West Seattle development: 112 apartments planned for PCC site at 2749 California SW

(UPDATED 6:12 PM with PCC statement)
(Preferred ‘massing’ rendering by Hewitt, from Early Design Guidance packet for 2749 California SW)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Three months after Madison Development Group signaled it was proceeding with a “possible project” on its recently purchased site at 2749 California SW, we have new information about what’s being planned.

The project’s first Southwest Design Review Board meeting has just been scheduled for Thursday, July 21st, and the Early Design Guidance “packet” is already in the city system – see it here.

That document still does not answer the question of whether the retail in the project will or won’t be the site’s current tenant – PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor). We have messages out to ask if that’s been determined yet. But in the meantime, if you’re interested in the project, here’s what the packet DOES reveal, for starters:

*4 story mixed-use structure

*2 stories of below grade parking for 40 commercial use stalls and 112 stalls for residential use; access to the parking via the alley.

*Approx 112 residential units over a podium comprised of an approximately 25,000 sf for general sales and services (retail), residential lobby and leasing functions at the ground level.

*Residential outdoor garden terraces and enclosed amenity spaces within the proposal’s three stories above the ground level.

*Existing 11,427 sf surface parking lot to the west of the alley with 31 parking stalls to
remain as an accessory use to the proposed general sales and services use (retail).

Remember that this is the “Early Design Guidance” phase and that means the renderings by the architecture firm, Hewitt, are NOT projecting how the project will look – what you see is *only* proposed size and shape (“massing”).

The Design Review meeting is set for 8 pm July 21st at the Sisson Building/Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon in The Junction).

BACKSTORY: It was March of last year when we first discovered an indication that Madison was involved with the site and working on a potential redevelopment project; PCC noted at the time that they have a lease “in place … through most of this decade.” Two months after that, in May 2015, Madison announced it had closed its purchase of the site; county records showed the purchase price as $5,750,000.

Three months ago, when Madison confirmed it was proceeding with a potential project, PCC’s CEO Cate Hardy told WSB, “PCC Natural Markets has every intention of serving West Seattle for many years to come. To that end, we have been in conversations regarding several location options, including with the new owners of our current store site.”

Madison’s previous projects in West Seattle are Element 42 (east of Admiral Safeway) and Spruce (39th/Alaska/Fauntleroy in The Junction – Madison finished the project after it stalled under the original developer BlueStar).

P.S. We found early word of this today in our routine daily check of the Design Review website; the formal notice of the hearing won’t likely emerge before this Thursday’s Land Use Information Bulletin. We’ll update with anything we hear back from PCC or Madison.

ADDED 6:12 PM: PCC CEO Hardy responded to our inquiry with this statement:

PCC has been in discussions with our new landlord who, as we have known since they purchased the property, plans to redevelop the site where our West Seattle store is located. Our goal in these conversations with our landlord is to secure PCC’s long term future in West Seattle. We were aware that Madison Development Group would be filing additional documents with the city as part of their ongoing assessment and development process. As soon as we have information to share about PCC’s future in West Seattle, we will do so, first with our staff and then with the community.

68 Replies to "West Seattle development: 112 apartments planned for PCC site at 2749 California SW"

  • SGG June 27, 2016 (4:38 pm)

    I wish they would get rid of McDonalds instead.

  • WD fundie June 27, 2016 (5:02 pm)

    That’s a lot of parking to devote to residential which leaves them likely too low for a grocery store.

  • sc June 27, 2016 (5:06 pm)

    And the California Canyon keeps going on!

    • Chris R. June 27, 2016 (8:11 pm)

      Yup. Sorry to say I grew up and lived in WS for 55 years. Loved this little community. But have to say, I’m glad I have moved out.

    • Joe Bags June 27, 2016 (11:02 pm)

      Death star trench :)

  • Jeff June 27, 2016 (5:09 pm)

    I sure hope they stick around, I love the bulk spices area.

  • Trickycoolj June 27, 2016 (5:11 pm)

    Huh. So the grocery store that signifies gentrification is being gentrified. I hope this means we will eventually get an East Green Lake sized PCC, they have so much more inventory. 

