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Southwest District Council tonight: 4755 Fauntleroy megaproject; Seattle Parks’ Legacy Plan

May 1, 2013 11:56 am
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 |   4755 Fauntleroy | Southwest District Council | West Seattle news

Though this morning’s breaking news pre-empted our usual roundup of highlights from the calendar, we do want to call attention to one meeting tonight: The Southwest District Council is scheduled for a presentation by, and Q/A with, the developers of 4755 Fauntleroy, the 40th/Alaska/Fauntleroy/Edmunds megaproject with 370 apartments, a Whole Foods Market, and TBA drugstore. (Their planned appearance last month was postponed.) The agenda also includes a briefing on Seattle Parks‘ Legacy Plan (see the draft here) – which despite its name is about the future, not the past (as explained here). SW District Council meets at 6:30 pm in the lower-level meeting rooms at SW Teen Life Center/Pool (2801 SW Thistle).

As-it-happened: Seattle Design Commission OKs ‘urban design merit’ of 4755 Fauntleroy Way on 2nd try

(TOPLINE: After a 2 1/2-hour meeting, the citywide Design Commission gave the project the first of two approvals it must confer before its “alley vacation” can be approved)

1:43 PM: We’re at City Hall for the Seattle Design Commission‘s second review of the 4755 Fauntleroy Way megaproject – and there’s even a bigger crowd than there was for the 1st review in March. The Design Commission does not review the entire project – their scope is to decide if it has “urban design merit” and “public benefits” worthy of city approval for the “alley vacation” that is part of the project. The presentation is starting with architect Bill Fuller recapping some of the key points of the 372-apartment, 60,000-square-feet-of-retail, 70-foot-high project. Key commission concerns the first time included how the “mid-block connector” through the two-building project would be configured. Fuller also notes that the plan for the “iconic corner” at Fauntleroy/Alaska is “under construction” since there was so much feedback to incorporate from the Southwest Design Review Board.

1:55 PM: Fuller is showing the newest version of the mid-block connector, which will incorporate more of a “city sidewalk” design. The west side of it will be narrower, so there’s more room for planters. That side also will include bicycle parking. There’ll be a six-inch-high concrete curb along the sidewalk side of the mid-block connector for people walking between the west and east sides (Fauntleroy and 40th SW). Next to the Whole Foods loading dock, which is enclosed and behind doors, there’ll be a raised crosswalk that will be “one more speed bump” as Fuller put it. There remains a drive-through for the tenant-not-yet-announced drug store, and Fuller is explaining why that’s needed – using the example of a parent driving up with a screaming, sick child in the car, needing to pick up some medication, wanting a “more private” transaction with the pharmacy. The rendering includes the re-created mural from the existing site, on the side of the drugstore, on the lane leading up to the drive-through, as Fuller shows a more detailed look on how the drive-through’s traffic will work.

He says there’s no way that cars can or would drive fast at that spot.


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Date set for next public review of 4755 Fauntleroy Way megaproject

As discussed when the Whole Foods/370-apartment megaproject at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW came back to the Southwest Design Review Board two weeks ago (WSB coverage here), the proposal also is in the midst of a crucial review by another city-organized group: The Seattle Design Commission. They must sign off on the developer’s request for an “alley vacation,” a process that would make public land private, and they must decide whether its “urban design merit” and “public benefits” pass muster. At their first review March 7 (WSB coverage here) they sent the project back for revisions and so will be reviewing its “merit” again on April 18th, 1:30-3:30 pm. The public is welcome; the meeting will be in the Boards and Commissions Room on the L2 level of City Hall downtown.

4755 Fauntleroy Way megaproject: Southwest District Council discussion tonight; Design Review details

(The much-scrutinized “connector” between buildings, this view looking from 40th toward Fauntleroy)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Tonight brings the next public discussion of West Seattle’s biggest mixed-use project ever: 4755 Fauntleroy Way, to be home to two buildings, 370 apartments, 600 parking spaces, a 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market, and a TBA drugstore.

