West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
For the second time this month, the Southwest Design Review Board met to consider a South Delridge mixed-use project.
This time, though, they told the project team to go back and try again.
The project is a 5-story building proposed for 9218 18th SW (map), with ~59 apartments, some retail, and ~25 offstreet-parking spaces. The online meeting Thursday night was for Early Design Guidance, the first phase of the city’s Design Review process,
The meeting was chaired by Matt Hutchins; ongoing chair Crystal Loya and the three other members, John Cheng, Alan Grainger, and Scott Rosenstock, were all there too. The meeting proceeded in the usual four-part format:
ARCHITECTS’ PRESENTATION: Here’s the design packet by Caron Architecture. I 5-story, 1 floor of parking below grade, accessed from the alley, 59 units and 21 parking spots. Many site constraints have to be dealt with, including a close-by power line, and a property line set back 26′ from Delridge Way. Here are the “massing” (size/shape) concepts they offered:
Two notes about projects with upcoming Southwest Design Review Board online public meetings:
(Rendering by Atelier Drome Architecture)
3417 HARBOR AVENUE SW: This 5-story, 115-apartment, 65-offstreet-parking-space project (map) has already been through the first round of Design Review (here’s our coverage from March, at the board’s last in-person meeting) and now the next review is tentatively set for 5 pm November 19th (online). A draft of the design packet is already available, showing various angles as well as what was done in response to board and public comments at the first meeting. When this meeting gets closer, connection and commenting information – and the final packet – will be here. You can also send comments to email@example.com, the city planner assigned to the project.
(Rendering by Caron Architecture)
9218 18TH SW: As first mentioned here last month, this 5-story, 59-apartment, 25-offstreet-parking-space building with retail (map) has its first Design Review meeting this Thursday (October 15th), 4 pm. Information for watching/listening and commenting is here; the design packet is here. (Since this is the Early Design Guidance phase, the focus is on massing – size/shape/location on the site – not on design details.) You also can send project comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, the assigned city planner.
When we reported in July that West Seattle-based Bee’s Plumbing and Heating had bought and moved onto the former Tug Inn site on SW Orchard west of Delridge, we noted that they planned to redevelop the property with a new building for their growing business. Now, the project is on the drawing board, and they’re asking for feedback in the Early Design Review Outreach process. The West Seattle architecture firm Finch Design and Production is handling the project and explains that the site, 2216 & 2228 SW Orchard St., “includes the former Tug Inn and the vacant lot to the west between it and the Vietnamese Cultural Center. … The project is currently in the early stages of design, but at the moment we’re expecting that the building will be 3-4 stories in height. It will include office space and some warehouse space, with surface parking to the sides and behind the building. Site improvements will include a new sidewalk and curb cuts, site drainage and landscaping.” The project is going through the Administrative Design Review process, which means there won’t be a public meeting, but there is an opportunity for public comment. The early stage of that is happening now via this simple survey – they’re requesting your feedback by October 28th.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
First, the former auto-shop site at 9201 Delridge Way SW was proposed for redevelopment as a self-storage facility.
Then – a zoning change turned it into a mixed-use plan. But it didn’t last long; the site was sold to a new owner/developer, who changed the architect and came up with a different mixed-use plan.
That third plan went before the Southwest Design Review Board online on Thursday, and got unanimous approval to move to the second stage of Design Review, with a few concerns along the way.
Here’s how the review went:
Another small-ish mixed-use building is proceeding in south West Seattle. Seven months ago, we featured the design packet for the proposed building at 9037 35th SW [map] as it went through Administrative Design Review (no community meetings). Today, the city’s twice-weekly Land Use Information Bulletin includes the decision approving the project, and the notice explaining how to appeal (deadline October 12th). The proposal is for a four-story building with 25 microapartments (Small Efficiency Dwelling Units), 839 sf of ground-floor retail, and off-street parking for six vehicles, replacing a house and small commercial space. It’s been two years since we first mentioned the plan, before HALA upzoned the site to 55′.
