DEVELOPMENT: Another new mixed-use building for the heart of The Junction? Early-stage filing for 4508 California SW

(Google Maps/Street View image of most of the potential project site)

Just one month after we broke the news of the plan for a new Junction mixed-use building at 4747 California SW, we just found another major redevelopment proposal in progress for the heart of “downtown West Seattle” – longtime local entrepreneur/developer Leon Capelouto has an early-stage proposal for a 7-story mixed-use building at 4508 California SW. According to the site-plan document in the city’s online files, that would include what are/were seven business storefronts, as listed here:

The city docket describes the proposal – which again is early-stage, no formal application yet – as ” 7-story multifamily apartment building with street-level commercial space and 1 level underground parking.” This is just southwest of his newly completed AJ Apartments mixed-use building at Oregon/42nd, and northwest of his first development project built about a decade ago, CAPCO Plaza, a mixed-use building including the Altamira Apartments, QFC, Petco, and other businesses at 42nd/Alaska. We contacted Capelouto by phone and he stressed that this is a very early filing, aimed at “seeing what we can do” with the property.

59 Replies to "DEVELOPMENT: Another new mixed-use building for the heart of The Junction? Early-stage filing for 4508 California SW"

  • Ice March 30, 2018 (4:02 pm)

    Downtown West Seattle is such a funny way to describe the Junction.

  • RMK March 30, 2018 (4:08 pm)

    Oh Man! I LOVE Lee’s!!!!! I will be really, really sad if Lee’s goes away :(

    Stop with the bloody construction already!!!!!!! I am sooooo sick of playing musical sidewalks because this side is closed for a few blocks, then that side is closed, etc. 

    I am sick of the daily, relentless construction noise, traffic reroutes, clutter and general mess! I’ve live in the Admiral District (relocated from Lower Queen Anne) for 10 years now and have seen way too many of the, for lack of a better term, “character” buildings that gave WS it’s charm, callously torn down and replaced with House-O-Matic, featureless boxes.

    Enough already!

    • Devil you know March 30, 2018 (4:46 pm)

      I mean, I like Lee’s too and hope they can either relocate or move back in once construction is complete, but I’m not entirely sold on the premise that the squat brick building housing WS Cyclery, Lee’s, etc., is all that charming.  

      That said, given what normally gets built in Seattle these days?  I might take actually take squat brick (density issues aside).

      At least this one might have parking, eh?

    • Brenda March 30, 2018 (5:27 pm)


  • Swede. March 30, 2018 (4:15 pm)

    What spot exactly is this? The former bicycle shop and pizza place?

    • WSB March 30, 2018 (4:39 pm)

      The image is a screengrab from the “site plan” document – again, early stage, so this could be a long ways out, or even not at all, so the businesses (aside from the cycle shop, which closed a few months ago) are still open, alive and well. The screengrab shows the storefronts of the proposed site, both of those among them – former bike shop on the north end through Windermere on the south end.

  • matt March 30, 2018 (4:38 pm)

    Kamei ….please find a way to stay. Chicken Donburi, Miso, Gyoza,  and your tea….Japanese Versions of “Light My Fire” and “Whole Lotta Love” piped in…. nobody does it better !!!! 

  • Mark Schletty March 30, 2018 (5:02 pm)

    These are some of the best businesses and restaurants in West Seattle. Stop this crap now.  The whole junction area should have been historically designated years ago. None of these businesses can afford to pay the rent in new construction buildings. If we lose these buildings and businesses now there will soon be no junction left for us to shop at and enjoy. No reason left to love living in West Seattle. I just want to cry!

    • Sam-c March 30, 2018 (9:18 pm)

      Maybe all those businessescan relocate into the mixed use building that is going to be built where the sleeper sofa place is now.  

  • Retired Don March 30, 2018 (5:17 pm)

    Oh ya. Them there parking lots will be next. Then all our one story banks will go. I still remember the Jefferson School, car lots and major auto dealers. Oh sigh progress. You would think with single family homes with 6plex in the back yards, and all these apartments we would have enough property’s on the tax rolls we would not have to see the increases we get year after year. Might as well develop the homeless camps next to i5 and i90 in the green belt

  • Jort March 30, 2018 (5:37 pm)

    Rather than allow mixed development types that distribute growth more evenly throughout the entire city of Seattle, our citizens, long ago, chose to concentrate as much growth as possible in very limited locations, like urban villages. 

