By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
As we first reported 2 weeks ago, two 7-story mixed-use buildings proposed for the Sweeney family’s property in the West Seattle Triangle are going before the Southwest Design Review Board next month. Though these will be reviewed as two projects – 4406 36th SW (277 apartments) and 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW (209 apartments) – the all-West Seattle team behind them says it’s one vision, and met with us this week for a design preview, 5 months after we covered their “early community outreach” session.
First, remember that the reviews on August 6 and 20 are in the Early Design Guidance stage of Design Review, which means the focus will be on the proposed size, shape, and location of the buildings. In this case, as explained by developer Ed Hewson and architect Jenny Chapman in our conversation, there’s a vision for the street between them – 36th SW south of Fauntleroy – too:
The street factors heavily into the plan – explained as a “reinvention.” Over the years, 36th has seemed more like a default loading zone for the Sweeneys’ legacy business, Alki Lumber; this development will change that in a big way, transforming this gateway to West Seattle (with a potential light-rail station nearby in 2030, as well as the eventual restoration of bridge traffic before then). The project is envisioned with “boardwalks” between the building and sidewalk – here’s a cross-section:
The project team is working with SDOT on the plan, which proposes that about 6′ of the boardwalk would come from city right-of-way (they note that the street is 80′ wide) and 4′ from their property. That would all be in addition to a standard sidewalk. So what might it look like? Here’s a street-level concept drawing:
Because the “boardwalk” would lead to an extra setback at street level, they are proposing a zoning exception – “departure,” which the Design Review Board will be asked to consider – that would skip the upper-story setbacks instead.
Lynn Sweeney explained that the ground-level retail vision includes part of the family business – a “heritage hardware store” – as well as café-type space, and other retail potential, with a “market feel” – in an “unexpected” area that they hope will synergize with other businesses new and old, including the family’s Grove/West Seattle Inn lodging as well as the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor). Another envisioned synergy – the midblock connection heading eastward toward 35th SW just south of Avalon, with RapidRide stops and West Seattle Stadium access:
The connection would be to the hillclimb stairway at Aura on 35th.
The project is going into review a year and a half after the Sweeney family first announced it was studying “alternatives” for some of their property. So what happens next? Both Design Review meetings are scheduled online for 6:30 pm – these city-website links will show how to watch/participate/comment: