West Seattle, Washington
In an online meeting that just concluded, the Southwest Design Review Board gave unanimous approval to the design proposal for 3201 SW Avalon Way, a mixed-use building planned to replace the Golden Tee Apartments, while keeping the name. Here’s the design packet for the meeting:
Board chair Scott Rosenstock and members John Cheng, Patrick Cobb, and Johanna Lirman were present. Tonight’s review came three years, and one architect change, after the previous one.
That’s the “packet” from Public47 Architects for tomorrow night’s Southwest Design Review Board meeting about the proposal for a new building to replace the Golden Tee Apartments – keeping the name – at 3201 SW Avalon Way [map]. From the packet, here’s the overview:
The proposed 8-story, mixed use project seeks to achieve the following development objectives:
• Provide approx 144 residential apartment units
• Parking for 70-80 vehicles
• Provide +/- 3500 SF of street-level commercial space
• Foster pedestrian friendly sidewalk experience
• LEED Gold construction standard
The review meeting is online, at 5 pm Thursday, and includes an opportunity for public comment on the proposed design, Information for videoconferencing or calling in is on the city website. This could be the final Design Review meeting for this project; the site has been upzoned to 80′ maximum, leading to project revisions, since its first review meeting three years ago.
Another Avalon Way project has a date with the Southwest Design Review Board. We first reported two years ago about a proposed 8-story apartment building at 3010 SW Avalon Way [map]; then last month, we reported that the project was moving forward. At that time, it was described as going through Administrative Design Review, which would mean no public meetings, but now, a board hearing is planned for 5 pm Thursday, October 21st. The proposal is for 87 apartments and four offstreet-parking spaces. Links to attend the online meeting – which will include a public-comment period – will be here when it gets closer. (Here’s the draft design packet by Studio 19 Architects.)
FRIDAY UPDATE: The tentative date for this hearing has been moved on the city schedule to November 4th.
The four West Seattle Junction Association-leased parking lots will eventually be redeveloped. The question isn’t if, but when – and, into what? The Junction and Community Roots Housing, which has made a $14 million city-backed offer for the lots, want to hear your thoughts. They’re planning an online community open house next month. Here’s the announcement:
What could be the vision for the West Seattle Junction’s four paid parking lots? Find out and provide your valuable input and insight during the Virtual Open House on Thursday, October 21, 6:30 PM on Zoom.
See the initial architectural drawings from Ankrom Moisan (the same firm that designed the new Husky Deli building). Hear from Community Roots Housing, a local leader in affordable housing. Learn about the vision to build and sustain small businesses via the Small Business Incubator program from the director of the Junction.
We’ve got to a point where input from the community will be a guiding factor as we begin to craft the vision for the Junction parking parcels. Being within an Urban Village, the critical development decisions that will provide future generations of West Seattleites is here and now. The value of early community voices is important to build and sustain a downtown that will have vision, history, heart and soul. Without the power of your voices, the parcels could eventually befall to more canyon development overshadowing the long-standing hometown feeling of the Junction.
The meeting participation information – videoconferencing or by phone – is here. The lots are owned by West Seattle Trusteed Properties, a group of more than three dozen organizations, businesses, and individuals who own shares of the organization and its holdings, the lots; Community Roots Housing will make a presentation to their board in late October.
Three years after the first Southwest Design Review Board meeting about 3201 SW Avalon Way, the next one has just been scheduled for September 23rd. As we reported last December, the project at what’s currently the Golden Tee Apartments site has changed since the 2018 review – now 8 stories (taller), 144 apartments (fewer), 70 offstreet-parking spaces (fewer), with a different architecture firm, Public47. This document filed in December shows those new details. The full design packet isn’t available yet, and the city webpage still shows the old plan’s toplines, but what could be the final SWDRB meeting about the project is now set for 5 pm September 23rd, online; watch here for attendance details.
ORIGINAL SUNDAY REPORT: We first reported in November 2019 that an early-stage plan was on file for an 8-story, 78-unit apartment building at 3010 SW Avalon Way [map]. Three months later, an “early outreach” meeting was held. But nothing public happened with the proposal in the ensuing year and a half – until now, with the plan showing up on the city website for the “early design guidance” phase of Administrative Design Review. That means feedback mostly on massing – the building’s size and shape. Three options are proposed:
More early design details are in Studio 19 Architects‘ draft design packet uploaded to the city website (no direct link yet, so we downloaded it for access here – 73 MB file); all three massing options would have 78 apartments and four offstreet vehicle-parking spaces. If you have feedback, the assigned city planner is Theresa Neylon – email@example.com is where to send comments.
