Design packet now online for Junction Flats project, before August 29th design review

That’s the cover image for the “packet” put together by Nicholson Kovalchick Architects for their Junction Flats project at 4433 42nd SW (map), across from Hope Lutheran School/Church in The Junction. The city uploaded it today, in advance of the project’s next Southwest Design Review Board session, which (as first reported here last month) is set for 6:30 pm Thursday, August 29th, at the Senior Center of West Seattle. The project is currently described as four stories, 78 apartments, 2 live-work units, and 52 parking spaces, set for a site that currently holds three single-family homes. You can see the full packet for yourself by going here. The project’s previous SWDRB meeting, for Early Design Guidance, was in January; here’s the final city report.

37 Replies to "Design packet now online for Junction Flats project, before August 29th design review"

  • ripper August 20, 2013 (5:51 pm)

    That looks… awful.

  • jayjayb August 20, 2013 (7:43 pm)

    That might be the ugliest building I have ever seen. I think some of the new architecture coming in here is ok, although I would much prefer more traditional styles. This along with the Capco building are horrible.

  • norskgirl August 20, 2013 (8:21 pm)

    Wow, another bland, benign, non-descript development.

  • Genesee Hill August 20, 2013 (8:21 pm)

    Sort of looks like my beloved Terry Hall at the UW in 1969.

  • LivesInWS August 20, 2013 (8:29 pm)

    Argh, another box building.

  • Cole August 20, 2013 (9:17 pm)

    This building plan not only looks like it is lacking in architectural balance, but iron railings instead of balconies make this substantial structure look cheap; even juliet balconies would improve the the appearance.

    However, even more of a concern is the traffic each morning with families dropping off their kids at the several of the schools on 42nd. It’s already a challenge. I can’t imagine what a 78 unit apartment building will do.

  • WS Mom August 20, 2013 (9:25 pm)

    Okay, wait, 78 apartments and 52 parking spaces. You do the math.

  • sophista-tiki August 20, 2013 (9:29 pm)

    yep, Seattle architects- bound and determined to wipe character off the face of the earth once and for all. – Must comply with mindless gentrification for the masses!!

  • JN August 20, 2013 (9:39 pm)

    It’s a massing, people, not the final product! This is basically a rough outline of what the building will end up looking like.

    • WSB August 20, 2013 (10:00 pm)

      JN – actually, this is for the “recommendations” phase, so this is NOT a massing rendering. As noted in the story, the Early Design Guidance meeting (massing) was back in January.
      All – If you are sincerely interested, please do look at the “packet,” where you’ll see details such as street-level masonry, etc. And I’ve said this before, but it would be interesting to hear what you would consider a better design for a building like this, if not resembling the one proposed here. You’re also welcome to come to the meeting next week, which, as do all Design Review Board meetings, will include public comment – TR

  • raybro August 20, 2013 (9:44 pm)

    Another Box building indeed. Can’t anyone design anymore?

  • Gene August 20, 2013 (10:05 pm)

    Love the sketches that get put out- this one makes 42nd looks wider than it is- like there’s plenty of room to drive both ways- like some kind of a boulevard- ha! I think ugly must be cheaper to build – which is why so many new builds in WS lack any kind of character. You know way back when- there was a building ” boom ” of sorts here. The result was many of the ugly – out of character buildings you can still see around- but seemed “modern” at the time. Too bad history is repeating itself. Change comes- as it must- but thoughtful vision is nowhere to be found- a shame really.

  • William August 20, 2013 (10:31 pm)

    How about some brick!!

  • ltfd August 20, 2013 (10:35 pm)

    What a wonderful “living-in box”, which, appropriately, continues the Seattle War-on-Cars (78 units, 2 live-work units, and 52 parking spaces). Nice.

  • ttt August 20, 2013 (10:40 pm)

    Giant box.

    How about some masonry that adds details? (like some of the building facades in the junction area). Interesting lighting/outside light fixtures on the building…

    Some modern box buildings can look interesting, but many look like giant boxes with no character.

