By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One week from today, the 4724 California development proposal goes before the Southwest Design Review Board for the first time.
Today, we have two views of the ex-Petco site’s potential 7-story future. One is in a set of sketches from the development team – to whom we spoke for stories published here on April 20th and April 30th, following up first word of the plan four weeks ago, as well as the latest version of the packet for next week’s meeting (see it here). Above is the project team’s “preferred” early-concept sketch.
We also have what you might call a packet of “alternative” concepts put together by one of the community members who recently previewed the early sketches in their first round of unofficial community meetings. He wonders what you think about HIS design guidelines.
First, more from the development team, which is comprised of prospective owners The Wolff Company (whose completion of the purchase is conditioned on assurances the project will go forward), “on-the-ground” project reps Urban Evolution, and architects Weber Thompson. Their caveat: “This is all very early concept work and in no way intended to represent final designs.” These are concepts they have showed to community members, for the building envisioned at about 100 units (a fifth of them “live-work” on the second floor), and wanted you to see as well – beyond the usual “massing” size/shape renderings that are typically shown at an Early Design Guidance meeting. Here’s what they describe as a “traditional” take on the “preferred” sketch:
And this is a potential layout for the first floor of the building:
Those two are not in the official material for the “Early Design Guidance” meeting next Thursday (May 24) – it’s meant “to give some indication of how we envision the street-level interface to start to take shape and to provide some very early context for what are otherwise yellow blocks from the massing studies in the EDG pack.” Like this one, looking eastward toward the front of the “preferred” massing option:
From that package, the “design narrative”:
The new project will enhance the fine grained retail found along California Ave. SW as well as relate thoughtfully to the emerging higher density buildings in the neighborhood. The entire ground floor facing California will be devoted to retail frontage that will relate well to the existing pedestrian environment and commercial uses. Live/Work units will line a portion of the alley façade at the ground floor and occupy the second floor along California and the alley. Vehicular entry to the garage and building loading/service will also be located on the alley.
In elevation along California the podium will be comprised of ground floor retail and Live/Work units at the second floor. This will be architecturally differentiated from the upper five levels of residential program by expressing a more commercial language at the base of the building. The residential lobby and access to the Live/Work units will be located along a proposed mid-block pedestrian walkway on the project’s north property line. In order to daylight the walkway the majority of the project will be pulled back 10’ from the north property line. The mid-block walkway will provide access from California east to 42nd Ave. SW and continue the linkage started by the Mural project to the east.
The preferred massing option will provide a signature corner element to mark and animate the mid-block crossing. Both North and South elevations will pull off the property lines to minimize blank walls as much as possible and provide corner glazing for the units.
Again, much of that won’t officially show till the second round of Design Review – the first one, next Thursday (6:30 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge) is to talk about the building’s “massing” (size and shape) and other general aspects. Here’s another of the “massing” renderings for the first round on May 24th, from the “packet,” this time looking from the southeast, and note the gray shading further north, representing where the Equity Residential building is scheduled to be built at California/Alaska:
The public is welcome at Design Review – but comments must stick to design aspects; traffic, noise, and other effects of a development are considered “environmental” and do not generally get a public hearing – you will be able to send those to the city planner assigned to the project, Shelly Bolser, who will be at the Design Review meeting.
Now, the “alternative” packet – not specifically offering a vision for the Petco site, but rather some guidelines overall. Rich Koehler sent WSB what he had put together earlier this month, after reviewing some of the early concepts with the project team. We asked if he’s an architect or otherwise in the business; no, he replied, he just sent a comment to the project team early on, and he was invited to meet with them, along with others, including Junction-area community-group and business-group leaders.
Koehler says he is interested in YOUR thoughts about his ideas. His 29-page “packet” – see it in its entirety here (PDF) – includes not only some suggestions to the 4724 California team, but also his thoughts on existing Junction development, what he sees as “good” and “bad.”
His examples of “good” Junction-area design include the Osborn building:
His examples of “bad” include Mural (east of where 4724 California is scheduled to go up):
Rich’s packet (four more than the Early Design Guidance packet from the development team, though less text-dense) – includes these suggested guidelines (this is also a screengrab from his “packet”):
He also refers to the West Seattle Junction’s official codified design guidelines – which are mentioned in the official project “packet,” too.
So what’s next? Unless the SWDRB sends the project team entirely back to the drawing board, their approval of its “early design guidance” will allow the team to proceed in the permit application process, during which the city also will take comments about the aforementioned environmental impacts. If the process goes as they hope, construction would start in spring of next year. The project team also reiterates they welcome your direct comments to them – the contact info is on their website.
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