West Seattle development: Townhome-building revs up too

We’ve been reporting a lot recently about big development proposals – like the one we mentioned the other day, the early-stage proposal for a site including the former Huling Chevrolet showroom at 4755 Fauntleroy Way, and Junction plans including the soon-to-start Equity Residential two-building project at California/Alaska/42nd. But smaller development – such as what we dubbed “teardowns-to-townhomes” back in the 2007-2008 boom – is intensifying too. Case in point, two three-story 5-unit townhome projects starting soon in two of West Seattle’s “junctions.” The demolition permit has just been granted for one site, the house above at 4503 SW Oregon in The Junction (city project page here); the other one, on the current site of a 60-year-old brick duplex at California/Myrtle in south Morgan Junction, is a few months out:

We talked to the developer of both, a company called Isola Homes. We had actually only asked about the Morgan Junction site, which is fairly high-profile since it’s right across from the CaffĂ© Ladro (etc.) business pod, but when Isola vice president Tim O’Shea answered our e-mail inquiry with a phone call, he told us about the other one too:

Both are on sites that are zoned LR-2 – which means three stories maximum if the development is in the “rowhouse” style (shown here), which is how the city files describe both.

In keeping with the city’s Multi-Family Code changes and attempts (since the aforementioned boom) to encourage improved townhome design, O’Shea says neither of these is a “cookie-cutter” project: “We try to do things that nobody else is really doing, that we’re going to be proud of, that are a contribution to the community.”

For example – they’ll have kitchenettes on the third floor, so you can make coffee and go out on the view deck (rooftop or off the master bedroom) without padding down to the ground floor and back up again. They are also aiming to make the townhomes family-friendly, while also of interest to singles/couples too, with “a lot of emphasis on the architecture … we try to find places with good views and a lot of windows.” The latter actually dings them a little in the green-building score, O’Shea explains, because there’s a “window restriction” to get to the maximum “built green” score, but he said the views from each site had so much potential, they decided to go ahead and maximize the windows.

He says each site will hold five townhomes with “five different roof lines …the walls are connected, but the roofs overlap each other.” They’ll be called the Junction 5 and the Morgan 5.

As noted above, work at the SW Oregon site is starting now; our photo was taken yesterday, but we noticed a salvage/deconstruction crew while passing by today. O’Shea says they are hoping to start work on the Morgan site – whose official address is 4250 SW Myrtle, since the townhomes will face Myrtle, though the existing duplex’s address is on California – around October.

7 Replies to "West Seattle development: Townhome-building revs up too"

  • sgs July 26, 2012 (4:57 pm)

    A comment on the Oregon site: wonder if all of the trees on that property will be removed? On a personal note, we’ve been watching a crow for the past 6 years that most likely nests there. She’s a survivor with a broken wing and crushed foot. Gets around fine and has had a couple of sets of babies. I’m glad crows are adaptable, but still a little sad about the continued loss of habitat for observing interesting wildlife.

  • Seattleseabug July 26, 2012 (5:03 pm)

    Whats going on on Avalon west of that building across from7-11 that has never been finished? I noticed all of the houses fenced odd and empty.

  • mookie July 26, 2012 (8:55 pm)

    I guess their “building green” credits negated problems building on a critical slope. Great…

  • MAH July 27, 2012 (6:08 pm)

    Notably neither the developer nor anyone else chooses to talk about the HORRIFIC impact these developments have on neighborhoods because they NEVER put in enough parking for the cars that people actually own. Whether anyone likes it or not, most of the time when more than one person lives someplace, they each have a car. All of these horrible townhomes, that are crowding in on every street in WS it seems, ever has adequate parking. So what happens? The streets are clogged up with dozens of parked cars every single day and night, making it harder to navigate around town and making everyone feel more claustrophobic and overbuilt. The City of Seattle learned nothing from the fiasco that was the “boom” and are still approving cramming multiple people into spaces that are really designed for very few and ignoring the realities. You can wish and wish for everyone to bike and ride the bus and never drive, but that is NOT reality. But I guess their ultimate plan to eliminate cars is working – we won’t be able to even drive because of all of the parked cars filling the roads, unable to move.

  • sgs July 27, 2012 (10:00 pm)

    MAH, true, noticed that especially on the Oregon hill between Glenn Way and 46th with more people parking on that block. The visibility coming through the intersection heading west is really bad.

  • Bruce July 28, 2012 (12:08 am)

    My new favorite comment: Would it be too much to ask to make the architecture, materials and finishes match the nearby older West Seattle style buildings and houses?

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