Followup: 4755 Fauntleroy developers call mayor’s stance ‘surprising’

(40th SW side of the 4755 Fauntleroy project, from the “packet” from last week’s Design Review meeting)
As reported – and extensively discussed – here on Tuesday, Mayor McGinn has put up a potential roadblock in the permit-seeking path of the 4755 Fauntleroy Way project, by telling SDOT to not recommend approval of the “alley vacation” the plan requires. While continuing to update that story Tuesday afternoon and evening, we sought comment from the development team, Lennar Homes (responsible for the residential component) and Weingarten Realty (handling the commercial component, anchored by a Whole Foods Market). Here’s the statement we received late today:

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to Mayor McGinn’s comments about our mixed-use re-development, located at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW.

Less than two years ago, the City Council adopted, and Mayor McGinn signed, an ordinance creating the West Seattle Triangle Plan. The Plan calls for the vacation of the alley in this block and the creation of a new mid-block connector – goals this project has fully embraced.

Mayor McGinn’s comments are surprising given the Mayor’s past support of developments that add housing and retail along transit lines and bike lanes. In fact, our re-development is designed with alternate modes of transportation in mind.

The statement continues after the jump:

We orientate the project’s most prominent architectural feature with the West Seattle’s RapidRide bus stop, three transit lines run in front of the project on Fauntleroy and we are voluntarily widening Fauntleroy Way SW to add a bicycle lane.

The re-development furthers the Mayor’s sustainability and public safety goals, creating safe, walkable streets by adding wide sidewalks and creating a new ‘green street’ with public plazas and community open spaces.

This project is consistent with City process. Seattle has a very thorough process for deciding if a project has created adequate “public benefit” to vacate a site’s public alleyway. This process respects the inputs and recommendations from City Boards and Commissions and the public.

The proposal to vacate an on-site alley went through exhaustive vetting by DPD, SDOT, the Design Commission and the West Seattle Design Review Board. Under the City’s established process, the Design Commission unanimously recommended approval of the alley vacation and, just last week, the West Seattle Design Review Board also recommended approval of the project. Strong public support in favor of the re-development was seen at all meetings.

A public benefit package valued at more than $2M is the result for the West Seattle community and includes the following:

• Activation of a city-designated Green Street on 40th Ave. SW
• Creation of 5,000+ s.f. of public plazas and open space on site
• Widening 40th Ave. SW on the north end of the block
• Creation of 6-10’ wide bands of landscaping around the project
• Addition of a 5’ wide bike lane on Fauntleroy
• Curation and installation of public art
• Funding for design of a new city park on 40th Ave SW

The parameters for our project, including its size, footprint and scale, were guided by the vision set forth in the community’s West Seattle Triangle Plan and are strongly supported by the community. This was the Plan approved by the community and the Council, and signed by Mayor McGinn.

We look forward to continued dialogue with the City and our neighbors in West Seattle as the project moves forward.

The regional president of Whole Foods issued a statement yesterday, and it can be seen at the end of our original Tuesday report. The full 12-item “public benefit” list that was presented to the Design Commission is in the packet from the June meeting at which they recommended approval – you can see it on page 40 here. The next step for the project is for the official SDOT report to be written and for the project to go to the City Council’s Transportation Committee, which in turn will make a recommendation to the council. If the council approved the “alley vacation,” the city and developers would then start talking about selling the alley; if not, the development could not proceed as planned, but would have the option of going back and redesigning without the “vacation.”

The property for the project was sold to the developers by multiple property owners late last year for a total of more than $18 million.

64 Replies to "Followup: 4755 Fauntleroy developers call mayor's stance 'surprising'"

  • Jim P. July 17, 2013 (8:45 pm)

    It’s election season, you can expect more strange postures from politicians than in a Yoga class full of drunken contortionists and what they said or did or agreed to last year is vapor in the wind.

    The soft rustle of folding green can cancel out any stance a politician took prior to the check clearing. Scrutinize the mayor’s donor list and I suspect the answers will be blatant.

