58-unit microhousing at 4528 44th SW OK’d by Southwest Design Review Board

(From the “design packet” by Alloy Design Group)

The 6-story, 58-unit microhousing project planned to replace an 8-unit apartment building at 4528 44th SW in The Junction is the first West Seattle project in a while to make it through Design Review in the minimum amount of meetings. The Southwest Design Review Board has approved it after one Early Design Guidance-phase meeting (in March) plus, last night, one Recommendation-phase meeting. One member of the public offered comments. Patrick Sand was at the meeting for WSB; toplines ahead:

The board asked architects Alloy Design Group to look at reducing the number of different materials and colors on the building’s facade, for a more-consistent look. On the south side of the building, though, the one member of the public to comment, Diane Vincent, suggested a little more color would be welcome, beyond the medium zinc tone currently in the plans. That ultimately stayed, but the board suggested the black north side of the building should be rethought. Meantime, the touches of cedar on the side of the building and the walkway railings drew the most support; the project team described it as related to the cedar tree on the site that will be saved, right at the front entrance. They were urged in turn to have landscaping as lush as possible.

Also discussed while the landscaping was being reviewed, the buffer between this building and the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot immediately to the south, with an observation that potential future development of that lot should be kept in mind.

The project team got kudos for the V-shaped break on the building’s east and west sides, considered an improvement over the “boxy look” that many newer projects tend to have. Pedestrian-friendly features on the south side were well-received too.

One more note about materials – the risk of “oil canning” (explained here); the architects were told to doublecheck their materials to do what they could to keep that from happening.

While this was the last Design Review meeting, you can comment on any issue related to the project by e-mailing the assigned city planner, BreAnne McConkie, up until it gets final DPD approval – breanne.mcconkie@seattle.gov.

26 Replies to "58-unit microhousing at 4528 44th SW OK'd by Southwest Design Review Board "

  • Joe Szilagyi September 4, 2015 (3:21 pm)

    Good. I feel for the people in the 8 units, but now it’s another +50 units in our area that won’t see competion from new people moving here.
    Everyone remember as well that the city has NO legal power to stop people moving here. Anyone who says otherwise is misinformed or fibbing.

  • sc September 4, 2015 (3:25 pm)

    So 58 units and no one will have a car! Right!

  • CSWWWW September 4, 2015 (3:32 pm)

    Parking???? “58-unit microhousing project planned to replace an 8-unit apartment” does this sound outrageous to anyone else?

    • WSB September 4, 2015 (3:43 pm)

      If you read the packet (linked in this story and in the preview we did yesterday), you can find lots of details – this is just our followup to say, the board gave its approval to the design. The building has parking for at least 44 bicycles. No offstreet motorized-vehicle parking, and city rules don’t require it because this is in what’s considered a “frequent-transit” zone. – TR

  • Diane September 4, 2015 (3:57 pm)

    if anyone else comes here to complain about this project, I ask, where the hell were you last night???
    I was the ONLY PERSON from the public to show up and comment; that is absolutely pathetic

  • Jw September 4, 2015 (4:03 pm)

    There goes the free parking….

  • skeeter September 4, 2015 (4:14 pm)

    Free street parking = massive disincentive for expensive off-street parking.

  • Kimmy September 4, 2015 (4:44 pm)

    Looks nice! I’d love to love in the Junction.

  • JanS September 4, 2015 (5:08 pm)

    well, live and learn…I say, just wait…the lack of street parking around there is going to be cataclysmic soon…and those that say it’s no problem will have to eat their words. When these young people (I’m assuming) want to go away for a weekend…camping, hiking, Leavenworth, wherever…they will need a car, not a bicycle…when they want to have brunch in Ballard, they will need a car…when they work at Microsoft, Google, etc., and oversleep, they will need a car, not a bicycle. And those cars will be parked on the streets surrounding the junction.Common sense tells you that. In my opinion, their leases should say that they cannot own a car…it would solve the problem.

  • JanS September 4, 2015 (5:10 pm)

    Kimmy…remember…these are going to be microhousing type rooms…likely less than 300 sq. ft.

  • AA September 4, 2015 (5:11 pm)

    I’m confused, I thought these apartments had a communal kitchen on each floor. I don’t see a single kitchen in the whole building.