ADDED MONDAY: Today’s Land Use Information Bulletin included the formal notice that a two-week comment period is open for Early Design Guidance – here it is.
We’re continuing to check on stalled development sites. Today, an update on 5242-5258 California SW, the site that includes a former strip mall plus two former restaurants (most recently Papa John’s, closed since 2017, and Thaitan, closed since 2019) north of Brandon. The site is listed for sale again, this time as a “permitted development site” approved for 32 townhouses. The asking price: $7.7 million.
The land is owned by entities traceable to Memphis-based Lexington Asset Management, which bought it in 2018 and 2019 purchases totaling $4.6 million, according to King County Assessor’s Office records. Development proposals for the site went through the city process in stages going back to 2017. The sales flyer for the site calls it “the largest permitted townhome opportunity in the heart of West Seattle in over 20 years,” though Rally – the townhome development at the former Charlestown Café site – isn’t far behind, at 27 units. The flyer also makes note of the closed bridge, observing that “West Seattle Bridge reopens in 2022, which will accelerate home value and rent growth (work is already underway).”
Meantime, the graffiti and trash at the site has led to complaints filed with the city, most recently early this year (we noted a crew placing new plywood over the windows in mid-March, but as our photo above shows, the tagging has been re-accumulating since then).
Construction of the new Lam Bow Apartments (6935 Delridge Way SW) has finally begun, almost five years after a three-alarm fire gutted one of its buildings. In 2019, the Seattle Housing Authority decided the remaining building should be replaced too. Here’s a rendering of the 82-unit affordable-housing building that will replace the two original buildings.
(The project went through Administrative Design Review – public comment but no meetings; here’s the packet by SMR Architects, if you’re interested in design/layout details.) When the city first put the project out to bid last year, no one bid. So they tried again this year, and Walsh Construction was the winning bidder; SHA spokesperson Kerry Coughlin says the contract is for $32 million and that the building is expected to open by spring 2023.
From today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin, a longstanding proposal for the High Point site of True Living Church has reached the official application stage, three years after the first preliminary “site plan” was filed. The project with an official address of 2900 SW Myrtle [map] is described as “17, 3-story, single-family dwelling units with attached accessory dwelling units. Parking for 34 vehicles proposed.” Much of the site is open space now; project documents include these notes from a meeting with city planners:
…The site is 115793 SF+/- and includes (Environmental Critical Area) Steep Slope Areas and Salmon Watershed. The arborist has also identified numerous exceptional trees and groves present on the property.
It is proposed to proceed with a Clustered Housing Planned Development Administrative Conditional Use Process by eliminating any development within the steep slope area and buffer. It is also proposed to retain exceptional trees and groves.
The notice explains how to comment; deadline is August 4th.
After the Southwest Design Review Board took its first look at the 4448 California SW proposal last week, we wondered about the status of other planned West Seattle Junction projects that have long since finished Design Review but aren’t under construction yet. Our first followup is about 4747 California SW, with a development team including Husky Deli proprietor Jack Miller, whose legendary Junction shop would be the building’s major commercial occupant.
The SW Design Review Board gave its final thumbs-up to the project in a meeting two years ago tonight, on July 19th, 2019. At the time, Miller told us that if all went well, they might be able to start construction about a year later. But now two years have passed. Miller’s partner in the project, West Seattle-residing developer Ed Hewson, told us last September that the project was still “moving forward,” albeit “slowly.” We just checked in with him again. “Our project is definitely on the shelf for a little while but certainly not cancelled,” Hewson told WSB. “Currently this is a casualty of the bridge and Covid, which has put enough of the dent in the West Seattle rental market for anyone to start any new apartment projects of any size.”
There’s one major project close to wrapping up, Legacy Partners’ Maris at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW, but Hewson notes it “probably started just in time to get a construction loan, but might not have been feasible after January 2020. We are hoping they have great success and make our neighborhood attractive to lenders again despite the slow-go on the bridge repair.”
The 4747 California SW plan was approved as a proposal for 73 units, 45 offstreet-parking spaces, ~5,000 square feet of retail, in a 7-story building (though the site is zoned for 9). Hewson added, “We love the Husky Deli plan and can’t wait to get started when the West Seattle world gets back to normal!”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The newest mixed-use proposal for The Junction will have to try again for Early Design Guidance approval.
That’s what the Southwest Design Review Board ordered tonight after its first look at the 96-apartment mixed-use plan for 4448 California SW.
