By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Businesses’ concerns dominated this week’s Early Community Outreach for Design Review meeting for the two-building megaproject planned for two sides of a Triangle block owned by the Sweeney family of Alki Lumber fame.
The handful of community members in attendance included an adjacent business’s owner and founder as well as the proprietor of a business that wlll have to move (as will the Sweeneys’ own century-old enterprise) when construction begins – though that’s still years away.
The potential timeline was one of the new pieces of information made available at the meeting, which happened Wednesday night at Chaco Canyon Organic Café, not far from the project site, which is officially in city records with the addresses 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW and 4406 36th SW.
Outnumbering the community attendees were project team members, including Sweeney family members, developer Ed Hewson and business partner Jon Breiner, reps from Ankrom Moisan Architecture, and a facilitator, who noted that these meetings are informal and no city reps were present because their part of the process comes later.
The West Seattle cred of everyone involved was stressed repeatedly in opening remarks (as was the case with the 4747 California project, n which the same developer and architects are teaming with a local property owner).
Hewson also spoke of The Triangle’s gateway status, as “the first impression when you get off the bridge” – an impression once dominated by now-gone businesses from the Huling car lots to Tervo’s Mini-Mart.”Things have really changed.” Observing that the meeting was taking place in The Triangle’s first new-era mixed-use building (Link), Hewson said he was skeptical at first that people would really want to move to West Seattle. However, thousands have, and more will keep arriving, so, “it really is time for a change in those two blocks,” with, he noted, a light-rail station expected somewhere nearby. “If anybody’s going to build … we wanted to set the course and tone for this part of the city. … If we do it right, others will follow suit.”
Lynn Sweeney, who has been the family spokesperson since the redevelopment plan was announced a year ago, said they want “to add value to the West Seattle community … trying to create positive change.”
Then, a few points about the project, so early that their first official meeting with the city isn’t until April:
*Timeline – construction not expected to start until 2022, and likely to take about two years, so the project would not be complete before 2024
*Zoning – NC3-75, which means seven stories
*About 500 apartments and 300 parking space
*Units will range in size from ~300-square-foot studios to ~1,000-square-foot 2-bedrooms
Then the questions, primarily asked by Kandie Jennings, owner of Tom’s Automotive just west of the project site (Tom’s founder Tom Smith was there too, and noted the business had just marked its 49th anniversary). She asked about maintaining alley access – vital to her business. Will the site be fenced? Will construction lead to utility shutoffs affecting her business? How many tower cranes? Will the city require a sidewalk?
Too early for detailed answers, but Hewson promised they would work closely with Jennings to minimize impacts, as he said they had done with businesses near their projects elsewhere in the city. “That partnership begins tonight.”
Also there was Jan Brown, proprietor of DogCity. While she expressed concern about having to move in a few years, she also expressed interest in space in one of the new buildings – maybe incorporating a coffee bar.
WHAT’S NEXT: Because of the size of this project, it’ll have to go through full Design Review, which means at least two full formal community meetings. In the meantime, if you have questions or comments, you can email SweeneyBlocks@earlyDRoutreach.com.