New plan for ex-Charlestown Café: Six 5-unit townhouse buildings

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

If you have been hoping to hear about another restaurant taking over the two-years-closed Charlestown Café – you’re likely out of luck.

While the first post-closure proposal for the site has long since been scrapped, a new one is in play – and it is primarily residential.

City records show that Intracorp – the same developers behind the 3210 California proposal a few blocks north, as well as another proposal across the street from that – is pursuing a plan for six 5-unit townhouse buildings “around a central drive aisle” on the ex-café site.

We’re working to talk with the developers to find out more about the plan and the property’s status – it was posted as available “for lease” about a year after it closed – but for now, here’s what we have found out:

The project will require Design Review – no date set yet. The site plan filed with the city by West Seattle-founded Nicholson-Kovalchick Architects shows the townhouses in two 3-building rows – one facing California, one directly behind (parallel to an alley and the single-family homes east of it), with live-work units on the street at the California/Charlestown corner, and residential units everywhere else. The curb cuts (driveways) on California would be removed, with one proposed off SW Bradford on the south side of the site.

Intracorp, as noted earlier, is the developer for the ~155-apartment project at 3210 California SW, which goes back to the SW Design Review Board for a second round of Early Design Guidance on June 27 (as noted here last month), and also is listed as developer for a proposal across the street at 3211 California, described in documents as a 65-unit apartment building to replace three houses.

The Charlestown Café closed in April 2011, after facing various challenges in its final few years – less than three years before that final shutdown, it reopened after a five-month shutdown caused by a February 2008 fire. That fire, in turn, came just days after the café ownership got word of the demise of a year-and-a-half-old development proposal that threatened to close the restaurant.

138 Replies to "New plan for ex-Charlestown Café: Six 5-unit townhouse buildings"

  • add June 4, 2013 (3:58 pm)


  • Rebecca June 4, 2013 (3:59 pm)


  • MB June 4, 2013 (4:00 pm)

    What a bummer :(

  • Brooke June 4, 2013 (4:03 pm)

    Any word on how many stories for these units?

  • Liz June 4, 2013 (4:04 pm)


  • Jan Van Court June 4, 2013 (4:05 pm)

    Precisely why I moved out of main stream West Seattle to Arbor Heights. Far too many town homes and additional cars making it crowded. Love our Arbor Heights neighborhood.

  • Traci June 4, 2013 (4:05 pm)

    4-unit “row-houses” were just built down the street from us. They sure stick out like a sore thumb! My husband and I always take price guesses before finding out the asking price… These guys are going for $600,000 per unit. We were stunned by that, even more stunned than the fact that they somehow squeezed 3 beds and 3.5 baths in each of them. I think they’re pretty gross, husband thinks they’re okay but the price is outrageous. It’s certainly a change!

    • WSB June 4, 2013 (4:14 pm)

      Traci – Nothing in the publicly available documents says “rowhouse” instead of “townhouse” – they are different classifications of buildings, per city code – but that’s something we hope to ask the developers about, too. There are several in development around West Seattle, another one either close to completion or maybe done by now in the suddenly hot west-edge-of-Junction area along Glenn Way – five units, “starting in the low $500,000s” last time I saw the sign.

  • JanS June 4, 2013 (4:07 pm)


    sadly, it was inevitable

  • Big G June 4, 2013 (4:17 pm)

    30 new homes and the 155 unit building, that’s 185 new residences, yet Metro in their infinite wisdom is cutting bus service to the airport and Bellevue.

    • WSB June 4, 2013 (4:22 pm)

      Big G – just to keep it straight, that’s Sound Transit, if you mean Route 560. Separate, regional agency. I know, same effect, but just to keep the scorecard straight … Metro has other possible cuts on the table, though, as also previously discussed.

  • Gene June 4, 2013 (4:17 pm)

    Is anyone really surprised at this???

  • mustangshelly67 June 4, 2013 (4:17 pm)

    My husband and I are still looking for a restaurant that fills the hole left by the Charlestown closing. Nothing will ever compare to what you grow up with.

  • mb June 4, 2013 (4:19 pm)

    Surprise surprise. LAME!

  • Joey June 4, 2013 (4:19 pm)


    Oh well, there goes the traffic on Charlestown – which is NOT, NOT, NOT an arterial!

    Traffic calming anyone????

  • Katie June 4, 2013 (4:21 pm)

    Just curious if all these apartments and other Multi-family dwellings are filling up or do they tend to stay vacant for a bit? Eventually supply and demand should slow things down, right?

  • Traci June 4, 2013 (4:25 pm)

    WSB, interesting about the rowhouse/townhouse thing. I had no idea, I just thought they were trying to up-sell a townhouse as something more exotic and San Franciscoey.

  • Jwws June 4, 2013 (4:28 pm)


  • Admiral Rob June 4, 2013 (4:29 pm)

    Horrible. I want pancakes.

  • Mark June 4, 2013 (4:34 pm)

    Bummer – some retail with a coffee shop would be awesome. Serious black hole for coffee and a restaurant there…

  • Costanza June 4, 2013 (4:41 pm)



  • Wes C. Addle June 4, 2013 (4:43 pm)

    I think traffic will be alright, It’s not giant complex like the Whole Foods proposal.