  • DTK July 17, 2013 (8:51 pm)

    Whole Foods wouldn’t last year, so please move along and find an anchor tenant that will enhance this budding metropolis like, say, a first-run cinema.

  • lookingforlogic July 17, 2013 (9:04 pm)

    Just insinuating himself into to development situations for future opportunities.

    DUH, politics.

  • NW July 17, 2013 (9:17 pm)

    These folks are not our neighbors which this response from the developers state they are. If they were our neighbors they would not want to build this enormous project and further congest the bridge getting in and out of West Seattle.

  • Ted Nakahara July 17, 2013 (9:33 pm)

    Well…at least McSchwinn was for it before he was against it.

  • pupsarebest July 17, 2013 (10:40 pm)

    I guess maybe I’m naive—but West Seattle does NOT need another grocery store, massive condo development or more traffic without decent transportation options…so whatever motivates our Mayor, (in this case) his stance is correct.

  • Denny July 17, 2013 (10:57 pm)

    I continue to support this development and the alley vacation that allows it to be built. The current alley behind the gas station is ugly, littered and unused.
    The developers are correct when they say this design fits the Triangle plan. It’s actually about 20% smaller than it could be, and has much more parking than the city requires. This is where we want density in WS – in the core, on transportation lines, creating a more walkable area.
    The concerns about too many grocery stores is overblown. They wouldn’t build it if market studies showed it wouldn’t be successful. You don’t like that store? Don’t shop there.
    I am born & raised in WS and embrace that we are going to continue to grow, evolve. Clearly there’s a lot of public involvement, and that will keep our community vibrant.
    I hope the council recognizes the significant public support this project has garnered over way too many public meetings.
    Take my alley, please.

  • Grant July 17, 2013 (11:12 pm)

    Settle down, folks. Let the mayor throw his fit. It’s primary season; he had to make some kind of dramatic (if, on analysis, strange) pro-labor gesture.

    What I’m saying is, I can’t imagine McGinn actually wants the City Council to support his recommendation. But he had to issue it (or some other politicized edict), nonetheless. Would he really want to derail a whole mixed-use project over a beef with Whole Foods?

  • Mark July 18, 2013 (3:53 am)

    Safeway and QFC are union shops. Whole Foods is non-union. Obviously the union put the push on the Mayor and it worked.

    Shouldn’t we let shoppers decide?

  • Wsresident July 18, 2013 (6:27 am)

    Amen Denny! Couldn’t agree more.

  • Peter on Fauntleroy July 18, 2013 (6:59 am)

    That is a thorough and thoughtful response. I strongly support this development (but I still hate Whole Foods). I used to support McGinn until this nonsense. His opposition goes against everything he’s said about building a sustainable, walkable city. I’ve challenged his staff to tell me specifically what public benefit the current blight and decay provides.

  • F16CrewChief July 18, 2013 (7:04 am)

    Why is it that if any elected official makes a stand on something, people think it’s some re-election bid or campaign move? Don’t we elect people at all levels of our government to make stances like this? I’d rather have an elected official being active in their represented district rather than some absent elected official that spends more time vacationing then representing their people.

  • LivesInWS July 18, 2013 (7:41 am)

    Just because the present scene is ugly is not a rationale for the city to give away its property (the alley) without getting something more than the typical bloated mixed-used development.

    Whole Foods is not hurting. We’ve plenty of grocery stores already.

  • Craig July 18, 2013 (8:20 am)

    We do not have the infrastructure to support all this
    The junction would cease to function

  • JAT July 18, 2013 (8:30 am)

    It seems to me that most of the criticism of Mayor McGinn’s action is rooted in scorn for him or the misguided belief that capitalism is the same thing as democracy.
    We have a political process, and McGinn is a process nerd – If we’re going to give away our public property for the benefit of private corporations we should follow a sensible process to protect our collective long range public interest.
    There’s been very little of that in Seattle over the past few decades.
    Let the elected City Counsel make the call rather than the unelected SDOT.
    Is the alley ugly? Maybe. but we don’t need to trade it for three artisinal magic beans, besides they probably have artisinal magic beans across the street at West Seattle Produce Company!