The Southwest District Council‘s monthly meeting (6:30 pm, Southwest Teen Life Center, 2801 SW Thistle) includes a panel discussion of sorts about the project, with representatives from the development team and a project opponent. (Afternoon update: The project team is no longer planning to attend.)

This is not a formal part of the approval process, but other meetings are in the works as part of that: The project is expected to return later this month to the Seattle Design Commission, whose role is to vet it before the city grants a request for an “alley vacation,” allowing public property – part of an alley on the site – to become private.

Last Thursday night, in a separate part of the approval process, the Southwest Design Review Board looked at the newest version of the project’s design, and – as reported here immediately afterward – said it wasn’t quite ready for final approval.

Ahead, how that public meeting unfolded, from the presentation, through highlights of the more than 20 people who offered comments, to the conclusion:

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4755 Fauntleroy Way megaproject: Design Review Board sends it back for more work

(4755 Fauntleroy Way SW’s proposed northeast corner; rendering by Fuller Sears Architects)
We’re at the Senior Center of West Seattle, where a long meeting about a huge project has just wrapped up. The topline for the Southwest Design Review Board‘s third discussion of the 370-apartment, 600-parking-space 4755 Fauntleroy Way project: There’ll be a fourth meeting. After a 3-hour meeting including extensive comments from almost two dozen members of the public, and an hour of board debate, members decided to require the project to come back with “refinements” – especially regarding the “iconic corner” at Fauntleroy/Alaska and the “midblock connector between the project’s two buildings.” More to come. Our coverage of the project’s previous public reviews by city-sanctioned bodies: The project’s Design Commission review earlier this month; its second Early Design Guidance meeting last November; and its first EDG meeting last September.

As-it-happened coverage: Crowd at City Hall as Design Commission looks at 4755 Fauntleroy’s alley vacation

1:39 PM: About 25 people are in the audience at the City Hall Boards and Commissions Room right now as the Seattle Design Commission takes a look at part of the 4755 Fauntleroy Way megaproject – the requested alley vacation. We’ve never seen a crowd this size in five years of covering West Seattle project reviews here, so we’re going to publish live updates. Some of those here are wearing T-shirts with the logo of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21; we recognize members of the project team and some local community leaders as well. This will start with a presentation by project team members – Bill Fuller from Fuller Sears Architects and Lance Sherwood of Weingarten Realty (developing the site with Lennar) will lead. Land-use lawyers and representatives of the developers are here too. (Added: As introductions went around the room, West Seattle Thriftway [WSB sponsor] owner Paul Kapioski was among them. The project, if you don’t know, includes a Whole Foods Market.)

1:44 PM: The presentation has begun. This is the first time it’s gone before the commission, so the briefing starts with basics including where in West Seattle it’s located. Fuller says the building will have “approximately 400 residential units” – that’s 30 more than has been mentioned previously. Fuller notes the project site was upzoned last year to 85′ height (though this project is not proposed to be that tall – 70′ for most of the site). He also refers to Spruce across the street (“The Hole”) as “about to start up”; last time we were here covering a Design Commission meeting, that was the project, with an update last year. Fuller says this project’s streetscape will “complement” the Junction, rather than “compete with” it. He also shows a grid of alleys in the Junction/Triangle area, and an overview referring to development goals for the area, which includes respecting its status as a “gateway” to the area. While 4755 Fauntleroy is not a “transit-oriented development” by the city’s definition, Fuller says, they believe it will function as one, with its proximity to the RapidRide C Line, etc. He’s explaining everything around the site so that the commissioners, who are appointed from around the city, will have context (though we believe at least one is a West Seattleite).