  • SeekingEuros June 4, 2013 (4:43 pm)

    Petco would have been light years better than town homes…..

  • coffee June 4, 2013 (4:46 pm)

    I cannot figure out why The Bridge did not choose this location, it has parking!

  • DTK June 4, 2013 (4:47 pm)

    West Seattle = America’s Ant Farm.

  • enough June 4, 2013 (4:47 pm)


  • Bonnie June 4, 2013 (4:51 pm)

    Not surprised. Disappointed but not surprised.

  • enough June 4, 2013 (4:55 pm)

    Seattle wisdom .. build baby build even though transportation and congestion are problems, schools are over crowded, etc. I feel like there should be at least a good base prior to increasing density. I wish going to a design review would do something to address these issues. They are going to build what ever they want, where ever they want if it is zoned. I wonder how many people there are like me who are considering moving to the eastside or somewhere less crowded? Ironically, density in the city is a way to keep sprawl from happening or to minimize it. Can’t wait to get out of here!

  • jns June 4, 2013 (4:58 pm)

    eh, you’ll get over it. I’d rather have housing than an empty building.

  • themightyrabbit June 4, 2013 (5:05 pm)

    I was hoping for a brewpub instead. Wrong again!

  • DaveB June 4, 2013 (5:05 pm)

    Darn, I was just thinking it would be a great site for Proletariat Pizza North.

  • Dave June 4, 2013 (5:07 pm)

    Have to laugh at these prices, live near the Glenn Way units and drive by every day. Half a million + to share a wall and no parking, what a bargain!

  • Seattlite June 4, 2013 (5:09 pm)

    Gross…The developer will probably use the hideous flatliner (flat roof, flat facades, throw a few windows)design that’s going up all over WS. What a mistake for a prime location.

  • datamuse June 4, 2013 (5:19 pm)

    It’s been empty for two years, but I’m guessing nobody commenting here considered trying to do something with it yourselves…

  • jissy June 4, 2013 (5:20 pm)

    I’m SHOCKED!!!! NOT!

  • trickycoolj June 4, 2013 (5:39 pm)

    I rather like my townhouse in High Point. Guess I’m in the minority here. Oh well.

    • WSB June 4, 2013 (5:44 pm)

      Tricky – thank you for commenting. While some may not be fans of multi-family development, I hope all will welcome the cool people who will be joining us here, whether they move into apartments, townhouses, condos, single-family homes … Like you. We lived in a townhouse-type rental condo for our first two years in West Seattle, 22 years ago. It had more amenities than the little 1942 warbox house we bought two years later and still inhabit to this day! (Though I’m not knocking our sturdy little hovel …) – Tracy

  • L. June 4, 2013 (5:54 pm)

    You have to be effing kidding me!! I hate West Seattle! It’s so sad bc we once loved it…

  • Micha June 4, 2013 (6:00 pm)

    To coffee- I have some insider info on why The Bridge didn’t move to The Charleston location, it had already been sold at that point. I am sure they would have loved that spot, but I know that are very happy with their soon to be new home at the former Chuck & Sallys location!

  • justme June 4, 2013 (6:06 pm)

    Nice words Tracy. We are more than the buildings we live in!
    I just hope they’re pleasing to the eye and the prospective buyers do all their necessary research on the building materials before they make that major purchase. There’s so much cheap crap out there and most of the supplies aren’t even meant to last more than 10 years.

  • Dave June 4, 2013 (6:11 pm)

    Not knocking a townhouse, just one that costs 1/2 a million bucks!

  • Cheryl June 4, 2013 (6:14 pm)

    Yeah. Totally what West Seattle needs. More townhouses and multi-storied apartment buildings. Meh.

  • Santa June 4, 2013 (6:17 pm)

    It’s been empty for two years, but I’m guessing nobody commenting here considered trying to do something with it yourselves…

    Comment by datamuse — 5:19 pm June 4, 2013 # has been up for lease, but it was never for a long term lease as the owner has always wanted to develop it…

  • Peter L June 4, 2013 (6:20 pm)

    Yes! Another vacant lot finally being put to good use! I welcome our new West Seattlites and the $ they’ll bring to our local businesses.

    All you haters threatening to leave Seattle and/or West Seattle because we’re growing: please just leave without all the NIMBY kvetching. Buh-bye.

  • SteveP June 4, 2013 (6:29 pm)

    West Seattle is becoming Capital Hill/Ballard/U District, etc. I hate what it’s becoming. Throw out the city council and the mayor. Stop this insane growth and ever-increasing density. Traffic gets worse and worse…have you tried driving around the city lately? WS is next.

  • JayDee June 4, 2013 (6:40 pm)

    Sorry Joey:

    Charlestown is an arterial, granted west of California, but just try randomly crossing Charlestown at 47th and Charlestown. And while it is not officially an arterial east of California, it does have high traffic volumes compared to other E-W streets.

  • ELL June 4, 2013 (6:40 pm)

    On the bright side, townhouses are better than condos, people tend to stay longer and make them their homes because you have room to grow unlike a one-bedroom. Although either way, the stretches of California that have housing only are the most uninviting unlike our lively Junctions.

