer of hope that something, anything would be welcomed to stop the building of this monster.

    They are already taking my beloved Rocksport away from me and now this.


  • bsmomma April 20, 2012 (2:25 pm)

    I’m all for change BUT this is getting crazy!! It’s not a matter of who has a right to be here or who is welcome. We are opening a new school because our neighborhood schools are over crowded. It takes 30 min to get from Admiral to Lincoln Park in the morning. Forget about those “10 minutes to downtown” signs. Roads are screwed up. West Seattle was a small community. Now we have a Downtown West Seattle???? No. It’s the West Seattle Junction. As a longtime resident who has loved and stayed here because it was a quiet small community, feels like I am being ran out of my own home. Personally the whole change is good, density, this is a city get over it attitude sucks. :(

  • Mickymse April 20, 2012 (2:33 pm)

    It is rather difficult to read these comments from folks who act like something “new” is being “done” to West Seattle!
    Where were you when neighbors asked you to participate in community meetings about zoning, design changes, and urban village overlays when these decisions were made years ago?
    Complaining about your commute over the West Seattle Bridge? Where were you when neighbors came to your door and your community group meetings and the West Seattle Herald and told you about the Monorail Project and what development plans were on the books for 5-10 years later?
    Surprise! Next time, I’d ask you to pause before you crumple up that flyer on your door or shut it in the face of a volunteer coming to answer your questions.
    Nothing is being “done” to West Seattle. If you are opposed to all of these changes, and you think you are in the majority, then you should be out there participating, educating yourself, and voting.

  • KBear April 20, 2012 (2:51 pm)

    Based on the reaction here, you’d think they’d proposed a 30-story jail and homeless sex offender shelter with a discount malt beverage store and adult entertainment complex. As I’ve said before, whatever development may occur, at least West Seattle can take heart in the fact that its small-town mindset is firmly intact.

  • Anne April 20, 2012 (2:57 pm)

    Please Mickymse-what makes you think that none of the commenters here haven’t been “out there participating,sharing, educating,and voting”?
    You are assuming that those against this 7 story complex weren’t part of “community meetings about zoning,design changes & urban village overlays”.
    Perhaps you should “pause” before weilding that wide brush of yours.

  • Kayleigh April 20, 2012 (3:29 pm)

    I think there is both good and bad to development and gentrification. I don’t get telling people that if they don’t like it, they should move. Nor do I get telling people what they *should* like.
    Those of us who have lived here for generations do remember what Seattle (not just WEST Seattle) was like before we were this crowded. We’re entitled to miss stuff that’s gone forever (like uncrowded streets or free parking or funky old buildings or the Kingdome or whatever.) If you weren’t here back then, you won’t get it, which is fine. But jeez.

  • Lost In Space April 20, 2012 (3:47 pm)

    Mickymse – It doesn’t matter if people participate or not in any kind of planning process, so please dismount the high hobby horse. The DESC project being shoved into Delridge is a perfect example of how efforts made in the 1990’s by citizens to develop the Delridge Neighborhood Plan gets short shrift and trash canned when a larger agenda comes along from the city and politicians. For anyone with the most basic understanding of hyper local economic development or creating neighborhood viability, the DESC project being stuck in the heart of Delridge is a big F_C_ Y_O to anyone who has participated or worked hard at trying to improve their neighborhood and make it work for the struggling people that already live there. It is also a big Uffda to all the people who don’t have the time, money, education, experience or tolerance for the professional class of meeting goers that seem to think they have all the answers and don’t want to hear anything that fly’s in the face of their preformed opinions or agenda’s.

  • Lost In Space April 20, 2012 (3:49 pm)

    The Petco location is perfect for a second West Seattle based Downtown Emergency Service Center project. This location actually has a functioning business district and all the things that the DESC told Delridge that their tenants need to survive and perhaps someday become somewhat functioning. In case anybody cares, the Delridge site chosen has none of the amenities the DESC claimed were necessary. Oh, I forgot, we don’t put DESC type projects in monied or white census tracts, we much better prefer to put them in either poor or minority ones.

