West Seattle, Washington
(Photos via King County Assessor’s Office)
Three months ago, we reported on an early-stage proposal to replace those houses at 3010 and 3014 SW Avalon Way wth an 8-story, 87-unit apartment building. Now the plan has a date set for an Early Community Outreach for Design Review meeting: 11 am Saturday, February 29th, at Delridge Community Center (4501 Delridge Way SW). If you can’t be there, AvalonWayProject@earlydroutreach.com is the email address for comments/questions.
(WSB file photos from 2014 council hearing)
Six years after a City Council vote closed a bitter political chapter in West Seattle development history, the current council will consider a coda of sorts. It’s the official finalization (PDF) of the alley vacation required by The Whittaker (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW). An item on the council’s Introduction and Referral Calendar for the week ahead finalizes the vacation – the city’s relinquishing of the alley, for which the development paid what was considered fair market value, noted in the new document as $2.3 million. The council in April 2014 gave its approval to the vacation despite active opposition from then-Mayor Mike McGinn, who primarily objected to the plan for non-union Whole Foods Market (WSB sponsor) to be part of the development (citing other reasons too). A union-led campaign rallied local opposition, and eventually there was a showdown at council chambers downtown. The vacation was approved, and the new document shows that $2.3 million purchase was finalized about a year and a half now. This action is basically a technicality but will go through a committee vote first. SIDE NOTE: (corrected) Only one of the councilmembers serving now was on the council then (Kshama Sawant took office in January 2014).
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.
That’s an early-concept sketch for the two-building, 10-apartment proposal at 6056 41st SW [map], first reported here last November. It’s by West Seattle architect Lisa Kennan-Meyer (WSB sponsor), who sent it with the announcement of a site walk scheduled as part of the Early Community Outreach for Design Review process:
Project description: Remove existing single family house and garage. New construction of two 3-story apartment buildings, each containing 5 units for a total of 10 units with a shared courtyard. Five parking spaces provided off alley. Two units meeting family-sized requirement and one unit meeting the HALA standard will be included.
Guided Site Walk will take place Wednesday, March 11th at 11 am at the site. The event is open to the public.
Comments and questions also are welcome via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10:20 AM: As we first reported last month, the 3417 Harbor SW apartment project is scheduled for its first Southwest Design Review Board meeting on March 5th, as confirmed by the city’s official announcement today. The description of the project has changed – now the city summarizes it as “an 8-story, 143-unit apartment building. Parking for 140 vehicles proposed.” That’s 3 more stories and twice the parking mentioned previously – we’re checking with the city on that, as the draft “packet” with the previous description is still the newest one on record. The meeting is at 6:30 pm March 5th at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon) in The Junction. The meeting will include a public-comment period, but if you can’t be there, you can also send in comments – today’s notice (PDF) explains how.
11:28 AM: The project’s assigned city planner Crystal Torres just replied to confirm the notice is wrong – “The description got mixed up with another project. The 5-story 140 units is still proposed. We are on it, and will re-notice.”
6:08 PM: Tomorrow brings the first public discussion of the biggest project since the city launched the Early Community Outreach for Design Review process – the early-stage plan for two mixed-use buildings with ~500 apartments on part of the Sweeney family’s land along Fauntleroy west of Avalon. (The official project addresses are 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW and 4406 36th SW.) The meeting’s at 6 pm Wednesday at nearby Chaco Canyon Organic Café (3770 SW Alaska); this stage of the process is generally informal and, as seen in the ECODR meetings we’ve covered, a good chance to truly talk with, more than listen to, the project team. No RSVP required.
9:33 PM: Checking the project’s files, we’ve found a few more details. Pre-application documents say the 4400 Fauntleroy site is envisioned so far as 215 apartments and 135 offstreet-parking spaces; the 4406 36th site, 285 and 185.
Two land-use approvals from the city:
5616 CALIFORNIA SW: The administrative (staff, not board) design review for the project on this site south of C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) is complete, opening an appeal period. The decision is here; how to appeal (deadline February 18th), here. 8 townhouses are planned, in 3 buildings, with 5 offstreet-parking spaces. The design decision says the exceptional tree on the site is staying.
