DEVELOPMENT: Demolition at 5616 California SW

(WSB photo)

Thanks to Karl for the tip: Demolition is wrapping up at 5616 California SW, on the south side of C & P Coffee (WSB sponsor). We first reported in July 2018 that townhouses were proposed for the site, replacing a nearly century-old house. Recently finalized permit documents show the plan is still for eight townhouses with five off-street parking spaces (none required as the site’s on the RapidRide C Line).

40 Replies to "DEVELOPMENT: Demolition at 5616 California SW"

  • 35this35mph April 30, 2020 (4:45 pm)

    “Welcome to the Canyon California.” Great coffee next door at least. Bridge outage might depress the values on these townhouses for a bit…

  • LG April 30, 2020 (5:16 pm)

    The lack of parking is a joke! Do they really think people don’t have cars? 

    • WSJ April 30, 2020 (5:37 pm)

      Only 81% of Seattle households own a car. A better question is why do you incorrectly think everyone does? 

      • Calires April 30, 2020 (8:25 pm)

        I’ll give you that argument for apartments and apodments, but I live on a block with 5 townhouse complexes, most of which don’t have garages.  I’ve worked from home for 10 years and walk the neighborhood pretty much every day both day and night, and the parking spots in these complexes are empty during week days and full in the evenings and weekends.  The block of California Avenue that I live on, as well as the side streets, are fairly empty during the day and packed at night.  (This changes the closer you get to the Junction, I’m assuming because people treat that area like a Park and Ride and also people without parking who live around there park on the street and take the bus.)  Bottom line, it is rare for a townhouse owner in West Seattle to not have one or more cars.  

      • Chemist April 30, 2020 (8:27 pm)

        So why does every apartment in a RPZ zone (where parking is an issue) have the opportunity to sign up for 4 RPZ passes and 1 guest pass?  With the recent RPZ being instituted in the junction, I’d noticed the area around the nearby rapid ride stop had more day-parking.

        • Barbara Greenlee May 2, 2020 (10:07 am)

          Chemist, just a correction. RPZ  residents are allowed the purchase of two passes and one visitor’s pass.

          • chemist May 2, 2020 (8:59 pm)

            I’m not sure why you think that’s the limit.  Here’s the form to get your Junction RPZ pass.  It has 4 regular passes and 1 guest pass.

      • James May 1, 2020 (4:55 pm)

        Please cite your 81% statistic. I’m sure that’s what you really meant is incorrect.

    • AMD April 30, 2020 (6:26 pm)

      No, they think people with cars will be responsible and buy homes with adequate off-street parking.  Why does everyone assume car owners are self-centered and irresponsible?

  • dhg April 30, 2020 (6:14 pm)

    The C Line will get you wherever you want to go, as long as it’s not late in the evening or very far south

    • WSFamilyCommuter April 30, 2020 (11:19 pm)

      While the C line does go to the junction and down town. It is not sufficient for family commuters trying to navigate west seattle.As someone who has commuted by public transport/biking my entire life. The last 2 years commuting with kids in west seattle from morgan junction has been exhausting. In order to get to admiral or alki is at least an hour commute, if you miss the 128, its a long wait and/or another transfer wait at the junction. The buses that run on fauntleroy only run during commute hours, and the walk up to 35 for alternate routes is steep with kids. The alternate buses to the C are routinely late and the C is over crowded.Just this week we discovered 3 more multi unit buildings going up, offering limited parking, off 41st ave sw and sw graham. Hoping they consider additional bus routes, with better intervals and safer street crossings.

      • Pollo May 1, 2020 (12:33 pm)

        An hour commute from morgan junction to admiral junction you say? Hmmmmmmmmm……..

        • B May 1, 2020 (6:16 pm)

          It can be 50 mins, so rounded up it’s an hour. 10 minute wait for a C, 10 minute trip to Alaska junction, wait 20 mins for a 128, 10 minute ride to Admiral junction. 50 mins total for under 2 miles travel. This is reality. Sure you can shave 15-20 mins off when you’re lucky, but people plan on the the high average, not the low, and pad that. So 40-45 mins is 2/3 an hour or more. Admiral junction is sorely underserved by bus routes. So, lots of us would rather drive and pay to park to save time, if not money. I was also impacted by 5 gunshots across from my downtown stop while I was waiting one night. Not the recent big news one. Ya know, just one of the hundreds of other ones. And then there was the naked meth head one day who shat himself making his C Line rounds from Westwood to 3rd and Pike. One shouldn’t have to throw up or take a bullet to take their bus. Both are reasons you can’t just cite buses over cars and be done with it.

