Happening now: Demolition at 2-building Junction development site

The backhoes that arrived last week at the Equity Residential development site in The Junction – 42nd/Alaska/California – started work today, tearing down the eastern building on the site, across 42nd from Jefferson Square. Short Instagram video clip (click here if you don’t see it below):

Once the 91-year-old eastern building is down, as reported here last week, teardown work will move to the 88-year-old western building at California/Alaska (which once housed a hospital, and had an upper story). The project is planned for two 7-story buildings with 200 apartments, ground-floor retail, and a shared underground parking garage. The businesses that used to be in the buildings were ordered out more than 14 months ago, since the owners originally had said construction would start in 2012; several closed (including Rocksport, Rubato Records, and the city’s Neighborhood Service Center) while the rest moved to new locations around West Seattle.

SIDE NOTE: This is now the fifth major development under construction in and around The Junction, after The Blake at 5020 California SW, Spruce (former “Hole”) at 3922 SW Alaska, 4730 California, and Oregon 42 (42nd/Oregon). (Scroll through the WSB development-coverage archive to see what else is on the way.)

4:16 PM UPDATE: Went back at mid-afternoon to see how far the crews had gotten:

The project itself is expected to be under construction for about a year and a half. According to related documents we found online, one crane – arriving in about 3 months – will be used for both buildings.

57 Replies to "Happening now: Demolition at 2-building Junction development site"

  • alki Resident October 7, 2013 (12:46 pm)

    RIP Rocksport-You will be missed.

  • A October 7, 2013 (1:04 pm)

    I absolutely hate this. I no longer like living here.

  • MacJ October 7, 2013 (1:16 pm)

    Good riddance. That was one ugly building (or two, I guess).

  • Ryan Moore October 7, 2013 (1:31 pm)

    Great!!! We need new buildings the others are falling apart

  • miws October 7, 2013 (1:41 pm)




  • alki forever October 7, 2013 (1:52 pm)

    When you’re done tearing that building down hop kitty corner and tear the ugly Hamm building down while you’re at it. That’s even uglier.

  • HelperMonkey October 7, 2013 (1:56 pm)

    RIP Rocksport, RIP the West Seattle we all know and love. Welcome to the New Ballard.

  • Silly Goose October 7, 2013 (2:16 pm)

    This just makes me so so sad, two historical buildings torn down to make way for some cheaply built ugle ass building that will do nothing but clog up the junction. UGH horrible site…

  • Kara October 7, 2013 (2:16 pm)

    I’m trying really hard not to think of all of this growth and change as a bad thing. I know it’s a lot to deal with, but our neighborhood is amazing and we can keep it that way. I grew up in West Seattle and what I love about it the most is people smile at you when you walk down the street, people have conversations, I run into friends, family, and co-workers every time I step outside, people walk in our neighborhood, they support the local economy…we are not Ballard, yet. As long as we as neighbors, families, and friends keep those things alive we can make it through anything!

  • enough October 7, 2013 (2:20 pm)

    I’ve refered to WS as South Ballard for a few years now. I wonder if those who voted on this in the mid 90’s knew it would be like this and that it would take 10 years or more to start building in earnest.

  • Kara October 7, 2013 (2:31 pm)

    I lived in Ballard for about four years and that neighborhood lost it’s personality. I think we are doing a good job of still holding on to ours. Also, I still feel like I belong in West Seattle…I don’t feel kicked out or ignored like I did in Ballard.

  • wetone October 7, 2013 (2:32 pm)

    Say good-by to sunshine in urban village zoned areas along with surrounding single family areas and say good-by to the views if you already live in a apt. or condo as every building that gets built will block the prior builds views. That’s what you get when you replace 1-3 stories with 5-7+

  • JanS October 7, 2013 (3:25 pm)

    so once it’s done, and people are living there, wonder if there will be any noise complaints during the West Seattle Summerfest…just projecting a couple of year ahead :D

  • Sean October 7, 2013 (3:36 pm)

    Ugh. Hope the new ground-floor retail has more personality than the monstrosities going above it!

  • Kayleigh October 7, 2013 (4:29 pm)

    Glad to see the Rocksport go. Not a good place for anyone. I normally love things that are old, but that block didn’t have much charm left.