  • Seattlite April 20, 2012 (3:50 pm)

    Anne, Thank you for recognizing that many WSeattlites have been involved over the years in WS’s strategic planning process but to no avail due to the politicians and their politics.

  • Jim April 20, 2012 (4:30 pm)

    Before everyone freaks, please remember that there are many hoops that the developer must jump through before this project is a go. Case in point is the big hole and the “planned” L/W project behind QFC on Alaska that seems stalled or dead. And with prophecies of another recession, this project could get killed or stalled for years. One of the biggest obstacles will be the same ones faced by the twice delayed project at CA and Alaska, that being use of the alley between CA and Alaska Streets. Already it is a huge access problem, because Mural’s residents use it for access and moving, as well as food service trucks for the bars and restaurants. At this point it is close to non-functional because it is blocked frequently. The only workable solution for car access to and from the proposed building would be access from California Ave, and while permission for that could be granted, it would require a long fight with the city, as that is more of a “downtown” concept. My hunch is that any L/W building allowed there will be much fewer stories.

    As a Mural resident (from VA and a dedicated downtown WS shopper, thank you!) I wonder who they think will rent all these new, expensive apartments in WS. As it is, Mural, Link, and Altimura are only partially full. I suspect that this is why Mural and Link were recently sold. Not THAT many people want to live in WS, after all. As my friend calls WS, “The next happening place for the past 40 years!” So, let’s all chill a bit and show up at meetings to voice our concerns instead of predicting doom.

    • WSB April 20, 2012 (5:01 pm)

      Jim – Couple things of note, having just published our followup on this following almost an hour and a half with the “boots on the ground” (as they put it) development reps:
      Yup, there’s a lot of process between here and there. But not as much as with the ex-Conner/now-Equity Residential project (California/Alaska). The development reps says they do NOT plan to propose “departures” (variances from code), which a California curb cut would be. They don’t have a street/alley vacation in the plan either (which Conner/ER does because of the plan for one big garage beneath both sites) – which means no SDOT, no Design Commission, just the Southwest Design Review Board and DPD. As we have done with every project of note in the past five years or so, we will do our best to publish information about every step of the process in which people can get involved, starting with the project team (see the followup) saying they welcome comments now, even before they have drawings to show, etc. – TR

  • Gina April 20, 2012 (4:34 pm)

    Heck, if people are going to complain about FORMER owners of the property, well, for Pete’s sake. That dang Denny party sure did ruin West Seattle for everyone!

  • Jiggers April 20, 2012 (6:46 pm)

    Lost in space…. That would be a hell no! There is already too much riff raff drifting in and out of the Junction nowdays. But I’m sure you said that with a bit of sarcasm.

  • Single Family Neighborhood April 20, 2012 (6:57 pm)

    Lot of land available in central North Dakota and central Montana and central Nebraska. LOL.

    Some of the land even has barns on it, free of charge. Go for it.

  • pjmanley April 20, 2012 (9:29 pm)

    Development follows the crowds, then increases them. Those who fear another Ballard or a post-ruin Fremont have good points. But, in the end, if an area’s nice, people will come. It’s not development, per se, to oppose, but over-development – the type that overwhelms, instead of complimenting or improving an area.

    Ultimately, it comes down to shape, design, and scale. If those are done right, we can accommodate the new density while minimizing impacts and changes on the neighborhood.

    With the former Conner Homes project, what started out as a very hostile, out of scale building was dramatically improved in design by persistent, committed neighbors who contributed ideas, concerns and passion to the discussion. In the end, it made a huge difference in the design and the developer made many concessions.

    As for the population increase, not much we can do when they slated WS for 3 Urban Villages 20 years ago.

    I agree 7 stories is too high, but with setbacks and tiered designs, if possible, some sunlight and blue sky can be preserved, mitigating the canyon effect. That should be our goal IMHO.