SWDRB chair Scott Rosenstock and members John Cheng, Patrick Cobb, and Alan Grainger were in attendance for the online meeting, along with the project’s assigned city planner Greg Johnson. This phase of Design Review focuses on the building’s size. shape, and placement on the site, and board members generally favored the exterior of the development team’s preferred option, but took issue with mostly interior details.
Here’s how the meeting unfolded:
The newest redevelopment proposal for The Junction goes to the Southwest Design Review Board in an online meeting this Thursday. It’s a first look at 4448 California SW, in the Early Design Guidance phase, so the proposal focuses on options for the building’s size, shape, and placement on site, not its final appearance. It’s proposed for 96 apartments across six stories over ground-floor commercial space, no offstreet parking proposed (none is required), on a parcel zoned for up to 75 feet, currently holding the commercial building that’s rented to Doll Parts Collective and a mortgage lender. Here’s the meeting packet by architects Atelier Drome:
The Southwest Design Review Board gave its approval Thursday night to the project that now carries the address 9208 20th SW [map], formerly 9201 Delridge Way SW. No public comments were offered, and board recommendations were few; most of the changes proposed at the previous meeting in October (WSB coverage here) had already been incorporated into the design presented during the online meeting.
Four SWDRB members were present – chair Scott Rosenstock, newly appointed members Patrick Cobb and Johanna Lirman, and member Alan Grainger. The city was represented by planner Tami Garrett, who’s handling the project, and Design Review program manager Lisa Rutzick. Read More
That’s 9208 20th SW, formerly 9201 Delridge Way SW, which goes back to the Southwest Design Review Board for an online meeting at 5 pm Thursday (July 1st). That meeting will include the opportunity for public comment on the design of the project, which would replace a former auto shop with what the project page on the city website describes as “a 5-story, 77-unit apartment building with 73 apartments, 4 small efficiency dwelling units, and office.” No offstreet vehicle parking is planned. See the meeting design packet here. This is potentially the final review meeting for the revised project; the previous one was last October (WSB coverage here). Under a different architect/ownership team, and before a zoning change, the site originally was planned for redevelopment as a self-storage building. Thursday’s SWDRB meeting will be accessible via a video link and dial-in number that you can find on the official notice, which also explains how to send written comments in advance.
While a long-in-the-works development plan proceeds for the north side of SW Orchard just east of Delridge Way, there’s now a new one for the south side of the street.
An early-stage site plan has just been filed with the city for 2051 SW Orchard (the site highlighted yellow in the screengrab above from King County Parcel Viewer). The site plan shows 39 townhouses, with offstreet parking in “shared underground garages.” The prospective development team is currently the most prolific in West Seattle – an entity of STS Construction (WSB sponsor) is listed as the owner (though not yet in county records), with architect Atelier Drome. Since this is an early-stage plan, there’s no timetable yet for feedback, reviews, and public comment.
As for the proposal on the north side of the street – city files indicate the 18-townhouse project, which hasn’t yet finished Design Review, is still being actively pursued. That project has a different owner/architect team.
That rendering from Atelier Drome Architecture is part of the “early design” proposal for 9038 21st SW [map], an apartment building planned for rapidly redeveloping South Delridge. It’s on a site that’s been upzoned from single-family to lowrise. We first mentioned the plan last September. Now it’s going through the city’s Streamlined Design Review process, which means public comments are accepted but no public meeting will be held. As part of that, the design packet is available (90 MB document). The plan is for a 3-stories-plus-basement building with about 24 apartments, no offstreet vehicle-parking spaces (none are required because of transit proximity), 24 long-term bicycle-parking spaces. The formal notice isn’t out yet but if you have comments on the project, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to the neighbors who’ve sent photos, including the one above. Redevelopment has begun on the site that holds part of the Walker Rock Garden, a backyard work of art created more than a half-century ago as a true labor of love (here’s the backstory), east of Fairmount Park.
The original owners are long gone. A decade ago, relatives put the site up for sale, hoping to find a buyer interested in maintaining the rock garden. That time, it didn’t sell. Two years later, they listed it again. No sale that time either. Finally, last fall, the south part of the site was sold to a developer, and a permit was sought for redevelopment with two houses.
When we inquired about the sale and the garden’s status, the family told us, “The Garden, due to time and time’s natural impact on things, has experienced significant deterioration on the rock and structures. Unfortunately, no one was identified who could make the hefty financial and time investments needed to restore and maintain the Garden.” It used to be made available for public visits on Mother’s Day; last one we have record of was in 2014.
The north part of the site still holds the original house, now a rental, and at least some of the rock art. But the Walker Rock Garden’s most-famous feature, the gazebo – seen in the photo above – is on the parcel where the new houses are to be built.