  • ELL October 7, 2013 (4:34 pm)

    We moved here from Capitol Hill because “it’s always sunny in West Seattle”. I hope that remains the case when we are surrounded by skyscrapers. I love the AK Junction but walk a few blocks south and it’s cold and dark no matter what the weather. Really hope it doesn’t turn into Belltown or Ballard – even the Hill is getting cloned. How about smart and aesthetically pleasing growth that doesn’t crush a neighborhood’s soul??

  • Rob October 7, 2013 (4:40 pm)

    And more and more rats will be moving into the bars in the Junction…

    it’s already a problem. Shhhhhh

  • miws October 7, 2013 (4:55 pm)

    When you’re done tearing that building down hop kitty corner and tear the ugly Hamm building down while you’re at it.


    Not too likely there, alki forever!



    And, as long as the Corner Pocket remains there, you’ll still be able to go downstairs for a few shots, and enjoy the Game!



  • WSSgal October 7, 2013 (5:03 pm)

    This is great for West Seattle! Many of the retail businesses don’t make much-simply because they don’t have the density! Thank you!

  • w.s. maverick October 7, 2013 (5:20 pm)

    sad to see condos go in and ruin west seattle

  • w.s. maverick October 7, 2013 (5:22 pm)

    going to look cheap and gross like what they are doing to ballard. the city is getting ruined with these cheap buildings. glad to see people working and getting paid but enough is enough

    • WSB October 7, 2013 (5:25 pm)

      Just a data point, everything that is being built now in the multifamily buildings of more than a few units is apartment construction, not condos – to be rented, not sold. The five-unit rowhouses and other smaller developments are being built to be sold. A 7-story building is a 7-story building, regardless of condos vs. apartments, but just for the sake of those just tuning in … TR

  • Gene October 7, 2013 (5:57 pm)

    Can’t wait to see just what kind of businesses will move into the retail spaces in all these new buildings.

  • Alkiguy October 7, 2013 (6:10 pm)

    When everyone talks about the death of West Seattle, I think they are forgetting all of the wonderful neighborhoods surrounding the 3 junctions. I have lived in two of these neighborhoods and loved them both. They are not changing, the houses are not being torn down. Lincoln Park isn’t going away, Alki beach is still here, the small parks across West Seattle are waiting, and Schmitz Park is still an old growth forest gem that very few people seem to visit.

  • Steve f October 7, 2013 (6:14 pm)

    Sorry folks, I remember how trashy and derelict lots of Ballard and West Seattle was back in the ‘good old days’. Glad to have you in the ‘hood, new developments!

  • coffee October 7, 2013 (6:22 pm)

    It would be nice if the retail spaces could be rented at a low price. With all of apartments going in and rents going up, the space for retail is also skyrocketing. Some of these retail spaces are insanely priced, which makes it almost impossible for a fun small business to open up.

  • George October 7, 2013 (8:48 pm)

    With all these apartments it’s no wonder all the real West Seattle people have left. Why keep destroying what was once beautiful?

  • Marcus M October 7, 2013 (9:19 pm)

    I swear to god if a Subway franchise opens in any one of these apartments I’m going to blow a gasket

  • Last53BusRider October 7, 2013 (9:51 pm)

    Can’t wait to see the crane installed at this latest site. Gonna be really close to the one at the old Petco site…..

  • Ajax October 7, 2013 (10:16 pm)

    Wow, Kayleigh, my elderly parents who I took to the Rocksport on the way from the airport to my place on every visit from 2007-2012 would beg to differ. I was accommodated there even when I was a non-drinking vegan and my Southern Baptist parents nearly cried when it closed, so I’m wondering how it could be “not a good place for anyone”?

  • Ajax October 7, 2013 (10:22 pm)

    @alkiguy – I beg to disagree. I rented a house 2 blocks from the Alaska Junction and it was torn down. I’m not saying that this isn’t the area where the dense development should be occurring, but there are plenty of single family houses being town down around the Alaska Junction.

  • pjmanley October 7, 2013 (11:14 pm)

    @alkiguy: Dude! Houses are being crushed all over the place in the SF neighborhoods at a rate of about one every other block. Two 3 unit boxy-multi’s are going in right now, while 3 SF modern boxes have gone up or are presently under construction. All this within a 1 block radius, North of the Junction, with more in the hopper. The neighborhoods are hanging on, but who knows how long as land values skyrocket. Nice if you want to cash-in and move away, but not so much for those of us who wish to remain.

  • Alki Resident October 7, 2013 (11:31 pm)

    @Kayleigh- Went to Rocksport since they opened, never had issues there. Not sure what your beef was but it sounds personal. The food was amazing ,the staff were cool and the owners ROCKED. You sound like you’d be the life of the party.

