West Seattle development: Trio of teardowns? Not quite

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

New life is ahead for three old homes near Westwood Village.

Instead of being torn down to make way for townhouses or apartments – or big new homes – they will be transformed into three new/almost-new, modestly sized, energy-efficient homes, as part of a program financed by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.

We visited the site a few days ago, as the owners/builders – Green Canopy Homes – and WSHFC reps met the neighbors to explain the project :

The three neighboring homes in the 8800 block of 24th SW, all built in the 1920s, are dubbed The Triplets, as noted on the floor-plan board shown to neighbors (top photo) during the informal outdoor meeting. Each has been given a name, and still look much like the historic views we found on the county assessor’s website – Clara (8812), then:

And Clara now:

Zelda (8820), then:

And Zelda now:

Louise (8826), then:

And Louise, now:

The names given to them by the builders all were inspired by women making news in the era in which the houses were originally built.

Previously, they all had the same owner, who sold them to Green Canopy, which has rebuilt and retrofitted homes elsewhere in the area, but never before three at once. And because of the special below-market-rate financing, through WSHFC’s new Sustainable Energy Trust Lending Program (explained here), they’ll be sold at market rate – likely in the mid-$300,000s – at least $50,000 or so less than they might have had to be sold for otherwise. (The program does not involve public or taxpayer money – the WSHFC is a self-supporting agency that works with private investment.)

To maximize the energy efficiency, which includes pumped-in heat, at least two of the homes will be remodeled “studs-out” – the third may need a new foundation, too, because a past owner did some digging in the crawl space, and that may have undermined its stability. When they are done, their entries will be on the side, with the front living area turned into bedrooms. They’ll range from 1400 square feet to 1600 square feet of living space when done, but the central feature will be the energy efficiency. They’ve done blown-air tests on the homes already, Green Canopy says, and that revealed on average that enough heat was being lost per house to represent the equivalent of an open garage door.

The neighbors who came to hear about the plan got a peek inside the vacant houses and voiced relief there was a plan for their future –

At least one of the houses apparently had had squatter problems. One even has an ancient detached garage with a pot=belly stove:

The work is expected to start soon with some site prep before Christmas, and then get going in earnest in January, with completion due in June. All three will be worked on simultaneously and will be put up for sale once they’re done. The financing does not require any particular qualification to buy one – aside from being qualified to own a home, period.

10 Replies to "West Seattle development: Trio of teardowns? Not quite"

  • denise December 3, 2012 (9:57 pm)

    Houses being saved and not torn down????? Really? I am shocked? What is the catch?

  • miws December 3, 2012 (10:00 pm)

    How cool of Green Canopy Homes to do this!



  • Alice Kuder December 3, 2012 (10:24 pm)

    This is wonderful! Green Canopy Homes does great work and I really appreciate the philosophy that drives their efforts. I’m so happy to see these older homes revitalized rather than replaced with town homes or “modern” homes. WSHFC has some terrific programs; I wasn’t aware of this one. Thanks for the education!

  • L.A. December 3, 2012 (11:10 pm)

    Wow. This is neighborhood revitalization at its finest. Renovate and reuse instead of tear down and put up ugly monstrosities. Sigh. I wish I had known Junction before all those cool businesses were forced out to be replaced by another horrid condo Lego block of bland sun blocking, hulking stupidity.

  • emcat8 December 3, 2012 (11:57 pm)

    Bravo!!! Wish there was more like this instead of these grotesque overdevelopments.

  • Brandon December 4, 2012 (8:25 am)

    agree with all comments, glad they are saving these old houses

  • Kim Mulligan December 4, 2012 (8:41 am)

    Another great project by Green Canopy. All the embodied carbon in those homes won’t go to waste. I used to own a 480 square foot house nearby of the same vintage. It’s and important reminder of how our sense of scale has changed in the last century. Smaller scale doesn’t mean living “without”. Can’t wait to see this project going forward.

  • Rae December 4, 2012 (9:50 am)

    Thank you so much for good news in my day!

  • ghar72 December 4, 2012 (11:34 am)

    I love that street! Some super cute homes that have been fixed up. So happy to see this happening. Wish we saw it more.

  • Wendy Hughes-Jelen December 4, 2012 (9:44 pm)

    I have known some of the people behind Green Canopy Homes for about four years. The “pick the color” of the house happened because of a bad choice in another neighborhood and it has turned into a tradition to present usually three designer choices for color schemes, and people can vote online. Sometimes friendly competition crops up with the neighbors, but it has been a fabulous way to involve and engage the community. They do good work.

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