Two development notes:
4401 42ND SW APPROVAL: The city has given a key approval to the 5-story apartment building planned to replace the former Ginomai arts-studios building at 42nd/Genesee. It’s expected to include 72 “small efficiency dwelling units” – microapartments – and 5 live-work units, with 36 offstreet parking places. We first reported on the proposal in May of last year. The decision means appeals can be filed until October 5th; this notice explains how.
9038 21ST SW: South Delridge’s development boom continues. City files show an early-stage proposal for a 3-story (plus basement) building with 21 apartments, replacing a house on what’s now a Lowrise 1-zoned lot. The preliminary site plan shows Atelier Drome as the architecture firm.
(Sketch from 9201 Delridge meeting packet by Atelier Drome)
9201 DELRIDGE WAY SW: Four months ago, we reported on the latest changes for this site – a new developer, new architect, and new plan. The current plan, described as “a 5-story, 71-unit apartment building with retail” and no offstreet vehicle parking, will go before the SWDRB at 4 pm Thursday, October 1st. This is the Early Design Guidance phase, so discussion will focus on the “massing” (size/shape) and other basic comments. The meeting packet is already online, here; details on how to attend the meeting (and how to comment) are here.
(Rendering from 9218 18th SW draft meeting packet by Caron Architecture)
9218 18TH SW: Two weeks later – at 4 pm Thursday, October 15th – the board will get its first look at this similar-size project, described as “a 5-story, 59-unit apartment building with [~5.242 square feet of] retail” and 25 offstreet vehicle-parking spaces. We first mentioned the plan for this site six months ago. The draft meeting packet is already online. Connection information for the meeting will appear here within a few weeks.
One notable West Seattle project in today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin, and it’s one that had been off the radar for a while: 4800 40th SW (corner of SW Edmunds) went through Design Review in 2017-2018. Today, the city has published its land-use approval, which opens a 2-week appeal period (the decision notice includes information on how to file one). The project is described by the city as a “4-story, 56-unit apartment building with 4 live-work units and retail. Parking for 44 vehicles proposed.” (The site was upzoned to 55′ in the HALA process but this project was initiated under the previous 40′ zoning.) Approval doesn’t necessarily mean development is imminent; the site has been home to Origins (WSB sponsor) for 4 years, so we’re following up separately.
Last November, we reported that the redevelopment plan for the small mixed-use building and house at 6016 California SW had been downsized – from 38 units (almost all microapartments) to seven townhouses. Now the city has published a key approval for the plan, which has no offstreet vehicle parking. The approval opens a 2-week period for appeals; this notice explains how to file one.
The apartment building planned at 4515 44th SW is going through the no-meeting (aka “administrative”) Design Review process, but there’s still an opportunity for public comment, and that’s just begun. The Early Design Guidance packet (see the draft version here) proposes three “massing” (size/shape) options for the building, which is planned as 4 stories, ~37 units (more than half of them microapartments, aka Small Efficiency Dwelling Units), no offstreet parking. You have two weeks, through September 14th, to comment; this notice explains how. We first reported five months ago on this plan for the former CDE Software site [map].
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Though Design Review is supposed to focus on buildings, the streetscape occupied much of the attention as the Southwest Design Review Board got its first look at the second half of the Sweeney family’s West Seattle Triangle proposal.
The first half, 4406 36th SW, got first-phase approval (Early Design Guidance) two weeks ago (WSB coverage here). Thursday’s meeting was about the building to its west, 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW. Four of the five SWDRB members were present – chair Crystal Loya, John Cheng, Alan Grainger, and Scott Rosenstock (all West Seattleites serving on the all-volunteer, city-appointed board) – along with the city planner assigned to the project, Sean Conrad. The meeting followed the long-standard format, in four segments:
Two project notes:
1772 ALKI AVENUE SW: A key approval is in for five 3-story townhouses, with 8 offstreet parking spaces, to replace two houses at 1772-1774 Alki SW. The decision opens an appeal period through September 3rd; this notice explains how to file one. We covered the “early community outreach” meeting for this project almost two years ago.