  • ACG June 27, 2016 (5:16 pm)

    Any idea of when they are hoping to break ground?  Fingers crossed that PCC can stay in WS somewhere. I’m assuming that even if they are going to stay on as a tenant in this new development, the store will have to shut down for demo and then the build of the new building  

  • onion June 27, 2016 (5:16 pm)

    With 112 apartments, where is that large lawn supposed to be? And the  31 outside spaces? The rendering doesn’t seem to have any relation to the actual site.

    • Rick June 27, 2016 (6:40 pm)

      Don’t ask questions.

    • west seattle steve June 28, 2016 (1:38 pm)

      The lawn you’re looking at is the parking lot for WS HS across the street. The surface parking spaces are the overflow lot that is across the alley from the main lot, behind the massing diagram you see here.

  • MsD June 27, 2016 (5:51 pm)

    By apartments, I’m assuming these are rental units?  Is this correct?  (I read through the packet, but it’s hard to get through all the architectural conceptual-speak which makes them feel like they’re designing some sort of artistic triumph instead of another block of bland tract housing.)

    • WSB June 27, 2016 (5:55 pm)

      Yes, apartments means rental housing. Our area has seen very little condo construction in recent years (aside from a few in Alki). Rowhouses/townhouses, single-family houses, and apartments.

  • steve June 27, 2016 (7:53 pm)

    Shocking.  WS continually keeps getting dumped on.  Traffic is going to be horrible with all of this crappy development that the city government continues to promote as sustainable density.  It is sad how the city government keeps sucking the life out of WS.  

    • WS Lady June 29, 2016 (11:56 pm)

      Yes, like it’s sucked the life out of Ballard, Fremont, Capitol Hill, etc.  Money talks, good sense walks.

  • Smitty June 27, 2016 (8:01 pm)

    McDonalds isn’t going anywhere…..lots of new customers in that canyon.

  • Busrider June 27, 2016 (8:09 pm)

    This site has high impervious area. How do they intend to manage stormwater? The 6′ planting strip on california is not wide enough for roadside bioretention with on street parking unless they intend to only handle the sidewalk. The wider planter strip on side street is much more conducive if they can route water around the corner given it is 16′. 

  • Lisa June 27, 2016 (8:56 pm)

    Oh west Seattle, where have you gone?  31 years here and I think its time to leave….too many people squished in.

  • bolo June 27, 2016 (9:27 pm)

    Looks like it’s only 4 stories?

    • WSB June 27, 2016 (9:40 pm)

      Yes, as mentioned in the story, and the design packet to which we linked, 4 stories. This is a low-rise zone – Admiral is a “residential urban village,” unlike The Junction, which is an urban center/hub type of urban village, and most of it is zoned 6 to 8 stories. – TR

  • AMM June 27, 2016 (9:29 pm)

    I feel sick to my stomach. I walk these streets every day and go to PCC several times a week. This neighborhood just won’t be the same, but I guess that’s the idea. Force the home owners to leave and turn their property into more small housing. Not enough room for everyone, so somebody has to leave. Guess it will be us. Developers don’t care- more space for them. 

  • Ann Schumann June 27, 2016 (9:40 pm)

    Everyone wants 112 cars in the alley……We have too many in ours and it is turning into a nightmare.

    • WSB June 27, 2016 (9:49 pm)

      Covering so many Design Review meetings in the past 10 years, we learned the city has for some years mandated alley access where at all possible. It requires a request for a departure – zoning exception – to do otherwise.

  • WSince86 June 27, 2016 (9:57 pm)

    112 units, 112 parking stalls. What a concept!

    • WSB June 27, 2016 (10:11 pm)

      There’s a reason. This is not considered to be a “frequent transit” area. If it were, no parking would be required.

      • Cecelia June 28, 2016 (8:02 am)

        They need the parking if they want to have a grocery store though, that is for sure. 

        If this ends up being like the PCC apartment building over in Columbia City it will be a good for PCC (although that apartment building is taller).  PCC there has underground parking which is great in a downpour and then a small amount of parking around the side of the building.