  • Jack Loblaw June 4, 2013 (6:56 pm)

    I can’t wait for the public zoning meetings

    • WSB June 4, 2013 (7:04 pm)

      JL – This is zoned NC1-30′, according to county records – one question likely to come up is how the live-works mesh with “neighborhood commercial,” as the design-review board asked that regarding another project recently … lately developers have been saying they don’t want to be stuck with empty commercial space, so they’re starting with “live work” that can be converted to official commercial … if and when we get to talk to this team, we’ll be asking that too.

  • leroy June 4, 2013 (6:57 pm)

    Nice call ELL! Townhouses = a longer term investment in more ways then just $.

    Echo: All you haters threatening to leave Seattle and/or West Seattle because we’re growing: please just leave without all the NIMBY kvetching. Buh-bye.

  • JanS June 4, 2013 (7:00 pm)

    While I am concerned about the density that is about to befall our lovely peninsula, I really am not going to complain about townhomes, or row houses. I grew up on the east coast, 60 miles NW of Philly, and we all lived in row houses.,319+Hoskins+Pl,+Reading,+PA+19602&gl=us&ei=vJquUZqMCcS8iwKY74CIAg&ved=0CC0Q8gEwAA

    pretty commonplace for us east coasters…

  • Caprial June 4, 2013 (7:06 pm)

    As someone who lives across the alley from this site, I’m disgusted. As a life-long West Seattlite, I’m disgusted. Not only will the value of the house I’ve lived in for over 30 years take a dive, but West Seattle is becoming “Little New York”. I hate it.

    BTW @leroy; These aren’t longer term investments, they still become transient enterprises. Ask the schools that can no longer house all of the kids going in and out.

  • WTF June 4, 2013 (7:06 pm)

    No. Don’t tell me. Let me guess. No. No. Wait. …. …. ….The greedy developers are back and will build more apartments and town”houses” to try and carve out a little bit more money.

    Then the bidding wars begin to see how low prices can go; competition breeds supply & demand. All just in time for the BIG DIG, the whiners yacking about how bad traffic is, then comes the mass exodus. Then WS is stuck looking at empty buildings no one can fill. Did this city never learn anything from California? How about Ballard? Really? Are the city leaders approving these permits so desperate they will bite the hand that feeds them? Where did the green space for ever commercial-residence go? Where is the traffic study, which shows WS can handle the footprint of people “expected” to move here? I WANT that hole in the middle of WS filled first. We waited long enough while these people junk up and destroy any management of our borough we have left. Pathetic…

  • EF June 4, 2013 (7:10 pm)

    The next development should also have to include adding another bridge with their proposal. Density in the city is given, but were a little locked in over here.

  • All for it June 4, 2013 (7:16 pm)

    When Bertha’s done with the viaduct replacement lets just spin her around this way.

    -miss the crab cake benidict….

  • West Seattle Hipster June 4, 2013 (7:20 pm)

    Well put EF, until the infrastructure is uprgraded to accomodate all of the new citizens of West Seattle, traffic on The Bridge at 8am will continue to look like a parking lot.

    Does the city still employ city planners?

  • Greg Potts June 4, 2013 (7:23 pm)

    I have rented the parking lot on the north side for two years for my Christmas Tree Lot, Son-in-Law Tree Farm. Sadly I probably won’t be able to be there this Chistmas. I know the owner wanted a zillion dollars, more like 3 million, for the whole place for sale and about 6-7 thousand a month for a long term rent. It’s all about the dollar and the owner wants more of them.

  • Belvidere June 4, 2013 (7:26 pm)

    As I lifetime resident of West Seattle. I am disappointed beyond belief but not surprised in the least bit. We need more townhouses like we need more bike lanes! HA!
    If I had an exorbitant amount of money, I would buy up all the commerical vacant properties and bring back Pizza Pete’s,The Caddy Shack, New Luck Toy, Denny’s, and The Royal Fork!

  • KenK June 4, 2013 (7:40 pm)

    West Seattle should have really seceded from the city when Captain Rolf hit the bridge. Maybe West Seattleites would have had more reasonable control over the growth and development going on around here now.
    @ WTF: Very well stated. The city is issuing permits left and right which never would have been approved 20 or 30 years ago. Cramming 3 or more skinny homes on single lots and allowing homes to be built on steep embankments with underground springs. When those homes start sliding away in several years, the owners are going to sue the city and developers for even building them in the first place. Sickening.

  • DTK June 4, 2013 (7:44 pm)

    I’m planing on leaving West Seattle after ten years and all you lovers of uncontrolled density will watch your property values crater as you sit in a two hour traffic jam on the bridge as the WSB becomes a non-stop crime blotter. Buh-bye, suckers!

  • Joey June 4, 2013 (7:50 pm)

    “And while it is not officially an arterial east of California, it does have high traffic volumes compared to other E-W streets.”

    You are correct, it is not an arterial east of California yet lots of people use it as such. Cut through my neighborhood at your own risk. I just may follow you home and speed past your home and family…..