5242 CALIFORNIA SW: This approval refers only to the 9-townhouse plan for the north section of the site that holds this long-vacated strip mall, but is a finalization of the Design Review Board approval that also included 9 townhouses on the south site. The deadline for appealing this decision (this notice explains how) is February 13th.
This past week, we checked in on the status of the planning for a major project in The Triangle, exactly a year after the Sweeney family – best known for Alki Lumber – announced intentions to explore redevelopment. We noted that the sites at 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW and 4406 36th SW had appeared on the city website for the Early Community Outreach for Design Review process, with a ~500-apartment project in the early stage of planning. Since then, a community-meeting date has been added to the city calendar – 6 pm February 12, at Chaco Canyon Café (3770 SW Alaska). This is a casual early-feedback meeting, before, before the project moves into the formal Design Review process.
One year ago today, the Sweeney family announced they were looking at redevelopment alternatives for some of their West Seattle Triangle properties – most notably, the ones that hold their best-known business, Alki Lumber.
So what’s happened since then? We talked with family spokesperson Lynn Sweeney just as the potential project showed up this week on the city’s Early Community Outreach for Design Review website.
There’s no specific proposal yet, she told us – this is another step in the required process. Here’s the summary on the city website:
The proposed mixed-use project includes approximately 500 new residential units over approximately 18,000 SF of retail located near the future Avalon light rail station. The project spans two sites on either side of 36th Avenue SW between Avalon & Oregon.
The family, meantime, is still scouting for a new location for the lumberyard, but wants to stress it is NOT closing any time soon – the Alki Lumber move is at least “two or three years” away.
The project’s official addresses remain those of two sites, 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW and 4406 36th SW, both zoned for 75-foot mixed-use development. (The family’s holdings stretch beyond that, as detailed in this followup from last year.) The Early Community Outreach process means there’ll eventually be a community meeting or site tour before the project gets into the official Design Review Board stage, but there’s no date for that yet. The Sweeneys are continuing to work with West Seattleite-founded developer HB Management.
ADDED THURSDAY: The aforementioned early community meeting has just shown up on the city website for February 12th.
Ten months ago, we reported on an early-stage proposal for an apartment building at 3417 Harbor SW, just north of the West Seattle Bridge, on the site that now holds this small commercial building:
The plan has proceeded through the city system since then, with an Early Community Outreach meeting in mid-December. Now its first Southwest Design Review Board meeting is set, and the project is starting to take shape – here are the three size/shape (“massing”) options in the draft design packet (PDF):
It is now described as “a 5-story, 140-unit apartment building. Parking for 68 vehicles proposed” – almost twice the unit count mentioned last year. The architecture firm for the project is Atelier Drome. The SWDRB meeting is tentatively set for 6:30 pm Thursday, March 5, at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon).
While we’ve talked a lot about the future of the “Stone House” at 1123 Harbor SW, we haven’t talked as much about the development planned to replace it. The project team has scheduled a “site walk” on Wednesday, February 5th, at 5:30 pm, as part of the Early Community Outreach for Design Review process. Here’s the announcement:
Conflux Architecture is looking for our neighbors’ input on a new building we’re designing at 1123 Harbor Ave SW. We’re just getting started on the initial planning now, so we’d like to gather input from the community to integrate into the design. Please share your ideas about designs and activities for the new building and any other thoughts that would help us understand your concerns and priorities for this property and neighborhood overall.
When it’s complete, the building will include approximately 15 market-rate condominium units and 23 parking stalls. The new building will be about 7 stories tall (above a basement parking garage). We are working in concert with the Southwest Seattle Historical Society to relocate the iconic “Stone House” to a nearby location. Construction could start in winter 2021 and the building could be open as early as spring 2022.
Dates are now set for feedback meetings on two more Delridge projects we’ve covered:
7035 DELRIDGE WAY SW: Last month, we noted the plan to replace an almost-century-old house with 9 townhouses and 9 offstreet-parking spaces. It’s in the Early Community Outreach for Design Review process, and a site tour for anyone and everyone interested is set for 10 am next Saturday (February 1st). You also can comment via a form linked at the bottom of this project webpage.