  • Linda July 18, 2013 (9:14 am)

    I vote a different anchor business such as a first run cinema…whole foods isn’t a good match for west seattle and I’ve never liked the idea of them being here in the first place…we don’t need them…but the project rocks…just not whole foods..

  • michael ford July 18, 2013 (9:15 am)

    Once again Seattle shows why nothing ever gets done here!!!!! Lets study this to death!!!!! Make everyone pissed off and kill the project like they did with the Mona rail. Lets all go backwards once again. Yes the West Seattle bridge is going to become more and more full of drivers that is already set in stone by Metro killing bus service here in West Seattle. By all of the new apts and other building going on here also and us only having oneway in and out of here. So if we want things to change we need to look at the cities around us not 3rd world counties to fix our transit problems. I feel we need to look north to Vancover and south to Portland and see what they’ve been doing and how it has been doing good things for those cities.

  • McFail July 18, 2013 (9:27 am)

    If McGinn was able to land the Sonics(NBA) or Hockey (NHL) he would be on vacation right now… Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure there would have been some alley vacations, and other processes that would have been “fast tracked” for the new arena…

  • Lola P July 18, 2013 (9:29 am)

    I keep asking about the impact of these two huge developments on evacuation of WS in a natural disaster or emergency. Their location would create a major bottleneck. Any way they can be stopped is a good move. Even if it does come from the mayor.

  • McFail July 18, 2013 (9:36 am)

    What the public benefit for the alley vacation for the remodeled Admiral Safeway? More parking?

  • NDelridge July 18, 2013 (9:47 am)

    @Denny…Its not that fact there is another grocery store, its the fact that its another grocery store down the street from three others.

    “In addition, if the City is going to transfer its assets or otherwise help grocers build new facilities, we should encourage grocers willing to locate in underserved areas identified as having low food security and poor food access, consistent with the strategies identified in the City’s
    Food Action Plan.” -except from Mayor’s Memo.

    There are large parts of West Seattle with horrendous access to grocery stores (there are 7 within 1.5 miles of each other around the junctions). And all this does is create a larger issue trying to get to those said grocery stores.

    I would also suggest people look up the two corporations running this development (especially the quality of Lennar Homes, and the business practices/lawsuits of Weingarten -WRI) and see if you really think they are here to support our/your community now and in the future.

  • Mickey July 18, 2013 (9:59 am)

    Why do we think the Mayor’s statement is political? Follow the money, and the endorsement. It absolutely is. And it’s the only thing that explains this hypocritical position. And btw, we don’t get to VOTE on who a developer leases space to.

    • WSB July 18, 2013 (10:19 am)

      Datapoint since this has been brought up and I don’t have a separate place to report it right now:
      UFCW 21, which, as we have reported for months, has been actively voicing concerns about this project, just announced its re-endorsement of Mayor McGinn. The news release we received includes a mention of his memo.

  • CJ July 18, 2013 (10:15 am)

    They lost me at “orientate”.

  • NotYou July 18, 2013 (10:20 am)

    So the folks who left us with the Whole in the ground, and killed a few local retail businesses along the way (in a state that relies on sales tax revenues) says the Mayor’s stance is surprising. I call it refreshing.

    You can nitpick the discussion about the development, the land owner, the construction company, etc. Bottom Line is Whole Foods made a mess in the junction, and they walked away from it unscathed. I say they can pound sand.