7035 DELRIDGE WAY SW: We first reported on this nine-townhouse plan with nine off-street parking spaces last December. Now it’s going into Administrative Design Review. Go here to see the design packet. This notice explains how to comment.
Two weeks ago, the Southwest Design Review Board gave first-phase approval (WSB coverage here) to 4406 36th SW, half of the two-building Triangle megaproject planned by the Sweeney family, longtime owners of Alki Lumber. At 4 pm today, online, the board takes its first look at the other half of the project, 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW, described as “a 7-story, 209-unit apartment building with retail (with p)arking for 136 vehicles.” The meeting packet is here; information on watching the meeting, and/or commenting during/before/after it, is here.
Two weeks after a new self-storage facility opened on Harbor Avenue, the land-use approval is in for another one blocks away. This one, now carrying the address 2328 Harbor SW, is for a 3-story facility at the site where fire gutted a vacant building back in June:
The entity that bought the industrial-zoned site for $3.5 million last November is associated with an investment group that owns self-storage facilities in multiple states; some are under the brand Extra Space Storage. The city land-use approval opens a 2-week period for appeals; this notice explains how.
SIDE NOTE: Eleven years ago, this site got land-use approval for a different kind of project, a mixed-use complex that was to be called West Bay.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Five months into the pandemic, the city’s Design Review program has joined the online-meeting world, and a West Seattle project was first up.
The Thursday afternoon meeting for 4406 36th SW – one-half of a two-building megaproject planned by the Sweeney family, longtime Alki Lumber owners – went smoothly, and concluded with the Southwest Design Review Board voting unanimously to advance the proposal to Phase 2.
The online meeting followed the same four-segment format of in-person Design Review Board meetings, with just one alteration – signing up to comment was supposed to be done within the first half-hour.
All five board members (a volunteer position) were present – chair Crystal Loya introduced members John Cheng, Alan Grainger, Matt Hutchins, and Scott Rosenstock; all are West Seattle residents. Three city reps to – planner Sean Conrad, assigned to the project; Lisa Rutzick, the program manager; and Daniel Kopald, handling the tech.
Here’s how the meeting unfolded:
The Southwest Design Review Board‘s first online meeting happens at 4 pm today, earlier than previously announced, but the agenda is the same – the 7-story, 277-unit mixed-use project proposed for 4406 36th SW, one of two buildings comprising the Sweeney family’s first proposal for their West Seattle Triangle holdings, including the site of their legacy business, Alki Lumber. (The other building, 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW, will be reviewed at 4 pm August 20th.) Information on how to watch/listen to today’s meeting is here – registration required – along with information on how to comment on the project. The design packet for today’s meeting is here; our recent preview is here.
4 development-related notes today:
REMINDER – CONCRETE POUR AT 1250 ALKI: As previewed here, traffic is down to one lane, alternating, past the 1250 Alki SW condo project today.
Thanks to Lynn Hall (top photo) and Stewart L. (second photo) for sending pics of the big pouring operation that’s under way.
Meantime – another redevelopment site has gone up for sale:
MICROAPARTMENT PROJECT SITE FOR SALE: The 22-microapartment plan for 4807 41st SW – just south of Jefferson Square – got key approvals last year. Now, though, it’s on the market as a “planned/permitted” development site, listed for just under $1.5 million.
TOWNHOUSE PROPOSAL: From the most-recent city Public Notices Summary, eight townhouses on two adjacent sites, 9238 20th SW and 9240 20th SW, are in Streamlined Design Review – click the addresses for the notices. Deadline for comments: August 10th.
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:
Those old houses in the 2800 block of SW Yancy are about to be demolished so construction can start on Yancy Street Permanent Supportive Housing. We first told you about West Seattle nonprofit Transitional Resources‘ plan almost two and a half years ago. Now the project near TR’s headquarters and other buildings is ready to start.
As summarized by TR:
The project will provide 44 independent studio units on three levels for adults living with mental illness who are either coming from homelessness or institutional settings.