    Nobody should be surprised that people are building dense housing in the only location where they can build it. 

    • Captin March 30, 2018 (6:01 pm)

      Ditto. The outrage to that proposal was incredible and here we are. We should at least open up more arterials and such to density to spread it around a little more.

      • dawsonct April 1, 2018 (11:02 am)

        Sprawl is better?
        I heartily disagree.

  • miws March 30, 2018 (7:03 pm)

    The building that houses Lyon’s Antique Mall/Credo/WS Computer/Windermere is the old JC Penney building. :-( 


    • Roddy March 30, 2018 (11:03 pm)

      Yep, JCP used to be the anchor business of the Junction, and they were my first employer. I will never forget when my secret high school crush came in to buy some shoes, and I had to measure her size. Had a very difficult time with that. Oh well, stupid memories. Tear it down and be done with it.

  • Jethro Marx March 30, 2018 (7:16 pm)

    I remember years ago, when my (now) wife and I moved to West Seattle, the beautiful character that drew us here: the many parking lots, often with dozens of open spots, that weird sprawling car dealership at the Fauntleroy junction, (shoot, just the copious amount of “junctions”) and how there was never traffic and everyone had a home. Sure we had lots of pizza, but it was boring, kinda gross pizza. Our rent was $12 a month, and we had three reserved parking spots on the street. The city promised us nothing would change for decades.

     Now look, capitalism ruined everything.

    • Jort March 30, 2018 (8:26 pm)

      Unfortunately, your neighbors thought it was more important to concentrate all dense housing growth directly in this specific area, instead of allowing DADUs and townhomes in single family zoned areas. 

      That’s sorta how it goes. Unless, of course, you’re proposing the “put a glass dome over the entire city” approach so the city literally stops growing. 

    • Swift March 30, 2018 (8:31 pm)

      Well, do you remember how everyone also knew everyone else?  You always knew who your neighbors were (and if they were thinking about chopping down a tree they would certainly talk with you first).

      People were considerate about parking in their own garages, and definitely not within 5 feet of a driveway (gasp!).

      People NEVER revved their engines on California, or down Alki way…

      And yeah, the parking lots.  Do you remember the one that was big enough there was ALWAYS parking?  Sometimes we’d park and then realize we were so far away from the junction we’d have to drive there all over again, Hahaha!

      Gosh.  Those were the times.  

      • John April 1, 2018 (12:20 pm)

        @ SWIFT,

        Such memories certainly don’t match mine coming of age in the sixties.

        I remember cruising on Alki, drag racing at Golden Gardens and Harbor Island.

        I remember ‘rumbles’ between West Seattle High and Chief Sealth.

        I remember when Lincoln Park was not safe, getting pulled off my bike by thugs and carrying my tennis racket in a defensive posture after playing at the old tennis courts before the new ones were built.

        I remember a friend who was beat to death in the Herfy’s parking lot where West Seattle Nursery is now.

        I remember when tree topping was allowed and even performed by the city and parks.  I remember when it was still legal to remove trees on private property, and homeowners did so without consulting neighbors.  I remember when people were applauded by their neighbors for removing trees to enhance others’ views of the mountains and Sound.  

        I do however,  remember when people did actually use their garages for their cars and being able to play in the streets in front of our homes.  Of course back then, the average home had 2 1/2 kids, not 2 1/2 vehicles!

    • John March 31, 2018 (9:55 am)

      Beautiful parking lots drew you to West Seattle? 

      That is unique!

      • dawsonct April 1, 2018 (11:07 am)

        I could be wrong, and maybe there actually IS a nostalgia for those days, but I’m detecting a hint of sarcasm in the above posts.

  • Chris March 30, 2018 (7:24 pm)

    What bothers us is that there is so much concern for affordable housing to be available and yet they keep raising property taxes creating more need for affordable housing, especially for our seniors, and others.   This makes absolutely no sense.  