2 PM: Background over, presentation begins. Fuller says they plan to improve the section of the alley they are not seeking to have “vacated” – the section that runs north-south north of SW Edmunds, east of the Masonic Lodge (which is adjacent to the project on two sides but not part of it). Fronting Fauntleroy, he says, there will be small retail spaces on the north part of that frontage, but they are proposing to move the drugstore drive-up to be on a driveway parallel to that north-south alley, rather than the original proposal on the east-west “midblock connection” between 40th SW and Fauntleroy. The site height will be mostly 70′ except for the “tower” element at the Fauntleroy/Alaska corner (something new since the first two Design Review meetings). He mentions the site across 40th just purchased by the city as a new park and says they are hoping to find a way for pedestrians to get from Fauntleroy to the park. The current mid-block connector section across the project site also will be utilized by cars. Fuller now brings up the mural that’s on the current ex-Huling building to be demolished and says that while it’s not in good enough shape to save, they plan to take a digital image to recreate it on the project site.

2:13 PM: Fuller shows what the project would look like if the alley vacation isn’t granted – including going to its full allowable 85′ height.

Then he recaps what the project is offering – retail frontage on Fauntleroy, “safe circulation for all vehicle classes” from trucks to bicycles, supporting the “green street” plan for 40th on its west side, and more. The presentation ends, and Beverly Barnett of SDOT – who handles alley vacations – says she’s glad to see so many people here.

She says SDOT is not satisfied right now that the configuration of the interior east-west mid-block crossing (above) would provide safe usage for everything from deliveries to people trying to park: “Right now, there’s so much happening in there, where we see drive-through for a drugstore, delivery trucks … we’re not satisfied that the design as proposed is going to meet all the safety fundamentals plus go so far as to provide public benefits.” She thinks either design changes to the loading area or pedestrian accommodations elsewhere on the site might help; she also expresses criticism of the proposed drive-through drugstore. “Design changes, space enhancements, figuring out how some of the functions might happen differently, or just go away” will be their recommendation. She says “West Seattle loves midblock crossings … but it’s gotta be safe … not putting kids (in the path of) grocery trucks backing up.” (Editor’s note: This concern came up in early design review meetings, too.) Now a City Council staffer, Michael Jenkins, speaks. He says Councilmember Tom Rasmussen is also concerned – especially about the midblock connector and the corner of Fauntleroy/Alaska – and has asked him to follow the project through this process as well as Design Review (where its next meeting is in three weeks).

2:21 PM: Public comment, now.

Steve Marquardt of UFCW Local 21 (above right) says he’ll speak for the group here (the commission asked for some consolidation) and for their 10,000 members, 750 of whom he says live in West Seattle. He says the design contortions are to accommodate Whole Foods, which they oppose: “This neighborhood already has 7 major supermarkets within a radius of 2 miles. Construction of an 8th supermarket … is a threat to the viability of neighborhood jobs.” He also says they believe this plan undermines the walkability viability of the Triangle site, as well as traffic trouble at Fauntleroy/Alaska, and has massing issues – all of which they want to see “better addressed.” .. “Our members don’t see a public benefit here” and “don’t think this is in the public interest.” Now Chas Redmond speaks for the Southwest District Council and Morgan Community Association, saying they have four concerns – seeking a “more striking structure” at Fauntleroy/Alaska; concerns about whether the midblock crossing is safe for pedestrians; concerns about the pedestrian access to the Alaska side of the project – “although there are windows, Alaska has become a showcase of brutalist architecture and we hope it won’t continue that way”; and “knowing there are 3 other projects to be built now or in the future adjacent to this intersection, we are particularly concerned about transportation – deliveries, residents (etc.)” Then a local resident stands up to speak, saying she lives in High Point, used to live in Junction area, and she agrees the additional grocery store is unnecessary and placing burdens on the design of the project. She thinks the pedestrian environment, as others said, will be dangerous, and thinks the midblock connector should be a public right-of-way without the loading dock and other elements. After her, another resident says “what you see now is an eyesore and a danger right now … I think the project that’s coming in is awesome and is going to be beautiful … for me, I think it’s a great project … I think it’s a great idea, is going to bring a ton of jobs, is going to bring a lot of life to the area.” A resident standing next to her says she feels the same way. “I’m concerned about my health, I don’t want to eat at Safeway, I don’t want to have to go to (various stores) … basically Whole Foods is amazing and if I have to sell it, I’ll sell it. I like shopping at Whole Foods and I have to go all the way to Interbay. I want to shop where I live.”