  • WiseWoman April 30, 2020 (6:35 pm)

    Exactly. Tear down a historic house to build eight townhomes with shoddy interior fixtures and not enough parking. 3 cars per household st least is necessary for a 2-3 br townhome. And prices like $800K this is why city is broke and we have a broke bridge. Vote these idiots out of office and get new city planners and new SDOT and all. #StuckInSeattleAndSoSleepless

    • Stevie J April 30, 2020 (11:11 pm)

      If a single family home were built on this lot it would sell for $1.3 million. But now 8 families will be able to live there and each pay at least half a million dollars less. Would you prefer the former situation? Those seven extra families would otherwise be forced to live farther out because it’s so expensive to buy a home in the city where all the nice things are. Housing for people is more important than housing for cars.

      PS: As someone who lives in a 100 year old house I can tell you I would love to have modern fixtures! Old houses are a lot of work and some people want a place to live and relax and not have everything falling apart all the time. 

  • Anne April 30, 2020 (6:37 pm)

    This makes me sad. Our office was just down the block and I walked our dog past here regularly. The woman who lived there was elderly and often sat in a chair in the front window watching all of the activity on the street. I would wave and smile when I saw her there. She had limited mobility and often took a loop around the block in her motorized chair with a woman who I think must have been an aide. I had really hoped that someone would buy the house when she passed and do something interesting with it. It was a lovely old home and one of the few original ones left on that stretch of California. I don’t know anything about her or how long she lived in that home. But I will think of her always when I go to C&P Coffee. The neighborhood remembers.

    • cjboffoli April 30, 2020 (7:42 pm)

      I don’t know why it needs to be sad. That woman lived her life in that house and presumably enjoyed it. Time has moved on and people now don’t want to live the small spaces that  people were content to occupy in the 1920’s. Now that outdated structure will be replaced with more modern, energy-efficient structures that are likely more environmentally friendly and that will provide multiple families with living space as opposed to just one household. And when those structures reach the end of their usefulness they will be replaced too someday.   Why not be nostalgic for the future and  welcome new neighbors with the same vigor that we fondly remember the neighbors of old?

      • Calires April 30, 2020 (8:06 pm)

        There’s nothing wrong with being nostalgic for what was, especially right now when so many people have lost so much.  I live in one of the ubiquitous overpriced townhouses that line California Avenue, and I can assure you, the end of their usefulness will be coming approximately 30 years from the time they were built, with everything on the inside needing to be replaced in 10 years or less.  I guess the hobby developers build with repeat business in mind for the very unlikely event they make it through the next recession.

        • Nostalgia April 30, 2020 (8:18 pm)

          There’s nothing inherently wrong with nostalgia, but it’s too often used to block progress and more the city toward more affordable, sustainable housing. 3br 100yr old craftsmans on 5000sq ft lots right next to bus lines are not the future.

        • John W April 30, 2020 (11:01 pm)

          CALIRES claim, “ I can assure you, the end of their usefulness will be coming approximately 30 years from the time they were built, with everything on the inside needing to be replaced in 10 years or less.”=  This is simply not true.  If any such outrageous construction was built in the last decade, somehow escaping all city codes and inspections, it would still not be insurable or even be financeable.

          • waikikigirl May 1, 2020 (7:17 am)

            @John, I believe what Calires is saying has nothing to do with the workmanship, city codes and or inspections. Example  we have lived in our 66 year old home for the last 15 years and the people before us lived in it for 30  years and the people before them the other 21 years (3 families) how many families/people do you think will live in those Condos/Townhomes? They just won’t hold up as well as homes that were built 50/60 years ago, builders put pride into their work back then and didn’t use “contractor grade material” and didn’t just slap them up for the all mighty dollar.Just my opinion

          • John W May 1, 2020 (11:22 am)

            Wakikigirl,As someone who has built to new codes and re-built century old and mid-century to new codes, I can assure you your opinion is just that, an opinion void of facts.  As long as WSB has been accepting posts, the same predictive  opinions have existed, yet we see none of the predicted consequences, i.e. new box buildings being torn down and replaced.  There is a bit of old school 7th Day Adventist in your opinion.

          • waikikigirl May 1, 2020 (2:28 pm)

            John W. what does religion have to do with any of the new box homes going up? Quote un quote “There is a bit of old school 7th Day Adventist in your opinion.” And just an example take a look at the 2×4’s sold at the big box stores where most contractors go  and the ones sold at Alki Lumber  (great shop!!!) big difference! 

  • BJG April 30, 2020 (7:10 pm)

    Wouldn’t it be a happy surprise to see an interesting, unique new build with quality interior features? It’s always possible, rare, but it can happen. West Seattle deserves better than it’s been getting.

    • John W May 1, 2020 (11:35 am)

      The market squashes attempts for unique build with high quality interior features.  This is by definition the province of custom design architects and at least double the building costs of current spec homes.  Thanks to the prevalence of internet platforms that are optimized for cost per square foot, number of bedrooms, baths, anyone building custom faces a pounding when it comes time to sell.  This I know through personal experience in developing and building West Seattle houses featured in magazines and architectural sites.West Seattle is also a long time  repository of some excellent, even great, residential architecture.  We are just more quiet than some of our neighboring communities!  Just note with attention the many times a home in West Seattle is featured in a lavish photo spread in Seattle Times Magazine and other regional magazines. Unfortunately, nearly all of our incredible homes were built by the passion of the homeowners with the taste and finances to accomplish such challenges.