    • Huck March 30, 2018 (11:17 pm)

      Couldn’t agree more. 

    • CatLady March 31, 2018 (10:42 am)

      It’s because Washington state doesn’t have an income tax. S–t has to get paid for (think the McCleary decision), and the only taxes that are available are property or sales tax. It’s disgusting, actually. WA state has the most regressive tax system in the entire country. And it’s just going to keep getting worse. 

      • Wsprayers March 31, 2018 (11:46 am)

        Wa does not have state income tax but what I would like to know is…what about the revenue our state is getting from the lagalization of marijuana?? Where is THAT money?? From all the pot shops-what is that money being spent on!!?? We shouldn’t have a homeless crisis-I mean come on!!

      • Jon March 31, 2018 (9:52 pm)

        That’s not true at all — everything is taxed and often times in addition to base sales tax; from cigarettes to gasoline. Just because you don’t notice the additional tax doesn’t mean it’s not there. However, it is correct that the City of Seattle keeps passing regressive, punishing taxes (which exclusively hurt the poor) on every single little vice that is frowned upon here and – surprise, surprise – we’re still somehow broke and they want more of our hard-earned money to spend on bloated DOT projects which will generate even more revenue for the city government (but only after they’re ~5 years past due and over-budget), or to house the transient, out-of-state homeless population who largely moved here to take advantage of our lack of enforcement and social safety nets (other cities pay for bus tickets and send their traveling addicts back to their families for treatment — Seattle wants to give them a real-life version of “Hamsterdam”).

        Oh, and people still smoke, drive their cars, drink “sugary beverages” and go the shooting range (outside of Seattle); they just pay more and more as the City Council continues to impose new regressive taxes. So, what was the point of spending so much of that money on so-called “education” and “studies”? To learn that humans like the same things they’ve always liked and will do anything to continue enjoying said things? And then their solution – to save poor people from themselves – is to raise the price of the “bad things”. Incredible.

        Spend those tax dollars fixing up 35th or Sylvan Way, instead. Maybe get the C-Line to run a bus every ten minutes during peak hours, too.

        Meanwhile, our former Paedo Mayor gets a huge settlement payout and pension covered by the taxpayers and our roads are still full of potholes in West Seattle.

        So if you think that we also need an income tax because Big Brother says he’s in need of a handout: I implore you to ever work for the government so that you can see for yourself just how much of our tax money goes to waste. Here, you can test it yourself without having to get a government or military job: report a pothole to the city near your home and watch as ~7 men in a pickup pull up to do a job which realistically requires two men. Then, imagine the benefits packages for all of those people and you start to realize why the USPS is in such bad shape.

        Governments don’t typically need more money — they simply need to spend it sensibly and transparently. Seattle’s City Council does neither of those things.

        • Jethro Marx April 1, 2018 (12:20 pm)

          Your post is full of falsehoods and wild inconsistencies, from, “everything is taxed” (food?) to conflating a settlement with the alleged victim with a “payout” to the alleged perpetrator.

           It’d be nice to see you prove that last vague point, though, about what government needs to do with our money. A bit subjective, what? Seems like it makes you feel good to complain, though.

        • William April 2, 2018 (12:23 pm)

          Jon right on!!! 🙏 tell it like it is

      • dawsonct April 1, 2018 (11:19 am)

        This is precisely correct catlady. We need to do something about it, but it seems like every time an income tax is proposed, it never comes accompanied by a sharp sales tax decrease.
        Washington’s tax structure is upside down. We depend on the working poor to contribute nearly 20% of their incomes (directly. Fees offsetting taxes and the inexorably rising cost of living increases that figure), Paul and Bill, meanwhile, are jammed hard down in the single digits zone.

        Income inequality will destroy our democratic republic.

  • TJ March 30, 2018 (7:34 pm)

    City is resorting to give aways and tax breaks to developers to attract as much growth in the city as possible. Neighboring cities aren’t selling out current residents with these give aways. Politicians trying to sell us that the recent population growth will continue is a joke. Lets encourage growth regionally, not allow them to build a UN Agenda 21 nightmare here. Sprawl baby sprawl. That made America and will continue to allow people to realize the American dream of owning a home with a yard!