2:32 PM: Commissioners are now asking questions – starting with the “midblock crossing.” Trucks would enter it off Fauntleroy, headed west, “two or three a day” then would go into Whole Foods to the north (behind a door). Residential access would be into the alley off Edmunds on the south side. Visitor parking would be entered from Edmunds too. That side of the alley also would include the aforementioned drugstore drive-through, possibly with a one-way flow. In response to another question, the architects say, people would be moving in/out off Fauntleroy and two spots along Edmunds, which also is where most of the residential traffic is supposed to be. Access to the drugstore drive-through would be from 40th or from Fauntleroy, then “out the alley to the south.” Discussion veers into the Triangle Plan itself and how it envisioned these corners – but then goes right back to the traffic-flow issue. One commissioner asks how much vehicle traffic has been measured in the area; while the architects look it up, she says, “A lot, qualitatively.” 1,500 PM peak-hour trips on Fauntleroy, they find. How many will this project add? “We are adding … about 250.” Among a subsequent discussion of parking, a commissioner asks about bicycle parking; Fuller says “it will be a bicycle-friendly project,” meeting the city’s bike-parking requirements, and he says they’re working on having a bike shop as part of the project. They also are undergrounding utilities along Fauntleroy to make room for a bike lane along the Fauntleroy frontage while preserving vehicle parking there too.

2:52 PM: This was only supposed to go until 3 pm – it’s definitely going overtime. A commissioner says that while there’s a “plaza” proposed at Fauntleroy/Alaska, for the public, it seems from the renderings to have a “private” nature. This is a topic more for discussion at a later meeting of this group, when they talk about “public benefit” – the topic here is “urban design” of the site – but it’s agreed that they can discuss it. There is a four-foot-high or so buffer structure at the corner meant to be more about safety and separation from traffic, not to close off the “plaza.” Parking comes up again, and Fuller says the parking along Fauntleroy will be the only “visible” parking on the site aside from a few visitors’ spaces (for the leasing office) along Edmunds. How does the site speak to the Masonic Temple and its parking? the architect is asked. A currently blocked section of alley will be improved, which should benefit them and their visitors too, is the reply.

3:03 PM: Commissioners’ questions continue. One asks about utilities. The overhead power goes north-south but does not run along the alley, which was added after the site was originally developed. Now it’s on to the commissioners’ discussion among themselves. First one: The midblock crossing does not appear as pedestrian-friendly as the Triangle Plan suggests one should be there. Another commissioner says he agrees the midblock connection is “tighter and more active” than the plan would suggest, but the plan, he says, is a guideline, and this could just be seen as “a departure” from the plan. The next commissioner says she believes this project meets the “urban design merit” on which they’re reviewing it – the cut-through, for example, is an improvement over what’s there. But she has concerns about traffic impacts. Another commissioner says she too will have concerns about the cut-through if not improved by the “public benefit” review, but for now, “urban design merit” for the project is OK. Then two commissioners say they’re wondering why the project came to the Design Commission since SDOT has concerns.

3:18 PM: The idea of digitizing the mural and putting that replica on the site is not a hit with one commissioner (perhaps the original artist should be contacted, it’s suggested), who also says the plaza at Fauntleroy/Alaska strikes her as a “private space.” Another brings up the Spruce project across the street (“The Hole”) and says that it’s just not “a great corner to hang out.” Now, the review of the commissioners’ observations/recommendations – noting that “urban design merit” is the first of two reviews from the Design Commission before SDOT can approve the alley vacation (and send it to the City Council, which gets the final say). The member reading the list of concerns reiterates what has been voiced over the preceding hour and a half.

3:25 PM: The vote – unanimously against approving the “urban design merit” at this stage. So this project will have to come before the Design Commission at least two more times, one for UDM and one for “public benefit.”

West Seattle development: 4755 Fauntleroy takes the next step

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Almost five months after early word of what will be West Seattle’s biggest development to date, 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW has a long way to go till construction – but is moving along the path.

