WEST SEATTLE DEVELOPMENT: What’s going up and coming down

Variety of West Seattle development/construction notes:

4807 41ST SW MICROHOUSING: Almost a year after we first reported on this plan to replace a house with more than 20 microapartments and no offstreet parking, it has appeared on next month’s Streamlined Design Review schedule. As noted last year, that means no meetings, but public comment will be accepted. The design packet isn’t on the city website yet but should appear here soon.

Other sites set for denser redevelopment:

6506 42ND SW: That single-family house on a 4,000-square-foot lot was sold recently and someone asked us at a community meeting if we knew what was planned for the site, which is zoned for multifamily development. Nothing was on file then, but it is now – an early-stage plan for six townhouses, no offstreet parking. Most of the rest of 42nd SW on that block, across the street from the back side of West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor), already has been redeveloped into multi-family housing.

7329 BAINBRIDGE PLACE SW: The vacant land above, near the north end of Lincoln Park, also recently sold; the most recent development plan on file is for 10 townhouses with 10 offstreet parking spaces, to be accessed from SW Fontanelle on the south side of the site.

(King County Assessor’s Office photo)

TOWNHOUSES AT 4518 40TH SW: Another one of the remaining 1930s-era stucco houses on this block of 40th SW is to be demolished, with five townhouses replacing it.

TOWNHOUSES AT 5447 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW: A house here will be replaced with 3 rowhouse-style townhouse structures.

TOWNHOUSES AT 4842 FAUNTLEROY WAY SW: Duplex to be replaced with rowhouse-style townhouses.

TOWNHOUSES AT 4534 DELRIDGE WAY SW: A house is proposed for demolition, to be replaced with a three-unit townhouse structure.

Also on Delridge:

NEXT SW DESIGN REVIEW BOARD MEETING: We first told you 2+ weeks ago that the self-storage project proposed for 9201 Delridge Way SW would go to the Southwest Design Review Board for Early Design Guidance on February 15th; this week, the formal notice of that meeting was published.

Also available online, the draft version of Caron Architecture‘s “design packet” for the meeting, with early feedback. Remember that the EDG meeting is about size, shape, and placement of the building on its site, not the fine points of exterior appearance, so that’s why the preliminary rendering above is so sparse.

OTHER DEMOLITIONS: Every so often we go through the permit list to see what’s been proposed and/or permitted in the past few weeks, mostly teardown projects smaller than what’s mentioned above:
7925 18th SW (house to be replaced with a house)
10434 39th SW (house)
5447 21st SW (house and garage to be replaced with a house)
3844 Belvidere (house to be replaced with a house)
1928 Sunset SW (house, with lot split and two houses to follow)
9002 Fauntleroy Way SW (house to be replaced with a house)

And a final note:

CRANE COUNT: West Seattle is down to two tower cranes. We went by the Upton Flats site today, and discovered that it had been taken down sometime since our last look at it, which was last week, on the day the 1307 Harbor SW crane was installed.

50 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE DEVELOPMENT: What's going up and coming down"

  • anonyme January 28, 2018 (4:04 pm)

    The demolition of the iconic stucco house on 40th is nothing short of criminal.  Some of the properties mentioned could use a facelift – although I question the necessity of FIVE townhouses on almost every lot.  These will not be affordable by any stretch of the imagination, and the cost of having the neighborhood completely stripped of character is inexcusable.

    • seaopgal January 28, 2018 (6:47 pm)

      I love those little stuccos, too. Would be cool if the architects would honor them in some way in the new development — but I won’t hold my breath.

    • Marie January 28, 2018 (6:52 pm)

      I have to agree with you 100%.  It is absolutely criminal to replace a home like that with so much character with the boxy looking townhomes that really have no character to them.  There are 1930’s style stucco homes like that in a section of San Francisco and I love them so much.  They are in other parts of California also.  But I hate that they are making everything look so boringly alike.  It is a shame to me.

    • Travelinggranny January 28, 2018 (6:57 pm)

      I always thought those stucco houses were kinda funky. Sorry to see them go. 

  • Delridger January 28, 2018 (5:43 pm)

    There are two separate developments underway on Delridge, one on each side of cottage grove commons, across from the library. Any idea what’s up? Hoping for some commercial space to add more walkable destinations to this neighborhood!

  • Diane January 28, 2018 (5:58 pm)

    thanks for digging up all this info; but dear god it is so depressing; this list of demolitions makes me absolutely sick to my stomach; perhaps demolition of old WS will never end, and WS will soon be only for home-buyers who can afford million+ $$$ new construction houses and renters who can afford $1600 for a teensy studio

  • Jim January 28, 2018 (6:44 pm)

    Six townhouses, and no off-street parking??  Another brick in the wall.

