DEVELOPMENT: 2nd Early Design Guidance review ordered for mixed-use 7617 35th SW

(Design concept from packet for 7617 35th SW)

“Name that street corner.” If you can’t without referring to the address in the headline – then you’ve underscored the point made before tonight’s second Southwest Design Review Board meeting wrapped up.

Board chair Don Caffrey and members Scott Rosenstock, Matt Hutchins, and John Cheng decided unanimously to send the mixed-use proposal for 7617 35th SW – the Complete Auto Repair site (whose future has been in play for 5+ years) – back to the drawing board for a second try at Early Design Guidance. Here’s what preceded that decision:

ARCHITECT’S PRESENTATION: Here’s the design packet. Architect Ed Linardic told the board and other attendees this will be a 4-story building with 3 stories holding 40-50 apartments over ground-floor retail. Parking is required on the site but they are allowed to reduce it by 50 percent because there’s frequent transit nearby; their preferred scheme would have 51 apartments and 27 stalls. Zoning, Linardic said, allows the building to be up to 45 feet tall. He said the vehicle entry to the site will be off Holden; the city won’t allow entry from 35th. The building’s owner wants the apartments to be “affordable,” as Linardic put it. They propose a roof deck and another one on the second level, both accessible to all tenants.

While Early Design Guidance doesn’t require appearance detail, Linardic provided renderings that showed some of it (including the rendering atop this story), “to show what our intent is.” He stressed that they hope to make the building attractive to potential commercial tenants so the neighborhood can be “more vibrant.”

BOARD QUESTIONS: Hutchins wondered about the setback between this building and the single-family houses to the west. Linardic said a minimum of 10 feet is required. Hutchins also noted the new 15-foot setback requirement for overhead power lines and the architect said he’d have to address that – “the city changes the rules every 2 weeks.”

PUBLIC COMMENT: First person wondered about the apartment sizes. Second person wondered about 35th SW traffic trouble; it was reiterated that the project access would not be from 35th. Linardic said that since some curb cuts will be removed from 35th, that probably means some addition of street parking. A neighboring homeowner who said her property is right up against the building brought a question about site contamination. “It is contaminated, and we will clean it before we can do anything on it,” said Linardic. She went on to ask about the building’s proximity to her fence and a large tree, and to voice concerns about residents of the new apartments facing her property. She said she had a long list of questions/concerns – who is her contact? Planner Mike Gushard (who was at the table with the board members) was the reply. Linardic said an arborist will evaluate the tree and tell him “how close” he can/can’t get to it.

Another area resident voiced parking concerns and also asked about the intersection’s unusual configuration. Caffrey said that the signalization of the intersection is not within the scope of the review but that could be addressed to the city in general. That wasn’t the only transportation issue came up; the next nearby resident to speak said that parking and traffic are of extra concern now that SW Holden east of 35th is a school zone again (with Roxhill Elementary having just moved into the EC Hughes site). She hoped that the project team would add more parking than the 50 percent requirement. Linardic noted that he has to “do a traffic study” that could require the project to add more parking if it’s determined that street parking in the area is already full.

There was one more comment voicing concern about neighborhood overparking, and that concluded the public-comment period.

(The three ‘massing’ options for 7617 35th)

BOARD DELIBERATIONS: Cheng opened by saying he didn’t see much difference between the three massing options presented, nor was he seeing much information about the transition between the project and the single-family neighborhood next door. Caffrey echoed some of those concerns, particularly wanting to know more about how the building would relate to the surrounding streets. He also remarked on the ahead-of-itself rendering: “That has no sense of place – ‘name that street corner’. … There’s a funky little vibe to this area … this doesn’t really speak to that very well.” (He went on to note that local design guidelines call for a “sense of place,” in fact.) Hutchins had safety concerns about the driveway’s location. He also wondered about the residential stories of the building, and the corner seeming “weak”: “There’s a lot of misalignment.” Caffrey added that “This neighborhood wants a well-designed” building. He and Hutchins agreed they need some more views of the site, too – “all sides of the property.” And the board members want more detail of what happens functionally at street level – trees, trash, etc. The decision to ask for a second Early Design Guidance meeting was unanimous.

