West Seattle development: Key approvals for 4400 SW Alaska

(February rendering from NK Architects)
From today’s city Land Use Information Bulletin: Key approvals for the 5-story building with 36 apartments, 2 live/work units, 5 offstreet parking spaces planned by Isola Homes at 44th and Alaska – kitty-corner from the West Seattle Farmers’ Market site. Here’s the official notice; here’s the full text of the decision. The image above is from the project’s final Design Review meeting in February (WSB coverage here), and some changes were recommended. Today’s decision opens a two-week appeal period – how to do that is explained here.

29 Replies to "West Seattle development: Key approvals for 4400 SW Alaska"

  • mikeK July 21, 2014 (1:09 pm)

    Am I reading this right? 5 parking spaces for 38 residences? Where do the other 33 park? That area is hard enough to park in.

    • WSB July 21, 2014 (1:26 pm)

      The city does not require any parking at all for development in this area, as of 2012 zoning changes.

  • Lox July 21, 2014 (2:07 pm)

    The parking situation is redonk! (Made up words make some things easier to express.)

  • onion July 21, 2014 (2:11 pm)

    Dang, MikeK. I’m with you. Five whole parking spaces. I’m tempted to say why did they bother.

  • Mr. X July 21, 2014 (2:34 pm)

    I am curious to see if the lack of parking impacts their ability to rent these units out. Could be some good deals on brand new apartments coming up for the carless among us.

  • WSobserver July 21, 2014 (3:00 pm)

    Gak, is that putrid yellow-green the real paint color?

  • old-timer July 21, 2014 (3:07 pm)

    Maybe the live/work units have spaces for clients?
    All this zoning based on a fragilely financed transit system.

    Well, what does city council care?
    They have their pensions.
    Let’s have another round of plastic bag legislation.

  • Seattle has seen better days July 21, 2014 (3:18 pm)

    Ruining the junction, one ugly building at a time. At least it matches that eyesore down at the other end of the same street (where they built sloped roofs instead of roof decks to enjoy the view). Horrible designs. Ugly landscape to look forward too. How progressive. RIP Junction.

  • Rick July 21, 2014 (3:19 pm)

    Come now children, we’ll all be carless in utopia. Trust me…Take your pill…

  • Christopher Boffoli July 21, 2014 (3:49 pm)

    Attractive modern design, including the bold colors. Excellent proximity to a host of services on foot, by bike, by public transit and Car2Go locations. I see many more positives in this development than the standard chorus of knee jerk negatives.

  • devilish details July 21, 2014 (4:16 pm)

    one of the projects – maybe all for this developer, i don’t know – has an underwhelming warranty of one year on “most of the interior” with a whopping two year warranty on mechanical systems.

    I would never buy that garbage. But i do like the look. All style and no substance is not my thing.

    Some people have no standards.

  • wssz July 21, 2014 (4:28 pm)

    I happen to like the design a lot, including the color. It’s creative and fun, and doesn’t take itself too seriously — a refreshing change from giant, boxy, sun-blocking structures that I see going in elsewhere.

    I live very close to this building and will see it every day.

    I for one appreciate the thought that’s gone into it and the whimsical sense that will add to the Junction. It gives me hope that the long term plan is for the Junction to be a beautiful and fun place to live, work, and shop.

  • Margaux July 21, 2014 (4:30 pm)

    @WSB-is there anything we can do to change these zoning laws?
    P.S. At least bury the power lines!

    • WSB July 21, 2014 (4:36 pm)

      Keep talking to your elected officials. And don’t let cynics/naysayers get you down. There can be, and has been, change – anywhere from Design Review meetings when people participate, to city process. The mayor has said he wants to see the parking rules revisited, for example. BUT if he doesn’t hear from people, it could slide. Also, Mike O’Brien, city councilmember, is in charge of the land-use-related committee currently; he’s someone to contact. He was out here for that recent hearing we covered – and I can’t stress enough, physical presence at meetings means a lot, still, even in our electronic day and age, so go if/when you can, if you really care – TR

  • Diane July 21, 2014 (4:32 pm)

    LOVE the green

  • Ugh! July 21, 2014 (4:40 pm)

    And why are there no long-term residents on the review board?

    • WSB July 21, 2014 (4:56 pm)

      I don’t know details of how long the people on the board have lived here, but if you know of someone interested in applying, there’s an opening RIGHT NOW since chair Laird Bennion’s last meeting was last week.

  • Mookie July 21, 2014 (5:06 pm)

    @ Seattle has seen better days – I’m curious to know what “eyesore” with sloped roofs you referred to – down on Glenn Way/Oregon, or somewhere on Alaska?

