West Seattle development: New projects; updates; microhousing marketing…

Six West Seattle development notes/updates today:

3239 CALIFORNIA SW (map): A demolition application is pending for this commercial structure because of a development plan that’s been making its way through the system since spring. The site is part of the block that was upzoned in 2010 to NC2-40 and is across the street from the proposed 3210 California SW. Documents on file with the city include a proposed subdivision of the site into three lots; a site plan filed in spring proposed 2 live-work units fronting California with four single-family homes behind them, but the newest site plan just shows 4 single-family homes, two fronting California, two behind, height listed as 40′. The proposals are filed under three addresses – in addition to 3239 California SW, there’s also 3237B California SW and 3239B California SW.

4147 CALIFORNIA SW (map): Applications have just been filed this week proposing to demolish two single-family homes at this site, building a mixed-use building – described as one residential unit over 3,900 square feet of commercial space, fronting California – and a new single-family home behind it. It has not been formally announced yet, so watch for that, at which time a comment deadline likely will be set.

6536 24TH SW (map): An application was filed last week to split two parcels into eight at this site between 24th and 23rd north of Willow. Other documents in the city files indicate plans to build eight homes, with at least 16 parking spaces, next year, if approved. Documents also note there is a “small wetland” on the site, so there is additional environmental documentation on file.

7313 BAINBRIDGE PLACE (map): While construction is already well under way at this three-house project north of Lincoln Park – we reported on the site clearing 2 1/2 months ago – the plan to split it into three lots has just been approved. The notice in today’s Land Use Information Bulletin includes links for reading the full decision and finding out how to appeal it.

DESIGN REVIEW REMINDERS: Today’s LUIB also includes the formal notice of the next Southwest Design Review Board meeting for 3078 SW Avalon Way (8 pm January 16 at the Senior Center of West Seattle, as reported here three weeks ago; we’ve also noted that five other Design Review meetings are coming up in January/February).

MARKETING MICROHOUSING: You might have noticed the banner up in front of the first microhousing project to be completed in West Seattle, 4546-4548 Delridge Way SW (map).

That’s across from Southwest Youth and Family Services and Delridge Playfield, first mentioned here in fall 2012 when “boarding house” applications turned up in city files. It’s now being marketed – we found this recent listing with interior photos and a $750 pricetag. The two-building complex is officially Footprint Delridge, part of a new microhousing brand (same one that’s planning to develop 5949 California SW in Morgan Junction) – here’s the Footprint marketing website; the Delridge-specific page is here.

47 Replies to "West Seattle development: New projects; updates; microhousing marketing... "

  • Jason December 26, 2013 (3:16 pm)

    4147 is partially on top of Pica, wonder how that’s going to work. I want to complain about this project since I’m across the street but I guess it might actually be positive to bring a little retail up this way.

    • WSB December 26, 2013 (3:21 pm)

      The Parcel Viewer only shows the peach-ish-colored house south of the alterations place. I am heading out to get photos of some of the sites in this story before daylight runs out in an hour (since otherwise it’s a potential-TL/DR lump of text) but will doublecheck the exact lot numbering a bit later – that’s the only actual street address on the city project page, but as with the item preceding it, addresses have been known to change … TR

  • AmandaKH December 26, 2013 (5:22 pm)

    How is $750 *affordable* for a teeny tiny small 1 bedroom? Am I missing something here?

  • JanS December 26, 2013 (6:11 pm)

    Amanda….Element 42, across the street from me, has teeny tiny studios (440 sq. ft.) for over 1100/month…so in this day and age, $750 seems affordable…it’s all perspective…rents have skyrocketed. Is it fair? No, but if they’re getting it, it will remain that way.

  • hj December 26, 2013 (6:14 pm)

    Oh no! Not Amante! The only decent customizable calzone delivery in West Seattle (unless someone can tell me otherwise, which I fully expect to happen shortly).

  • AmandaKH December 26, 2013 (6:29 pm)

    JanS – NO WAY! That is outrageous. I guess I am really out of touch on rents. How can anyone afford to live here anymore?

  • Dan December 26, 2013 (6:36 pm)

    Regarding the Delridge boarding house.. if you go to their web site there is no mention of a bathroom/shower in each unit, no mention of internet or TV possibilities, no mention of heat in the units or who pays for it, no mention of water/garbage and who pays for it. Extremely limited marketing info if you ask me. I emailed them for answers.

