4755 Fauntleroy Way megaproject: Design Review Board sends it back for more work

(4755 Fauntleroy Way SW’s proposed northeast corner; rendering by Fuller Sears Architects)
We’re at the Senior Center of West Seattle, where a long meeting about a huge project has just wrapped up. The topline for the Southwest Design Review Board‘s third discussion of the 370-apartment, 600-parking-space 4755 Fauntleroy Way project: There’ll be a fourth meeting. After a 3-hour meeting including extensive comments from almost two dozen members of the public, and an hour of board debate, members decided to require the project to come back with “refinements” – especially regarding the “iconic corner” at Fauntleroy/Alaska and the “midblock connector between the project’s two buildings.” More to come. Our coverage of the project’s previous public reviews by city-sanctioned bodies: The project’s Design Commission review earlier this month; its second Early Design Guidance meeting last November; and its first EDG meeting last September.

30 Replies to "4755 Fauntleroy Way megaproject: Design Review Board sends it back for more work"

  • My2Cents March 28, 2013 (9:40 pm)

    Yuk. Another ant hill burying the charm of W. Seattle.

  • JanS March 28, 2013 (10:28 pm)

    it’s a behemoth…and looks just like the others being built…

  • LWC March 28, 2013 (11:55 pm)

    I’d say this type of dense development replacing empty, run-down parking lots so close to the core of West Seattle should be welcomed with open arms.

  • Alki Resident March 29, 2013 (12:40 am)

    Something this massive is beyond ridiculous for West Seattle. Do we not have enough parking issues?

  • transplantella March 29, 2013 (12:51 am)

    “iconic corner”??

    Are they talking about the building design with a nondescript brick planter box and 3 shrubs, or that whole ugly corner of the triangle?

    Which one is more *iconic*…..hmmmm….:-\

  • T March 29, 2013 (2:23 am)

    WS = Ballard 2.0

  • T March 29, 2013 (2:28 am)

    Big developers just wanting to make a buck to build ugly apartments that will cost thousands and no one will live in. Also, how many more people are going to be riding the C line? I’m sure with Metro’s great new service, they can accommodate 370 new people! Seriously, what are these developers thinking? Before I know it, my sixty year old apartment building will be coming down. I’m all for growth, but not boxes taking over WS.

  • Steve March 29, 2013 (6:58 am)

    Iconic corner? That’s a bit subjective.

    • WSB March 29, 2013 (7:24 am)

      That phrase has been used by multiple sides of the discussion so many times, dating back to the first meeting, I have lost count. I would say triple digits. It does not refer to the design but to the fact that this might be the most visible corner in West Seattle, as you come in off the bridge. Will clarify that on first reference in the long version. And no, it does not refer to what’s there now. It refers to the reason that it has taken up so much of the discussion on this project.

  • Alki Area March 29, 2013 (7:24 am)

    Charm? Seriously? Right now that land it’s an ugly gas station, funeral home, abandoned car dealership and an empty asphalt lot. But THIS offends you? (sigh) I realize everyone hates change, but this is 100 times better than the horrible ugly block as it is today. Looks far better than the boring Alaska building, the boring Soviet looking Jefferson Square, etc.

    And SERIOUSLY? “ICONIC” corner? This isn’t the Empire State building…that ICONIC corner is a junky old Shell station. Iconic? (bangs head against wall)

  • jiggers March 29, 2013 (7:50 am)

    The computer model here look good in my opinion. And like someone mentioned here that anything is better than a runned down old empty parking lot. Alki.. Yep soome people are just never happy.

  • elma March 29, 2013 (8:03 am)

    One suggestion after looking at the design— It appears that cars are able to turn right into this complex from Fauntleroy, and able to to right onto Fauntleroy from the complex. Seattle DOT should change the inside lane of Fauntleroy to the thru lane. Currently, the inside lane of Fauntleroy is the one that must merge just past Edmonds street.

  • David March 29, 2013 (9:06 am)

    I can’t agree with you more, LWC & Alki Area. I moved here in 1997 so while I’m not a lifelong West Seattleite, I have been around long enough to see some changes. Seeing some nicely constructed buildings well kept buildings as you come into WS would be far preferable to seeing a giant “hole” and a boring corner of non-descript and abandoned buildings. Growth has always been happening and will continue long after we’re gone. Anyone ever see “The Jetsons”? Hello WS 2100!

  • Bus rider March 29, 2013 (9:11 am)

    Its confusing when they call it ne corner. Its not ne corner of intersection. Ne corner of their lot right?

    • WSB March 29, 2013 (10:05 am)

      Yes, Bus Rider, northeast corner of the site. Will be going through the already-rough-drafted mega-mega-mega-long version of the tale and will make sure that and the “iconic corner” phrase are clearer.

      Jeff H – yes, pulling back from the property line on the east (Fauntleroy) side of the site for a bike lane (and some parking) remains in the plan. I’m pretty sure it is part of the “public benefit” that is being offered in exchange for the alley vacation so it’s not just a whim likely to drop out of the plan.