One big step came last month when the mixed-use megaproject passed the Early Design Guidance phase of the city’s design-review process, on the second try.

That in turn paved the way for what the project team did yesterday (Tuesday, December 11th) – formally meeting with the city Department of Planning and Development to apply for the Master Use Permit (explained here), according to Lance Sherwood of retail specialists Weingarten, one of the project’s developers, along with housing specialists Lennar, and Seattle architects Fuller Sears.

They also confirm they are continuing to meet with community members who are watching the project closely and still concerned about some of its fundamental design elements, while preparing for another Design Review meeting that could come as soon as next month.

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BULLETIN: Whole Foods confirms its new West Seattle plan – anchor tenant for 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW megaproject

(4755 Fauntleroy Way rendering, looking toward corner of Alaska/40th; store would wrap around this corner & run along Alaska)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 3:19 PM: Whole Foods Market has confirmed a new West Seattle location – right across SW Alaska from the spot where it once planned to open. Here’s the news release we just received:

Whole Foods Market – the world’s leading organic and natural foods supermarket – announced plans to open its seventh Puget Sound store location in West Seattle. The 41,000–square-foot store will be located within a mixed-use project at the intersection of Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Alaska Street. The store is scheduled to open in 2015.

The West Seattle store opening will create 150 new jobs throughout Seattle. Whole Foods Market has been ranked for the past 15 consecutive years as Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

“We’ve long wanted to be part of the West Seattle community and we’re grateful to all the residents who have reached out to support our efforts,” said Joe Rogoff, president, Whole Foods Market, Pacific Northwest Region. “Creating jobs, supporting local producers and lending a hand to area schools and non-profits are core to our philosophy and practices, and we’re eager to share this with West Seattle. And of course we’re thrilled to be expanding the selection of natural and organic food, sustainable seafood, humanely raised meats and housemade prepared foods and bakery items to the community.”

Whole Foods Market announced signing a lease with Weingarten Realty for West Seattle during its quarterly earnings call on November 7, 2012.

Robert Smith, Senior Vice President of Development and Acquisitions for Weingarten, commented, “We are extremely excited about this project which will be a signature property at the gateway intersection to the Junction area of West Seattle. Weingarten, Lennar and Whole Foods Market are substantial companies that are working intently together with the City to design a functionally well integrated project that is appealing to its customers and a positive reflection of the community. We believe this project fits the vision and objectives developed by the community and the City in their recently adopted Triangle Plan for this commercial intersection. This is an important project for us and reflects the growing trend toward more dense, urban, mixed use projects, desired by many metropolitan areas like Seattle.”

Once complete, Whole Foods Market will provide local shoppers with a wide selection of high quality natural, organic and local products. The company’s quality standards are outlined online at www.wholefoodsmarket.com.

ADDED 3:33 PM: We’ve just talked by phone with Lance Sherwood from Weingarten, who notes that the project still is in early development stages – it goes to its second Early Design Guidance meeting before the Southwest Design Review Board tomorrow night (at 8 pm – after the 4724 California review), a process that then will be followed by permitting as well as completion of financing and purchase before construction begins.

Whole Foods backstory: It was originally set as anchor tenant for what was Fauntleroy Place, announced in 2006 but stalled in 2008. While that project (which has NO link to this one) went through court battles in the ensuing two years, WF eventually announced in 2010 that its lease for FP was no longer valid, saying at the time that it was still seeking a West Seattle location. The former Fauntleroy Place, by the way, was sold at foreclosure auction last year, to Madison Development, which has filed plans with the city to develop it as Spruce West Seattle, with the former supermarket space instead changed to a fitness center that, according to the artwork with the filed plans, is expected to be an L.A. Fitness branch.