  • Dana March 30, 2018 (8:25 pm)

    This sucks. How can we stop the degradation  of West Seattle??

    • Roddy March 30, 2018 (11:05 pm)

      Short answer: We can’t.

    • dawsonct April 1, 2018 (11:32 am)

      Go to the planning meetings for each of these projects and make suggestions for what you believe would be improvements.
      Identify and work to get elected city council candidates who share your no growth attitude.
      Move to a remote, rural, and far less dynamic setting. Of course, you’ll be the vilified newcomer there, sooo…

      It is true, unless you had the wealth to purchase all W. Seattle real-estate as it was on the day you first moved here, when everything was perfect and the day before it all started going downhill, that you live in a city; a dynamic environment that is unrecognizable from the days the Denny Party first put ashore and one that won’t be entirely recognizable in 20 years.
      I lived in Ballard in the late 80’s. The culinary choices were limited, the old man bars still widespread (one of it’s most redeeming charms. Now I’m one of those “old” men) , the traffic sucked even back then, and it was boring as hell.
      Memories of the past are always glossier than was the reality.

  • Joan March 31, 2018 (8:21 am)

    No!!! I hate this too. Hate taller buildings. I loved the character of West Seattle when I moved here, a mere 11 years ago!!!

    I’m not moving out. I like my house and neighborhood, but I hate what’s happening to West Seattle. Another reason to be depressed! Well, at least “they” can’t develop away our shoreline, beach and mountain views, and the few parks that are left.

    • KM March 31, 2018 (11:15 am)

      I also moved here about 11 years ago. Love the changes and excited about the new residents and those moving from out of the area. 

  • Craig March 31, 2018 (8:46 am)

    All I can think of is that’ll be another 100 people squeezing, really squeezing, onto the C line. 

    • CatLady March 31, 2018 (10:44 am)

      Maybe this won’t actually get built for another decade, in which case by that point everyone can start taking the light rail! 

  • Scott A March 31, 2018 (10:53 am)

    I notice that the main address of this project (4508 California) shows up on the Unreinforced Masonry building inventory list from SDCI.   While change is hard, I will be glad to have new buildings that might actually survive another quake.   Last I’ve read the City Council and mayor are still paralyzed about what to do with old URM buildings: no requirement to retrofit (unless substantial alterations are made) and no serious grant or loan program to retrofit.  Building owners are acting responsibly when they scrape up the money to retrofit or demolish and build a new safer building.

    • chemist March 31, 2018 (11:30 am)

      A 1924-built URMB has already survived several earthquakes, right?  It’s just one issue of the matrix of reasons one might redevelop a property, but there are more statistically likely life-threatening hazards.

      • John April 1, 2018 (10:47 am)


        ”  A 1924-built URMB has already survived several earthquakes, right? “

        You are correct, but your head is still in the sand.  Uninformed people often cite such nonsense when talking about earthquakes, while failing to acknowledge that none of those former Seattle quakes was significant.  None were anywhere near the predicted force of the adjustment that virtually all seismologists agree will sometime hit Seattle. It is  not a question of ‘if’ but simply ‘when’?

        It is well known that Seattle is lagging behind  in respect to protecting life and property and is just now starting to address  the issue of URMBs.  After the Los Angeles Northridge quake, the city demanded seismic  upgrades to 10,000 URMBs.  Here in Seattle, politicians have bowed to the property owners and their lobbyists.

         I lived in a 1930s era LA home that had also survived  multiple earthquakes,  but our URMB chimney as well  as every other one on our block collapsed.  

        It will undoubtedly require such an event to make property owners appreciate the risk of such naive quake denial.


        • chemist April 1, 2018 (1:06 pm)

          Oh, I agree that eventually Seattle will see another earthquake over 7.0, but there is no more certainty that it will happen in the next 100 years compared to the past 100.  When most buildings aren’t around for 100 years, maybe tearing them all down just to be safe is a tad excessive.

          • John April 1, 2018 (3:21 pm)


            Mere ignorance or just misrepresenting what I wrote?