  • cj October 8, 2013 (12:39 am)

    I just wish they were not such tall buildings. After its built and its winter wont be much morning sun making it though that side of the Junction

  • w.s. maverick October 8, 2013 (5:54 am)

    if they did this to white center that would improve that area. ws already looked good

  • BornInWestSeattle October 8, 2013 (7:34 am)

    @Alkiguy – Respectfully disagree with your statement that houses are not being torn down. This is happening all over West Seattle. The lots are short platted into two, or even three, lots. The existing home is then demolished and replaced with modern three story boxy homes without regard as to whether or not they fit the existing neighborhood character or consideration over blocking views or sunshine. Who wins? The developer/builder who walks away with mega dollars.

  • Kayleigh October 8, 2013 (8:27 am)

    Alki Resident, if trashy dive bars and bland food are your idea of a “party”, you bet. I’m not the life of that party.

  • sam-c October 8, 2013 (9:01 am)

    @Silly Goose- I disagree- the buildings that were torn down were not architecturally interesting at all, in my opinion- the copper colored awning? the tile at super sup? blech.. at least not like the building across Alaska, and kitty corner (Easy Street). that isn’t to say that I think the new buildings will be beautiful, at least based on my opinions of the renderings, WT’s bldgs. on Eastlake, and at the north end of Broadway E. but of course, those are just my humble opinions.. trading old bad architecture for new bad architecture.

  • miws October 8, 2013 (10:24 am)

    One thing to remember, is that though some may have found these old buildings ugly, at least some of the facades hide a much more aesthetic, perhaps even beautiful building underneath. A lot of these facades went up, probably, in about the ’50’s & ’60’s to go for that then “Modern” look in architecture.


    Think of Elliott Bay Brewery, for example;






    Now, IMHO, the “Before” facade on EBB wasn’t bad looking in its own right, but the “After” that was exposed, is much, much nicer.


    There is also a nice, brick building underneath the black tile of the former Sup. Sup./People’s Bank, and a second story at one time, back when that building was West Seattle Hospital.



  • Dan October 8, 2013 (12:22 pm)

    I live down the street to the east of Alaska Junction, and it is with some serious trepidation that I view the plans for seven-story buildings nearby. The Alaska Junction is a real gem in our neighborhood – from the quirky “walk all ways” during red lights to the great shops and friendly atmosphere. I too expect the height of those buildings to be an eyesore BUT I also wonder too if the new density brought on by these developments will be a boon for the merchants.
    As for “needed” development, I really wish that more effort was spent on improving Jefferson Square. I think it’s a dated-looking mess. Nothing against the nice folks that live there – it’s just a cramped space with dingy walls and crummy ingress/egress.

  • enough October 8, 2013 (12:42 pm)

    Some of you might be interested in http://www.onehomeperlot.com/

  • enough October 8, 2013 (12:47 pm)

    Can anyone answer why we didn’t see building start in earnest until around 2005 but the neighborhood plans people voted on, that green lighted this density, was back in 1996. Why did it take 10 years and why did developers start building near the height of the market? Yeah, demand was high then but so were cost of materials to build. Timing seems odd to me.

  • miws October 8, 2013 (1:35 pm)

    enough, one thing, possibly the main thing, that kept this from getting started in its very earliest stage of planning, was that Rocksport had a then something like ten year lease with a previous owner of its property.


    I believe it was Conner that bought the property from that owner, and Rocksport held them to the lease, with either a lawsuit, or at least threat of.



  • datamuse October 8, 2013 (1:42 pm)

    What’s a real West Seattle person?

  • enough October 8, 2013 (2:24 pm)

    Thanks Mike but my question was more broad. The Rocksport is just one building .. but maybe the same scenario can be applied to other buildings/houses from Morgan to Admiral along California Ave.
    datamuse: People from the Duwamish tribe? :)

  • Jonnie Gilman October 8, 2013 (2:46 pm)

    Such a shame. West Seattle is losing its old blue collar charm and has become inundated with yuppies and wannabe yuppie cling-ons and exploiters. Drivers are becoming more rude. Buildings are more and more just plain box-ugly and uninspired. Once the viaduct is gone and we get to cue up for the tunnel, it is going to be a real drag. I hope Easy Street Records and Pegasus Book Exchange are able to hold on a little while longer. It is really sad to see what has happened to Ballard and know that soon it will be just the same here.