  • Sparkle Plenty June 4, 2013 (7:51 pm)

    As usual, Tracy leads by example…. WS is a beautiful place with mostly nice folks, and as a newbie to Seattle, there is no place I’d rather live. Can’t blame others for wanting to be here, even though it seems like development here is on a fast track….

  • K S June 4, 2013 (7:53 pm)

    I’m on 47th and Charleston and not looking forward to the traffic. There are already too many who think my street is a main arterial. This city is going to regret over building with this type of housing and condos. Lame!

  • nemobeansmom June 4, 2013 (7:53 pm)

    Just as I commented on the accident on Harbor Ave…Muti-family housing with already congested streets and nowhere to park.

  • Mac J June 4, 2013 (8:00 pm)


    You are aware that when Seattle’s founders landed in West Seattle their motto was “New York, Alki (bye and bye)”, right?

  • Lifetime WS. June 4, 2013 (8:46 pm)

    Most of the complainers are transplants!
    Too funny,

  • More Friends June 4, 2013 (8:47 pm)

    Now there will be more potential friends available in West Seattle. More potential carpool partners. My jigsaw puzzle club was down to only three members in West Seattle. Hopefully, there will be some new jigsaw puzzle freaks moving in.

    The more folks, the merrier.

  • KenK June 4, 2013 (8:50 pm)

    @ Mac J –
    Perhaps they had meant their motto to be “New York, bye bye”. Something lost in translation maybe? ;)

  • Fed up June 4, 2013 (8:51 pm)

    Leroy and Peter L.. I hope you are right.

  • schwaggy June 4, 2013 (8:58 pm)

    Stop the insanity, we only have one bridge.

  • Fed up June 4, 2013 (9:00 pm)

    Lifetime ws.. How do you know if they are transplants? I’m not and I am complaining so are a lot of other people who claim to be born and raised in ws. The concern has been shared on many other threads as well. We’re pinned in here and being packed to the gills. Doesn’t make sense. Schools are just one example. We don’t have room for the kids we have now.. Why build and worry later? It’s not smart growth imo.

  • CJ June 4, 2013 (9:02 pm)

    Traci thanks for the info on the 48th Ave townhomes. I’m also on the block and have wondered about those eyesores including if they are actually finished. The exterior looks like an underlayer of construction rather than the finished product-ugly. I am sad that the very thing that draws people to WS is being ruined by over development. And how poetic that current W Seattlelites want to leave. Please stop loving WS to death.

  • Fed up June 4, 2013 (9:02 pm)

    Bigger is not better, especially when we’re already in a sad state.

  • mariem June 4, 2013 (9:13 pm)

    I was hoping for a diner, and am bummed to hear this.

  • monosyllabic girl June 4, 2013 (9:14 pm)

    Well SOMEBODY likes and can afford to live in these places, otherwise they wouldn’t keep building them. It sure ain’t me!

  • homesweethome June 4, 2013 (9:21 pm)

    I’ve lived in my condo in West Seattle for 7 years. And I am the new person in my building of 16 units; over 50% of the units have been occupied by original owners since the building was completed 20 years ago. So if this makes a bunch of transient taxpayers, then so be it. Not everyone needs or wants a single-family home; many residents embrace multi-family living for the benefits it offers – multiple generations in one building, walkability, ability to age-in-place without relying on a car. People want and need housing options, I welcome the new townhome owners.

  • DRW June 4, 2013 (9:59 pm)

    I wanted to turn it into a sports bar and call it “Westside”!

  • mike June 4, 2013 (9:59 pm)

    Echoing earlier comments… It was vacant for two years. Any of the debbie downers commenting here could have developed their dream on the site.

  • chris June 4, 2013 (10:00 pm)

    Really @Steve P and others against this What would have you preferred there A WHOLE FOODS ?! A GAS STATION?! Why is happening ? Because people want to live in Seattle. Like it or not Seattle is growing and it could be worse there could be high rises as opposed to townhouses like Vancouver.

  • supernova72 June 4, 2013 (10:14 pm)

    So where is all them cars going to park? Maybe these new condos will have garages. The new condos just finished north of there (Spokane St and CA Ave) have no parking or garages on the property. Amazing that was approved by the city. I guess my hood will have lots oh new cars parked on the street.

  • bolo June 4, 2013 (10:49 pm)

    Will make West Seattle more vibrant. Synergistic, baby!

  • helridge June 4, 2013 (10:50 pm)

    Gotta get more toll payers for the tunnel! Intracorp probably gets a good deal on those properties…

  • Ra-chan June 4, 2013 (11:00 pm)

    Wow, I don’t often comment here, but the negativity is astonishing. I can kind of understand concern over micro-apartments and mega-complex buildings, but townhouses? My husband and I bought our first home, a townhouse, this past August near the junction and we love it. We felt so lucky because at the time the only townhouses around were far from the junction area, which we really enjoy. Not every family/household wants a yard to take care of, and the comment about this leading to “transient enterprises” is ludicrous. All of my townhouse neighbors are lovely, productive people who I’m sure are as happy as I am to live in and support the businesses of West Seattle. I moved to Seattle from another state about 5 years ago- I fell in love with WS right away and now I’ve put down my roots here. I certainly wouldn’t have felt as welcome if I’d read some of the comments on this blog beforehand.