Transitional Resources will provide 24/7 staffing to enable residents to live independently in a supportive community. The site is within a block of TR’s main offices and other housing developments, where residents can access additional mental health and other supportive services. Onsite amenities include a secure access, a community room and outdoor recreation areas, a common laundry, covered bike parking, and an office for onsite supportive services.
Public and private sources are covering the project’s $16 million cost. The project team includes SMR Architects and Buchanan General Contracting. Construction is expected to take about a year, TR tells us; demolition will start as soon as their street-use permits are approved..
Thanks to Jim Borrow for the photo and tip. Four old houses at 65th/Admiral Way have been demolished to make way for new ones. Records show that the site at 65th SW/SW Admiral Way, sold last year to an entity of Blackwood Builders Group for $1.8 million, has six new houses on the way. Readers have noted that the site has history; for one, Jim recalls that it once held flower beds and greenhouses “started by the founder of Neilsen Florists at the corner of California Ave SW & SW Oregon (now Shadowland).” We’re told the old houses also had drawn some attention for their Modernist architecture –
We photographed that one last week after a tip that a backhoe had arrived:
(Google Maps’ Street View image of site)
Two years after a development proposal at 7617 35th SW stalled in Design Review, with the property put back up for sale, a new, bigger proposal has just appeared in city files. This time, the proposed redevelopment site spans 35th frontage from Ida to Holden – 3507 SW Ida, 7603 and 7617 35th SW, per the early-stage site plan. That includes the former Howden-Kennedy Funeral Home building as well as the Complete Auto Repair site. The proposal is for a five-story apartment building with underground parking, which would have an entry off SW Holden; the city website shows 124 apartments are proposed, with 60 vehicle-parking spaces and 140 bicycle-parking spaces. The city site also lists LDG Architects as working on the project; they were also architects of record for the previous proposal, which had envisioned up to 50 apartments. Property records show the owner of the Complete Auto Repair site bought the other two parcels last October for $1.4 million total. Since this is an early-stage proposal, it’s not at the public-comment stage yet, but we’ll be watching for that. (Thanks to John for the tip.)
The last time the Southwest Design Review Board met was March 5th, just before in-person community meetings came to a halt because of the pandemic. Four months later, the city is working on getting the all-volunteer boards set up for online meetings, and two neighboring projects in the West Seattle Triangle are tentatively set for reviews in August: 4406 36th SW on August 6th – summarized as “a 7-story, 277-unit apartment building with retail. Parking for 188 vehicles proposed” and 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW on August 20th, summarized as “a 7-story, 209-unit apartment building with retail. Parking for 136 vehicles proposed.” Seeing those dates and knowing the board hasn’t been meeting, we checked with the Department of Construction and Inspections, whose spokesperson Wendy Shark told us:
We are hoping to launch the pilot of virtual Design Review Board meetings in August. At this time, these projects are intended to be conducted with the Board via an online platform. Details regarding the remote meetings will be forthcoming on the Design Review website.
You might also be wondering about big projects proceeding despite the bridge’s closure and uncertain future. These are part of the Sweeney family’s holdings centered on the current site of their longtime business Alki Lumber; we asked family spokesperson Lynn Sweeney, who replied, “We are moving forward with Design Review. I know there is a lot of uncertainty right now but we remain hopeful that our project will ultimately be well-timed.” We last spoke with her back in January, when these two sites were first entered into the city process; that was a year after the family announced they were “studying alternatives.” Our past coverage also includes February’s early community outreach meeting with the development team.
Thanks for the tips! The long-stalled development site adjacent to Ephesus, with the same property owner, is up for sale. Listing price: $1.7 million, including the plans for the three-story mixed-use building that was in progress, and the foundation and underground garage that have already been poured. The site held a small commercial building – before demolition in 2012; its businesses included a quirky retail shop called Cavvy’s, and Rick’s Barber Shop (which in the ensuing years has had to move again because of redevelopment). Work started in 2016, but didn’t get beyond the concrete and a bit of framing. Our archives show the site described with addresses including 5247 and 5251 California; the previous permits were granted for 5247, but the real-estate listing identifies the site as 5249.