  • Travelinggranny January 28, 2018 (6:46 pm)

    Born, live and die in West Seattle. Generation after generation. I thought I would be one of those statics (wanted to be). But West Seattle is no longer for my husband and I. Too much traffic. Multi-family units being built by the droves. No parking. Loved raising my kids in West Seattle. Thank God they’re grown. Moving to Central Oregon. Sold our 1941 (1000 square feet) home for $600,000. Nothing special, 2 bedroom, 1 bath, single car garage. Bought in 1975 for $50,000…maybe less. Can’t believe what people will pay to live in this neighborhood. 

    • Accountability January 28, 2018 (7:30 pm)

      Interesting … it’s sad all around and in the name of accountability… I can’t believe what people are selling homes like yours for. Maybe it’s time for us all to re-examine the system we are blindly accepting as our reality where private property rights and capitalism matter above all.

      • travelinggranny January 28, 2018 (10:41 pm)

        At the open house…there must have been 50 people (assuming some were couples) waiting to get inside. Crazy bidding wars. My husband and I should have left much earlier in the day. Got back after lunch and the last offer was $600,000. Looking forward to Central Oregon. Our daughter and her family have lived there for 5 years now. Each time we visit, it’s like stepping back in time. But in a goood way. I wish West Seattle all the best but I doubt I will even recognize California Ave in another few years.

        • Also John January 29, 2018 (9:52 am)

          @TravelingGranny….  Sorry to see you leave WS, but I understand 100%.  I too think about grabbing the money while I can and getting out of this growing pit that was WS.  I’ve only been here since 2/2000 and the recent change is sad.  

  • old timer January 28, 2018 (6:57 pm)

    Could someone please explain the purpose of a 

    “comment period”

    on the Streamlined Review Process for 20 micro-units with no parking?

    What does a “comment period” have as it’s outcome?

    • S January 29, 2018 (8:08 am)

      This.  It’s lipservice, nothing more.  I believe it’s mandated by the city (?) and on the whole, achieves v little.  

    • A January 29, 2018 (1:51 pm)

      You can put in environmental concerns and then they have to prove that they’ve gone through an environmental review or go through one.
      In this case, the house in question is on a critical slope, which requires additional evaluation and permitting by the city, none of which has been done. Mention that.

  • andy January 28, 2018 (7:15 pm)

    The destruction of West Seattle is sickening!

  • Rara January 28, 2018 (7:57 pm)

    Oh good. More Townhouses. Sigh. 

  • Pat January 28, 2018 (8:04 pm)

    Thanks for the update on the 7329 Bainbridge SW property! I’ve been wondering for years what will happen to it.

  • Denise January 28, 2018 (10:01 pm)

    Do all cities do this. Yes.  The development, the destruction of character. It is sad for us who like single family dwellings, yards, BBQ, and interesting Architecture.  I think West Seattle was a gold mine and “people thought” let’s go make some big money there. It happens everywhere friends. Look at Brooklyn. Wait until sound transit comes in. You haven’t seen anything yet!!

  • T January 28, 2018 (11:04 pm)

    There used to be almost a whole block of stucco houses on 40th between Oregon and Alaska. A lot of them had boxes put up in the backyard around 2010. Such a shame.

  • CAM January 29, 2018 (8:35 am)

    Aside from accountability, no one else is mentioning how these houses end up owned by developers. I hope that with all the hatred expressed for this growth that people are recognizing that none of these properties would be available to develop if they weren’t sold to developers by the last homeowner. These individuals were perfectly aware of who they were selling their home to and could have chosen to sell to someone else who intended to live in the house. I’m not making a judgment either way about these choices, just thought it was worth mentioning that the responsibility for this situation is shared. 

    • ARP January 29, 2018 (10:14 am)

      I know the developer on my block bought up the lots and sat on them during the recession.

    • Question Authority January 29, 2018 (10:23 am)

      You seem to miss the meaning behind “supply and demand” as the homes go to the highest bidder.  Why pigeon hole yourself when selling and try to save the home on morals and character when presented with top dollar which is why most people sell. Developers recoup the cost by packing the units In and they have bundles of cash that families don’t have or are not foolish enough to spend on specific properties.  In addition, WS is just another neighborhood in the City limits and like so many others the willingness to sell and leave will only increase as it changes for the worse.

