REAL ESTATE: California Court Apartments for sale as ‘redevelopment site’

Watching the real-estate listings, we saw this relatively new one of note:

(King County Assessor photo)

3600 CALIFORNIA SW: Listed as “California Court Apartments and Redevelopment Site,” the 90-year-old 9-unit brick complex at 3600 California SW is on the market for just under $3 million. The marketing flyer (PDF) elaborates:

Situated on a prime 12,500 square foot corner lot on California Avenue SW at the epicenter of West Seattle’s vibrant North Admiral District, the California Court presents investors with the rare opportunity to invest in a trophy asset with significant redevelopment and value-add potential.

A massing study provided by Neiman Taber Architects shows the potential to develop 13 townhomes with an average unit size of 1,172 square feet, as well as an alternative plan for a 14+ unit condo or apartment development with an average unit size of 826 square feet. A wealth of potential exists for an investor to capitalize on historically high demand for both single-family and multifamily housing in a fantastic West Seattle location. The existing 9 unit provides investors with immediate income to off-set holding costs prior to redevelopment.

On that point, the flyer adds: “The current owner has intentionally kept 7 rent-ready units vacant upon turnover to allow the future purchaser the opportunity to quickly boost Net Operating Income with new tenants on market rate leases. 2 units remain occupied by tenants on a month-tomonth basis at rates well below comparable units in the neighborhood.” This also is the first flyer we’ve seen noting that the 2030 light rail is “1 mile away.” The site is zoned Lowrise 3.

P.S. The adjacent, similar complex to the east, which has different ownership, is not part of the listing.

25 Replies to "REAL ESTATE: California Court Apartments for sale as 'redevelopment site'"

  • Diane November 8, 2018 (4:06 pm)

    also likely “The current owner has intentionally kept 7 rent-ready units vacant upon turnover” in order to avoid paying tenant relocation to any of the renters

    • Elly November 8, 2018 (4:37 pm)

      Excellent potential to live in an unlivable city! Come get rich then move on to the next place!! $$$$$$$$

  • MrsT November 8, 2018 (4:31 pm)


  • sigh November 8, 2018 (4:48 pm)

    Sigh.  I’ve always loved those apartments.  (And can I just point out the silliness of calling that location the “epicenter” of North Admiral?  FFS, it’s a great location but nowhere near the center of the Admiral district.)  

  • Joan November 8, 2018 (5:08 pm)

    Shameful. Shall we put developers up there with politicians as the most repugnant?

    • Jm18 November 8, 2018 (5:53 pm)

      Did the developers put it up for sale or are they just repugnant for buying it?

  • tm7302 November 8, 2018 (5:57 pm)

    Just what $eattle needs, more housing…

    • KM November 8, 2018 (6:40 pm)

      With housing prices dirt cheap and everyone in our community housed, I cannot believe someone would think it’s a good idea to build housing!

      • AvalonTom November 8, 2018 (7:19 pm)

        I believe the point is that you are taking relatively affordable housing and replacing it with luxury type housing that will fetch much higher rents. Result is that lower income people are displaced by this action.  Having growth on steroids leads to problems and is the main reason why you have a growing crisis of homelessness.  The listing suggest that this is yet another opportunity for someone to re develop and make bank while pushing lower income folks out.

      • sigh November 8, 2018 (8:02 pm)

        KM, I am a huge fan of yours–agree with over 99% of your posts, but I think this time you’ve missed the mark a bit.  These are the closest to homes many people can afford.  They are not huge buildings, they are small and quaint and have old wood floors and lovely brick exteriors.  They are for renters of a specific (and vanishing, if Seattle has its way) ilk.  I’ve been in these homes (not lived, just visited and been there for moving sales) and they are lovely–and perhaps vestiges of a time not ours–but that doesn’t mean they should be relegated to the dustbin.   I agree with AvalonTom–they are/were(?) affordable and niche and will be replaced with the 5 story condos that dot California Ave.  Will it increase density?  Probably.  And is that a good thing?  Probably.  But allow me and others to mourn their departure–or (though it will do no good) wish for them to somehow remain–for they were good and cheap and lovely homes.  ps–has anyone else notice the seeming increasing number of vacancies at condos and lux apartments in the admiral/alaska area?  Was there a crash nobody is talking about?