9201 DELRIDGE WAY SW: Last month, the revised proposal for this site had an Early Community Outreach meeting (unattended except for us).
The ex-auto-shop site was once proposed for a self-storage building but zoning changes disallowed that, so now the plan is for a 5-story building with 46 apartments, 3 live-work units, 2,000 square feet of retail space, and about 20 offstreet-parking spaces. It’s now going to the Southwest Design Review Board, with the first of at least two reviews tentatively set for 6:30 pm March 19th (Senior Center/Sisson Building, 4217 SW Oregon).
After three meetings in 2+ years, the mixed-use project at 8854 Delridge Way SW has won final Southwest Design Review Board approval. Toplines from last night’s review meeting:
The architects began with how they had addressed the issues highlighted in the previous review last September. The revised design has a more toned-down look; the types of materials and colors have been reduced in number, with a focus on more earthy tones.
While board members were OK with the new plan overall, questions about the ground-floor “commercial” space took up most of the meeting. Early on, the project team was asked what the space would be; architect Hamid Korasani from Sazei Design Group‘s reply – it was intended as office space for the building’s management and leasing agents. They said the owner had no plans for a café or coffee shop, so no ventilation or other required food-service-related elements were included.
Public comment centered around the open space proposed for the area right in front of the office space. The plan called for furniture outside it; people living nearby were concerned it might be a magnet for loitering. Board members pointed out that the outdoor space faces onto two very busy streets (Delridge and Henderson), so it really didn’t make sense to have outdoor seating in such a busy, noisy space, especially if the commercial space wasn’t going to hold a cafe or something similar.
So the plan was approved 5-0 with the provision that there be no outdoor furniture and that the street-front area outside the office space use more landscaping and generally be rearranged to bring more attention to the office entrance.
Even if you missed the meeting, you can still comment on the project by emailing the assigned city planner, Wayne Farrens, at email@example.com, who will be writing the final report over the next few weeks.
This Thursday (January 23), the proposed Delridge Heights mixed-use building at 8854 Delridge Way SW – a vacant site that previously held a fire-damaged auto shop – goes to the Southwest Design Review Board for the third time. Below (and here), you can see the new “packet” detailing the revised design that board members will review. The meeting includes a public-comment period, so it’s published for your review too.
The plan by Sazei Design Group calls for what the city website summarizes as a “4-story apartment building with 18 small efficiency dwelling units, 14 apartments (32 units total), and office space. Parking for 14 vehicles proposed.” The packet says the “office space” is 1,150 square feet of commercial space that will include “retail.” Here’s our coverage of the previous two reviews – last September and August 2017. Thursday’s meeting is at 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction (4217 SW Oregon).
Last February, we reported on a proposal for 4 four-story houses on that sloped site at 2530 55th SW (map) in Alki, site of a street-closing slide in 2013. Today’s twice-weekly Land Use Information Bulletin brings the official notice that the city has approved the plan, which will include 4 offstreet-parking spaces. The decision (PDF) explains the conditions under which the city approved the project despite the site’s challenges. The approval opens a two-week appeal period through January 30th; this notice (PDF) explains how to file one.
Three more HALA-upzoned parcels on 41st SW in Morgan Junction have a redevelopment proposal: Two buildings totaling 56 units, according to this early-stage site plan (PDF) filed with the city this week. The parcels are 6308 and 6314 41st, plus, on the corner, 4023 SW Graham. The site plan shows a three-story, 14-unit building fronting 41st, with a five-story, 42-unit building behind it. A Texas-based company, StoryBuilt, is proposing the project, described in city files as follows:
The project is made up of 56 homes with a mixture of townhomes, flats, and split-level residences along with 33 surface and below grade parking spaces access(ed) off an alley.
There’s already an apartment proposal across Graham to the north, and townhouse proposals to the south. The latter sites, plus the parcels in this new plan, were part of the upzoning-anticipation listing we reported in 2017, but records don’t yet show a sale.
Three notes today. First, two projects received key city approvals this week, opening appeal periods:
5917 CALIFORNIA SW: More than a year after the former Charmann Apartments were torn down here, the site’s 9-townhouse, 4-offstreet-parking-spot plan has been approved. That opens an appeal period through January 20th. The decision notice explains how to appeal; the notice and the decision itself are both linked here.