    • WSB December 26, 2013 (6:48 pm)

      The general “about” page for Footprint does mention private bathrooms. Microhousing generally has bathrooms for the units but kitchen facilities are shared. The general Footprint home page, meantime, mentions “an all-in-one utilities, internet & rent payment” so there must be some kind of online access – doesn’t say if that means it’s included in the $750 listed on the placebee.com page, though. Last but not least, “West Seattle Recreation Center” is mentioned – no such; I’m guessing they mean Delridge Community Center across the street.

  • G December 26, 2013 (6:42 pm)

    I have a house around the corner, and I knew the re-zoning for this property (top photo) was only a matter of time. All those old storefronts are going.

  • datamuse December 26, 2013 (6:59 pm)

    Amanda, they can’t. I know lifelong residents who are moving away because they can no longer afford to live here.
    Rental housing is as tight as I’ve ever seen it, because we just don’t have all that much, and demand is huge. We’re poised to rival San Francisco in that regard.

  • Dan December 26, 2013 (7:05 pm)

    Thanks Tracy, (or whomever is at the WSB desk). I did not visit the about page. The overall feel for me though is $750 seems high for a small room with a shared kitchen. But hey, if people will pay it, that’s the way it goes.

  • heather December 26, 2013 (7:15 pm)

    Actually the description says it’s a studio with a 3/4 bath (no tub) and that’s what seems to be shown in the photos. Yes, rents are very high. Not far from there I have a friend renting a 1bdrm with a small 125 sq ft den (3 walls/no door) for $1950, not including utilities, water or parking…although it’s really nice and has excellent communal spaces.

  • Realfakeusername December 26, 2013 (7:46 pm)

    Wow, that micro housing is really unattractive looking…

  • coffee December 26, 2013 (7:48 pm)

    Makes it almost impossible for the small business owner too. A few of my small business owner friends are looking at White Center and Burien because they cannot afford west Seattle any longer. Plus the new places are not family owned so the business owner has to deal with the big management companies and they are not easy to work with.

  • neighbor December 26, 2013 (7:57 pm)

    a house a few blocks west of here, typical 1950’s West Seattle house with improvements rented for ~$2700. Seems crazy to me. If I didn’t already have my mortgage from before the great depression of 2008, I would only be able to afford a studio. I must be way out of league compared to my neighbors. For comparison’s sake, my parent ~900 sq ft old apartment in Hawaii charges a $650/month maintenance fee in addition to the mortgage in a desirable neighborhood. It includes all utilities but land line.

  • JanS December 26, 2013 (8:18 pm)

    basically, except for the 3/4 bath, it’s a dorm room, nothing more…and some dorm rooms are bigger :(

  • Mike December 26, 2013 (11:04 pm)

    The prices are high and being set, not out of demand, by larger development groups that have come in and put thousands of units in over the past few years. They are not full, they are just high price. The ‘low income’ housing defined by the city is not priced to accomodate a low income family, some low income residences are over $1200 / month. Politicians put on a nice sales face, people just never seem to read the actual info they are selling.
    neighbor, not sure which island or location your parents have a 900sq/ft apartment at $650/month, that’s Pullman, WA pricing. Most Hawaii residences near the city (like West Seattle) are priced closer to San Francisco per sq/ft than Pullman, WA. You can find some great deals on pricing in Hawaii if you don’t have running water or electricity, but most people won’t buy that. Families from Hawaii have been moving to the Seattle areas for the past couple decades due to our extremely low price of living. $7 / gal of milk in Kauai a few years back vs. $3.50 here.

  • JanS December 26, 2013 (11:35 pm)

    Mike. $650 is not the rent in that Hawaii unit. That’s just the maintenance fee IN ADDITION to the mortgage payment, they said.

  • anonyme December 27, 2013 (6:21 am)

    So, I guess the new approach to ‘preserving’ wetlands is to quadruple the number of houses built on top of them. Great plan, by the dumbest species on earth.

  • Kravitz December 27, 2013 (6:46 am)

    I wouldn’t pay $550 for that dump on Delridge. Their other properties are equally hideous and slapped together cheaply. I suppose they get away with the rent price because they are furnished efficiency units – but still, it’s a rip off. Sad for people trying to get a leg up and start a life in Seattle… it’s damn near impossible these days.

  • DTK December 27, 2013 (8:16 am)

    I’m starting a dead pool as to how long it will take one of the micro residents to stab another micro resident over a communal refrigerator item. My opening bet is 3 months.

