DEVELOPMENT: Key approval for 5952 California SW apartments, with site ‘back on market’

(Rendering by Hybrid Architecture)

Four months after the mostly-microapartments proposal resurfaced for 5952 California SW [map], it’s received key city approvals. The project description is the same as last December, when it went into a second round of Design Review, 2+ years after the first – “29 small efficiency dwelling units and 6 apartment units (35 units total). Parking for 5 vehicles proposed.” Today’s publication of the notice for this opens a two-week appeal period; the notice explains (PDF) how to file one. Meantime, the property was re-listed for sale a week and a half ago (PDF), with the notation “back on market,” asking price $1.8 million, a bit less than its August 2017 listing.

36 Replies to "DEVELOPMENT: Key approval for 5952 California SW apartments, with site 'back on market'"

  • anonyme April 8, 2019 (3:36 pm)

    What an absolutely ghastly structure to thrust in between classic old buildings.  I love modern architecture well done, but this is a horrible juxtaposition.

    • LK April 8, 2019 (4:03 pm)

      Not only that but a 35 unit building wedged between 2 single family homes…feel bad for those neighbors.  If I were them I’d be first in line in the appeal process.

      • Steve April 8, 2019 (7:12 pm)

        What is there to appeal, exactly? More homes for more neighbors in a great neighborhood of our fast-growing city that desperately needs more homes? 🤔

        • HelperMonkey April 9, 2019 (8:40 am)

          More “homes” for more “neighbors”, Steve? Really? These are efficiency units – people do not stay and live in them for years, so spare us your idealistic language that these developers are doing anything to promote community. They could at least build an apartment building people are meant to live in, and grow within the community – but then they couldn’t cram 35 units in and charge first, last and deposit every six months when the units inevitably turn over. 

          • KM April 9, 2019 (2:52 pm)

            I don’t think criticizing the size of units for future residents of the neighborhood is a good look for someone concerned about community. Community should be about all individuals, not just the ones certain types of homes.

          • HelperMonkey April 9, 2019 (3:15 pm)

            KM — It’s not about “size” but the fact that these kinds of apodments are largely transitory housing. They do have a huge turnover – that is just a fact. That is not dissing the size of anyone’s apartment. I lived in a couple 400sf studio apartments for 5+ years at a time. I couldn’t imagine living in 200sf with a shared kitchen/bath situation. These kinds of apartments/apodments don’t lend themselves to long-term living is all. 

          • Kram April 9, 2019 (8:16 pm)

            Most apartments regardless of size offer 12 month leases. Apartment owners want the units leased. 6 month lease are a hassle and risk vacancy. I’d read a little more into it before commenting.

          • KM April 9, 2019 (4:51 pm)

            Perhaps “size” wasn’t the issue here, though you seem to have an issue with someone having a small “home” because you couldn’t see yourself living there.  Transitionary residents are still neighbors (no quotes), and small apartments are still homes (no quotes).  Long-term residency doesn’t guarantee a positive contribution to the community, short-term residents doesn’t guarantee a negative one. Creating resident classes in favorable or unfavorable terms is unhelpful and creates unnecessary friction in our “community.”

      • John April 9, 2019 (9:06 am)

        Just a little fact checking contradicts that the project is “wedged between 2 single family homes”.Not true both of the old homes have long been converted to duplexes.  The one on the corner is owned by Vashon Island’s Ventanna Construction.  The one north the project has already been re-developed with multiple new units in the back.  I doubt we will be seeing complaints by either owner.

  • just wondering April 8, 2019 (5:29 pm)


    • John April 9, 2019 (7:23 am)

      yuck?  -No accounting for taste, but I rather like this thoughtful design.  I use words to describe what I do like –  the  huge (and costly) windows, the set-back on the top floor, the strict minimal use of materials, the attention to detail and the street presence.

      • Groucho Marx April 9, 2019 (8:50 am)

        I think it looks like a dumpster with windows.

  • j April 8, 2019 (7:44 pm)

    Where are the 50+ cars gonna park?

    • John April 9, 2019 (7:23 am)

      In front of your house.