    • WSB August 20, 2013 (11:31 pm)

      Masonry is a big part of the exterior, which is why I mentioned it higher up this thread. See page 15 for a closeup detail. Page 24 has all the materials, for those who are interested: Brick, cedar, metal, aluminum…

  • flimflam August 21, 2013 (6:04 am)

    those lovely bars/railings make it look like a Holiday Inn or similar. such vision these developers have.

  • Parking August 21, 2013 (6:42 am)

    Parking won’t be a problem because the building will likely turn into subsidized housing like all the other new complexes that won’t hit occupancy targets.

  • patt August 21, 2013 (7:53 am)

    Do like the fact that in the drawing the building looks like it is 3 buildings right up next to one and other. Good design direction, breaks the box look up.

  • AEL August 21, 2013 (8:02 am)

    Big ugly box with a serious lack of parking. Come on, people!

  • JoAnne August 21, 2013 (8:22 am)

    If they are going to provide parking for only 60% of the tenants, they should not be allowed to rent more than 50% of the units to people with cars.
    The other half should be required to sign some type of contract that assures they will NOT be bringing cars into the neighborhood, and if they do they bring in a car, they will be evicted.
    Our streets are already clogged with too many cars. We do not need another greedy developer exploiting our streets to park their tenants.

  • nyhopi August 21, 2013 (8:46 am)

    I am not too keen on the design either especially since the firm that is building it NK “principle” Brandon, is an elected board member of the West Seattle Junction Association, and a member of the Admiral Neighborhood Association.

    As WSB has said this is still in the design phase and has not been finallized. I would just hope that with someone so “connected” with our neighborhood would really want to pull out all the stops and WOW us all with some unique and thoughtful design work!

  • MyEye August 21, 2013 (9:36 am)

    No amount of masonry is going to make that building look any less ugly.

  • munny August 21, 2013 (9:44 am)

    Yep, just another big box apartment/condo that looks like every other big box apartment/condo….sigh…

  • cowpie August 21, 2013 (10:48 am)

    Shouldn’t the City require at a minimum 1 parking spot for each unit? We all know that there’ll be units with at least two vehicles. The neighborhood atreet parking will get far worse. I feel sorry for those living nearby usig the parking in front of their homes.

    • WSB August 21, 2013 (11:10 am)

      We’ve been through this many times before, but in short: The city specifically changed the parking requirement less than a year ago for developments close to frequent transit. They are not required to have ANY parking. Here is the “director’s rule” codifying it:
      Contact the City Council if you’d like to see that changed. Three councilmembers are up for re-election this year – Richard Conlin, Sally Bagshaw, Mike O’Brien – as well as of course the mayor (who has veto power on legislation, though vetos also are subject to override). Council contacts are findable on their website – TR

  • AM August 21, 2013 (10:55 am)

    Super ugly and does not belong on 42nd. It’s too ugly for even California Ave but in the middle of a residential street? gross.

  • sophista-tiki August 21, 2013 (11:34 am)

    Not being required to provide parking is a development loophole. I think its ridiculous to assume everyone is going to take our inefficient transit or ride their bikes everywhere. Nice dream. Guess what people like me still need to haul around all of your crap for you because you dont have a car.

  • Fnarf August 21, 2013 (3:38 pm)

    “Everyone” doesn’t have to take transit or bikes, just 26 out of the 78 units. They’ll definitely meet that. That’s the kind of person who is moving into these types of buildings. Come on, if LA can do it, West Seattle can (half of new residents moving to Los Angeles, Car City USA, don’t have cars).
    And there’s some parking in the neighborhood. I know y’all are used to limitless free parking, but it’s not really free. Your ultra-low-density neighborhoods with limitless free parking are the reason WHY transit options are as poor as they are.
    As for the aethetics of the building, no one cares. It’s not important. More beautiful exterior treatments just drive the price up. You’ll all be horrified by this thing for the first year, then after that you’ll never even notice it again.