  • Gina June 27, 2016 (10:01 pm)

    The footprint looks the same, the building will be like a three story addition on top. The grey strip down the middle is California Ave, and the green lawn is Hiawatha Park, you can see the faint tree outlines to get your bearings. Will the house across the alley be finished by the time the condo building is done?

    • West Sea Neighbor June 28, 2016 (8:14 am)

      LOL @Gina, I always wonder what’s up with that house across the alley. It has been *almost* finished for years, and looks unlived in.

  • Richard June 27, 2016 (10:09 pm)

    Stack them in like cord wood

  • MacJ June 27, 2016 (10:35 pm)

    A 112 space garage is just going to drive up rents more, and sit half empty. It’s a quick walk to the 56/57 route, or 55, or a 50 to the light rail or a 128 to the C.  All these homeowners keep whining but they’re not the ones getting squeezed.

    • chemist June 27, 2016 (11:52 pm)

      Maybe they’ll rent spaces out to other neighbors who are tired of seeing their on-street parked cars be prowled/broken into/stolen ?

  • Smitty June 28, 2016 (6:29 am)

    I feel sorry for the people living on side streets just east and west of California.  More and more people are going to take these “alternate” routes to expedite their travels and “beat traffic”.

    I’m sure the next expense that these developers will pay nothing toward is traffic calming remedies.

  • WS since '66 June 28, 2016 (7:32 am)

    As one who has lived here in West Seattle for a long time I happen
    to love the new look of our little corner of the world. Do I love the increased
    traffic? No I would have loved to have seen the monorail built here as planned.
    Many complain about the look of the area with all of the new buildings. West
    Seattle has never been about buildings. It has been about the endless natural
    beauty enjoyed every day here. Think of the Olympic Mtns, the stunningly blue
    waters of Puget Sound, and the people who are are neighbors, friends, and
    family. One can choose to immerse themselves in the wonderment of the people
    and natural beauty or continue stressing about what such and such a building looks
    like. Truth
    is WS has been changing since 3 men rowed ashore in September of 1851 and
    continues to do so.

  • Joan June 28, 2016 (7:35 am)

    Sickening. We need our PCC!

  • Born on Alki 59 June 28, 2016 (7:39 am)

    “all these homeowners keep whining but their not the ones getting squeezed”

     Well, this homeowner is being squeezed right outta Seattle. Our property taxes have now exceeded the mortgage payment. A large portion of those taxes finance the wonderful public transportation system you speak of. I’m not whining, just moving.

    • Brian June 29, 2016 (1:18 pm)

      If your property taxes outweigh your mortgage payment, you are living the American Dream and you don’t even know it. How are you even complaining right now?    

  • steve June 28, 2016 (8:05 am)

    I love how the rendering shows only 3 people milling about. When the reality will be congested cacophony, with residents and homeless, fighting to their deaths for survival. 

  • Bonnie June 28, 2016 (8:15 am)

    I love all of West Seattle but have to say so happy we settled in the southwest end where there isn’t much construction and still has that West Seattle feel.  How are people going to get in and out of West Seattle?  Also, that area by WSHS and Hiawatha has terrible traffic issues right after school….what will it be like after these are completed?   I won’t avoid because I love the running store but geez!

  • WSGirl June 28, 2016 (8:48 am)

    Seattle NEEDS more rental units. This will bring rental costs back down to a hopefully more manageable rate. This is what happens when  you live SO close to downtown Seattle, where most big businesses exist. If only our city would act more quickly with public transportation… 2030? Doesn’t that seem a little ridiculous?  And don’t tell me it’s a money issue… We have insanely high taxes in this city.

  • seaweed June 28, 2016 (9:31 am)

    Rental rates will not get lower.  There will certainly be more rental units, at ever higher rates. This is why developers build. This is why property taxes continue to rise. Density does not lower the stresses on a city infrastructure, it only increases the needs.

    • john June 28, 2016 (10:18 am)

      Supply vs demand controls prices, not developer desires.

      When supply exceeds demand, prices lower.

      Just look back to 2008.

      Just look back to the condo era a few years before.

      • WSB June 28, 2016 (10:48 am)

        The condo boom started unraveling in late 2007, when planned conversions of apartment buildings were canceled. One condo project in Admiral never did get built; a new project with a few apartments and some retail is now in the works for the site.