    • WSB July 18, 2013 (10:44 am)

      NotYou – No, these are NOT “the folks who left us with the Whole in the ground.” Whole Foods was scheduled as a tenant for the project across the street at 3922 SW Alaska. Not the developer, not the builder. (Nor are they in this project, for that matter.) WF was still a planned tenant when it went idle in late 2008 due to a situation that had nothing to do with them and everything to do with the original ownership, among others, and was hashed out extensively in court. Almost two years after the project stalled months after the 2008 groundbreaking, when the WF lease depended on a store being open in a completed project, they dropped out.
      At that point the litigation was under way and there was no indication when or how that project would resume. We covered it extensively here, including the court fight, which resulted in a verdict in late 2010 and then a settlement of other components in 2011 and the subsequent foreclosure auction, which left the site under new ownership that decided to lease the retail space to LA Fitness. The original developer of “The Hole,” under the name Fauntleroy Place and originally scheduled for two major tenants – Whole Foods and Hancock, was BlueStar (whose West Seattle troubles also left another site fallow for years – 5020 California SW, which also eventually went into foreclosure and bank sale and is currently being developed by a new owner as “The Blake Apartments”). – TR

  • Pigeonpoint July 18, 2013 (10:26 am)

    Building mutiiple dwelling units with insufficient parking capacity is not what I would call favoring mass transit.

  • Twobottles July 18, 2013 (10:27 am)

    Let the marketplace decide if we need another grocery store (pizzeria, Mexican restaurant, bar, etc.) Unless you’ve talked to and received consensus from every citizen in WS, you have no basis for any such claim.

  • Kristin July 18, 2013 (10:29 am)

    Born and raised Austinite turned Seattleite a couple of years ago and I’m thrilled for a Whole Foods. Sorry folks, but I despise PCC (quality and offerings are limited); Metropolitan is fine but I think Whole Foods is better. I use to be a huge fan of Trader Joes but have found their produce offerings to be horrible – everything has mold on it before you even buy it. You have to embrace growth (growing up in Austin, Seattleites are nothing like Austinites when it comes to pushing back on development). I agree that congestion on the WS bridge is a nightmare, but as population grows, this is inevitable. A cinema would be awesome! I vote that we give PCC the boot, and put Whole Foods there (prob not enough space though), and add a cinema to the new triangle development.

  • David July 18, 2013 (10:42 am)

    The Whole Foods thing is NOT the mayor’s business. Butt out. That’s up to customers to decide if they will shop there.
    Guys,we already have Whole Foods in Seattle. Couple of them. This isn’t some new issue for the city. If you don’t like them, or any other business, don’t shop there. We have plenty of choices. If this was the ONLY grocery in town I’d be more concerned.

  • AlkiGrl July 18, 2013 (11:04 am)

    @NDelridge: Right on!

  • Mayor July 18, 2013 (11:42 am)

    McGinn has my vote.

  • wsres July 18, 2013 (12:04 pm)

    In terms of the argument, “we already have enough grocery stores…” Obviously Whole Foods did a feasibiltiy study – they wouldn’t come to WS without believing there was sufficient demand for their presence. Many West Seattle-ites, myself included are thrilled Whole Foods is coming to the neighborhood and very much hope that McGinn’s alignment with the unions doesn’t derail the effort. If ever there were a place for urban density, it’s in the WS Junction. I say, bring it on!

  • David July 18, 2013 (12:27 pm)

    But a movie theater would be far worse traffic than an apartment. :) Many of the apt folks will probably take the rapid ride or other buses downtown to work. But a theater will be all cars, with hundreds leaving at exactly the same moment, when the movie lets out. Imagine that intersection then. While with work commute, that’s spread over hours of time.

  • WholeFoodsImpact July 18, 2013 (12:29 pm)

    There are other considerations about Whole Foods impact, over time, on neighboring businesses (restaurants, in particular) which people don’t seem to be addressing. And I say this as a person who is not a business owner nor affiliated with any business anywhere in Seattle.

    I lived in North Seattle near the Roosevelt (65th Street) Whole Food before it was developed. The developers sold that neighborhood a bill of goods. Whole Foods swallowed many businesses without blinking an eye. Yes, great place to work if you are blind to your own community’s other businesses. This is NOT a local company. It does not VALUE local. It does not care. It will NEVER care. It seduces consumers who just don’t think through consequences. All of this, it did in the Roosevelt District. It will do the same in West Seattle’s Junction. Count on that. Is this scenario worth a fricking food bar of “to go” options? How is that concept conducive to preserving community? Where has the Junction Neighborhood Association been during all of this, btw? Passivity is rarely rewarded in these matters, as you all can see.

