West Seattle development updates: Junction project demolition delay; ‘The Hole’ back to Design Commission

As we continue to track major local projects, we have two updates on two Junction-area plans that both have been long in the works (and both on sites visible in the photo below by Long Bach Nguyen):

JUNCTION PROJECT DEMOLITION DELAY: When last we talked with Equity Residential‘s team about their two-building, 206-apartment project coming to California/Alaska/42nd, they told us they planned to start demolition right after Christmas. (The businesses that had been on the site, you’ll recall, had to clear out by July 31st, but the project team says site cleanup issues have taken more time than expected.) We just checked in again to see if they’re still planning on starting work by year’s end – and now the answer is “no.” It’ll be “early next year.” They have not yet chosen a general contractor, we also were told.

‘THE HOLE’ GOES BACK TO THE DESIGN COMMISSION: The agenda for this Thursday’s Seattle Design Commission meeting caught our eye with an item titled “Spruce Project (Hancock Fabrics).” As we first reported in July, “The Hole” at 3922 SW Alaska – formerly Fauntleroy Place – is now Spruce West Seattle, and Hancock is no longer part of it, according to the plans we’ve seen (instead, the retail space is sketched out as an L.A. Fitness outlet). So we called the Design Commission office to see if that’s the project they’re taking up, and indeed it is, according to spokesperson Valerie Kinast. The 216-apartment plan has undergone some revisions, as summarized in this city memo, which presaged the project’s return before the commission:

The final plan for the public space within the right-of-way, as required by the City Council’s preliminary street vacation approval will be reviewed by the Seattle Design Commission, with final approval by the Seattle City Council when the final alley vacation approval is considered.

The meeting is open to the public, on the lower level of City Hall downtown, and this item is scheduled to be considered at 1:30 pm Thursday (December 20th).

29 Replies to "West Seattle development updates: Junction project demolition delay; 'The Hole' back to Design Commission"

  • ericak December 18, 2012 (2:38 pm)

    TR – I am a bit surprised to hear this. I had previously attended every review of this project and have been very involved over the years. I would think as a person who has requested to be a party of record (not sure if that is the technical term) that DPD would have been required to give me, and the others that have requested to be kept informed, notice of this meeting. Typicaly if you sign in on DPD’s list at the review meetings you receive all official correspondence and meeting notificiation 2 weeks prior to a meeting. I have not received any official communication on this and am surprised at how little notice at all was given about this meeting that is open to the public.

  • coffee December 18, 2012 (3:05 pm)

    Great another gym, just what we need….

  • Diane December 18, 2012 (3:09 pm)

    thanks for finding this and posting the alert; agree with Erica; I participated in every meeting re this project, signed in on clipboard at every meeting, so should have been contacted
    following your link, lower level of City Hall; “The Design Commission meets on the first and third Thursdays of every month in City Hall in the Boards and Commissions Room (Floor L2) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 pm”, “Boards and Commissions Room, L2-80”
    off work that day, so I’ll be there
    great photo of the hole, and project across the street to be developed, in design review right now

    • WSB December 18, 2012 (3:18 pm)

      And that project too (4755 Fauntleroy) will go to Design Commission at some point, since it too includes an alley vacation. Valerie @ Design Commission told me she’d talked with them but no dates set yet, which isn’t surprising since they still have at least one Design Review Board meeting to go here in West Seattle (no date set for that either but they are hoping for late January) … TR

  • ScottA December 18, 2012 (3:12 pm)

    ericak –
    I suspect you’re a party of record for DPD info but the Design Commission is fairly distinct from DPD from what I can tell on their website and from personal experience. Not to say the city shouldn’t notify you and others but that’s just my understanding. I have a similar frustration with Landmark Preservation Board design review packets not being available on-line even though the Landmarks Board takes the place of Design Review Boards in the city’s historic districts.

  • Diane December 18, 2012 (3:37 pm)

    “On Level 2 and 3, the proposed fabric store occupancy has been replaced with residential units. One of the originally-planned residential entrances (at the midpoint of the West elevation) has been relocated to the corner of SW Alaska and 40th Ave SW, where the fabric store entrance was originally located.”
    this paragraph (from pdf doc) confused me, until 2nd reading; the original Hancock Fabrics store that was demolished for this project, had its entrance in middle of the parking lot; the auto parts store was on Alaska; the planned (promised) new Hancock Fabrics store entrance was supposed to go on 40th and Alaska
    so sad that Hancock Fabrics will not be back

  • transplantella December 18, 2012 (3:46 pm)

    Between The Hole, the other triangle redevelopment project across the street, and the California St. Petco space construction, it sounds like roundabouts 700 or so new apartment/condo units are going up in the space of a few blocks?