    • WSB September 4, 2015 (5:14 pm)

      AA, I noticed that too, looking more closely at the “floor plans” today, but it’s the development team that referred to them as SEDUs (small efficiency dwelling units, the term for “microhousing”). Not sure what that’s about. Design Review doesn’t deal with interior features so that wasn’t a topic of discussion at the meeting. – TR

  • raybro September 4, 2015 (5:14 pm)

    “frequent-transit” zone – now that is a complete joke except for downtown.

  • Paul September 4, 2015 (5:15 pm)

    This seems like a good place for this type of housing. You could actually live there without a car.

  • Jon Wright September 4, 2015 (5:43 pm)

    JanS, for whom is the lack of street parking around there going to be “cataclysmic”? People who believe they are entitled to store park their vehicle for free in the public right of way?

  • David September 4, 2015 (6:54 pm)

    __WHEN__ the junction and surrounding area becomes part of a residential parking zone (RPZ), the tenants of these microhousing dwellings should not be eligible for RPZ permits since the residents __DONT__ need any parking. If the assumption is they won’t have cars to get the project permitted,then they aren’t eligible for a parking permit wken the area goes RPZ.

  • Karl September 4, 2015 (8:16 pm)

    Oh So glad to have gotten out of the junction area. Was a good place over the years we were there. Some of us that lived there needed a vehicle to get to work, with all the development now. So glad to be gone. Good luck to those remaining

  • Ramona amazon September 4, 2015 (9:03 pm)

    No one is more entitled to free parking more than anyone else. Clean out your garage.

  • Kimmy September 4, 2015 (9:16 pm)

    I’m know, JanS. Look nice and great for some. I used to have a small place similar to this, and didn’t own a car. It was great, and for all the scenarios you mentioned I used Zipcar or carpooled with friends. Or the occasional cab–I didn’t have to worry about the fares adding up when used occasionally since I didn’t have any car payments, maintenance, licensing or insurance to pay for a vehicle. Not sure it would be a good fit for my lifestyle now with the pets.

  • CanDo September 4, 2015 (9:51 pm)

    Thanks “Karl”… we’re talking about moving away from the Junction area in the next couple of years as well. It was a great place to raise kids and we’d hoped to retire here, but that just doesn’t seem possible now. With so much crowding and escrow costs rising yearly, we just don’t see how staying could possibly work. Didn’t think we’d have to resort to a “Plan B” but we’re trying to scratch one out now.

  • Anom September 4, 2015 (10:14 pm)

    Diane is right. Stop complaining on-line and take the time to show up at these public meetings to provide your feedback. Your voice can’t be heard if you don’t show up.

  • dsa September 4, 2015 (11:35 pm)

    Diane, it just feels like our voices are not listened to no matter how many of the city hoops we jump through. I’m remembering one city very simple project where Tom R told Alki that there was nothing they could do to stop a channelization/no-parking project.

  • Baffled September 5, 2015 (8:50 am)

    @Diane: no one showed up because it’s alraedy a done deal. You think a packed room full of angry citizens would have changed the outcome? Let me tell you: I’ve been part of that in the past, and it doesn’t. Anti-development sentiment has become fatigued. It’s game over, and the developers won.

  • Trevor T September 5, 2015 (9:21 am)

    Going to those meetings doesn’t matter. The developer is building what zoning and regulations allow. Train already left the station.

    RPZs not to microhousing – that is not the way those permits work. I would say you could make an equal case that if you have parking you CHOOSE not to use, you shouldn’t get a permit. Both, however, are silly propositions.

  • Anne R September 5, 2015 (4:47 pm)

    I sure hope that Metro is on board, prepared to provide transportation to the hundreds upon hundreds of people in the new units built recently.

  • John September 7, 2015 (7:59 am)

    Regarding ‘oil canning’, it seems quite a petty concern likely raised by someone ‘showing’ their knowledge.

    It is akin to raising concerns about runs in exterior paint or inconsistencies in paint colors, coat to coat.

    Purely cosmetic, oil canning has no affect on a building’s physical viability and most people would never be aware of it. It is however, usually a sign of budget constraints or inexperience in the sheet metal work.

Sorry, comment time is over.