    • WSB August 21, 2013 (4:29 pm)

      Thanks for dropping in, Fnarf! (a handle much-seen elsewhere) This is a transitional time, no doubt about it; we have a reminder of many facets of the transportation situation, right in our house … the high-school senior who as with many of his counterparts is in no rush to drive, even though his bus choices have been compromised by the last round of Metro cuts, which slashed the one route that serves our neighborhood … so different from when co-publisher P and I were kids and everyone rushed to get that learner’s permit the very second it was a possibility.
      For those interested in the appearance, again, PLEASE come to the Design Review meeting next week. No, comments at DR meetings don’t stop projects, but time and time again in the six years we’ve covered them, we’ve seen changes result from public comment. And re: the size of this project and fitting in with the neighborhood … there are few single-family homes left on these blocks. The ones that used to be kitty-corner on 42nd south of Oregon are gone because of Oregon 42, in its final phase (which will dwarf Junction Flats). The entire east side of this block of 42nd is churches/schools, as is everything north of the block (Holy Rosary, California/Genesee commercial). To the west, it’s all commercial – and it’s zoned for twice the height that this project’s side of the block is zoned for. This should mostly be laid out in the “packet” to which we’ve linked – it’s part of the presentation architects/developers are required to give at meetings, putting the site into context …TR

  • Genesee Hill August 21, 2013 (5:29 pm)

    I am happy to report that Kirkland, where I grew up from 1964 to 1989. has not changed a bit. Bellevue, since 1964, has not either. West Seattle, where I moved to in 1990, has changed, oh so much.

    There should be a law: when you move to a town, growth should stop. It is OK for me to move in, but, dad-gummit, nobody else.

  • G August 21, 2013 (6:10 pm)


    Agreed. I’ve never seen so much unhappiness over the exterior of a building. It’s like a view, after a while you forget it’s there.

    Interesting you mention LA. Contrary to what some might expect, LA was ranked #1 in terms of access to public transportation. I know, I think I’ve been on every rain line and bus route in the city :) We can do it here, though changes need to be made.

  • Not LA August 21, 2013 (8:30 pm)

    Why the comparison to LA? Seattle is very different in so many ways that the comparison isn’t valid. It reminds me of how RapidRide was pitched to us because it works well in Bogata. The reality, here in Seattle, is that we don’t have the population to support the density necessary for the transit dream. We can’t even support the current transit system (upcoming cuts.) If you think it is wise to waive parking spaces for large residential developments based on proximity to unstable transit, then we have very different views of what common sense looks like. I’m not opposed to density. However, I have no confidence in the people pitching the “build like we have transit and the transit will catch up” story. The current funding and operation of Metro doesn’t work and certainly won’t scale to support more density unless there are some serious changes. Unfortunately, Metro is moving in the wrong direction.

  • Last53BusRider August 21, 2013 (9:03 pm)

    I miss the West Seattle I moved to in 2001 – all the dilapidated buildings, trashed vacant lots, and chainlink fences.

  • Ajax August 21, 2013 (11:05 pm)

    I inherited a spare vehicle a year ago and have no additional garage space where I can park it, and I quickly found that the parking police are pretty serious about moving vehicles every 72 hours. The rule of not requiring 1:1 parking spaces in close-to-transit developments could surely solve some of the City of Seattle budget shortfalls and also increase employment. I’d be willing to bet most of the people renting these units will have one or more cars, but will often take transit, leaving their vehicles parked on the street for long periods. Hire additional parking patrol officers and start writing tickets. Cha-ching. It definitely encouraged me to sell my extra vehicle.

  • james August 22, 2013 (9:55 am)

    Did someone seriously say that Kirkland and Bellevue haven’t changed in the past 20 years!?!

  • george August 22, 2013 (1:13 pm)

    GH, I will asume that is tongue in check about the eastside. Otherwise, you have lost your marbles and are confusing Fall City and Snoqualmie with old Redmond and Kirkland.

Sorry, comment time is over.