    • steve June 28, 2016 (11:09 am)

      seaweed speaks the truth!

    • Sue June 28, 2016 (11:34 am)

      Yes – perhaps more rentals will keep them from rising so quickly, but it’s not like my landlord is going to renew my lease and say “good news, we’re going to drop your rent 20%.” Never gonna happen.

  • Neighbor June 28, 2016 (9:58 am)

    I’m with SGG (first commentor). If PCC has to move, I will hate Madison Development Group. 

  • Steven June 28, 2016 (10:00 am)

    and why no new condos?  I mean, I want the PCC to stay as well.  But with so many new apartments, and so few condos, many of us are being squeezed out from purchasing altogether, and forced to pay outrageous (and rising) rents.

    • Sue June 28, 2016 (11:38 am)

      I wonder this as well. I am a single person, a renter, and have considered buying a condo apartment  – not a large townhome I can’t afford and I don’t need something of that size. But it’s almost impossible to find. Anything that is available here in West Seattle is generally a converted apartment complex, and I’d prefer to stay away from that for various reasons. Anything that I do find available sells faster than I can blink. So there’s obviously some demand for that.

    • DumplingGirl June 28, 2016 (11:51 am)

      After the last condo boom and bust (loose mortgages, condo developments flipping back to the lenders, etc.), and spate of litigation (homeowners associations suing the developers); condos are extremely expensive to build. I know that doesn’t seem logical – they should be the same as apartments, right? But the way the construction financing is structured makes it hard for developers to build anything but very high-end condos, like the few new downtown high-rises we are seeing.

    • Parker Nicholson July 1, 2016 (1:41 pm)

       EASY EXPLANATION. The state of Washington has very onerous condo construction liability laws that virtually guarantee the developer will be sued by the HOA at the end of the statute of limitations term. Therefore, on a risk adjusted returns metric….apartments are the better investment. Change the law and you will see more condo construction.  Source: Middle Class guy who works for a development company who has done business in Seattle for 40 years.

  • SR June 28, 2016 (10:33 am)

    I agree with Onion above.  The drawing does not seem to have any relation to the actual site.  If the green space pictured is the view from Hiawatha Park it looks deceptively ample.

     112 units that are either apartments or condos?  An underground garage and more tight parking spaces above-ground?  Sad.  I feel for the PCC folks — both employees and shoppers.  Even if PCC does negotiate w/landlord to stay as a tenant for sure this is hugely disruptive.

  • little bird June 28, 2016 (12:13 pm)

    The sky is not falling: https://twitter.com/heidigroover/status/745298360005853184 

    PCC better stay, though! 

    • WSB June 28, 2016 (12:35 pm)

      Yes, West Seattle has wide, wide stretches of single-family-zoned land, still. We have featured the zoning maps before; you can find them on the city website. One point made about that, just for full accuracy: It includes parkland in the same shading as “single-family.” So when you look at the map, remember our large stretches of parkland – Lincoln Park, Alki waterfront, Camp Long, Westcrest Park, Duwamish Head Greenbelt, West Duwamish Greenbelt – are *not* included, for housing of any kind. – TR

      • little bird June 28, 2016 (9:07 pm)

        Fair point! Thanks, WSB :)

    • Seaweed June 30, 2016 (9:04 pm)

      Just the beginning. Oh how that colour will change. All that yellow? Disproportionately responsible for property taxes that are needed to support all this new development, density and growth.

  • Admiral resident June 28, 2016 (12:39 pm)

    I’ve been a resident in Element 42 for 18 months, which I specifically chose due to proximity to PCC.  I picked West Seattle for the great neighborhood feeling, which is very similar to what I like about St Paul, MN, where my permanent home is located (I work in Seattle Mon-Thu).  As a new arrival, my observation is that traffic is certainly an issue, but I feel that the taller buildings on California are a welcome screen & sound wall to the houses on the streets behind.  It’s sad to lose the old feeling of the single-level PCC and surface parking lot, but if this project goes through with PCC on the ground level, I’ll be one of the first to sign a lease, preferably for an apartment facing west.  For what it’s worth, I bike to work as much as possible, so the traffic is less of a concern for me.