    • WSB December 18, 2012 (4:44 pm)

      Transplantella, more than that. I have not updated the development map (hope to get time in the holiday downtime) but we counted 1,500 units, mostly in the Junction/Triangle/Avalon area, in the works as of last summer. Even in just the Junction/Triangle, Spruce is 200ish, Equity is 200ish, Oregon 42 (under construction now) is more than 100, 4755 Fauntleroy is 350-plus, Junction Flats (going to Design Review next month) is 71… that’s more than 900. – TR

  • Westseattleperson December 18, 2012 (3:51 pm)

    Too bad there won’t be a fabric store, but yay! West Seattle definitely needs another complete gym. More competition!

  • Diane December 18, 2012 (3:54 pm)

    “At the roof level, the originally-proposed green roof provided as part of the Land Use Code Green Factor requirement has been retained. In addition, a 3,000 sq. ft. dog run area will be provided for tenants.”
    oh god; another dog run, and 3k sq ft, on the green roof; ick
    I see lots of changes in this pdf doc to the designs agreed to during the lengthy public design review process that so many of us participated in; do we even get to see any renderings of all these changes? It says public comment is open for 15 days from the date of Addendum (dated Nov 19), which apparently none of us involved in original design process even knew about

  • anti-obstruction December 18, 2012 (4:00 pm)

    On and on the ponderous Trojan Horse of “progress” gallops.

  • Diane December 18, 2012 (4:01 pm)

    I am REALLY looking forward to a new modern gym; but considering that Hancock Fabrics owned this property, and sold it to the developer with understanding to be included in new project; very sad loss

  • sb2780 December 18, 2012 (4:06 pm)

    I agree that WS actually could use another gym. Allstar has rapidly deteriorated recently–broken equipment and televisions,and loss of use of the new parking lot adjacent to the club on Yancy. I’m guessing it might be due to the bankruptcy they recently announced, but I’m ready to jump ship.

  • KatherineL December 18, 2012 (4:19 pm)

    Oh, @#$%!!. I’ve glumly suspected all along that we wouldn’t get Hancock Fabrics back. The new little fabric store is nice, but it’s little. I just can’t get the notions there that I need.

  • wetone December 18, 2012 (4:48 pm)

    People better wake up and look at what is happening here in West Seattle. Inside an 8 block area: California ave, to Fauntleroy ave, and Edmunds st, to Oregon st. we have right around 1000+ units going in. This is units going in now or getting ready to start. This is not including anything outside the area stated above like projects on Avalon way or the rest of the triangle area and many more. Anyone with any common sense can see there is no way traffic including buses will be able to flow through this area. Look at the impact at 5 pm when people want to turn into Trader Joes multiple that by 10. Don’t forget ferry traffic. Parking is not even worth talking about as the city really doesn’t require the developers to do so, as the city says we have Rapid ride and should have no reason to have a car. Bottom line is you got two lanes going out and two lanes in. People need to get together and say enough is enough and go to every meeting they can.

  • Kathi December 18, 2012 (5:13 pm)

    Sad to me…

  • Diane December 18, 2012 (5:41 pm)

    every developer should be buying one new Rapid Ride bus per 100 apartments they are proposing/building; especially those that are using “quick/easy access to Rapid Ride” as huge part of their marketing campaign; we are already over capacity on RR, and Metro claims to have no money for adding more buses; developers need to pay more for transit, specifically developers in this area need to buy more RR buses, as they are adding tremendously to the load; the city giveaway to developers in the transit hub, zero parking required; I’ve heard in multiple design reviews that parking spaces cost $20k each; so why aren’t the developers required to give back/contribute to Rapid Ride and transit in significant amounts?

  • Ajax December 18, 2012 (6:13 pm)

    It would be interesting if everyone who currently commutes by car picked the same day and took Rapid Ride. This might show the City/Metro what it will look like if all the inhabitants of the new apartments become Rapid Ride customers.

  • Peter on Fauntleroy December 18, 2012 (6:38 pm)

    Diane, you might be on to something. Developers can be required to provide parking, they can be required to provide traffic mitigation, they can be required to bend to almost any neighborhood whim via design review, and in some cases be required to provide low income housing. So why not contribute to transit improvements? That could be rolled into incentive zoning as they do other public benefits. Of course, all of these really don’t do anything but drive up the cost of housing. Just saying, that’s an interesting idea.