  • Anonymous December 27, 2013 (8:31 am)

    Mike I hate to break it to you but demand is definitely playing a huge role in why developers are able to set their rental rates so high. I didn’t believe it at first but I know lots of the newer and overpriced apartments in West Seattle are full. Once we get all these new apartments we won’t have enough people willing to pay the high rents to live in West Seattle because they’ll realize the commute to just about anywhere outside our little “island” sucks. Then hopefully the rents will slowly drop back down because they’ll need to fill up the buildings. If the apartments were empty, the rents would be lower because any “empty” apartment just means lost profit. I really hope the rents go down soon though…

  • Seattlite December 27, 2013 (9:27 am)

    Claustrophobic living supposedly causes domestic violence among adults and withdrawn children as reported in the NYDailyTimes. New York is not happy with their pods either. How can more than one person live in such a cramped space. Rents are high because of developers’ greed and the city’s need for more and more tax dollars to squander.

  • Wes C. Addle December 27, 2013 (9:27 am)

    I agree with most. $750 is outrageous. I’m someone that would be in the target market for rent this price but I could never live in a space that small. I lived in a 600 sq ft. apartment in the Junction before and that was $1000. That was two of us though.

  • Blue Cheese Sky December 27, 2013 (10:46 am)

    I thought the idea of micro housing was to create affordable housing options; $750 per month is at, if not above market average in this neighborhood. I hope the City investigates this sham. The community was suspicious of this development prior to it being built, seems like they had good reasons.

  • datamuse December 27, 2013 (10:47 am)

    In July, the Seattle Times reported the rental housing vacancy rate in King County is 4.31 percent, below the 5 percent benchmark that is considered fairly equitable for tenant and landlord alike.
    Maybe the developers are setting the prices, but at that vacancy rate it looks to me like plenty of people are willing to pay.

  • betsy December 27, 2013 (11:50 am)

    I think what this place is selling is convenience. It’s just one option of many. And, it may seem a ripoff, but hey, it’s a free market. No one has to live there. But I don’t think its as much of a ripoff as people say. After all it includes utilities. So yes, it’s small. The idea that we need so much living space is a very American idea, many people live (happily) in smaller spaces in other countries. A typical studio apartment around here costs about $1,000 per month .. add utilities on top of that and you’re up to at least $1500. This place is half that cost.

    I can see where a $750 fixed living cost combined with flexible (no year lease, etc.) terms could be appealing to some people. Maybe you just graduated college and don’t have a lot of money or stuff? Maybe you just moved here and want to explore a little before you commit to a neighborhood? maybe you travel a lot and don’t need to maintain a large home base?

    Its just an option. Sometimes its nice to have options.

    I don’t think it will be a hub for crime. It’s newly built and professionally managed. Far worse are absentee landlords with old, neglected structures where nobody cares what is going on inside.

    If someone is doing something illegal in this microhousing structure, they won’t get away with it for long :) Their neighbors will surely not put up with it. Plus, that kitchenette is way too small to support a meth lab.

  • betsy December 27, 2013 (11:59 am)

    Ok, I’ll add one more comment. I agree that it will add parking problems in the area. That is a legitimate complaint for neighbors.

    Also, if you follow the links you can see what criteria they use for resident selection, which includes a criminal background check.

  • wetone December 27, 2013 (12:15 pm)

    Investors control the rental market and the city is helping them out greatly by allowing the micro-housing type builds. Anyone that thinks this is affordable housing or cheap rent is delusional and does not really understand how things work. Per sqft this is one of the most expensive type housings there is and it will have a big effect on every piece of property where micros are allowed, along with associated problems. I would bet every investment company owned rental property in W/S will go up between $200-$600 month in the next two years and all the new apartments will be based off what they can get from the micro’s. If their asking $750 and renting on Delridge they will ask much more in the junction area. W/S is going to be very expensive place to live in a few years.

  • Seattlite December 27, 2013 (12:44 pm)

    I’m fortunate to own a home. When I asked a couple of my young friends how young people afford a $1200 rent for 1 bedroom or $1700 rent for 2 bedrooms, they explained that roommates and more than one family can live in a 1 or 2 bedroom apt to afford the monthly rent. Is it legal to have two families or 4 roommates living in a 1 or 2 bedroom apt? Just wondering.

    • WSB December 27, 2013 (12:56 pm)

      Yes, it is.

  • Seattlite December 27, 2013 (2:28 pm)

    Wetone — You’re exactly right. Again, that’s why the city allows developers to build micros and other apt buildings w/NO parking. The developers receive inflated rents and the city collects taxes on these properties.

  • datamuse December 27, 2013 (2:46 pm)

    Seems to me that cheap is relative. If what most of us think of as a standard apartment is going for $1000-$1500, then $750 is indeed cheap by comparison. If that makes me deluded, enlighten me. Links to sources backing up assertions about cost per square foot and parking would be peachy.