    In the years since that Whole Foods Roosevelt complex was completed (and it doesn’t have 400 units of housing), long-established restaurants have died. Eateries cannot complete. Whole Foods will, evenually, kill the small food businesses in the Junction.

    Another point of contention for the Roosevelt/Ravenna Whole Foods store is the bottle-necked traffic on the south side of the complex where Whole Foods receives its deliveries. It is a world-class mess and there is absolutely nothing that neighborhood’s residents and businesses can do about it now. Change is one thing, bad planning is another.

    Top all of that devolution of a long-established business district off with the 65th St. transit station which bumped even more long-time businesses out and, voila, you’ve got West Seattle in 15/20 years. Potentially.

    If you do not believe me, go up to Roosevelt mid-day – and if you can find parking – talk to the older surviving businesses.

    I wish the Huling’s had had a different vision for these WS lots. But their grievous greed is water under the bridge.

    Proceed to get angry and THEN actively work to cooperatively correct the imbalances. I hope many of you late-comers to these development issues learn to PAY ATTENTION and THINK STRATEGICALLY and COOPERATIVELY.

    West Seattle IS worth this.

    And, no, I did not vote for McGinn and am not union.

  • AnotherRealist July 18, 2013 (12:36 pm)

    Where is the City v. Condos group again?

  • SeattleLiving July 18, 2013 (12:39 pm)

    “Multiple dwelling units with insufficient parking capacity is not what I would call favoring mass transit.”
    Yes it is. It’s called a city. New York and Chicago don’t provide parking spaces for every unit in their downtown buildings, no one does. If you want that you move out of the city and to the ecology destroying sprawling suburbs where everyone has chemically treated 1 acre lawns and McMansions with a 3 car garages full of SUVs,and endless strip malls. In a city you never have parking for every resident,that’s just not theoretically possible.

  • PG July 18, 2013 (1:41 pm)

    Seattle Living,

    If there was adequate, useful mass transit instead of the mess we currently have, with over-full buses skipping stops, cutting off service to outlying ares (such as Arbor Heights) and the threat of further cuts in service next year, I might see not offering adequate parking. However, given the crappy mass transit, tenants are going to get cars and then park them where ever they can squeeze into. Fix mass transit and West Seattle residents would be more willing to accept these mega-projects.

  • CW July 18, 2013 (2:16 pm)

    McMayor has made it clear that Whole Foods is no longer welcome in Seattle.

  • Grant July 18, 2013 (3:26 pm)

    As a born ‘n’ raised West Seattleite, I’ve been following this process from the beginning. The developers have been doing everything the city wants, and have been genuinely working within the Triangle vision. (BTW, Pigeonpoint: you’re really faulting the design for “insufficient parking capacity”? I can only imagine the howls of protest if it were excessively car-oriented).

    But now McGinn is asking the impossible: that the development proceed with a magically unionized version of its anchor tenant. That’s not how economic reality works and (I hope) McGinn understands that.

    It’s irresponsible. What concessions does the mayor even want? He’s just trying to score points, and he’s jeopardizing WS’ interests in doing so.

  • ws-person July 18, 2013 (3:28 pm)

    as a west-seattleite i embrace development at that location. we need more people living here to help turn those empty storefronts along california into good restaurants and bars. you’d really rather have empty car lots with chain-link fences?

    as for transit, the way it seems to work here is to first create the need by pumping up the development, and then adding transit when the population grows.

    BTW, the lack of transit funding is thanks to republicans in the state legislature – king county tried to raise funds locally to maintain bus routes but was slapped down by the state.

  • joel July 18, 2013 (3:31 pm)

    mayor must be against job and business growth.

    prefers illegal use of land at tent city to food lifeline and now wants to nix this job growth.

    add an extra bike rack in the plans and he’ll be on board full boat.

