DEVELOPMENT: Another project on 42nd SW

(King County Assessor photo of 4411 42nd SW)

Shortly after work started on the 42nd SW site of the future Junction Landing apartment building, a new project plan has turned up next door. The 81-year-old house at 4411 42nd SW is proposed for demolition, with 4 townhouses and 4 live-work units to replace it. The city docket for the project describes it as “with parking” but doesn’t specify how much.

16 Replies to "DEVELOPMENT: Another project on 42nd SW"

  • HS December 27, 2018 (8:12 pm)


  • Swede. December 28, 2018 (5:41 am)

    Will be interesting to see how developments like these go now with house prices going down as ‘fast’ as they do. Granted profits are still massive (eight units like the proposed here isn’t more than ~$5-600k + the land)

    • Funny Money December 28, 2018 (10:03 am)

      @SWEDE,Are you SWEDE-Van-Rinkle?This is a full employment economy with contractors and tradespeople backed up but all earning bonuses before their next cycle of unemployment and business collapse.  The cost of lending has doubled.  Lumber and raw building materials have spiked.  City permitting has grown to years instead of months with commensurate cost increases.Yet SWEDE claims these housing units, some with parking,  can be built for less than $80,000 each?

      • Calires December 28, 2018 (10:40 am)

        Have you looked closely at one of these units?  I live in one that’s just over ten years old and it is falling apart, as are others that I’ve been in built in the same time period.  They cut corners on absolutely everything, and yes, I’d say that $80k is very much within the realm of possibility per unit.   

        • Funny Money December 28, 2018 (11:18 am)

          CALIRES’ comment makes me wonder just what is meant by “falling apart”?  All new construction is permitted and requires full compliance with building codes that formerly did not exist.  New codes have far greater seismic and structural requirements that do not fall apart.  Framing is more stringent.  Drywall is 1/2″.  Flooring is more durable.  Plumbing is improved by PEX  and other non-leaching non metallic pipes.  Energy standards are higher with more reliable energy efficient systems.  Even the ‘Hardie’ exteriors are longerer lasting lower maintenance, thus ‘greener’than previous materials.Please share some examples of what is falling apart and what you consider to be the building costs per square foot now in Seattle.

      • Swede. December 28, 2018 (11:22 am)

        Not sure who the reference ‘Van-Rinkle’ might be but sure ain’t me. Like ‘Calires’ pointed out and I know from experience too, yes, they are that cheap. Just looked at records of a construction on Alki from 2010 yesterday and they built five units on one lot for $500k + $400k for the land. Each unit sold for $800k+… But building it as fast and cheap as possible is a bit of work security since they all will need major work within 4-5 years. 

        • Funny Money December 28, 2018 (12:27 pm)

          SWEDE, you make my point about ‘Van-Rinkle’ by citing the period during the height of the recession nearly a decade ago when costs were at their lowest (-30%) and workers desperate to for jobs at discounted rates.  In 2010 bids were common, deals were common, not the cost-plus of now.I wonder where or how you determined costs of construction as the construction costs shown on building permits do not accurately represent actual cost of construction.I ask again for examples of specific defects and  what ‘major work’ will be needed in 4-5 years?

          • Swede. December 28, 2018 (2:06 pm)

            So they will loose even more building now since apparently it’s now much more expensive while house prices going down. Answered my initial thoughts. Thanks! Not sure what’s exactly been wrong with many houses and townhomes I’ve seen etting work on after a few years, but it doesn’t matter since it happens. And I’m pretty sure it didn’t mean literally ‘falling a part’, but since you obviously are an Internet expert that had to be explained. 