4755 Fauntleroy Way development proposal: Design Review Thursday – see the ‘packet’ now

Just published to the city website this afternoon – the “packet” of graphics and information for this Thursday night’s first Southwest Design Review Board meeting reviewing the biggest West Seattle development proposal yet – 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW, including the ex-Huling Chevrolet site between Alaska and Edmunds on Fauntleroy, the gas-station site to the north, and the funeral home and ex-used car lot facing Alaska to the west.

You can see the packet here (PDF).

It includes four proposed alternatives for the site. Three – #2, #3, #4 – split the commercial area into 60,000 to 65,000 square feet apportioned between a grocery store, a drug store, and other shops; each includes two buildings and would require an “alley vacation” – seeking City Council approval for a current alleyway to be built over. This one is Alternative 2:

Here’s Alternative Three:

And #4:

The apartment count, according to each alternative, could range from 400 to 600. The other one (Alternative 1) – the version that could be built if no alley vacations were allowed – would not be able to accommodate the grocery, so it would have three buildings, 662 apartments and 32,000 feet of retail:

(The project team reconfirms that the overview page’s mention of 105,000 sf of retail is an error; the four alternatives range from 32,000 to 65,000.) As is always stressed, this is a very early stage of design, meant to determine the size, shape, site coverage, and other factors – so take a look, and bring your opinions to the meeting, 6:30 pm Thursday, Senior Center of West Seattle.

5:53 PM NOTE: We’ve added the “massing” (height/shape) renderings for each of the four alternatives that are in the documents for Thursday’s meeting. Again, the “packet” includes details specific to each one, and a lot of other information regarding where entrances might be, among many other details, and the reason we’ve been watching closely for this to appear on the city website is so those interested can get as much time as possible to take a look before bringing comments to Thursday’s meeting. Page 20 has detailed summaries of the pros and cons – as the project team sees them – for each of the alternatives. (Pay attention to the list of “departures” – those are specific aspects that would require an exception from the zoning code’s rules.) Another interesting point, in case you read past it above – we had reported that developers confirmed they were talking with a grocer, but this also mentions a drugstore, and then miscellaneous shops. No potential tenants have been publicly identified yet.

4755 Fauntleroy development: 1st look at street-level ‘concepts’

(Click image for PDF with larger view)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

On September 27th – one week from Thursday – the Southwest Design Review Board gets its first look at the mixed-use megaproject (we haven’t used that term in a while, but this one seems to merit it) proposed for 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW.

As noted in our September 7th report on the project – which first came to light in July – it would span not only the ex-Huling Chevrolet site at that address but also, fronting Alaska, the block from Fauntleroy to 40th, now holding a gas station, funeral home, and ex-used car lot.

By the end of this week, the “packet” with visuals for the meeting should be available online. Over the weekend, the project team went public with three sketches that envision the streetscape in the spots where they are looking at mid-block connectors, aka passthroughs Above, a possible Fauntleroy view looking into the “connector” – next, a possible view from 40th SW on the other side.

(Click image for PDF with larger view)
The project team say they are envisioning the 40th SW side overall as more of a “green street.” Here’s their concept of a potential street-level view:

(Click image for PDF with larger view)
The project site does NOT include the Alki Masonic Lodge, though its Fauntleroy side would be immediately east of that. Right now, the project – which does not have a working title as of last check – is envisioned at six floors, more than 350 apartments, and around 55,000 square feet of retail, over more than 530 parking spaces. While no retailers have been named yet, the project team confirms they’re in “advanced” talks with an unnamed grocer for about two-thirds of the space.

The September 27th Design Review Board meeting is set for 6:30 pm at what’s become the board’s usual venue in West Seattle, the Senior Center (California/Oregon). Public comment is welcome; if you’ve never been to a DRB meeting before, here’s the city’s guide outlining the process.

P.S. For one more layer of public process, an alley vacation – which triggers a different review process that includes the city Design Commission and City Council – would be involved in the plan, too.

West Seattle development: Official Design Review notice for 4755 Fauntleroy SW

The city has just sent the official notice for the first Design Review meeting for the 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW development proposal – which will span three properties on SW Alaska west of Fauntleroy, as well as stretching to SW Edmunds along the west side of Fauntleroy. As reported here last Friday (along with new information on the proposed 350-plus-apartments, 55,000-sf-retail project itself), it’ll be at 6:30 pm September 27th (two weeks from tonight), Senior Center of West Seattle.