  • miws July 21, 2014 (5:34 pm)

    (Made up words make some things easier to express.)


    Thanks for specifying that, Lox. I was about to head over to Urban Dictionary. ;-)



  • JayDee July 21, 2014 (5:36 pm)

    By the time something gets to the Design Review Board, it is a matter of pinch and tuck, not go/no go. This mediocre monstrosity is an outgrowth of under the radar zoning changes. What does the developer get out of it? Big bucks.

    Assume that he doesn’t have to provide an underground garage (30 x 300 square feet egress and footprint per parking spot = 9,000 ft2. square). Each residence is 520 ft2 so the net benefit is like 15 more units AND no parking spot outlays. What does the city get from giving away $$$ and street parking (a common good): Zero, nil, nothing. Not even a transit fee.

    Let the carless hordes come (they aren’t — it is an article of faith they won’t have cars but I would bet at least 2/3rds will). So the City and current residents get jack and fewer parking spots. We do get a bigger scrum for the C rapid ride buses, so I guess there is that.

  • Brian July 21, 2014 (5:59 pm)


  • j July 21, 2014 (8:24 pm)

    The impact of all these giant buildings with no parking will be felt further into the future. The build at any cost concept will begin to exclude other West Seattle residents from the junction cause no one will want to drive there. Good for business.
    By the way….it is 36 apartments. NOT 36 residents.
    This could be 72 residents with 72 cars and 5 parking spaces!! It could also be 50 residents with 100 cars and 5 parking spaces. Hellooooooooooo??? There is no DOL search of owned vehicles as pre-qualification to live in these places.
    Ruining West Seattle

  • morgan July 21, 2014 (8:27 pm)

    In many European cities people live in building with no parking. They walk to restaurants,shops,and use mass transit or bikes to work. Thankfully Seattle may finally be moving toward a thriving urban environment with West Seattle leading that shift.

    The building is awesome. Let’s move forward. I’d much rather this than pushing people to the suburbs to cut down more trees to build huge houses.

  • Kay July 21, 2014 (9:37 pm)

    Buildings with no parking should be linked to adequate public transportation. Our busses are already crowded to standing room only and metro is facing more cuts in services.

  • Tattoo July 21, 2014 (11:17 pm)

    That green is ugly and is a fad color. There is no need for the parking spaces as the residents will all just try to park in the free junction parking. There is no room on the morning buses and the bridge is backed up. And if any of these new residences have children, there is very little room in our overcrowded schools!

  • s July 22, 2014 (8:40 am)

    The building looks nice. I like it. But I doubt only five cars will be owned by the residents. There should be some addition to the building code that limits the number of cars that can be owned by the residents. Allow the residents to have a total of ten cars. If the city and developers really believe that the residents won’t own cars, then this code addition shouldn’t be a problem.

  • M July 22, 2014 (11:48 am)

    Having worked with many public agencies over the years I’ve generally found that the people who work at them are pretty much like the rest of us – trying to do the best and most ethical job they can, often with limited resources. And some of the comments I read here and other places about all the greedy, evil, corrupt, incompetent yet very clever, public employees conspiring to make our lives miserable still astound me every time I read one of them.

    That said, there is one bogeyman in government that I haven’t seen mentioned in any of the discussions here about growth and planning, and that is the terrible conflict of interest that exists within the city department that issues building permits in Seattle, DPD. DPD is a ‘revenue driven’ department, meaning that the majority of the their funding comes from permit fees, very much like it works in the private sector. And when business is hot, and projects are being planned and built, everybody hires more people, including DPD (and SDOT as well), and people are flying high.
    But in a downturn, like the stunning collapse of the real estate market in late 2008, nobody is flying high, least of all DPD, where well over half the staff lost their jobs (I believe the figure was closer to 75%). Almost all of these were union jobs, with seniority used in determining the order of layoffs. Many of these people had worked together for years, in close quarters (this is not Trump Tower), and they were devastated to see the havoc wreaked on their friends and colleagues. Who wouldn’t be? And I think this helps explain why building permit decisions sometimes seem so arbitrary and illogical.
    A project like the one being proposed here will require thousands of hours of DPD staff time, therefore more jobs and job security. And I have no doubt that most of the staff who work there are honest and decent people, but that inherent conflict of interest, and temptation, creates what is called “unclean hands” in the legal world, and is completely antithetical to the public interest and trust that we hire these people to protect.

  • JVP July 22, 2014 (9:21 pm)

    I really like how that building looks. Nice to see something both bold and clean.

  • JP July 23, 2014 (6:44 am)

    I like modern architectures. However, please change the color of this one…

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