        • Kram December 28, 2018 (1:31 pm)

          Some small general contractors (a few guys) can subcontract out cheap subs and maybe pull off $220 – $250 a square foot for town-homes or similar structures with no tile and low end finishes. You cannot build a 2,000 square foot town-home for less than 500k in 2018. That is not taking into account land, loan and interest costs, insurance, contingencies, etc. You can’t use 2010 pricing, construction costs go up an average 10%+ a year. I quantify these construction projects for a living every single day. Most of these are being built for closer to $300+ a square foot.  Small apartments buildings are $400-$440+ a square foot. Specifically for town-homes the net profit margins are tiny, typically single digits. I’ve built them, I price them, I interact often with developers. Town-homes are very very difficult to make money on and typically there are many corners cut. The biggest corner cut we see is waterproofing which is not inspected by the city and rarely installed correctly. The people doing this are people who get screaming deals on the dirt or have owned it for awhile. Otherwise it doesn’t pencil out.

          • sb2780 December 29, 2018 (11:23 am)

            As a homeowner of one of these units I can personally attest to “major” problems developing within a 4-5 year period of a new build. I bought the home in 2014, and discovered an isolated issue of what i thought was a leaking, incorrectly installed window last winter. Long story short, after a $5k envelope investigation, I’ve discovered there is water damage all the way down to the frame of the house, and it will need to be completely resided. It doesn’t matter that they used Hardie plank siding which ‘should’ hold up for 30-40 years, since it wasn’t installed on a rain screen, and the flashing isn’t diverting the water away from the siding. That stuff is like a sponge and has been soaking up water for 4 years. Cost estimates are $150-200k at this point. Thankfully I was within the SOL to bring a construction defect lawsuit against the builder, and it is currently in process. Unfortunately, I’m sure I still won’t break even on the lawsuit when all is said and done, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to repair the property and sell it for FMV, which is not possible as it stands now. The crazy part is my property is 1 of 4 that were all constructed simultaneously. I shared my envelope investigation results with my neighbors who have decided to do nothing, and won’t be able to bring a lawsuit 11 mos. from now after the statute of limitations runs. I can’t quite figure the rationale of that decision out, unless they were planning to sell immediately before any damage appears.

    • Kram December 28, 2018 (2:01 pm)

      You can’t remodel an average kitchen for 75k.

  • Rick December 28, 2018 (9:38 am)

    West Seattle is going to have to change its name to West Ballard.  Ballard used to have character,  now its happening here. Generic

    • Kram December 28, 2018 (1:36 pm)

      You can actually get involved and send feedback to the city’s design review board. You can also attend project meetings and interact with the builders. A great problem to be solved is exactly this blog post. We have a housing crisis and it’s very real. Single family homes take up a lot of room and do not house more than a few people typically. We need more housing immediately. How we do it is up to us. Also I think we’d technically be South Ballard;)

  • The other Rick December 28, 2018 (3:14 pm)

    I’ve watched a lot of substandard junk being built here.  It’s become the standard. And I’m being displaced by it once again. Only the fourth time, though. After 40 years in business in West Seattle, I ‘spose all the man buns are done with me! Kiss your momma, or your terrier, or your subaru.

  • Jack December 29, 2018 (8:54 am)

    Here is an example of poor building quality. A new house was built next to me 3 years ago. I looked at it during it’s open house and you could see the ripples in the wood floor as soon as you walked in.  It sold for around 900k in Morgan Junction.

  • David December 31, 2018 (5:50 pm)

    The profits on these places are pretty normal and a lot of dowside risk when the market turns.  There’s no way any contractor on the planet is building anything for 80k or anything close.  Anything under $100 per square foot would be really low.  It’s getting tough for any of the builders to make a profit on these so you’re starting to see more permitted projects for sale because it doesn’t make sense to build.  I dont love townhouses but it makes sense they are popping up everywhere in a growing city.  Single family residences just don’t make sense unless you have really high income.  Unfortunately cities like Seattle need to have density and row/townhouses, micro apts, backyard cottages and other things like that are inevitable and probably necessary.  However, I do think there should be reasonable design reviews to make sure they fit into neighborhood.

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