P.S. In case you saw it and wondered – newly added text on the DPD page for the project includes some erroneous details, according to our followup conversation with the project team after we noticed it. The current apartment count remains at “more than 350 units,” and the retail remains “around 55,000 square feet” (with the caveat “possibly more, possibly less”), with parking projection remaining around 530. The packet for the Design Review meeting should be out at least a week in advance – by next Thursday – and the numbers will be refined by then.

West Seattle development: Design Review date, and new details, for 4755 Fauntleroy project

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

New information today about the big project in the works for 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW, first reported here in July.

The first Southwest Design Review Board meeting about the plan is now set: 6:30 pm Thursday, September 27th, at the Senior Center of West Seattle.

The project site has grown, too. In addition to the former Huling Chevrolet site fronting on Fauntleroy and the current Howden-Kennedy Funeral Home site and used-car-lot site fronting on SW Alaska, the Shell station adjacent to those properties is now part of the plan – that’s a change from our last conversation with John Wunder, who represents the Huling-owned properties and is speaking for the project team. We talked with him again today after the Design Review date was made public.

We also have learned that this will be the biggest project in the new wave of West Seattle development – more than 350 apartments are envisioned on the five residential floors that will be designed over 55,000 to 60,000 feet of retail. No retailers are signed yet, according to Wunder.

And we also know now who’s developing the project: It’s a partnership between two multi-state firms, Weingarten, known as a retail-center developer, and Lennar, known as a homebuilding company. The property planned for the project is all under contract, according to Wunder.

Right now they are in the “conceptual design” phase; no renderings to show yet, though there will be soon, with the first Design Review meeting three and a half weeks away.

On behalf of the major property sellers in the deal, the Huling family, Wunder says of the developers, “They are very, very pleased that they are under contract with Weingarten and Lennar – they’re great to work with, and we think, at the end of the day, the project they put on the site will be a great asset to the community.”

The project team has been talking with community leaders and hopes to hear from the community at the September 27th meeting. (The city webpage for this project, by the way, is here.)

Even if the Design Review process moves at the fastest-possible clip, though, don’t expect to see construction at this site starting any time soon. They’re envisioning that construction would start toward the end of 2013, and would last about 2 years.

ADDED MONDAY 9/10: Another detail has emerged regarding the retail space in the project. Developers say they are in “advanced” negotiations with a grocer for much of the space.

West Seattle development: Testing at 4755 Fauntleroy Way

Anne at Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor) tipped us to a work crew at 4755 Fauntleroy Way, past Huling Chevrolet and future proposed mixed-use development site (first covered here a month ago). In case you wondered too: We checked with John Wunder of Associates West, rep for the property owners, and he said it’s just “environmental testing” – the site’s prospective future owners doing “due diligence.” No additional information yet about this proposed development, but we’re continuing to follow up. It’s one of the sites on the map we debuted last week, showing active under- and future-construction sites in West Seattle:

View Major active/upcoming West Seattle development, August 2012 in a larger map

Nothing added to the map since its debut six days ago, but we’re monitoring these and other sites and will continue to update.

West Seattle development: ‘Early’ proposal for ex-Huling site

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The most conspicuously vacant site of the ex-Huling Auto (briefly Gee) properties in West Seattle may not be vacant much longer: A development proposal and sale are being explored.

A mixed-use (apartments and retail) project is on the drawing board. The city Department of Planning and Development website has an early-in-the-process entry for a potential project with “five floors of residential over 55,000 SF retail” and “Parking for 534 cars (underground)” at 4755 Fauntleroy Way SW.

That’s the site stretching along the west side of Fauntleroy from Edmunds almost to Alaska, including the former Chevrolet showroom and lot.

Here’s what we have found out from John Wunder of Associates West Real Estate, longtime representative for the Huling properties:

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