  • Charles Town June 4, 2013 (11:04 pm)

    Hi Tracy/wsb:

    So they are building 30 units?? I know it is big lot, but that seems like a lot of town houses. Will this be a mini Sylvan Ridge? Also, there is no mention of parking in the docs, what exactly is the “central drive” you are referring to? I looked for the “site plan filed with the city” by NK, but can’t find it. Can you link?

    I live nearby and welcome a change, but really want it to be architecturally appealing. This is one of the last few Cali ave lots with huge building potential, so maybe this is better than condos or a Pet Smart…its not like someone was going to build three houses with yards on the site.

    The cafe really had run its course and now the building is just a run down eyesore with weirdos doing whatever back by the kitchen door. I saw a guy spray painting his car there the other day.

    Is this developer well regarded (as far as developers go)?


  • Chris W June 4, 2013 (11:17 pm)

    Tracy, thank you for that comment about rentals.

    Signed, a townhouse-dwellimg renter who hopes 21 years from now to be able to say what you just did.

  • Heather June 4, 2013 (11:54 pm)

    Ok. I’m in the minority. I like the increased density. Yes, the bridge and traffic are ridiculous but I like the feel of a neighborhood where people are on the sidewalk, in the cafes and engaged. I’d like building designs to be more interesting and add to the neighborhood but I haven’t looked at this one yet. I, personally, love both Capitol Hill and Ballard for those reasons and go there often and yes, I when rented I lived there and loved it. But now I own my home in WS.

  • GFC June 5, 2013 (12:32 am)

    What? Only five units? We moved to West Seattle for the ‘small town’ feel (and the views) about 25 years ago. At least we still have the views.

  • Ajax June 5, 2013 (1:38 am)

    As someone who lives within spitting distance of this property, I certainly won’t miss the rats, the overgrown weeds, the ad hoc fireworks testing ground once school is out, the creepers hanging out for hours in their parked cars, or the drunks walking home who stop to water the above-mentioned weeds. Of course, as a “transient” townhome owner who has only lived in West Seattle for 10 years I guess I shouldn’t have any opinion about this.

    @Caprial – any realtor will tell you that your home will be worth more with new $400K+ townhomes next door than with a derelict abandoned restaurant. If you just don’t want change, fair enough, but don’t pretend like this is going to negatively effect your property value.

  • MK June 5, 2013 (4:07 am)

    I will miss seeing the Charleston. I think it would have been nice to have a restaurant instead of more ugly town homes. I have many good memories of going to the Charleston for brunch after church, circa mid 1980’s. Another WS landmark hits the dust.

  • Zak June 5, 2013 (4:33 am)

    I recall donating $20 bucks to the cause in ’05. The waitress explained that PetCo was relocating and the Cafe couldn’t compete. I feel underwhelmed and duped.

  • sc June 5, 2013 (5:39 am)

    we live near 46th and Charlestown. Last night we were “treated” to the sounds of cars speeding up and down the hill between 46th and 47th. I think someone could open an oil pan replacement concession near by! Am also wondering about parking space requirements for the site. I guess the neighborhood can say good by to on street parking spaces near their homes!

  • sophista-tiki June 5, 2013 (6:38 am)

    Once again greedy real estate devlopment wins out over everything. The amount of density being create in this town is gross. FYI shoving more people into the same amount of space does NOT make it more ” vibrant. ” It creates chaos and stress. I’m speaking in genral about the amount of new construction around here not specifically about one property thats been vacant for a couple of yrs. Gotta train those young people that living in a restricted amount of space , crawling ontop of each other like rats is a good thing. ,,,,,,,very shortsighted.

  • Smitty June 5, 2013 (6:59 am)

    We are what we are. A big city neighborhood.

    I just want to make certain that the city and/or the developer either reroute the traffic on Charlestown (east of California) or add in some traffic calming measures to deter its use as an arterial – which it is most certainly not.

    The easiest way would to not have any access via Charlestown, only in and out from California.

    • WSB June 5, 2013 (7:09 am)

      The “site plan” shows a curb cut on Bradford and that’s it – the existing ones on California are sketched in for removal and there is none roughed in on the Charlestown site. But this project hasn’t been scheduled for design review yet, which means even the rough outline could change.

  • Jackie June 5, 2013 (7:33 am)

    WSB, is there any built in check system with development and density management? There is a point of critical mass at some point here with what the city can handle (schools & roass) in terms of density and what will have a detrimental effect to the area and the property values. ?? Or are we just flying by the seat of our pants?

    • WSB June 5, 2013 (7:40 am)

      Jackie – we were just talking about this around the WSB HQ coffee table, regarding “the big picture” vs. the way development is usually discussed, a project here, a project there, a project over there … Some longtime neighborhood activists/advocates know the details most intricately but … there are, for example, growth targets set in some of the neighborhood plans, but references back to that sort of information doesn’t particularly have a place in the discussions of a project here/a project there. So who IS tending “the big picture”? I’m working on something about all this. IF any lurkers read this and have something to suggest we check out, please e-mail me ( if you don’t want to just post it openly here. Thanks! – Tracy

  • Gene June 5, 2013 (7:45 am)

    It seems to me that enough time has passed that if any investor or group of investors had been interested in putting a restaurant of some sort there they would have come forward by now- obviously that has not happened. I can’t fault the owner for selling his property for the best price he can get.
    While it would have been great to have another restaurant in that location – I guess the interest by investors just wasn’t there.