            How do earthquake bolting your home to the foundation and “seismic upgrades” for the URMBs  equate to “tearing them all down”?

             Many responsible URMB owners have already done the seismic upgrades which are far cheaper than buying quake insurance. 

            Your mention of “another earthquake over 7.0” is indicative of a lack of seismic knowledge, i.e. comparing one 7.0 event with another 7.0 irrespective of its proximity or depth .  

            But you are correct about the likelihood of it happening today or 100, 200, 300… years from now.  

            Regardless of the time frame,  seismologists do predict with  high confidence a quake will occur here that dwarfs all past quakes of our generations in Seattle.


  • anonyme March 31, 2018 (11:05 am)

    Agree with the other post that stated some of these valuable, thriving businesses (Lee’s!) will not be able to afford the new rent, if there is even a space for them.  Not to mention the fact they would have to relocate/suspend business until the construction is finished.  I don’t think the building in question is much worth saving, but there’s far more at stake here than real estate.  While the Junction could use some renovation, let’s not cut the heart out of it.

    • JanS April 1, 2018 (4:58 pm)

      anonyme. Exactly…it seems they are cutting the heart out of it, making it yet another non-discript nothing of huge apartment buildings that all look alike, with expensive retail/restaurants below. While I realize that things change, the junction , with it’s quirkiness, etc, is being killed. The small businesses that have been there 20+ years, supporting the junction, and the community, will be killed.  There are some that will be dearly missed, some not so much.  I find it very sad that they are not valued, up against the almighty buck. Always, always, always follow the money. :(

  • JCW March 31, 2018 (1:29 pm)

    This is good! Look how close the Junction is to Downtown – this is an area that will continue to grow, regardless of NIMBYism. It’s commutable and it’s interesting. Rebuilding to incorporate housing above storefronts is the prefect way to do this. There’s no reason such an accessible area should be limited to 1-story commercial only. 

    If you look around at housing options, West Seattle is still hugely dominated by single family homes. This project makes the junction more accessible to those who can’t buy a home at the median price (over $700k last I checked), and prefer to live in a neighborhood with walkability.

    • JanS April 1, 2018 (5:14 pm)

      accessible – lol…have you seen the rents?  If you can afford a $2000/mo rent for a one bdr. apartment, then save some and buy a high priced home, and pay the same for something you owned. I did own once upon a time.  Had to divest because of divorce and illness. Now I can’t afford the rents…now that I’m 71, on a fixed income. Have been here 43 years, raised my daughter here. (giggle at those who moved here 11 years ago – still newbies -heheh). The people who can afford to live in the apartments growing up in the junction are  not natives, I’m thinking. And they move on pretty quickly. Would be interested in what the turnover is for some of those buildings. I have been in my apartment for 19 years…Admiral District., now waiting on senior housing (71yo here). Yes, things change. West Seattle can’t stay stagnant. But there are simply some things that make West Seattle what it is, that make it desirable. And maybe a step back, a deep breath, and a teensy slower pace would seem to be in order. Those who own these buildings (the junction bldgs have maybe 3 or 4 families that own the bulk of the buildings)  see dollar signs. I probably would , too. But surely, surely, something could be done so some of these long time businesses could somehow be kept, instead of, sorry, ya gotta move, don’t let the door hit ya!. And, just maybe , they could hire better architects (personal opinion).  And  the Junction, being the heart of West Seattle that the rest revolves around, could maybe not lose it’s entire identity. For those of us who have been here a long time, I think that’s important – or we’ll just be a carbon copy of everything else around the area. That would be a shame.

      • Wes C. Addle April 2, 2018 (1:05 pm)

        If I want a High Priced home, the mortgage payment is about $3500.  If I want a nice apartment, it’s $2000 for rent.  One of those things is more affordable than the other.  Right now I pay nearly $2,000 for my old decrepit Admiral Apt.   I’ll probably end up in one of these newer buildings so I can at least get a gym, an onsite team member to handle packages and things that break in my apartment, newer appliances etc . . .   It’s really not that bad of a deal at this point.