  • betsy December 27, 2013 (3:47 pm)


    Also, cost per square foot comparisons are skewed since most apartments don’t include utilities. If you look at a standard apartment, then add all monthly utility costs, THEN calculate cost per square foot then its an apples to apples comparison.

    Or better yet, just search Craigslist for anything available to rent for less than $800. It is eye opening.

  • wetone December 27, 2013 (4:26 pm)

    Your right 750 is cheap compared to 1-1.5k and it is going to seem even cheaper as apartments and houses go up. Pretty simple to figure out the cost per sqft. just divide rent by sqft. 275sqft Micro and rent is $750 = $2.72 sqft. That is about the same as paying $2500 for a 900 sqft unit, pretty $$$$$$$. Hummmm I guess I should start raising the rents on the houses, they even have parking or maybe tear them down and start building micros as I could double the income. As far as finding a place on C/L rooms are available for a lot less than the micros with more space.

  • Beth December 27, 2013 (5:05 pm)

    I agree with Datamuse. When I first moved to Seattle, the cheapest place I could find was $795, and it was a studio in Greenwood right above a dumpster, in a very high-crime area (we got domestic violence calls every Friday night, and three arson attempts in just 6 months, as well as break-ins) with zero building maintenance. It was worse than the dorm room situations I’ve had in college, but the cheapest thing on the west side of Lake Washington. $750 for that microhousing would have been a much more appealing scenario for me, at the time!
    If you need/want to live where you can commute to work in an hour or less, especially if you want to take public transportation there, you’re going to be dealing with very expensive rents- it’s as true in West Seattle as it was in San Diego.

  • buckwheat December 27, 2013 (7:12 pm)

    Wait until all of the crime increases here in West Seattle due to all of this crappy “development.” I am assuming the idiots who are approving all of this crap are planning the respective increased in police and fire services?

  • Busy December 27, 2013 (9:11 pm)

    And the city was just talking about cutting bus routes in ws, how can they approve all these mic housing projects with no parking? Seems we should have added bus service or no more permits!

  • Limey December 27, 2013 (10:38 pm)

    DPD permit for 4147 California states zoning for “NC1-40”.


    Does anyone know if the “40” refer to 40% of land being covered by the building, or is this a 40-foot height limit?

  • CJ December 28, 2013 (12:00 am)

    One hardly “chooses” to pay sky high rent. In this economy, renters are over a barrel. The “choices” are get squeezed out of your neighborhood to the ‘burbs, get squeezed into a tiny incomplete unit that you are clearly not going to be able to share with family or pets, or get squeezed in the wallet and pay exorbitant rent. Meanwhile, I’m asked to take a pay freeze because, you know, the economy is bad. In all of our discussions about microhousing, nobody is really scrutinizing *why* these dorms are being built in the first place. What we need are affordable, reasonably-sized, complete spaces but what we are getting are luxury apartments and dorms, both of which are very expensive and often sitting empty. Sure, it’s profitable for the developer but what is the end goal of the city? Why are they on board with squeezing out or wringing out the residents who work here?

  • Hmmm December 28, 2013 (11:08 am)

    The conspiracy theory would be that some of our elected officials have some stake in Blueprint capital.

  • Seattlite December 28, 2013 (2:56 pm)

    CJ — Improved land (new bldgings, infrastructure, etc.) yields much higher property taxes for the city of Seattle. City council passes laws that encourage and help developers because the city knows it will reap in higher taxes. The city doesn’t give one hoot about neighborhoods or you.

  • ttt December 29, 2013 (9:38 pm)

    I once lived in a 2000sq ft home with 4 other people– separate bedrooms, shared living space/kitchen… lots of agnst about stolen food items, people not cleaning up after themselves, and unwanted guests hanging out in the shared space… I paid $400./mo which made it tolerable (as a 20-something yr old). I think they are asking for a renter that will not live there for long (site says leases are flexible)… not very good for our neighborhood, or home values.

  • tjm December 31, 2013 (11:34 am)

    Anyone know the latest on the Whole Foods development? I haven’t seen anything posted lately.
    I hope they weren’t scared off by McGinn’s transparent pre-election anti-Whole Foods in West Seattle scheme.

    • WSB December 31, 2013 (12:02 pm)

      TJM, we mentioned the tank removal. Otherwise, the alley vacation is the next step, and I haven’t seen a date for the Council Transportation Committee to take that one up yet. But I’m checking. – TR

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