  • MrB July 18, 2013 (3:43 pm)

    McGinn just got endorsed by the Grocery Workers Union. How very timely.

    The Mayor has lost my vote on this ridiculous charade over wages and benefits. It’s all about getting the endorsement from the Union as Whole Foods is a non-union shop (unlike all of the other grocery stores in the neighborhood.)

    • WSB July 18, 2013 (4:12 pm)

      MrB – Trader Joe’s is non-union.

  • Seattlite July 18, 2013 (3:57 pm)

    WS’s population has inceased tremendously over the past 40 years or so. I’m 65+ and still can’t get past the lack of roadways, basic infrasture to support all the new development. Development is fine if you have a smart mayor, city council, city planners who want to do the right thing — but Seattle does not have the luxury of smart politicians. Hence, urban village messes in Ballard, Greenwood, Northgate and on and on. November’s mayoral election is right around the corner — start thinking about the direction you want Seattle to go in the coming years.

  • wseadawg July 18, 2013 (4:08 pm)

    I wonder how many who vent so furiously about these things attend city council meetings or design review meetings? Seriously though, I expect many people will shop at WF, even though their CEO is a despicable conniving rat who spread false rumors about his competitors on message boards to weaken their stock prices and pump his own, among other unethical practices. (See But heck, if people are willing to pay the WF premium and shop at that scumbag CEO’s store, then the choice is WF over the local shops and there ain’t much we can do about it. Plus, admit it folks: WF provides that little slice of the Bellevue suburbs many in WS secretly long for, without having to move across the lake.

  • clementine July 18, 2013 (4:42 pm)

    Seattlite…I agree with you 100%. Though I don’t like all the new development, growth is inevitable. It’s how the city goes about it that makes all the difference.

  • CMT July 18, 2013 (6:21 pm)

    I understand the union is making a big behind the scenes push to block Whole Foods. I don’t appreciate it. I’ll vote with my dollars (at Whole Foods) thank you very much.

  • CMT July 18, 2013 (6:55 pm)

    I suspect the unions are behind this sudden surge of resistance. Everyone I have talked to in person welcomes Whole Foods. I shop at various of the grocery stores in WS and the Whole Foods at Interbay. WF provides a mix of things the other WS stores don’t provide. I have been waiting a long time and will be very disappointed if this project slows.

  • CMT July 18, 2013 (7:00 pm)

    @Wholefoodsimpact – I lived in Fremont for years and shopped at the Roosevelt Whole Foods and it was the store that drew me to the Roosevelt neighborhood and led me to shop at a number of local shops and restaurants I would not have otherwise known about.

  • West Seattle July 18, 2013 (9:35 pm)

    ” If we’re going to give away our public property for the benefit of private corporations”
    Do you just pull this stuff out from behind your ear? They will be PAYING for the land, at market value.

  • cj July 18, 2013 (10:37 pm)

    I was confused by this move until I read up on what the vacation means on the SDOT site. Considering the alley location and rules/restrictions perhaps everything was not taking into consideration when it was first granted.

  • McFail July 19, 2013 (9:08 am)

    Thanks WSB for the Admiral Safeway link – it was very well documented. “The public benefit will not be so much in the physical things you do, but in the programming of the area – maybe think about a festival, or other exciting things that could happen for the community.” Sounds like it was a reach to define public benefit, but the one proposed here sounds way more substantial.

  • AlkiGrl July 19, 2013 (3:19 pm)

    @wholefoodsimpact: Great points. There is a consignment store off 65th and roosevelt that I like but parking is such a headache I don’t venture there much. I also like to go to a local restaurant there but same issue. WF crowds everyone out, and it’s not free market, (yeah, yeah, I know that one’s coming) -it’s a large National chain coming in with predatory intentions, like walmart. Junction restaurants will be harmed, not to mention local produce markets. No sale of public property for any price is worth that.

  • D. I. D. July 19, 2013 (6:59 pm)

    @ WholeFoodsImpact — 12:29 pm July 18, 2013:
    Spot on. Spot on. Think l-o-n-g term people. Long term…….

