FOLLOWUP: New plan for Lam Bow Apartments – the remaining building’s coming down too

Two and a half years after fire destroyed a building at the Seattle Housing Authority‘s Lam Bow Apartments (6935 Delridge Way SW), the process of replacing it has taken a turn. SHA has a new design for the replacement building – which will also replace the building that wasn’t involved in the fire. This is a big change from the plan that went before the Southwest Design Review Board in May of last yar. The changes are in part enabled by expected HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning, which will allow this to go up to four floors, with 80 units in the new building (up from the 51 total in the original complex – 21 in the fire-gutted building, 30 in the remaining building). SHA’s Ryan Moore tells WSB that they expect this process to go faster because the project is “using the administrative design review process this time, since the rules for design review changed last year and now allow this option for affordable housing. Our hope is that this translates into a faster approval, allowing us to get started with construction sooner.”

Cost of the project is estimated at around $35 million; Moore explains, “The existing building will cost at least as much to rehabilitate as a new building and likely more. We were planning on saving it until we conducted all the necessary analysis to determine how much rehab was needed.” Another change along with the increased number of apartments: “Due to costs, we won’t be building the underground parking as we had originally planned, but we will be providing one parking space for each unit on a surface parking lot” – 80 spaces for 80 apartments. Most of the new units, Moore says, will be 2- and 3-bedroom apartments, and they’re already working with current tenants regarding pre-demolition relocation. The full early-design proposal should be on the city website soon (here’s a flyer in the meantime); the change in process means no Design Review Board meeting, but public comments will be sought and accepted.

11 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: New plan for Lam Bow Apartments - the remaining building's coming down too"

  • WSmom March 12, 2019 (10:59 am)

    With a building of that size it would make more sense to put half or all the parking underground.

    • justadude March 12, 2019 (12:57 pm)

      Did you even read the article?

    • Kram March 12, 2019 (5:02 pm)

      They said in the statement “Due to costs, we won’t be building the underground parking as we had originally planned”. The high cost would make the project not feasible if it went down that deep. It’s not just the excavation that drives costs; it’s also the added structural, solder piling, concrete, steel and utilities. I don’t think many people realize the number of apartments that are not built because the costs are so high and the risk so high it doesn’t make sense to move forward. Think about how valuable that parking lot would be as a building. It’s not the desired route to have above ground parking but there are budget limit realities even on these larger projects.

    • alki_2008 March 12, 2019 (9:25 pm)

      Even if not underground, then at least the ground level being above-ground parking and then the first living level on the second floor.  The current design seems like quite a waste of potential housing density.

      • Kram March 13, 2019 (9:04 am)

        Then you would lose a whole floor of units. They are at their height maximum allowed under the new zoning.

  • John March 12, 2019 (3:04 pm)

    The site plan looks primarily like a parking lot, surprising in our time.

  • AJP March 12, 2019 (3:36 pm)

    Parking garages cost something like $20,000 per parking space to build. Way more cost efficient to do a lot, as lame as it is to create a car storage area as big as the home area. I’m glad they can get more affordable housing units built! 

  • zephyr March 12, 2019 (4:35 pm)

    There is no North arrow on the plan, but by comparing it to the Google Maps satellite view, I believe I can determine the orientation. It looks like the new building is on the north side of the lot.  Though the parking lot is large, it also serves as open space allowing sun shine and sky views deep into the structure.  I am sure the residents will appreciate that.   And neighbors will enjoy the openness too. 

    • WSB March 12, 2019 (4:51 pm)

      There is a north arrow – see the lower right.

  • Delridgefan March 14, 2019 (3:36 pm)

    If this is an SHA project, I am much less concerned than I would be with a private development. They did a large project up at High Point, which turned out to be the nicest neighborhood in West Seattle. 

  • zephyr March 25, 2019 (7:03 pm)

    Quote:  “There is a north arrow – see the lower right.”Oops!  If it was a snake it would have bitten me.  ;)

Sorry, comment time is over.