  • Michelle Sturm June 5, 2013 (7:59 am)

    I miss Charlestown. I miss working there, I miss my customers, my coworkers. Hell, I even miss Ron! It’ll be a sad sad day to see it torn down for more living space.

  • Larry June 5, 2013 (8:06 am)

    Homestead restaurant?

  • Ray West June 5, 2013 (8:33 am)

    Where do I even begin. I knew this would happen, it was pretty obvious that the owner wanted to sell/develop this property for this type of venture, but I still held out hope there would be another family-style restaurant that would take over the space. What really concerns me is that California Avenue is just becoming a dark, overpowering solid wall of condos and townhouses dominating the landscape. There is little thought to the aesthetics or how this impacts the community as a whole. It’s just build, build, build.

    And anyone who still has a “view” should be nervous. If someone can find a way to build in front of you, they will.

  • M June 5, 2013 (8:46 am)

    I think all of you should band together and open a restaurant there.

  • Carlton June 5, 2013 (8:53 am)

    People have money to buy. They will sell like pancakes!

  • JoAnne June 5, 2013 (9:08 am)

    No limits on density are wanted by outsiders who profit from it.
    The original community here in West Seattle was displaced a long time ago. We are strangers in our own homes.

  • Caprial June 5, 2013 (9:52 am)

    @ Ajax; My other concern is that the city is very into making the almighty dollar these days, desperate even. If the developer asked for a waiver on the height restriction of 30′ to 40′ he certainly would get it. That means I would have people looking down into my yard/house. Not to even mention the lack of sunlight into the yard. Who wants that? It would have been better sold to Petco or another restaurant that people could meet and socialize at (not a bar though). Homestyle restaurant preferred.

  • twobottles June 5, 2013 (9:56 am)

    JoAnne, by “original community” you must of course be referring to the Duwamish, right?

  • Rick June 5, 2013 (10:26 am)

    Oh, the self righteous among us. Who did the Duwamish get THEIR land from? Or did people not exist before that time? Please help me to understand.

    • WSB June 5, 2013 (10:41 am)

      Duwamish history, since you ask:
      Excerpt: “As the First People of this area, the Dkhw’Duw’Absh witnessed geologic events that occurred in Puget Sound during the last Ice Age. Events recounted in the extensive oral history of the Dkhw’Duw’Absh have been confirmed by scientific discoveries. In 1979, an archeological excavation in the Dkhw’Duw’Absh ancestral homeland unearthed artifact fragments that were radiocarbon-dated to the Sixth Century AD, attesting to the antiquity of their tenure in this area.”

  • Itcouldbeworse June 5, 2013 (10:30 am)

    It could have been a box store or mega project. Is there a target density number in the neighborhood urban village plan?

  • wetone June 5, 2013 (10:32 am)

    If your not happy about what is going on here in W/S send a letter or email to the City or better yet form a group to tackle the issues. They are the ones that are responsible for the build up of this area. Developers are just taking full advantage of what the city allows them and by changing the names of their projects like: Rowhouse or Townhouse, live-work or commercial space, Micro or Lofts, it is all in the wording. It all has to do with parking requirements, property set-backs, how to get back most return on investment and so on. To me the biggest issue I see is how the roads in this area will handle all the traffic ? how do you get in and out of this area being limited by the bridges ? There is no area in Seattle that has the limited road infrastructure like W/S. Most are one lane and with the increased cars and maybe buses it will push more and more to the side streets and create very hazardous driving conditions and for kids. As said before Design Board is only for the design and function of the projects and very little on the impact of area. I do wish the city would require Design board members to be from area and have to walk property of projects their involved with so when people ask or raise a question they would have a better understanding, not just using pictures and sketches their given to go off. People need to go these meetings. The city really has no clue on what they have allowed here and what the impacts from all this will be in 5yrs. City is more into $$$$$$$ now and worrying about the impacts later = big problems for a lot of people that live here. Building should stop with what they have in the works now, say for 5yrs until they see the impacts of what they have created. I’m not against the build up of this area but I think they are going a little to quick and see a few problems down the road we will be forever stuck with.

  • Rick June 5, 2013 (11:06 am)

    Thank you for the history lesson Tracy. I was uninformed.

  • L. June 5, 2013 (11:33 am)

    The schools are already overcrowded. There is so much traffic on the bridge (and all over WS). It’s very sad that the neighborhood we once loved has changed so much that we are willing to sell our house and move. Wow.

  • ca June 5, 2013 (11:36 am)

    sorry to say, I am starting to be dissapointed in WS. I was born and raised here my whole life, traffic and these insane apartments/townhomes are out of control. Not to mention pizza places. might have to be looking to relocate to smaller rural area :(

  • Gene June 5, 2013 (11:36 am)

    To Caprial– Maybe it would have been ” better” to sell to a restaurant– but it appears NO existing restaurant wanted to lease the property & NO ONE was interested in buying the property & building a restaurant. This property has been sitting vacant for 2 years- the owner is paying taxes– how long should he have to wait for a buyer the WS public agrees on?

