DESIGN REVIEW: 8854 Delridge Way SW gets a name but doesn’t get final board approval

(Rendering from packet by Sazei Design Group)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two years after the mixed-use project’s first review, the second review of 8854 Delridge Way SW ended tonight with the Southwest Design Review Board voting to require a third review.

Meeting at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction, the full board was present – chair Crystal Loya, members Scott Rosenstock, Alan Grainger, John Cheng, and Matt Hutchins. (Loya is the only one who was also on the board for this project’s first review in 2017.)

Here’s how it went:

ARCHITECTS’ PRESENTATION: Hamid Korasani opened the presentation for Sazei Design Group, revealing the building will be called Delridge Heights. It’ll be built on the now-vacant former auto-shop site at Delridge/Henderson. The project packet prepared for tonight’s meeting is here (PDF) and below:

This meeting was 2 years after the first review and Korasani opened by saying it had taken a lot of time to “satisfy everyone.” He described the project’s 32 apartments – 10 on each of the second through fourth floors – as “microunits.” (Last review, the project team had suggested the apartments would go for $850/month.) He also described the project site as a “gateway to Seattle coming from (the) south.” The 1,150-square-foot retail space would likely be used for “a convenience store or something similar to support the community,” said Korasani. The building’s owner will manage it, he added. 14 parking spaces, though none are required, and in fact a RapidRide H Line station will be close to the building; another feature – a second-floor greenspace and “rooftop amenity” for residents.

Other team members took over the presentation, explaining the “sawtooth” exterior concept that had evolved since the 2017 review. Decorative screens will cover some ground-floor areas such as trash and parking. The material palette has been simplified as requested by the board two years ago. Cement board and lap siding will cover most of the Delridge Heights exterior. The commercial entrances will have some stone veneer, and the ground-floor residential will have some clear cedar.

The only zoning departure (exception) requested is the depth of the commercial space, averaging a few feet less tha the city-stipulated 30-foot average.

BOARD QUESTIONS: The first questions zeroed in on the sparing use of cedar siding. It would actually “wrap around the corner,” the architects clarified. Some other questioning about the screens/rollup door(s) on the ground floor led to a mention that some of the parking will be for retail customers, so a rollup door for that area would be left open during business hours. Security monitoring is planned, 24 hours a day. There was also some discussion of exterior lighting. Hutchins noted the landscape plan seemed out of sync with the actual design description; the project team apologized for not bringing a copy of the “updated” plan. He also asked about coordination with Metro regarding the future RapidRide station; Korasani said they’ve met with the county, which is still finalizing exact placement of the station.

PUBLIC COMMENT: None. (Your editor was one of only two people in the gallery, it should be noted.)

BOARD DELIBERATIONS: First, they listed concerns. Hutchins: Inconsistencies in materials – so many different types, without clear themes such as, a certain color/material denoting a sawtooth – and landscape plan supporting the “sawtooth” concept; streetscape; parking entrance; lighting needing to be more focused “where it makes sense for function.” Cheng was also concerned about the landscape plan as well as about lighting on the north side and alley, and felt tinted glass was inappropriate for the street level. Grainger voiced concerns about building access as well as appreciation for the container planters shown in the plan. Rosenstock also said the materials were an area of concern as well as concern for the street-level residential units’ security – with their entrances “right on the street” – and lighting in general. Also mentioned: The second-floor amenity space, which Hutchins said looked like it would be a “dead space.”

Regarding the zoning exception, they didn’t see a good reason for it unless the retail use was going to be somthing that “spills out” (cafĂ©, etc.). Korasani said he didn’t see any likelihood of that and in fact, the space might just be the building owner’s offices.

They had too many concerns, ultimately, to give the plan final approval; the vote was 4-1 to call for the team to address the aforementioned issues and then bring the plan back for another review. Cheng was the member who was OK with advancing it.

WHAT’S NEXT: If you have comments on the project – design or other elements – you can send them to the assigned city planner, Wayne Farrens Timing of the next review meeting will depend on when the project team is ready, likely at least a few months – we’ll publish an announcement when it surfaces on the city schedule.

6 Replies to "DESIGN REVIEW: 8854 Delridge Way SW gets a name but doesn't get final board approval"

  • Kimbee September 6, 2019 (7:59 am)

    Thank you to the Board for carefully following the former Board notes as well as public commentary from the first review focused on ground level safety, positioning and quality of materials. I’m wondering if the narrative of small, low cost ($850 per mo) spaces is still in place?  In any event, building is welcome there but they do need to get it right. No shortcuts.

  • Michael Waldo September 6, 2019 (9:19 am)

    It took two years for a second review? Thats just crazy.

    • AlkiResident September 6, 2019 (11:19 am)

      that’s what i was thinking – 2 years?!  That is a long time between reviews.

  • Hoku September 6, 2019 (10:34 am)

    And it’s close to the Westfield Shopping Plaza! See ages 30 and 31. Located in the WESTWOOD-HIGHLAND PARK (Residential Urban Village). See page 4. This level of neighborhood knowledge is impressive!It appears Design Review is helping this project. Thank you for covering these development proposals.

  • LongReview September 6, 2019 (4:22 pm)

    City of Seattle taking years for permitting on all these developments and businesses will come back to bite us all in an economic downturn. How are we supporting small business and developers when they have to spend years paying lease/rent/mortgage while “waiting” on the city and petty neighborhood design boards?  The recent story on the winery, Shugs, etc are other good examples of business that will “quit” this process when the economy softens.  Those who are causing all these delays will wonder why people aren’t investing.  

  • dcn September 7, 2019 (3:53 pm)

    I kind of liked the variety of materials used that the Board complained should have a “theme.” So many new buildings are so boring-looking.

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