        • KM November 8, 2018 (10:29 pm)

          I absolutely hear ya. Without diving into a discussion of housing policy and theory, the OP was implying that Seattle didn’t need more housing through their sarcasm and I just couldn’t resist poking fun at that :-)

          • sigh November 9, 2018 (9:35 am)

            fair enough, peace

  • RayWest November 8, 2018 (6:18 pm)

    Another historic dwelling with character and charm will bite the dust and be replaced by yet another generic boxy building that have sprung up all over West Seattle.

  • carole November 8, 2018 (6:56 pm)

    Anything about whether parking will be provided?

    • WSB November 8, 2018 (7:05 pm)

      Please note, this is not a development announcement. It’s a real-estate listing. There is no project currently proposed. The listing suggests the site would be a great redevelopment opportunity, and offers as an enticement some examples of “massing” that the zoning could facilitate, but whether to redevelop or not would be up to the buyer. As to whether parking would be *required* in a redevelopment project, I don’t believe this is in the current frequent-transit zone, but that could change. – TR

  • rico November 8, 2018 (7:59 pm)

    Shameful developers, said the nearby farmers and small homeowners in 1928, when they built the structure. I like the old building too, but come on people, reality can be a tough pill to swallow.  

  • Ggb November 9, 2018 (8:05 am)

    Having grown up in West Seattle and lived here the better part of 70 years, I am sad to see the changes, the increased traffic, the garbage laying around, people living out of cars and tents and more.  But, there are some structures that have, possibly outlived their usefulness and need to be replaced.  I don’t know if that is true about California Court.  I would certainly miss there being there.  If it came to that, perhaps, the facade could be saved, as was done to some brick apartments on Alki. Certainly, those living on the streets would not be able to afford to live in a new structure let alone the existing.  And, as an aside, there are many street dwellers who actually prefer the streets to living inside.

  • Mj November 9, 2018 (12:56 pm)

    The property is for sale and if you like the property how it is now you can make an offer to buy it.

  • Dale November 9, 2018 (1:17 pm)

    I’m not a developer but the sale price would have to be a lot cheaper for this to pencil out for a developer, in my opinion. Assuming a purchase at that price you would have to carry the interest, lack of opportunity for 2-3 years before you could get permits to demolish, fees for architects,. Lets not dismiss costs to development too. Rising interes rates, $8 million for 14 Condos at 850 sq feet? 

  • Kravitz November 9, 2018 (1:39 pm)

    Dang. Just looked at the flyer and the interior photos of one of the units. It hurts my heart a little to think of that being razed for more of the same over-priced, character-less boxes.

  • marianne November 9, 2018 (5:03 pm)

    It seems just 2 or 3 years ago that the owner did extensive renovations and I thought it great to see an older building being cared for and preserved as rentals rather than put up for sale to another developer that would build more of the same soulless boxes that now line California Avenue.  Was a nice thought while it lasted.  

  • Curate November 10, 2018 (6:50 pm)

    @Kravitz, dang seconded! What cuties these places are. :(I am curious if the owner of these is the same as the owner of the “mirror” apartments on the backside of this square block? The Essex House apartments? They look practically identical (with slightly lighter brick, and the interiors don’t appear to have the original vintage finishes). Here’s a current listing for one of the Essex units on Craigslist!

    • WSB November 10, 2018 (8:00 pm)

      I noted above that the complex immediately east, Valentine Court, has different ownership. And same goes for Essex House, which is immediately south of Valentine Court. Three separate properties (though the same style), three different owners.

  • steve November 11, 2018 (10:38 am)

    Looking at the basic rules for investment property it seems like a fair/high price. I don’t know what they currently rent for, but at 3 mil you could probably rent them for around $1800 each and break even.  I’m guessing there’s much maintenance needed. Maybe not worth the cost or trouble. I’ve always admired their appeal whenever I walk by. I’d hate to see them go, but then I say that about most houses getting torn down.

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