WHAT’S NEXT: Because the project will have a second EDG meeting, that means at least two more board reviews – once it passes EDG, it would have at least one meeting in the second and final phase of Design Review. Dates TBA; we’ll publish the next one as soon as we see it on the schedule, which is usually a few weeks before the official notice. Meantime, you can send design and/or other project comments to planner Gushard,

14 Replies to "DEVELOPMENT: 2nd Early Design Guidance review ordered for mixed-use 7617 35th SW"

  • KM September 20, 2018 (11:05 pm)

    After a couple weeks of school being back, and as a resident a block from the proposed project, I can say there is still PLENTY of street parking within a few block radius of this project at all times of day.  It shouldn’t be a concern.Traffic and transportation safety around the school? It hasn’t been addressed yet, but it’s not posing as many problems as I thought it would. 

  • ScottAmick September 21, 2018 (8:22 am)

    The quality of the design packet might have been gotten through an Administrative or Streamlined review process but not even close for a full design review board meeting.  I fully agree with board that the massing options were barely options.  If one section view of the building represents all massing options – probably a sign that they’re not really 3 options.  Sometimes the SDCI staff sends comments to applicant on draft packets to offer helpful suggestions but since the packet was posted on 6/22/18 there were only very minor changes for the final version.  Just the sliver of “lawn” along the west edge of the site is frankly odd and not believable.  Should at least label it “dirt” or something.Another thing I look for even in EDG packets is where the trash and recycling room is shown.  Not that early plans should be detailed but just conceptually where is it?  None shown. This is one factor related to how dumpsters end up permanently on sidewalks.Thanks WSB for the meeting coverage!

  • sw September 21, 2018 (8:30 am)

    Traffic snafus at that intersection are a valid concern.   Entering/exiting from Holden may be problematic given the eccentricities of the 35th & Holden skewed intersection.  The lane reduction from the “road diet” has already created some bottlenecks with only one lane to turn in/out of.  That corner really isn’t an ideal location for a building of this sort.

  • West Seattle since 1979 September 21, 2018 (8:59 am)

    That isn’t a bad looking building!  It looks different than some of the others.  

  • Concerned Resident September 21, 2018 (10:27 am)

    Perhaps when the road in front of this project is torn up for water, sewer, etc the city or someone can smooth out 35th & Holden? Driving EB or WB from Holden across 35th is very bumpy as the road is quite uneven in parts.

    • KM September 21, 2018 (11:26 am)

      Oh yes that would be awesome! I know that intersection has done a number on my car, I’ve had the need for more alignments and related repairs in this area more than anywhere else.

    • wsn00b September 21, 2018 (3:29 pm)

      I came here to post this exact thing. I hope this project requires massive digging into the extra bumpy 35th Holden Zig Zag Roller Coaster Ride (yes, this intersection has a name WSB).  THe EB to WB zig zag is hilariously bumpy. That whole intersection needs to be rebuilt so badly.  Please build and dig away!

  • 22blades September 21, 2018 (12:12 pm)

    Ugly building… More hardiboard and warehouse cladding. On top of that, the mixed use model is a failed model. The money is from the units and the street level retail is an afterthought yielding high rents and high vacancies.  No small, local business can afford these places. They all gun for a big franchise. It’s either a bust ready to happen or numbers crunched anticipating empty storefronts. Either way, developers leave town and we live with it. Reality hurts.

  • John September 21, 2018 (12:41 pm)

    As a  nearby homeowner since 1996, our family has never had any issues with this intersection and driven through it thousands of times.Of note also, the city  no longer repairs the street damage due to utilities installation.  The city  now licenses a select few contractors who charge as much as any monopoly might.  The old style sfreet repairs were maybe 4×6 feet.  New rules now require the removal of the whole  ‘panel’ of pavement about 10 x 20 feet with a  skyrocketing  increase in cost,  closing the street,  and doing temporary asphalt that needs to be removed after inspection  before poring the specified concrete.  I recently  completed a  new curb  driveway  apron, special sidewalk finish and the full panel, all for about $20,000 for a quiet residential street.

