3210 California’s revised design: One less story on one side

(Renderings courtesy Nicholson-Kovalchick Architects)
Here’s your first look at the newest changes proposed for one of the most-scrutinized development proposals on the table right now in West Seattle. 3210 California SW is the 134-unit, 152-parking-space, ~450-foot-long mixed-use project proposed for most of the east side of a block-plus area upzoned in 2010. Intracorp‘s project has been before the Southwest Design Review Board four times, and board members are scheduled to consider it again on April 3rd, as reported here four weeks ago. Today, the project team has shared three new renderings and a summary of changes – including reduced height for part of the building, a key request by nearby neighbors, who have continued to challenge the city rules that wound up allowing a 5-story building in an area upzoned to a theoretical 4-story (40-foot) height limit:

Summary of Proposed Changes:

§ Reduced the north building by one floor. It’s now under the allowed height and zoning. This is also a reduction of 10 apartment units.

§ Reduced the quantity and the height of the stair and elevator penthouses.

§ Set back the top floor of the middle and south buildings by 4 feet from the three residential stories below.

§ Widened the gap between the three buildings to a minimum of 25 feet to allow for more natural light and reduce the massing. (formerly the minimum gap was at 19 feet)

§ Removed all the balconies facing the single family homes. Replaced them with Juliet balconies to allow the doors to open for natural ventilation. (Juliet balconies do not allow a person to step onto the balcony.)

§ Made the bridge more transparent to allow for natural light.

§ Varied the color of the window frames to further differentiate the three buildings, creating a tapestry rather than a uniformed look.

(North retail, street level)
§ Carried the brick material (in a different color) from the northern building to the middle building. This gives the middle building a finer, masonry look and resembles more of the California District character.

§ Added finer scale, smooth masonry face on the retail side of the south building and varied the storefront and other street level materials in order to compliment the character of California Avenue and the Admiral District.

(South residential, street level)
The project team will be submitting the full “design packet” for the April 3rd meeting (6:30 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle, California/Oregon) before the week’s out.

2:16 PM UPDATE: The full packet is now linked from the city website – see it here.

18 Replies to "3210 California's revised design: One less story on one side"

  • Fiwa Jcbbb March 20, 2014 (12:25 pm)

    Great news. If only they could make it less hideously ugly…but I suppose it’s an improvement over Reagan-era eyesores like Jefferson Square.

  • Jesse D March 20, 2014 (1:13 pm)

    Now there’s an improvement. Looks much better now.

  • PG March 20, 2014 (1:33 pm)

    Congratulations to the design committee and neighbors for continuing to press for improvements. It is taking a lot of work, but this time it seems like there are actual changes to the design.

  • changes March 20, 2014 (1:50 pm)

    While this is the biggest design change so far, the length and height of the structure are still massively out of scale, especially considering that this will directly abut single-family homes. The renderings are misleading people into thinking this is appropriately scaled for the neighborhood when it would tower above everything in the vicinity.

    The developer is hoping the design review board will simply be too exhausted by this project to ask for more changes. I hope the design review board realizes that and represents the public interest by asking for further changes.

  • DrKate March 20, 2014 (2:07 pm)

    Much improved!

  • WSR March 20, 2014 (2:25 pm)

    Good to see there have been some changes. In their summary list it says they made the bridge more transparent. Didn’t the review board request it be deleted at the last meeting?

    • WSB March 20, 2014 (2:46 pm)

      The design packet showed up online in the past 20 minutes or so and I have linked it at the bottom of the story. It includes a no-bridge option. I won’t be able to add any more renderings until later because I’m working on a slower connection here at the courthouse – it’s a big PDF – but the link should take you there to see. – TR

  • Diane March 20, 2014 (2:25 pm)

    agree, much improved; thanks to all the neighbors; look forward to seeing the entire design packet

  • wsresident March 20, 2014 (3:34 pm)

    so if all is passed, when will demolition begin?

  • onion March 20, 2014 (3:55 pm)

    Today I learned what a Juliet balcony is. Now I can chill.

  • seaopgal March 20, 2014 (4:31 pm)

    Better, but they really need to lose the bridge. It undermines the illusion that these are separate buildings.

  • Seattlite March 20, 2014 (4:35 pm)

    changes – I agree with you. These box-like structures are so deplete of any architectural creativity. It is what it is — a large box with windows on a small piece of land. Seattle’s city council is so out of touch with local neighborhoods. Allowing all of this overdevelopment is going to backfire in the future.

  • DTK March 20, 2014 (5:20 pm)

    Now add a Metro Bus.

  • Forest March 20, 2014 (8:13 pm)

    I have to balk at downloading a 149.7 MB design file. Why on earth is this revised packet several times larger than the last one?

  • westseattle March 20, 2014 (8:39 pm)


  • RS March 20, 2014 (8:39 pm)

    Hah, good one DTK!

  • coffee March 20, 2014 (9:47 pm)

    Another ugly box. Sheet metal siding, some composite board siding, fake brick siding blech….

  • fj March 21, 2014 (12:21 pm)

    are they still doing the parking garage from Hanford? That will be hella traffic if so.

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