  • Wallace Grommet April 30, 2020 (8:05 pm)

    The practice of cramming onto a single lot, four or more peg like houses, all detached, exists solely to increase developer profits and  tax ratables. There is nothing of merit from an energy efficiency standpoint in detached dwellings. No best practices can be employed, non permeable surfaces predominate the landscaping, no gardens are possible,  and the staircases are not suitable for elderly residents.  Structures like this are absurdities, another symbol of the fatuous, self indulgent disregard for sound architectural principles. Future generations, if there are any, will be stupified and confounded by the obstinate refusal to build responsible, efficient, affordable housing  

    • TheDecline April 30, 2020 (8:45 pm)

      Well said. Although future generations will then covert them into apodments because all the land will have been densified until total ecological and societal collapse. But the Economy will be great! Feeling slightly apocalyptic lately, for some reason…

    • John W April 30, 2020 (10:50 pm)

      Maybe well said, but quite ignorant of both design and current codes that drive it.  The new homes in fact will have the required infiltration that keeps raw sewage overflows from the Sound.  Gardens are required.  All current code staircases are unsuitable for elderly and elevators cost prohibitive.  These multilevel buildings are not marketed for senior living, others are.  The only absurdity claim with merit is that multiple  individual buildings are less efficient than a single large massed one, but here in West Seattle we scream about those big boxes even louder.

    • Stevie J April 30, 2020 (10:59 pm)

      My understanding is that townhome construction in Seattle is in vogue because state law makes it harder to build multi family condo buildings. Developers and their investors don’t want the extra liability. I agree that a small condo building would be preferable here. The same goes for other aspects or modern architecture. Lots of times developers are working within a legal/bureaucratic framework and it’s just easier to build what they build.

      Personally I would like single family homes to be subject to the same design review as townhomes. I have seen some truly giant, ugly SFHs go up lately. Some are the size of a small apartment building (or fourplex) but didn’t have to face public scrutiny for some reason. 

  • Joe Z April 30, 2020 (9:39 pm)

    Enough of this big government nonsense. There shouldn’t be any parking requirements anywhere, not just in urban villages. Let the free market decide how much off-street parking is needed. 

  • Ted April 30, 2020 (10:34 pm)

    Triple deckers or connected townhouses are the way to go.  Save walls, materials and energy.  Give up your car addictions.  You’ll be much happier and save money.

  • Narv April 30, 2020 (10:39 pm)

    What of the wild things that lived there? The nesting birds and other small creatures? The flowers and shrubs and tree’s, just leafing out and showing their beauty of fragrance and color? All crushed and destroyed for more soul-less bland hyper efficient blocks of profit. Nature will prevail again eventually…

    • waikikigirl May 1, 2020 (7:27 am)

      @Narv…Yes they will….or will they? :>(

    • John W May 1, 2020 (12:22 pm)

      @NARV and WAIKIKIGIRl – One is not exclusive of the other.  The redevelopment will not preclude nature, but it will enhance the Greater Outdoors that we so heavily covet by preventing urban sprawl.

      • momosmom May 1, 2020 (8:57 pm)

        I am the Great and Wonderful OZ and I have spoken!

  • Lola May 1, 2020 (12:16 pm)

    They were also demolishing the Condo’s over on 48th that burned down a few weeks ago off Admiral, yesterday 4/30/20.  My son was watching them and was wondering if they were going to do the ones next to it that had partially burned? 

    • WSB May 1, 2020 (2:02 pm)

      Thanks for mentioning this. We’ll go by on our late afternoon/early evening photo run.

  • Polo May 1, 2020 (4:08 pm)

    I often wonder what the long term fate will be of all the condos built with OSB and other composite materials during the rainy season. All that wetness can’t be good for the building materials. I guess we’ll find out in 10-20 years. As for the parking and commute issues – I guess light rail can’t come soon enough to West Seattle. How many people here voted FOR the monorail?

  • John W May 1, 2020 (5:12 pm)

    Polo,The reason all of those condos (as well as most residential) are built using OSB is that it is a cheaper, structurally stronger (in shear, think earthquakes), less environmental impact, more accurate dimensionally, consistency in strength and more stable than plywood.  It has been around since the 1960s and keeps improving.  Like plywood’s reputation for decades after its introduction, people were slow and skeptical at first.  OSB is ugly but is intended to be covered.  Both plywood and OSB delaminate where cut edges are not coated and are exposed to long term water contact which only occurs after other failures of siding, flashing, house wrap or other sealing system.

  • Stephanie May 1, 2020 (6:59 pm)

    well aren’t they lucky to be building next to the best coffee shop in town!!!

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