The Southwest Design Review Board‘s first meetings in three months top our roundup of West Seattle development notes:
9201 DELRIDGE WAY: This project’s next – and possibly final – Southwest Design Review Board meeting is set for 5 pm July 1st, online (here’s our coverage of the previous one last October). The project on the site of a former auto shop is now described on the city website as a “5-story, 77-unit apartment building with 73 apartments, 4 small efficiency dwelling units, and office,” no offstreet parking. Watch this page for meeting-access info when it gets closer.
4448 CALIFORNIA SW: 5 pm July 15th is set as the first SWDRB meeting for the proposal to replace a small commercial building (currently holding Homebridge and Doll Parts Collective). The city website describes it as 7 stories, 96 units, retail space. no offstreet parking; a draft version of the meeting packet is here. Watch this page for meeting-access details.
EARLY-STAGE ROXBURY PROPOSAL: New in the city system this week, an early-stage proposal for 1704 SW Roxbury, a commercial site that’s been on the market for a while. The site plan filed with the city describes the proposal as a 4-story, 42-apartment mixed-use building with retail and lists the prospective developer as Craig Haveson of STS Construction (WSB sponsor), also on record for the two projects mentioned above, along with Atelier Drome Architecture. The building on the site now is home to Meineke, which has a lease through 2025, according to the listing flyer.
HIGHLAND PARK PROJECT AWARD: The three-unit project at 7782 Highland Park Way SW has won a national award:
The project is called Tsuga Townhomes, and it’s been honored with a 2021 AIA National Housing Award. Wittman Estes – whose principals live in Highland Park – was the architect, developer, and general contractor for the certified 4-Star Built Green project. In addition to green roofs, reclaimed fir stairs, and high-efficiency energy systems. its attributes include that it was built at a cost of $185/SF, which the announcement says is just a bit over half the Seattle average. The project was featured on the Northwest Green Home Tour last fall.
9:42 AM: As we’ve been reporting, including in the morning traffic alerts, today is takedown day for what’s currently the only tower crane still up in West Seattle, at 1250 Alki SW. That’s further restricted traffic past the site today – alternating use of one lane, so if you absolutely have to go through that area, allow yourself extra time. This crane’s been up for almost exactly one year for construction of the Infinity Shore Club condos. We’ll update the removal progress later today.
2:22 PM: Update and new photo from the project team: the crane’s down –
They’re loading out now and expect to have the street back to 2-way by 5 pm.
After Wednesday, West Seattle will be without a tower crane. The only one currently in use, at the 1250 Alki Avenue SW project, is coming down that day. The alert from the project team says:
Traffic setup will be on the morning of the 19th and we expect to be completed by 6:00 PM. Due to alternating single-lane usage, vehicle traffic should expect minor delays and will be limited throughout the day of the dismantle.
From this week’s first city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin, a key approval is in for a 14-unit residential project proposed at 8822 9th SW [map]. This proposal has been in the works for more than two years, and we’ve been tracking the site for six years, as it’s a former substation location sold off by the city (backstory here). The 14-unit plan is the second redevelopment plan for this site, following a 9-unit plan that stalled, and would include 12 townhouses, two “accessory dwelling units,” and 14 offstreet-parking spaces. The decision opens a window for appeals (deadline May 17th); the notice explains how to file one.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Another twist in the ongoing saga of the West Seattle Junction’s public parking lots.
A nonprofit housing developer has made an offer to buy the land for future development, according to documents we’ve obtained.
The West Seattle Junction Association has long leased the lots, operating them as parking for customers of local businesses. Its lease requires WSJA to cover the costs of the property taxes for the lots, which finally led, earlier this year, to the lots’ conversion from free parking to paid parking. For years before that, as reported here, WSJA had been trying to strategize how to deal with the six-digit tax bill, which is approaching $200,000 a year. While the parking fees are now covering some of it, they won’t cover all. And, as pointed out in that 2018 WSB story, the lots’ long-term future as developable land has always been kept in mind – it’s a major reason why the taxes have gone up.
Five months after passing the final stage of Design Review, the project planned for 3417 Harbor SW – just north of the west end of the West Seattle Bridge – has received land-use approval. Today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin includes the decision on the proposal for a 5-story building with 115 apartments and 65 offstreet parking spaces. This opens a two-week period for appeals – if you’re interested in filing one, this notice explains how; May 13th is the deadline. We first reported on the plan for this redevelopment project two years ago; its first Southwest Design Review Board meeting was the last one held in-person pre-pandemic; its second and final review was online last November. The project still needs other permits before construction – building and demolition among them.