      • CAM January 29, 2018 (12:49 pm)

        QA – I don’t disagree. I completely understand both sides of the argument. I was commenting because it feels to me that people like to throw a lot of emotion towards new development but don’t focus on the other half of the equation. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from selling for top dollar and also completely understand someone who refuses to sell to developers and might take a lower offer. Those are personal decisions made by sellers based on their circumstances that I’m not in any position to judge. But I don’t fault developers for trying to turn a profit either. 

    • Ms. Sparkles January 29, 2018 (10:35 am)

      It’s interesting that you point this out CAM, because last year one of our neighbors declined to sell their home to the highest bidder – a developer, in favor of an offer $100,000 less by the youngish couple who now live there.  I was surprised and touched by this incredibly generous and thoughtful action on the part of our old neighbor; it hadn’t occurred to me that anyone would take a lower offer to preserve the home & neighborhood.

      • 3GensFromWC January 29, 2018 (12:14 pm)

        Ms. Sparkles –  I left about 25K on the table almost 10 years ago to not sell to a developer. Another win for 41st !

        • Peter January 30, 2018 (7:27 am)

          @Ms.Sparkles & 3Gens:

          It does happen.  My partner and I bought an older duplex with some character and neighborhood history as a rental.  Although unstated, I’m pretty sure we got preferential treatment from the seller because we were clear we liked the property and intended to keep it as is, instead of tearing it down.

          I too understand both sides of this equation.  Generally speaking, nobody is forcing anyone to sell.  That said, I’m concerned that the latest round of property tax increases is going to change that for some of those folks on a fixed income.

          • 3GENSFROMWC January 31, 2018 (12:24 pm)

            @Peter You and your partner are good peeps!

  • BJG January 29, 2018 (8:42 am)

    Last time I was forced onto 41st from Edmunds when arterials were no-go, I was met face to face by a truck also looking for a route around. Both sides of street are bumper to bumper with commuter parkers. One very narrow lane is left and no two vehicles can pass. How in the world can planners with any scruples allow another apartment building there without parking. Micro or not, vehicles will be accompanying residents. Unbelievable!

  • nancy craver January 29, 2018 (10:54 am)

    How can we all harness our shared concerns? My understanding is that any real and enforceable aesthetic codes are only done in larger projects. The Whittaker on Alaska and Fauntleroy is an example. Smaller residential projects, such as those stucco replacements, are supposed to align with a neighborhood plan – but have no teeth. 

    I believe we can have both growth and decent design. We did during the downturn when developers had to actually work to appeal to buyers. I would love to work with folks to draft something to send to council members and the city. We certainly have a lot of compelling photos!

    • WSB January 29, 2018 (11:27 am)

      There are neighborhood design guidelines. That’s part of what the Design Review process is all about. Smaller projects are not necessarily subject to it, however, like the common “one house down, several townhouses up.”

  • Peter January 29, 2018 (11:40 am)

    Jeez, how many self-storage places do we need? Seems like a huge waste of space considering the scarcity of land in Seattle and our acute housing shortage.

    • Diane January 29, 2018 (12:33 pm)

      it’s all by design; developers keep building apts smaller and smaller and smaller; so people need someplace to store their stuff; then developers get to make more profit off building storage units

      • KM January 29, 2018 (1:37 pm)

        Diane, these self storage facilities have been a growing industry for years, and aren’t the fault of these newer, smaller apartments in Seattle of recent. If you want to point fingers, you could start with Americans and other wealthy nations’ residents and their insatiable appetite for stuff, as noted by the near-consistent growth of spending on durable goods for the past several decades. Self-storage customers aren’t only people in micro housing. There are plenty of people with full double garages of stuff, and unusable rooms of clutter out there. They don’t want to give up their kids report cards and finger paintings, stuff from their deceased relatives, and couches they might use that eventual someday when they finally get around to remodeling that one room.

    • geographer January 29, 2018 (3:39 pm)

      Considering the amount of resistance that each proposed apartment development is met with, can’t say I blame the developer at all. In this instance, damned if you do damned if you don’t..

  • Kathrine January 29, 2018 (11:44 am)

    I live in one of the stucco houses on that block and I promise I won’t be selling any time soon. I love my little house too much. The yellow stucco will have condos in the back at some point, per a permit search and then the one at 4518 will be demolished. Since I have lived on that block, this will be the second one to go and there are 6 left.

    I’m all for growth and higher density housing but really wish developers could at least put up something that fits in with the aesthetic of the block. I think they did a good job with the condos behind a few of the houses that have a Spanish feel and match with color. The grey boxes going up at the end of the street currently look like prison blocks.

    • nancy craver January 29, 2018 (3:24 pm)

      I, too, live on this block. Would be happy to collaborate.

  • Robert January 29, 2018 (12:20 pm)

    Had to doublecheck that I didn’t accidentally go to myballard.com

    Nope, west seattle. 