  • ttt April 20, 2012 (10:03 pm)

    I agree with Herman’s points!

  • Matt April 21, 2012 (1:52 pm)

    I support this project and any other one that adds density, increases the viability of mass transit, boosts walkability, and adds patrons for local businesses.

  • duder April 21, 2012 (10:47 pm)

    I support the increased population density developments like this will bring to west seattle. The more people here the better. Hopefully it will bring in more younger people and start outnumbering all these nimby old fogies.

  • i'mcoveredinbees April 23, 2012 (11:12 am)

    I agree with Herman’s points too.

    And Marley, I am sorry if my comments were some that bothered you. I meant the ‘younger set’ as a general rule, but that doesn’t apply to everyone and it was not at all directed to renters as a whole.

    And for the questionnaire:

    I am not at all against density. I agree with density! Density works. The real problem is the non cohesive poor non future forward looking developers/ urban planning. There is no real plan, it’s just random building with no real processing happening. I wish they would consider what it will be like 100 years from now…

    We definitely need mass transit. I am from Portland and I can tell you that it is like night and day, there to here. I hate going anywhere in Seattle due to the PITA traffic/parking, etc.

    I’m tired of the fact that, if people are against building hight on that intersection, they are considered “anti development”. And then the more cynical types get on here and tell them to get used to it. That’s really black and white.

    I am not even remotely convinced we need to build UP THAT HIGH in that location. Build up OFF the junction. That is so lame. It’s also irresponsible if you look at our depression/ suicide rates and lack of light. Getting light here is a necessity, not a privilege. If you take light away from the central gathering place in our community, you are doing a HUGE disservice to so many! It’s just wrong.

    THere is no link between traffic on the surface streets and on underground parking. Great. They are going to build underground parking. HOW does that effect surface street traffic? WHere is the correlation? THERE IS NONE. Hello, developers? These are tiny little neighborhood streets that are already overloaded. If there is going to be more development, there just needs to be a feasible plan. THat is all. It’s not a blanket ‘NO” to building. It’s a blanket “NO’ to stupid building!

    I’d also like to know what they are going to do with the hole.

    These upcoming projects at the junction make me sick. They are not serving the neighborhood of West Seattle and they are not serving the future residents. THey are ridiculously short sighted.

    And yes, my comments will be forwarded to the developers and I will be entering in the dialogue at any possible opportunity.

  • Ames April 28, 2012 (1:10 am)

    Development potentially can be great or it can destroy a good thing. For this location 7 stories is way too high. I thought that about the QFC building and about the Mural too. Anything above 4 stories is too much for that area.

    I am a transplant, and a current renter in an older, smaller WS building that was locally built & owned. I like that the owner comes by and is invested is his property; not just financially, but that he cares about it. I picked WS to live in because it is a great place and when I can afford to buy a house here, I will. In the meantime I rent and have been in my apt for 4 yrs. If I wanted to be in an environment with tall buildings- I’d be downtown.

    Having things within walking distance is fantastic here and a major plus. Mass transit sucks. Some of the planning sucks too. Just because a code or development plan was approved 10-15-20 years ago does not mean it is still appropriate. Just because the developers can build to x height, doesn’t mean they should.

    There are recent “improvements” or things in the works for WS now that don’t make sense to me.
    The new Rapid Line curbs on California that are being built out into the street, for one.
    I see this being a problem mainly just north of Morgan Junction. The busses pull from Fauntleroy to turn N onto California and until now they pull over to the curb as the road is 2 lanes wide. Traffic can still get around the bus.
    Now that the curb has been built out into Cali, there is only ONE lane because part of the sidewalk / bus stop is now essentially part of where the street was. It looks like there is not enough room for 1 or 2 busses to fit there, and for traffic to continue to flow around them. Or am I missing something?
    With development, we have created a bottleneck.

Sorry, comment time is over.