  • Jeff H March 29, 2013 (9:14 am)

    It was noted later that Fauntleroy would be widened by six feet on that side to add a bike lane – the land for that is coming from the project site.
    I couldn’t attend this 3rd meeting, but sure hope the bike lane is still in the plans. It would be great to see it as a “physically separated” lane. Let cars park next to moving traffic and let bikes go between parked cars and the sidewalk. Much safer for vulnerable road users.
    I couldn’t find anything about secure indoor bike parking for tenants. In the plans? How many bikes can it accommodate?
    I’m still amazed at 600 car parking spaces. Good lord. I’d like to know how much it cost the developer (per space) to include those. Even at ~$10,000 per space, that’s 6 MILLION DOLLARS! Just for car parking!
    How about a bike corral (bike parking area) on the corner of Fauntleroy/Alaska? Something that could hold 20+ bikes. That would be “iconic”.
    One question that should be asked is…”does this make it better for our children?” Sustainable growth is good. Encouraging car driving is not (good or sustainable).
    Great job by WSB reporting these meetings. I hope to be able to attend the 4th review.

  • Bus rider March 29, 2013 (9:16 am)

    Need more greenscape at this corner and to blend with fauntleroy to south. I welcome density at this location but for too long this area has been lacking in greenscape along the street frontage

  • Jeff platt March 29, 2013 (10:31 am)

    Should send it back because the proper infrastucture doesnt exsist around here
    Can u say clogged streets from alki to burien and from w marginal to lincoln park

  • Alki Beach Guy March 29, 2013 (11:07 am)

    Iconic corner. People that are saying this is better than what is existing (gas station, etc) are correct, BUT they are missing the point. This is probably one of the most important corners in West Seattle and it is critical to get it right. Most of the comments aren’t about not putting a building there, but people who are passionate about WS, want to get it right. There are no “do overs” (at least in most of our lifetimes) with this corner. Lets take the time to do this correctly. FYI, I think the corner looks awful :-(.

  • Robert March 29, 2013 (12:48 pm)

    Of course this looks better than a Shell station. Nearly anything would. But good enough? NO WAY. The so-called “Mid Block Connector” is crazy dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists and motorist alike. Big delivery trucks, drive-thru pharmacy (really?!), parking garage entrance (to 600 parking spaces!) AND pedestrians and cyclists?

    That’s not design; that’s cramming everything that doesn’t fit the facade into one unacceptable danger zone!

  • steve March 29, 2013 (1:34 pm)

    Ditto on the dangerous design of the mid-block connector, and the South Lake Union-comes-to-Fauntleroy look of this thing.

    But I also wonder when the delis, bakeries, fish shop, etc at the Junction will wake up to the damage Whole Foods will do to their businesses…. not to mention the oversaturated West Seattle grocery market.

  • AlkiGrl March 29, 2013 (2:51 pm)

    Agree Alki Beach Guy, the comments about what choosing between what is there now and this plan is a false choice. The property will be redeveloped, but we deserve better. A bike lane is not public benefit IMO, it’s mitigating harm. Public benefit is gonna have to go way beyond a bike lane and shrubbery to justify this monster.

  • Likes to Walk March 29, 2013 (3:05 pm)

    Walking through that Mid-Block Danger Zone will be riskier than now, not safer than now.

  • Seattlite March 29, 2013 (6:33 pm)

    Alki Beach Guy — I totally agree with you. What is wrong w/these developers’ creativity skills? Pure and simple — money. The flatliner look is taking over WS — flat roofs, flat facades — flatliners are doa — they’re never going to be attractive or long-lasting — just cheap. WS does deserves more creativity to match it’s great history.

  • The Bum's Journal March 29, 2013 (7:39 pm)

    Hey, all,

    It could be worse. You could have a “Nickelsville” on every un-developed corner. Yuck.

    Look on the bright side of things.

  • jamjets March 29, 2013 (8:42 pm)

    Go deeper for 750 parking spaces… Get real, please.

  • Alki Beach Guy March 29, 2013 (9:23 pm)

    One of the big problems with this design is the street level retail fronts don’t stand out. They are lost in the size of this project. All you see is the big apt building. Maybe they need to make the storefronts interesting and unique. These look like escrow offices or a Orthodontist office, where they should look more the Eliot Bay, or some of the other cool store fronts on Cali.

  • Happiness March 30, 2013 (11:51 am)

    Alki Beach Guy – The main retail tenant is Whole Foods, and the entrance is on the next block. Do you really think that the view of this corner should be all about Whole Foods? I’m glad that Whole Foods is coming to West Seattle, but I dont think it needs greater emphasis on this corner.
    I personally think the building looks pretty nice. Because of the slope of the block, that corner opens into the basement, so its not a grand-entry location. And traffic flow also means its not a grand entry. The design difficulties are in making it not look like a basement, back-door to the building. Maybe they can add a fountain or statue or something.
    I think it will be a big improvement over what is there now, and I am glad that development is occurring. Other commenters do have a point that the alley variance is a trade from the public to the developer, and that it is appropriate for the public to expect, require, that the developer give special value and improvement back to the public in exchange for that variance. So this developer has a higher obligation than usual to meet public goals.

  • howty March 31, 2013 (10:17 am)

    can’t wait to see that ugly gas station, funeral home(by the way-i always thought funeral homes and cemetaries should be off the main roads, to create more privacy and dignity)and car lot gooooooooo! So sick of the ghetto look!
    Change is good people!!!!(In moderation of course;)

  • Danny Del Rio April 1, 2013 (1:20 pm)

    If most of us do not like the way this looks now, what will this building look like in ten or twenty years? What is wrong with this city. I have traveled all over this country and I have been blown away by other cities urban dense architecture.

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