    • HelperMonkey April 9, 2019 (8:33 am)

      parking already stinks in this area, and if developers think that the people renting here won’t have cars because of our “fabulous transit system” they’re in for a surprise. not that the developers will care, mind you, because they’ll just cut and run after they’re done, leaving the rest of the neighborhood with the mess. 

  • TJ April 8, 2019 (9:08 pm)

    The city doesn’t care about the parking disaster that is developing from their policies. They will just let us deal with it however we can because their philosophy is to get people into mass transit. And someone mentioned “homes”? These are dorms. How many 2 or 3 bedroom apartments have been built in these new buildings? You know, that can actually have a family in them. Also, the big thing that people igniore is there are almost NO condos being built. None. All apartments, allowing the developers and financial backers to gain the equity. Demand our politicians to not provide any means for bankruptcy protection for them in the event of a big market turndown. Then see how anxious they would be in building these

    • AMD April 8, 2019 (9:28 pm)

      Less than 25% of Seattle households have kids.  If you think about the people who are moving here by the thousands, it’s not families with kids either.  A huge percentage of what’s being built SHOULD be housing for one or two.  That’s what’s missing.  The city is awash in single-family houses because of decades of relining and other exclusionary zoning, resulting in lots of childless adults and their four roommates living in 3+ bedroom SF houses because the availability of smaller options just wasn’t there when they were shopping.  

      • NH April 9, 2019 (7:34 am)

        Part of the reason Seattle doesn’t have many families with kids is because there is a lack of affordable, appropriately sized housing. People have kids, many of them leave. I think cities are better when they are multigenerational; unfortunately, our developments are not supporting that. 

        • AMD April 9, 2019 (8:14 am)

          It’s not a recent trend.  Seattle has been one of the most child-less cities in the country for decades (statistics on that are tracked–you can look it up).  Before the current wave of development.  Before the recent influx of people moving here.  Before Amazon got to be what it is.  The housing that has been here forever is single-family.  What has been missing is what’s being built now: housing for single adults and childless households. 

          • Groucho Marx April 9, 2019 (10:32 am)

            But that does not mean that the demographic trend you cite is necessarily positive or should be the goal.  It appears to evidence that Seattle is unattainable to families with children.  I was interested in your statistic and one reason I found in a Seattle Times article (albeit from 2010 but germane to what we are discussing) was”growth-management policies in the city that saw conversion of old houses into apartments, condos and town houses made housing more attractive to empty-nesters or childless younger couples seeking the trappings of city life than to families with children.”I would prefer that the City have a more diverse demographic and not continue to perpetuate an off-balance representation of the population.

    • John April 9, 2019 (8:36 am)

      TJ,Read the headlines.Condos are back.And being developed like crazy due to the oversupply of rental units still coming online and a change in liability laws. Many condos are indeed aimed at families with two and three bedrooms.

      • WSB April 9, 2019 (9:57 am)

        Not so much in West Seattle, aside from at least one Alki project.

      • Swede. April 9, 2019 (12:17 pm)

        So is that ‘change in liability law’ so they now can build it to lower standards? Because before they where responsible for quite a few years for the ‘quality’ of the work, which obviously they didn’t want, hence no condo building…

  • Rick April 9, 2019 (1:13 am)

    It appears we’re losing our character and building lots of boxes around bus routes/stops. I don’t care what utopian plan the city has for these dorm rooms but many will have cars. Apparently YOU don’t have a right to free parking in front of your lifelong investment but others do.

    • John April 9, 2019 (7:30 am)

      Sorry Rick,Your claim is out-right false. Our lifelong investments, which have been incredibly lucrative on there own, do not include the public’s streets.Everyone has the same right to park on the city streets.  If you want to have available street parking, support monetizing it.  Everyone pays to park, fair for all.

    • Jon Wright April 9, 2019 (10:50 am)

      I feel like most of the opposition to projects like this ultimately comes down to the expectation by residents of single family homes that they somehow have first dibs on the adjacent street parking. It’s public right-of-way which means everybody has just as much right to use it. I’m fine with that. My only beef is that I would like to see SDOT monetize that public resource in high-demand areas at market rates. 

    • WSR April 9, 2019 (11:49 am)

      You’re right, you don’t have a right to parking in front of your house. I wish more people would accept that fact. 