  • SaveWestSeattle July 20, 2013 (2:22 pm)

    Let us use this election cycle to protest monster nightmare developments like this from being built —ever! I will host a meeting of residents willing to protest, picket, make a big noise to STOP this scum of a development or more crazy over development including the coffin hotels in WS. This project is a Worst Case Scenario Nightmare precedent for West Seattle and will totally ruin WS as more and more developers point to this HORROR and say they are not building inconsistent to previous buildings. WS was promised in the 1990’s that no building would exceed THREE stories in height. WS was jerked-off by the City assigning Two urban villages to save wealthy areas from the necessity of absorbing more density which would hurt the charm of their neighborhoods. Now we have FOUR villages snuck in the dark of the night and to an unaware public even though WS was on the job, who would believe a monster development would be allowed ever?! It was done by sleazy city reps and developers/property owners…(Denny?) and paid shills practically behind our backs. Plus these sleaze bags and shills do not have to contribute $$ to new schools, roads, sewer upgrades or mitigate the harm done to the community. Oh look, they have donated $20,000 toward a park…sort of. Just like environmental impact…these monster buildings should be required to file a community impact statement and show how they will pay zero out harm. Their list of benefits is a joke. If we don’t start shouting loud and strong it will just get worse…while Magnolia rests and laughs. I live in the Arroyo’s and would host a first meeting of those willing to fight, fight harder…rationally but fiercely. Contact

  • WS Mom July 20, 2013 (8:23 pm)

    @ SaveWestSeattle; perhaps u think that Jefferson Square is more attractive? Short doesn’t equate with attractiveness (Unless u r referring to WS Moms ;) – right? And, pray tell, how much have u personally donated to city parks? I suggest that u use your energy to encourage the city to beautify the entry to WS, and perhaps re-stripe it for our amplle traffic the way it used to be. Help we WSeattlites by focusing on improvements, not obstructing them. This is a fairly attractive development that, fortunately, it is not ‘mega’ in terms of being one massive building. Density beats urban scrall, let’s work together to make sure it is well-done, like this one is.

  • SaveWestSeattle July 21, 2013 (7:40 am)

    Well, personally I could not disagree with you more that 6 or 7 story buildings are in character with non high density residential – local business zoning such has existed in WS for years. I do agree with your silly statement that not lower height developments are attractive but this misses the entire point of my argument. WS can not absorb the extra high density population of FOUR urban villages. These 7 story buildings are built over 1945 built water and sewer systems but the developers do not have to pay to upgrade. In CA, developers have to pay for new schools, teachers, new freeway entrances and have to mitigate the harmful impacts on the existing community and infrastructure ergo not running away with profits then leaving the taxpayers to fix the infrastructure , build new schools and so on. WS Mom, even considering all new residents use Metro to travel to work, they still will own cars, have friends visit who own cars and businesses will draw customers with cars and none of these developments provide sufficient parking. It may be that you like the vibe of over populated Capitol Hill or Queen Anne, etc. It is great for some and fun to visit…but personally I would like to Save West Seattle from becoming the new Capitol Hill and preserve the family and community which is dying. We have FOUR high density areas on a very small peninsula where most everyone must cross a bridge to get out to work and traffic is already insane without the 3,000 or 4,000 units coming in so far. I respect the right for you to enjoy the increased taxes, increase in crime and the usual urban crime of high density areas, the grid locked traffic and hours circling blocks to find parking and so on….but for those who do not think WS should have to endure more abuse, please join the fight!

  • TypoWS July 23, 2013 (3:25 am)

    The information available on confirms that it’s a VOTE by the City Council — and NOT a “recommendation” by the mayor to SDOT — that determines whether streets and alleys can be “vacated.” Here’s the link:

    It does appear to be a bone thrown to Labor to secure an endorsement — based on the date & content of these:
    McGinn’s letter to the developers (7/15)
    UFCW 21’s endorsement of McGinn (news release 7/18)

    But STRANGELY, McGinn does not have the authority to kill this proposal.