  • All for it June 5, 2013 (11:39 am)

    Hate to say it again, but yes, similar to ballard. look at the access to I-5. If im not mistaken Ballards main route is a mostly 2 lane road. Whats it take to get to 5 in rush hour 45 min?

    Light rail wont come till we get density. too bad… theyve already got a shaft sunk by the junction….and what 3 tbm’s just finished UW to downtown route. what 4 machines from brightwater…i guess 2 sunk……but we do have Bertha…….seems like big picture should be on a state level with 5 machines passing though town…..its pretty much a straight shot to the rail yard…..tunnels and trains should be the longterm outlook imo.

  • East Coast Cynic June 5, 2013 (2:38 pm)

    All for it, we’re approaching density today, so there should at the very least be drawing board plans for rail, some right of way transit or widening of the WSB for the future when we hit “density”.

    Unfortunately, the way this city works is they won’t start planning the transit alternatives until we’re seriously suffering at the crisis density point.

  • Brooke June 5, 2013 (2:49 pm)

    I live right behind this site, and while this could be worse, I’m not looking forward to having the sun blotted out if they apply to exceed building height and having new neighbors to look directly down upon my back yard/porch. Degradation of any semblance of sunlight (scarce to begin with) or privacy can’t help property value. There ought to be some type of balance here: build, but don’t hog if you want to be my neighbor.

  • Caprial June 5, 2013 (2:51 pm)

    To Gene; The reason that no other entity made a bid on the property is that the owner was emphatic and somewhat over-the-top with his expectations money-wise for the space. Both sale price or rental price. He wouldn’t budge. We went to the meetings, and will continue to go to the meetings. Only developers apparently had the funds to deal with him. Good for him, bad for the community.

    The reason the restaurant left was that he wouldn’t do repairs on the building, which were huge, and caused the Charleston to close it’s doors.

  • BMC June 5, 2013 (3:03 pm)

    No recorded sales price yet for that big parcel. The number is 757770-0125 if anyone wants to check in the future.

    • WSB June 5, 2013 (3:06 pm)

      Thanks; I checked while working on this story and would have published that info if a sale had been on the books. Lately, at least with some projects we’ve covered, sales are contingent on the proposed project getting to a certain stage.

  • Liberal June 5, 2013 (4:17 pm)


    You cannot have it both ways. Either you are for increasing density and thereby reduce urban sprawl or you are for the suburbanization of our forests and outlying areas.

    With that comes townhouses, apartments, and multi family housing. This has been an vacant building for what 2 years now. Come on. Really?? You people are this upset. Get real

  • Kae June 5, 2013 (4:38 pm)

    It’s the person, not the building, that makes it or breaks it. My husband and I bought our West Seattle townhouse 5 years ago and love it. Less money for more features and space. Neighbors were pissed townhouses were coming. We’ve grown a lush beautiful garden in our yard and the surrounding area and constantly get compliments from passers-by, even people saying ‘thank you’ for making a townhouse look so nice, the nicest home on the block.

    If it’s an aesthetic issue, I never hear people complain about the run down dumps of apartments or unkept houses.

    If you don’t like density, don’t live in the city. Density is good for local businesses.

  • Gene June 5, 2013 (4:48 pm)

    To Caprial– is there something wrong with the owner wanting top dollar for his property? Were there any potential buyers who wanted to put a restaurant there- but dropped out because of the price?? Would like to know who — have any names?
    That corner is a huge piece of real estate- & while something other than housing would have been my preference — I don’t think it’s ” bad for the community”. What’s bad for the community- in my opinion is for the old Charlestown continue to be a weed infested – rat infested eyesore.

  • twobottles June 5, 2013 (6:23 pm)

    I did not intend to be “self righteous” in bringing up the Duwamish. Rather I was trying to point out that every time the discussion of density comes up, someone has to mention “how it used to be” or in this case the “original community”.

    I’ve lived in West Seattle for 26 years (renter first, now in my second home) and in fact have lived in WS longer than any other community I’ve lived in and consider it my home. So am I part of the community or am I considered a newbie usurper of the Golden Age of WS, a destroyer of “how it used to be”?

    How long must one live here to be part of WS and not looked down upon? Twenty years, thirty years, more? Or perhaps in some minds, since I was not born here, I’ll always be “that new guy”, a stranger that doesn’t quite fit in.

  • w.s. maverick June 5, 2013 (6:52 pm)

    old west seattle will be gone in about 5 years so if anyone wants to stand up to anything else going to happen to the junction lets do this, because its going away

  • KC June 5, 2013 (7:08 pm)

    Oh my god, I can’t stand all the complaining. I wish it was this, I wish it was that, those awful developers, those greedy developers, blah, blah, blah. Enough already! We live in a free country, a land of opportunity where capitalism is alive and well. If you wanted a diner, brewpub, whatever…why didnt you do it yourself? This is good for the business owners that weathered difficult times. If you’re complaining that your real estate value will drop, consider Manhattan, NY, the most densely populated geography in the country…BUT the highest real estate costs.