  • Elle Nell March 31, 2018 (2:13 pm)


  • Connie March 31, 2018 (9:55 pm)

    The old JC Penny’s!  :(


  • Jon March 31, 2018 (10:00 pm)

    Here’s hoping Lee’s Asian makes it out okay. They are truly one of the gems of West Seattle and easily the best Chinese-American restaurant outside of Chinatown. If I could only keep one restaurant in the entire neighborhood, it would be that one. Sad news, to say the least.

    I hope that the property owners don’t jack up the rent to the point where they won’t be able to come back, but who are we kidding? Look at the empty spaces in the Junction or the turnover for some of these spaces. I hear “The Hydrant” is still “coming soon” after, what — four years?

    I hope they’ll relocate. And with that building getting torn down, the surrounding single-story buildings probably aren’t too much further behind. And with that, prepare for more chains and overpriced “concept” / “deconstructions” of the cheaper, better food you’ve always loved.

    Kind of sad to see the small-town charm of West Seattle quickly turn into what is essentially Belltown. Looks like White Center is next to go after this.

  • 22blades April 1, 2018 (7:45 am)

    Exactly the reason why I decided to take my investment dollars away from my own neighborhood. It may be a gold rush for developers and construction companies, but after they take their money and leave, they leave an unsustainable retail wasteland for you and I to try and figure out. This is urban planning gone majorly awry…

  • dawsonct April 1, 2018 (12:14 pm)

    20 years ago W. Seattleites were complaining about the lack of dynamism in our neighborhood, and why all the cities restaurateurs were going elsewhere to build their restaurants.
    The major problem being, of course, lack of density and foot traffic.

    We live in a city folks. Cities with healthy economies thrive and grow. 
    You can’t stop it from happening, but you can leave. All roads that lead to Seattle also lead away from here. 
    The simple fact that you “got here first” doesn’t absolve you of your contribution to our current state of affairs. The growth will happen with your input in the process or without. Stay home and stay miserable, or become involved and help guide it.

  • Steven Lorenza April 1, 2018 (2:32 pm)

    Nothing’s certain except death, taxes, and complaints from west Seattle.

    • JanS April 1, 2018 (5:31 pm)

      hahahaha…sort of like your complaint of West Seattle complaining? Do you go along with everything in your life? Somehow, I’m betting not.  ;-)

  • JanS April 1, 2018 (5:27 pm)

    DawsonCT…yeah…get involved…I remember when there were meetings for our Admiral  Safeway before it was renovated…and them promising no hair salons, no this or that…well, we now have  a cheap, chain hair salon , amongst other businesses.  Our input only counts so far.  People are already talking about hoping Lee’s can stay in the Junction. Do you honestly think that they will be able to afford the rent? I don’t.  Yes, I remember when Phoenicia was in the Junction and not much else, and they streets were empty of cars after 6pm. I was glad to see that change, and a more vibrant Junction grew.  But…Chipotle? Other chain restaurants? Empty retail in some of these newer bldgs with For Lease signs in the windows? Someone mentioned a  retail place that has taken the spot for 4 years, not open yet. Why? What’s the point if they’re going to stand empty? What’s the point of change if it’s going to be a canyon of apartment bldgs that all look alike, that people who honestly call West Seattle home, their community all their life are simply invited to move elsewhere? Yes, I can afford to live much more cheaply in my hometown of Danville, VA, than here. I’ve been here a lifetime it seems, altho it’s only been 43 years, and my friends, my last surviving family, a daughter and her son , are here. And your answer is to leave if I don’t agree totally that this development, this ultra rapid growth is good for the community? Thanks a heap, but no thanks.  

  • Donovon April 1, 2018 (7:26 pm)

    I’m too upset for words….

  • Wes C. Addle April 2, 2018 (1:09 pm)

    Also, Lee’s Asian tastes like over-cooked sweet bark dust .  It didn’t pass my 3 visit standard.  Give me New Luck Toy over Lee’s all day. 

  • Dawn April 14, 2018 (1:19 pm)

    Goodbye, Lee’s. 

    Hello crappy, fast food chain.

    If we’re really lucky, we’ll get another Starbucks.

    IMHO, the current New Luck Toy doesn’t hold a candle to the original. 

Sorry, comment time is over.