  • twobottles December 18, 2012 (8:12 pm)

    An L.A. Fitness will be as about as useful to me as… a hole in the ground

  • anti-obstruction December 18, 2012 (8:30 pm)

    The idea that any real thought or consideration on the part of these developers as regards transit or traffic woes is laughable.
    They are concerned with one thing and one thing only…profit.
    They’ll destroy the quality of life here, there and everywhere, grab the resultant cash and fly off for cocktails around the pool in some far-flung paradise, and never feel one twinge of guilt.

  • Strike em out Kinney December 18, 2012 (10:05 pm)

    Mom must be turning over in her grave knowing her beloved Hancock Fabrics wont be back.

  • Wetone December 19, 2012 (11:10 am)

    It is not the developers fault for what is going on. It is your city and state government . They pave the way for this to happen with there zoning and building codes. If they the city required adequate parking, less building height , more setback these developers would go elsewhere as their profit margin would go down. These are big investment companies looking for best return on there building projects. Most these companies and even a lot of the workers are from out of state. Again it is the city that allows this as they want the tax base and all monies associated . After there done building up the West Seattle area, say 4yrs or less expect your taxes to go up substantially to fix and improve roads from all the extra truck and car traffic from what their allowing . Won’t be long before they want to start tolls over the bridge . When taxes go up everyone is affected property owners and renters as your rent will go up. If you have or want to start a business, high rent, traffic and parking issues will have a big impact for new and regular customers.

  • Mickymse December 19, 2012 (5:02 pm)

    Remember when everyone voted against the Monorail Project because “no one” would ride it in West Seattle, and the projected ridership couldn’t possibly be accurate?
    Yeah, this sucks…

  • dawsonct December 20, 2012 (9:38 am)

    Maybe the people of Seattle finally woke up to what an engineering boondoggle the monorail would have been, Micky

    As to the developers adding a gym as THE retail business, I hope they add extra parking, since driving a car seems to be the only way to get somewhere for a good workout.

  • dd December 20, 2012 (10:53 am)

    I remember Mickymse. And I voted for it.
    Three times if I recall.

  • sam-c December 20, 2012 (11:28 am)

    oh brother, you’d think that if WSB outlaws cyclist bashing comments, they’d outlaw driver bashing comments as well.

    perhaps some people like to drive to the gym because they want to drop off a couple kids at the gym childcare service. not everyone has the resources (those trailers and bike accessories can be expensive) or strength (lots of hills in west seattle) to bring a couple of kids to the gym by bike. last time I was a member of a gym, I saw lots of kids, going swimming with parents, etc.

  • Jetcotygirl December 21, 2012 (1:03 pm)

    Wake up West Seattle – !
    WSB is correct over 1500-2000 new apt units are in the works with approved MUP’s by DPD.

    RE: current Junction and triangle building codes.

    Wetone- your comment nails it!: “…zoning and building codes If they the city required adequate parking, less building height , more setback these developers would go elsewhere as their profit margin would go down. These are big investment companies looking for best return …”

    RE: What will this all look like?
    Minimal restrictions in zoning= MAXIMUM massing and minimal setbacks. Ballard does massing is small compared to the glutton of BIG box projects passed and underway.

    Community members have voiced concerns to DPD but are told the guidelines in place are simply recommendations and not enforceable . The land use zoning specs are all that apply. Yes- this is very attractive to investors – build it and sell it.
    It is a shame as many citizens spent years crafting guidelines to ensure our West Seattle Neighborhood would keep its sense of place.

    Only the Mayor and city council can step in to help- as ther are many issues going on with many developments at this time.

    Diane: excellent idea to require developers to purchase a rapide ride bus!!!

  • Skye Cashen December 23, 2012 (2:28 am)

    It’s extremely sad what our beautiful bedroom beach community has become. Developers provide little to no parking, so all those residential cars are parking on our public streets, which have very few slots. Retailers have minimal parking. Think about it, is there really a bus that comes by your house every half hour to take you to store, a movie, to work or to a restaurant. When I moved to West Seattle 12 years ago, a bus did accomodate that schedule. Those Rapid Ride bus schedule are focused on the 8-5 worker communter. Not the graveyard shift to take a nurse to our hospitals, not for swing shift techies, not for sales people or retail people and not for many types of jobs. The bus is not set up like the University District and there are no Park and Rides. The buses are ripping thru our tight residential streets, not 4 lane one ways like most of downtown Seattle and the Eastside. At what point are we going to wake up and fight to get our small street- beach community back? All these apartments going up, look at the impact, the design, the lack of consideration….that ..hello…this is not dosntown Seattle. We are a beach community letting this happen.

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