  • Diane June 28, 2016 (2:27 pm)

    not surprised at all, after seeing the Madison development @ Spruce; I never shop @ PCC because it’s way too expensive; but if it does go into this new development, and you want to see what it could look like, check out the new PCC in Columbia City

    • WSB June 28, 2016 (2:34 pm)

      We shop all three of our locally owned grocery stores (who also all happen to be WSB sponsors – PCC, Thriftway, Metropolitan Market) for various things at various times and while prices vary, there is at least one rock-bottom-cheap category of items at PCC … bulk herbs/spices.

      • newnative June 28, 2016 (2:45 pm)

        My only must-have from PCC is the French Roast beans from Fidalgo Bay.  By far, the most popular coffee beans there and always fresh.  I will self-destruct if I can’t get it.  

  • Meyer June 28, 2016 (2:55 pm)

    Great news, West Seattle needs more housing and it’s nice there is off street parking.

  • Kathy June 28, 2016 (3:47 pm)

    I hope the new building allows for a decent roomy bus stop and plenty of room for pedestrians and cargo bike parking if PCC returns to that location. Wow, PCC will be sorely missed during construction or relocation.  Their roasted chickens are way better than the mummified ones you get at the other WS grocery stores. The checkout stands are always well staffed. Their bulk food section is tops in West Seattle.

  • onion June 28, 2016 (4:52 pm)

    Avoiding PCC because of their prices is misguided. I actually compare their prices more to the farmers market (which I shop sparingly) than to Safeway, because PCC’s produce is mostly local and organic. Where organic is less of a concern, I shop at Safeway as well, but also use McPherson’s on Beacon Hill when I am out and about, and Trader Joe’s. Produce is TJ’s least impressive section, IMO, but they still manage to stock some decent quality at decent prices.

    But I heavily lean toward stores I can walk to, which means the PCC, Metro, and Safeway get most of my food dollars …. Metro less over the last few years because of the other choices I mentioned — as well as Uwajimaya and Lams.

    In every option I just mentioned, you always have to balance quality vs. price vs. convenience.

    Geesh, when did food shopping become so complicated?

  • Diane June 28, 2016 (6:16 pm)

    the last time I tried shopping at PCC, I had a 50% off coupon; I spent an hour looking through nearly everything in the store; even half off, still too expensive; also spent an hour looking at everything in the new Columbia City PCC in April; pricey; explains why my clients in CC and Beacon Hill drive over here to WS to shop at Trader Joe’s; most of my food shopping is TJ’s, and Thriftway and Met Market for sale items; and begrudgingly for big sale items at Safeway; I love Fred Meyer, but too far

  • plf June 29, 2016 (11:07 am)

    Meyer you are kidding right…we need more density of poorly constructed housing that our infrustrue cant manage…wow

  • AlkiLarry June 29, 2016 (2:43 pm)

     25,000 sq. ft. dedicated to general sales/service (retail) matches foot print of the New PCC recently opened in Columbia City. I’ll put money on them staying.  Look forward to the project!  

  • Artsea June 30, 2016 (6:29 am)

    Do these new apartment buildings ever provide any figures about how fully rented they are?  I can only assume that if more and more of these monstrosities are continuing to be planned and built that there must be a demand for new apartments in West Seattle.    

    • Jay Koster June 30, 2016 (10:50 pm)

      I cannot vouch for the newer ones, but I can say that most apartments I speak to these days average between 98% to 100% full. Our property currently has a several month waiting list, so I can see the demand is there. 

  • walkerman June 30, 2016 (9:53 pm)

    This sucks!! PCC has been one of those quirky great stores that was part of  the neighborhood..yes e xpensive but excellent variety and a cool place! it was the perfect location. I’m so sick of all these developers and their crappy ideas. 

  • AJ July 2, 2016 (11:48 am)

    I’m going to try to stay positive about this and hope this will result in a larger PCC with better parking. And if they do have to close for a while, it’s comforting to know that ordering from PCC via Amazon Prime Now will probably remain an option.

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