6045 WEST MARGINAL WAY SW: We first mentioned in December 2018 that this landscaping-materials site was proposed to become a 4-story self-storage building; current documents in the file describe it as 3 stories plus a basement, with 931 storage units and office, plus 12 “parking stalls on grade.” This plan also has received city approval, with an appeal period open until January 20th; the notice and decision are linked here.
Third note – another project added to the city’s Early Outreach for Design Review program:
7035 DELRIDGE WAY SW: We mentioned this site three weeks ago – 9 townhouses, with one offstreet-parking space per unit, to replace an old house. Its appearance on the city’s Early Outreach for Design Review list means a community chat/site tour should be scheduled soon.
Doing some followup work in city files, we discovered a West Seattle development site with a significant plan change since we last reported on it. In September 2018, we noted an early-stage proposal for 30 townhouses at 3101 SW Bradford [map], a site in the upper Luna Park area, bordering the West Seattle Bridge. The file shows a new site plan (PDF) submitted this past November, for an 8-story building with approximately 100 apartments. 55 offstreet-parking spaces for cars, 88 for bicycles. The architect of record on the site plan is Studio 19.
Records indicate that 94-year-old house at 8447 Delridge Way SW has been vacant for a while. New today in the city’s online files, a plan to replace it with eight townhouses. The site plan shows two 4-unit buildings, with five offstreet-parking spaces on the alley behind them. The 6,700-square-foot property was sold earlier this month for $450,000.
At 8822 9th SW, that former substation’s saga is getting closer to development, four years after it was declared “surplus” by the city in the same group of properties that included:
-5601 23rd SW, becoming a park under DNDA stewardship as the Delridge Wetland
-50th/Dakota, which a community group wants to buy ($650,000 current asking price) and turn into the “Dakota Homestead” (here’s our update from last week)
-2100 SW Andover, sold for $185,000 and redeveloped into 8 rowhouses
-4520 SW Brace Point, sold for $352,000 in 2017 but still vacant (with a proposal for a house)
-16th/Holden, still vacant
8822 9th SW has changed hands already since the city sold it for $279,000 in 2017; records show a subsequent 2018 sale for $158,000. Now 12 townhouses and two “accessory dwelling units” are proposed, a change from the 9 units planned when a community Early Design Outreach site tour was offered a year ago (there’s still a project website at the9seattle.com); the proposal includes 14 offstreet parking spaces. Today, the official application has opened a two-week comment period. You can download the notice from this page; it explains how to comment.
Just north of the Orchard business node on Delridge, more redevelopment – a project to replace that 93-year-old house with nine townhouses is proceeding through the system, a year after an early-stage proposal appeared. The townhouses at 7035 Delridge Way SW would have one off-street-parking spot per unit. The 9,600-square-foot site, sold this past June for $690,000, is just a couple doors down from the site where the Lam Bow Apartments are to be rebuilt.
Demolition finally started this morning on the three remaining vacant, much-tagged houses at the 1250 Alki SW condo-project site. (Two other houses were moved and relocated, one in January 2018, the other in October 2018.) This site was originally proposed for 125 apartments four and a half years ago. The downsized 40-condo project just secured $43 million in financing, announced last week.
Development notes this afternoon:
PROJECT CANCELED: Last month, we mentioned early-stage plans for four new single-family houses to be added to a site that already has one at 9441 26th SW, south of Westwood Village. We noticed an “early outreach” meeting for it on the city calendar – and then the listing disappeared before we could even write a story. Now a note sent to area community advocates by the project architect explains it: “The title report for the project turned up to have covenants restricting development. Unfortunately, this application and meeting is being canceled.”
(corrected) APPEAL TIME: Applications have just been approved for two projects elsewhere in West Seattle, and that opens two-week appeal periods for both: One is 4807 41st SW, “a 4-story apartment building with 22 small efficiency dwelling units. No parking proposed” (in the works almost three years); the other is 9251 35th SW, “two 3-story, townhouse buildings (8 units total). Parking for 6 vehicles proposed.” Follow each address’s link for the official notice, including how to appeal.