    This is city is going to look hilariously outdated in 20 years. 

  • Wendell January 29, 2018 (12:53 pm)

    41st should have been made a one way street years ago. 


    • John January 29, 2018 (3:15 pm)

      @Wendell….  OMG I had no idea that happened back in May.  I live right there on that street.  Making 41st a One-Way (especially there)  would be a great idea!

  • anonyme January 29, 2018 (3:08 pm)

    I happen to know that another house on 40th, within a few blocks of the stucco, is about to be sold.  Developers have already surveyed the property for townhouses, and it’s not even on the market yet.

    I commend those who show some conscience, retain some ethical standards, and choose buyers who will be a good fit for the neighborhood.  My former neighbor did this, and I was/am very grateful.  As a real estate attorney, he could have gone in another direction entirely.   Instead, he took a loss and sold to a nice young couple.

    • nancy craver January 29, 2018 (3:27 pm)

      How about that poor little orange house on 41st between Alaska and Oregon. Yikes.

    • geographer January 29, 2018 (3:31 pm)

      That is nice that your neighbor was fortunate enough to have enough financial security to sell his home for less than market value, as well as thoughtful enough to consider your emotions in the process.

  • RF January 29, 2018 (6:15 pm)

    It’s amazing how much hand-wringing and “the sky is falling” is going on in these comments. Things change. They always have. Change isn’t inherently bad; let’s not get bent out of shape every time a new townhouse goes in.

    Also, people seem to miss the concept that multi-family housing is really the only future option for a heavily populated city with a small footprint, AND that that will, in the long run, drive prices down. More supply means less critical demand, which will ease costs.

    What is going away, and what goes away in every major city, is single-family homes. If that’s such a heinous concept to you, there are other places you can go that you’ll enjoy much more!

    • CMT January 29, 2018 (7:49 pm)

      I don’t think people are missing the concept – they simply disagree with what you view as a foregone conclusion.

  • I. Ponder January 30, 2018 (9:29 am)

    I remember when a slice of pizza was cost 20 cents. Why isn’t it 20 cents anymore. I just ordered a Pagliacci pizza. It cost over $30 and had 8 slices. That’s $3.75 per slice. That’s not fair! Why can’t we go back to a simpler time so I can have cheap pizza and a full head of hair. When I moved to the mosquito infested backwater of West Seattle in 1989, there were more than a few odious public drunks living on my street. They were wonderful people, except when they wanted to fight over parking or drive drunk through a neighbor’s fence and lawn on their way to Poggie’s. Nowadays, my street seems to be infested with surgeons and people I never see but who own very expensive cars.

    • Yup January 31, 2018 (6:58 am)

      It’s true. And expensive car people are not interested in knowing you. 

  • It's change January 31, 2018 (11:21 am)

    I very rarely comment about development as it seems that if you disagree with the appeal, you’re going to get criticized. But taking a chance today! In my opinion, the appeal will only prolong what will be. I don’t agree with what was said about West Seattle being ‘destructed’, I believe it’s called change.  Thank you RF and I. Ponder for your light hearted (and funny) comment.  I believe the city will humor the appeal and go on as planned, in fact here is what was said about it; 

    Councilmember Johnson, who chairs Planning and Land Use and Zoning committee, anticipates the process will continue as scheduled while the City sorts out the appeal.

    “Every day, I hear about Seattle’s urgent need for more housing choices for people of all incomes and family sizes, which is the goal of the MHA program,” Councilmember Johnson said. “Though Council is prohibited from taking final action during the appeal process, we will continue our planned eight-month outreach and deliberation process so that when the appeal is resolved, we can act quickly to implement a critical strategy that will result in more income and rent-restricted housing and more housing options across our city for people of all incomes.”

    Did the city go about it in the right way? Of course not, but it’s happening, things are changing, architecture is changing just like it’s done for decades, remember when split levels were all the rage or brick ramblers? Things can’t always stay the same just because it’s not fair or you are near an urban village. I don’t like the city speaking for me and I certainly don’t like these neighborhood groups speaking for me either. I have wrote in to the city expressing my thoughts/support and ideas for doing it differently. 

  • nonni February 1, 2018 (9:22 am)

    There is a 4-unit project going up, amazingly fast, on the site of a former rental house behind the Out West Bar. My question is, how are they allowed to build TO the property line?

    • WSB February 1, 2018 (9:46 am)

      The site plan in city files shows a setback from the street and generally that’s what matters, but there are different requirements depending on zoning, etc. – if you think something is awry you can contact the city to investigate.

Sorry, comment time is over.