  • Mark June 5, 2013 (8:09 pm)

    Thought it would have been a perfect place for a Dicks drive inn.

  • Seattlite June 5, 2013 (8:59 pm)

    wetone you’re spot on with your comments. I’ve lived in WS for over 61 years. WS’s limited access seems to have dictated its lack of adequate infrastructure (roadways, transportation) to accommodate density growth. The city and developers could care less about the effects of poor infrastructure planning on the WS community as long as their pockets are being lined with green.

  • NeighborMom June 5, 2013 (9:19 pm)

    I live a block from here… I’m fine with townhomes, but I’m not excited about this whole “call it live/work to get out of having commercial space” trend. This same team is doing it everywhere and the review board already warned them to knock it off. So yes, please inquire and let them know we said WTF?! The building on the NW corner of that intersection got a slow start but it’s full now. And they can forget getting the height restrictions lifted. I think the neighbors were pretty clear about that last time around… Finally, if its going to be the same as the Calif/Spokane townhomes, they are ridiculously close to the street. No room for even a blade of grass on the south side. Counting on the review board to deal with this!!!!

  • Charles Town June 5, 2013 (10:35 pm)

    NeighborMom– well said. The town homes need to be tasteful, follow height restrictions and have off street parking. I’d like to see a buffer from the street too. WOW, those Cali/Spokane units are TALL and right ON TOP of the lot. Really makes it unaesthetic.

    With 30(!) units, there will be tons of people with cars. Some with two…

    This whole “no off street parking needed if near a transit line” rule is BS! The reality is that to get downtown from here, you have to grab a 128/50 and then transfer to the C line. The 55 still goes direct, but with the cuts this year and in the future, it isn’t as accessible as it once was and might be discontinued all together.

  • diane June 5, 2013 (11:00 pm)

    We live in a “city” and 10-15 years ago each neighborhood had meetings to determine that the neighborhoods would plan for more density instead of LA sprawl. I for one don’t want to spend all my time and money taking care of a house anymore. I would like to sell mine and move to a modern style townhome but unfortunately my house down the street on Charlestown is not worth as much as these new townhomes. Bummed

  • Danny Del Rio June 6, 2013 (12:17 am)

    This is not helping with sprawl. Most people I know that grew up in West Seattle have been priced out. They now live in Kent, Renton, Lacy and so on. Those who made a little more money now live in Sammamish, Bellevue, Kirkland ect. in new sprawling subdivisions!

  • Ajax June 6, 2013 (1:39 am)

    If I had my wish this lot would be made into a park. But considering that most developers are the opposite of altruistic, it could be worse. Since they feel that 30 units will fit in nicely at 3829 California, I would assume that they could justify 500+ on the Charlestown property. I will be attending all of the design review meetings for this project just as I did and continue to do for the 3829 meetings. Speak up and demand what you want – there is way too much passive agressive Seattle complaining and too little action on these matters. I will be pushing for true retail to be in the mix as this stretch of California could use it. Anyone with half decent coffee and passable customer service could make a fortune at this location – the coffee choices between Freshy’s and Hotwire are 7-Eleven and the 76 corner store.

  • DTK June 6, 2013 (5:08 am)

    Horses. That’s the answer to everything. Horses.

  • pjmanley June 6, 2013 (9:39 am)

    As with any other proposal, go to the design review meetings and voice your concerns. You can’t stop development, but you can persuade developers and city officials to consider issues they conveniently overlook early in the process, before the train really gets rolling. Parking, for example, is becoming a huge issue in WS, because everyone has cars, but fewer and fewer have anywhere to park them, thanks to relaxed requirements sought – or bought and paid for – by developers. No, it’s not the West Seattle I first came to in ’92, but it’s still a great place, and can still be a great place if we, the residents show up at meetings with reasonable, relevant comments and concerns, and at least attempt to do something if we care.

  • pupsarebest June 6, 2013 (9:49 am)

    Good news/bad news:
    First the bad news—-more crappy, cheaply-constructed, pedestrian and ugly housing is being thrown up, and units are expected to sell at $500,000+ a pop.
    Good news—-given that ridiculous, inflated price, our lovely home on Gatewood Hill, with a spectacular Sound/Mountain view, should sell for at least $1,500,000.

  • NeighborMom June 6, 2013 (1:39 pm)

    Ajax – YES on coffee. And baked goods. My husband will be camped out there!

    Also, DRB doesn’t control parking requirements, people. The city does, and that ship had sailed.

    And the townhome owners who live in this area take care of their homes and care about their community, just like people in single family homes. Why all the disrespect?

  • sam-c June 6, 2013 (3:09 pm)

    the City just has no clue. they are busy spending money on street cars in areas that already have light rail, etc. while we stumble along in WS with declining bus service….

  • I'mcoveredinbees June 7, 2013 (9:10 pm)

    Biggest problem is the surface streets. Getting pretty sick of trying to make it up and down California already. The area around the junction is a joke now, and it’s going to get a lot worse when those new megaprojects are done. Sigh… We really do not have the streets for this…

Sorry, comment time is over.