  • wetone October 8, 2013 (3:34 pm)

    I think when people mention original or (real)never really seen or heard that term. It refers to family’s that have lived in West Seattle a couple generations as I, third gen. and know the history and seen the many changes of the area. Most people that have lived here 25yrs. or less wouldn’t believe the way it was, slow and easy. Was a great place to grow up and so much to do when young.

  • Jack Carson October 8, 2013 (4:54 pm)

    There is a big difference between Ballard and West Seattle. Most all of West Seattle is and will remain single family zoned where Ballard has a much greater area that is zoned higher density. The larger buildings going up in West Seattle are in a very small part of our community, it just that they are on the 2 or 3 main streets we all travel across.

  • JVP October 8, 2013 (8:01 pm)

    Jonnie, I think you missed the mark on the people like me that are bringing a new energy to the Junction.. Most of us are Gen Xers, not yuppies ;)

    Density and energy in these urban villages is a good thing. The alternative is death by sprawl. Many here (but not most people I talk to in the real life) seem to despise Ballard, which I think is a lovely place. I despise Sammamish, Shoreline, and most of Bellevue, which is why I live here, in a vibrant, energetic and walkable city neighborhood.

  • Mike October 8, 2013 (10:47 pm)

    JVP- I could not have said it better myself…thank you!

  • datamuse October 8, 2013 (10:55 pm)

    So just like everywhere else, you’re a newbie till you’ve got grandkids. Oh well.

  • West Seattle Since 1979 October 9, 2013 (9:25 am)

    JVP, thank you!

  • pjmanley October 9, 2013 (10:11 am)

    Oh, the hating on other places…what good does that do? As Chris Rock says, “whomever you hate, will wind up in your family.” Think I ever dreamed I’d own a minivan? Well, after changing diapers and banging my head on the Subaru Wagon for the first 12 months, the joys and pleasures of that minivan were a gift from God while my kids were little. The more you hate on Ballard and Bellevue, the more likely you are to wind up there or at least eat your words someday. Maybe after golfing at Newcastle, hiking on Tiger Mountain, or walking through the nicely maintained trails in the Bellevue woods after Thanksgiving dinner like my kids do with their grandparents every year. The only reason places have changed in ways we don’t like is because of growth and demand. Can we or should we oppose sharing our community with new residents who want to live here? Rather than lament the changes and impacts, which are real, step up, get involved, and let planners and developers know what you like, value, and depend upon in WS, so we can preserve as much of the experience we enjoy as we go forward with growth and accommodating thousands of new residents here. I don’t really like this particular Jessie Jackson slogan, but I think it applies here: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. And of course, as always, stay thirsty my friends!

    • WSB October 9, 2013 (10:20 am)

      And it should be noted that, as we’ll be pointing out in a short story within an hour or so, tomorrow’s the next Design Review meeting. (4435 35th SW) One note of interest, while many commenters repeatedly bring up Ballard, Capitol Hill is yet another neighborhood undergoing massive change – though its core already was dense/urban in a 20th-century way. Just one small effect of this that brought it to our attention: A relative who likes to spend time in late-night coffeehouses (of which West Seattle has none) has lost two hangouts in the past few months because they’re on sites that are about to be developed … B&O Espresso (which long ago had a branch in the Admiral District) and Bauhaus. Now even that nightlife-rich area is running low on late-night coffee. Just a side note … TR

  • namo October 9, 2013 (12:54 pm)

    NOT sad to see this one go..it would be great if they put an ULTRA modern building there for extreme shock (but very cool at the same time-like in Paris! There are a lot of tourist that debark and come to West Seattle for the day…it would be a cool attraction

  • Kara October 9, 2013 (1:17 pm)

    I don’t mean to put Ballard down. That neighborhood will always have a special place in my heart, but it went through condo overload and my old apartment complex was slated for conversion and that crushed my hope and spirits…that’s what I mean when I say I felt like I got kicked out.

  • Ray West October 12, 2013 (7:10 am)

    The density will be great for Junction businesses? Maybe it would if many of the existing ones weren’t being pushed out of West Seattle or forced to close entirely because their rent will be quintupled or more. As one commentator pointed out, the only winners are the developers who walk away with mega bucks. Add to that, the new landlords who will be charging exorbitant rent to those generic chain stores that will be moving in. It’s not just that old and/or ugly buildings are being razed. It’s about ripping up and destroying the fabric that makes life in West Seattle what it is.

Sorry, comment time is over.