City seeks dismissal of developer’s lawsuit over assistance for tenants of to-be-demolished West Seattle Junction building

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A new development in the lawsuit filed by a West Seattle development firm over the city’s contention that it owes compensation to tenants of a Junction apartment building it plans to demolish: The city has filed a motion to dismiss the suit, saying that since it hasn’t even moved forward to enforce the compensation issue, it’s too soon for the developer to sue – first it would have to challenge the enforcement action, if that ever happens. broke the story of the lawsuit last month; it was filed by an entity of West Seattle-based development firm Blueprint against the city and against the tenants of 4528 44th SW (King County Assessor’s Office photo, above).

As first reported here last November, that 8-unit building is proposed to be torn down and replaced by a building with about 60 apartments. (The microhousing project passed the first phase of Design Review in March.)

The city issued a Notice of Violation on June 5th against Blueprint 4528 LLC, saying that it was violating the city’s Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance by not obtaining a Tenant Relocation License, which could have enabled compensation to the seven tenants as required if demolition is displacing renters; the company replied that the tenants weren’t being displaced by demolition, because they all have leases that expire in December, and the project won’t start until after that. The city’s filing for dismissal says that the company should make that case if and when enforcement is sought, not before that: “Other than being frustrated that the city issued a NOV, Plaintiff is not harmed by the NOV, or for having to wait for the City to take enforcement action,” the filing says.

No response by Blueprint 4528 LLC is on file yet; the dismissal motion was just filed on Wednesday afternoon. A hearing on the motion is set for September 2nd.

13 Replies to "City seeks dismissal of developer's lawsuit over assistance for tenants of to-be-demolished West Seattle Junction building"

  • Jeff July 17, 2015 (4:48 pm)

    If the leases really are up, shouldn’t this be really easy to clear up and resolve? Is someone making trouble just because the can?

  • nichole July 17, 2015 (4:49 pm)

    Um, when a lease expires it usually goes month to month automatically right? So, yes they are being displaced! This is horrible!

  • ChefJoe July 17, 2015 (6:28 pm)

    “leases provided in court papers show renters at the current building are paying as little as $625 a month.”
    I’m sure these friends/co-founders of Smart Growth Seattle (apodment pushing org with Roger Valdez as the head) are just trying to make housing more affordable.

  • Mark schletty July 17, 2015 (9:15 pm)

    The city should simply rescind the permit for the horrible apodments.

  • Rick July 17, 2015 (9:56 pm)

    You owe me.

  • Diane July 18, 2015 (2:19 am)

    this is blatant obnoxious disregard of city tenant rights law
    “Our Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance requires developers to pay relocation assistance to low-income tenants who must move because their rental will: Be torn down or undergo substantial renovation”

  • Diane July 18, 2015 (2:20 am)

    landlords all over the city have been using this as a loophole to NOT pay tenants prior to demolition/remodel; shameful
    “We do not require a landlord to pay relocation assistance to a tenant who moves out because of a rent increase”
    that’s what happened to the low income tenants at Linda Manor; their rent was raised 140%, impossible to pay on limited incomes, so they had to move; then the landlord used this loophole, which REALLY needs to be squashed

  • 4thGenWestSide July 18, 2015 (9:56 am)

    Boo Dan Duffus.

  • civik July 18, 2015 (1:30 pm)

    We really need to put the individual names next to these and not just Blueprint. All these people are shameful members of the community.

  • Kara July 18, 2015 (2:30 pm)

    I worked so hard with fellow tenants to get this law changed to what it is…knowing that developers found this loophole makes me sick.

  • Hootspa July 18, 2015 (10:28 pm)

    These piggy little developers need to play by the rules. I can’t believe that a group that is building a mega project is quibbling over such a minute portion of what they will gain. Sheesh…for goodwill if nothing else, pay the displaced tenants.

  • SamS July 22, 2015 (4:38 pm)

    Not so fast…I know one of the tenants and they all got discounted rent from the landlord when they signed their leases. They could have simply not rented to anybody and left the units vacant, but they are providing AFFORDABLE housing to these folks! One of the tenants was on the TV report and said that they were fine with moving out! This is a case of the city totally stepping out of bounds and changing the rules on the fly. I am a landlord and am glad somebody is standing up to the city. Good for Blueprint.

  • Roundthesound July 22, 2015 (5:51 pm)

    SamS you are the kind of landlord these laws are meant to protect people from. These are people’s homes where they have put down roots and made an investment in this neighborhood, not just “affordable”, now becoming temporary, might as well have been left vacant housing. I live in a similar building down the street and I work and spend most of my time and money in this neighborhood which I care deeply about; I can afford to do that because I’ve lived here long enough that I’m paying rent at 2010 rates. If my landlord were to sell or develop my bldg I know he would be raking in a bunch of money and I would feel that he would be responsible for helping me relocate because this neighborhood wouldn’t have the property value it does without the awesome people that have made it what it is today. I’ve helped you keep your property value high the least you could do is get me a moving truck. The city has really low income limits so most of these people wouldn’t probably qualify for assistance anyway.
    How would one tenant know every tenant received discounted rent and why would they even do that unless they are getting compensated some other way? Also just because 1 of 8 people is fine with moving out why would that be the whole bldgs consensus? I would love to be compensated to move out of this area if it comes up in the future just to not have to rent from someone like you or some conglomerate like Blueprint. Thankfully my landlord and his family are awesome and I know their family is invested in this area and I feel like they genuinely care about the people they rent to.

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