  • anonyme April 9, 2019 (8:01 am)

    Single family housing is one of many options, as it should be.  One should not be destroyed in favor of another, just because of a current trend.  Lots of people still want an option that provides a little homestead with a modicum of privacy and quiet, and many have worked very, very hard for that little slice of home.  That doesn’t make them evil, or delusional.  If dorm rooms (transient housing) are what the trend demands, then put them in an area that will accommodate that type of housing.   Why change everything for one demographic?  And just because the “thousands” moving here are childless at present doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way.  No need to destroy neighborhoods in the process. 

  • Swede. April 9, 2019 (9:29 am)

    The golden lining here though is that obviously this parcel is hard to sell and the price is dropping. Maybe it’s the beginning of the next recession! 

  • ARPigeonPoint April 9, 2019 (9:41 am)

    Parking for 5 vehicles.  Hahahahaha.  I know from personal experience on my own street that it’s going to feel like parking on Cap Hill now.  Those of us who deliberately chose to live outside of downtown are starting to feel like we live there, except we also have to deal with a commute.

  • Anne with Ventana April 9, 2019 (10:38 pm)

    @ john, if you’d called or emailed me, I could have given you accurate information without having to do this in a public forum, but you posted a “fact check” that misstates the facts about my business, so here are the actual facts:Ventana is spelled with 2 Ns, not 3.Ventana Construction is a Seattle business that has been in Morgan Junction since 2003.The duplex on the corner has been a duplex since it was built almost 90 years ago, according to county property records.According to the tax assessor’s office, there are a total of 8 properties that share a property line with this project, and all (or nearly all–there is some question in property records about one of the townhouses) are individual property owners, not businesses.  Please take care in the future about stating information about businesses about which you have limited and possibly inaccurate information. Thank you.

    • John April 10, 2019 (12:12 am)

      ANNE With VENTANA,I appreciate your response and apologies are due for my misspelling the name of your company.Perhaps you were not aware but my post was a direct REPLY to a an inaccurate itself!    LK’s post “Not only that but a 35 unit building wedged between 2 single family homes…feel bad for those neighbors.  If I were them I’d be first in line in the appeal process.”I was pointing out that neither neighboring house in the WSB photo as referred to by LK was a ‘single family home, accurately.  Perhaps inaccurately, I did weigh in with the conjecture that neither of these two  neighboring  property owners would be first in line for appeals process?Maybe you can share your take on this development proposed next door to your historical duplex?Thanks for sharing information about your business.  I have enjoyed watching you grow it and wish you the best of luck going forward.@johnn

        • Anne Higuera April 10, 2019 (10:32 am)

          @john thank you for your reply and apology. There are dozens of letters from neighbors that are part of the SDCI file on this project. The city also summarized many of these concerns in the land use approval letter they posted if you are interested in taking a look. There are already two similar developments within half a block of this one. I personally wonder how many of these a single city block can sustain without significantly altering the character of the neighborhood. The city seems to have no limit on how many can be built, provided that they meet zoning and building codes.

        • Anne at Ventana April 10, 2019 (4:55 pm)

          @john, thanks for your response and apology. I think neighbors’ concerns have been well documented in the dozens of letters submitted to SDCI over the course of this process, and there’s a summary of those concerns in the land use decision just issued. My larger concern is about how many of these type of projects the city can/should allow in a single block. There are two similar projects already completed within half a block of the one just approved. Will this one change the character of the neighborhood, or will it be the 4th or 5th or 20th one that does it? Allowing the market to decide how many are built may not result in the kind of urban village corridors we and urban planners envision.

          • John April 11, 2019 (8:57 am)

            Without actually saying it, it appears that Anne is that part of the market that has decided to maintain the character of the neighborhood.  To protect and maintain her duplex as built 90 years ago is a statement in itself.  If more property owners like Anne refuse to sell or develop legacy properties, the classic urban village corridor will remain.With two similar projects in the same block, how much has it changed the character of the neighborhood already?  

    • I’mcoveredinbees April 10, 2019 (5:22 pm)

      Apodments absolutely suck and they DO have short leases, sometimes as short as six months. I know a lot of people who have lived in and subsequently moved out of them. They’re horrible! There should be affordable abs reasonable housing being built that also provides parking. I can’t believe there are people actually defending these. 🙄

    Sorry, comment time is over.