  • John September 21, 2018 (12:50 pm)

    22blades,Apparently you have not driven  the length of California Ave with literally dozens of a small non-franchise businesses.   They independents far out-number the chain operations.  Many of the WSB advertising  supporters actually occupy these new commercial spaces, perhaps to the detriment of nail salons and other entry level businesses  of the old  poorly maintained aging storefronts

    • WSB September 21, 2018 (1:58 pm)

      Thanks for the mention! There ARE many small independent businesses in new buildings. However, almost all our California SW sponsors are in older buildings. South to north we have (again, this is ****just the California SW businesses****, since John used that street as an example):

      Counseling West Seattle (7025 California SW)
      My Three Little Birds (6959 California SW)
      GoodMed Direct Primary Care (6553 California SW)
      Whisky West (6451 California SW)
      O’Neill Plumbing (6056 California SW)
      Ventana Construction (5958 California SW)
      Viscon Cellars (5910 California SW)
      Sound Yoga (5639 California SW)
      Illusions Hair Design (5619 California SW)
      C & P Coffee (5612 California SW)
      Potter Construction (5606 California SW)
      Canna West Seattle (5440 California SW)
      Northwest Insurance Group (5431 California SW)
      Kennan-Meyer Architecture (5426 California SW)
      Again and Again/Kid-Friendly Footwear (4832 California SW)
      Thunder Road Guitars (4736 California SW)
      The Bass Shop (4736 California SW)
      Fitness Together (4546 California SW)
      Click! Design That Fits (4540 California SW)
      West 5 (4539 California SW)
      Menashe & Sons Jewelers (4532 California SW)
      VAIN (4513 California SW)
      Verity Credit Union (4505 California SW)
      Fauntleroy Chiropractic (4154 California SW)
      Tilden School (4105 California SW)
      Welcome Road Winery (3804 California SW)
      Dave Newman/State Farm (3435 California SW)
      Emmick Family Funerals (3243 California SW)
      West Seattle Runner (2743 California SW)
      A Kid’s Place Too Children’s Dentistry (2617 California SW)
      Alki Bike and Board (2606 California SW)
      Mission Cantina (2325 California SW)

      Of those, Northwest Insurance and Welcome Road Winery are in new-ish “live work” commercial spaces, while West Seattle Runner is in a newer commercial building. The rest are in old/er buildings. And thanks as always to ALL our sponsors (whatever street they’re on!) for supporting community-collaborative news – TR

  • Jeannie September 21, 2018 (3:19 pm)

    Hideous design. Caffrey expressed it best: “That has no sense of place – ‘name that street corner’. … There’s a funky little vibe to this area … this doesn’t really speak to that very well.” (He went on to note that local design guidelines call for a “sense of place,” in fact.) 

    • John September 22, 2018 (5:06 pm)

      Jeannie,”Hideous design”?Comments  like this  truly make me wonder about the home such people inhabit.  Perhaps hidden  and  unknown West Seattle masterpieces of architecture?  Please share your visions for architectural  sense of place for this decrepit building finally being removed.  And what is your definition  of the ‘funky vibe’ in terms of architecture, maybe a steer on the roof? As far as I am concerned,  there are precisely three good buildings along this stretch of 35th: the old fire station,  the new fire station and the Southwest Library, all public funded.This proposal is certainly no worse than all of the  apartment buildings along  35th.   What do you expect? 

  • hobbydobby September 21, 2018 (8:31 pm)

    Ah yesssss….lovely 35th.. is there really anything more to say people?  And that new building? oh that’s a beauty..why its sooo different than all the rest!! Sure to be a crowd pleaser and a calling to all the upcoming architects out there!! I suggest a lovely name like “waterfall” to offset the non stop traffic that will undoubtably add to the modern vibe and loss of sleep!

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