    • WSB July 23, 2013 (8:46 am)

      TypoWS – We reported the process in our original story, and have covered a multitude of alley/street-vacation processes. I think it’s been duly noted that the mayor’s stance is not the final say on this. In my recent years of covering this, though, I haven’t ever heard of a mayor sending SDOT a letter instructing them on how to respond to a petition. Maybe it’s happened and just hasn’t been made public. But assuming SDOT, whose appointed director serves at the pleasure of the mayor, does not attempt to challenge him in the forthcoming report – the proposed vacation would go to the Transportation Committee (chaired by West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen) for a public hearing and vote, and then would go to the full Council with either the committee’s recommendation to pass or recommendation not to pass. If the full Council passes it, the mayor could veto it, or not; if he did, then the council – if there’s enough votes – could override the veto. Or not.
      SDOT’s alley/street-vacation specialist Beverly Barnett did not express opposition/concern at the Design Commission’s fourth and final review of this project, which went to that citywide body because, if a project requests a vacation, the commission then reviews its “urban design merit” and “public benefit.” We mention her comments in our report on that final SDC meeting:
      That of course doesn’t mean she was indicating SDOT was at that point in favor of it. But she had expressed some concerns in earlier meetings, and (if you don’t go wade through my entire story) by that fourth review said “it looks a lot better.”
      My next step is to find out what kind of timetable SDOT’s review is on – TR

  • TypoWS July 23, 2013 (11:07 am)

    Thanks, T.R. – As always, you rock!
    My comment about the process was made because so many here seemed to have the assumption that the mayor gets to “decide” these things. Interesting too that this spurred a debate of what “should” be built on that site.
    My main point was/is that IF the mayor issued this letter to appease Labor and gain their endorsement (as it appears based on timing and their statement on their website), his recommendation doesn’t have a lot of “teeth” — given the process…and what’s already happened. Were the unions misled?
    Thanks for your thorough coverage!!

  • Skye July 23, 2013 (10:43 pm)

    Pay attention…this is not downtown Seattle. We are a neighborhhood. We are not Roosevelt, nor the U -District with excellent public transportation. Nor are we primarily singles, we are mostly families, going to have families and aging empty nesters. The issue is not how many grocery stores, nail salons, hair salons or teriyaki joints, its crazy traffic taking over our neighborhood. Do you see high
    rise apartments in the center of Fremont? But, guess what, the have great public
    transportation, we don’t. This is not Bellevue or Redmond and they have
    park& rides, commuter lanes and 5 lane roads and highways we don’t. This place has become more like an island, with developments better for the U-district college students. They have the infrastructure. What we have are some old
    buildings that need replacement, but our neighborhoid cannot handle anymore
    mid or highrise apartments, nor the extra pollution being produced by the longer
    traffic waits. There is no or rare Mom with kids or aging senior that is going to make use of those bike lanes or be able to fully utilize what they are calling Rapid transit ( we all know it’s not rapid).Also, do you really want all your site
    lines blocked and streets dark from building shadows. Bellevue has a downtown
    central park to keep it light and bright. Redmond has Marymoore. New York has
    Central Park. No high rise is allowed to shadow these parks or block significant site lines. Since when was West Seattle the CBD district? The only reason
    developers are here is because it’s a opportunity to stack many small cubes and
    get a big pay check. If we are truly going to be a strong urban city, we need strong transportation plans being implemented. Weingarden is a California developer.

  • Skye July 23, 2013 (11:09 pm)

    Lets all move to Ballard. They have a bigger main street, better planned developments, better transportation, Fred Meyers and amazing foodie restaurants with great chefs and choices. Since WS has now become more like an island, with a one line onto I-5 for most of our jobs….Ballard has a million side streets to move around the city and better biking areas and parks. We can have easy
    access to two major lakes and the Puget Sound. Plus, just a hop to the U-district, Greenlake, Fremont….no more quickie trips to any of these places and soon to be tolled for WS peeps to go almost anywhere but Federal Way and Southcenter.

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