West Seattle, Washington
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.
Three months ago, we reported on an early-stage proposal for the former CDE Software site at 4515 44th SW [map] in The Junction. Now, West Seattle-headquartered developer Blueprint Capital is in the “early community outreach” process for the project. Blueprint’s Jade Aramaki sent the announcement:
The new development will include a new five-story apartment building containing small efficiency dwelling units and 1 bedrooms, no parking proposed.
I’m reaching out because I want to hear from you, the community, about this project. You can engage with this process a couple of ways. First, you can fill out the survey located here. The comment period will be open until July 20th. Second, you can email me directly (email@example.com) with any questions you may have; I’d be happy to have a dialogue with you. Third, if you live in close proximity you will receive a postcard with ways to engage. I have attached a digital copy of this information, feel free to post this on blogs, print out on bulletins, etc. Note that any information you share could be made public, so please refrain from sharing personal or sensitive information.
Due to the nature of our current environment with the stay-home order in place there will be no in-person outreach or public meeting. Therefore your input is even more important and appreciated.
A document in the project’s online file says 37 units are planned. According to Blueprint’s flyer, construction is still at least two years away.
Land-use approval has been granted for 32 townhouses planned along Harbor Avenue SW. Rather than one project, the townhouses – though next to each other – are in the system as four separate projects: Seven units at 3252 30th SW, nine units at 3315 Harbor SW, eight units at 3303 Harbor SW, and eight units at 3257 Harbor SW. The approval notices – linked to each of those individual addresses – open a two-week period in which appeals can be filed, deadline July 13th. The townhouses passed Design Review last September; here’s our report on the final meeting.
A unique redevelopment project in South Delridge has just gotten land-use approval. Earlier this year, we briefly mentioned the five “cottages” proposed to replace an old house at 9224 20th SW (map). The project documents show the site owner told the city he planned to rent the small 2-story houses rather than sell them, and that two would be “affordable” to satisfy the HALA-Mandatory Housing Affordability requirements of the site. Otherwise, documents say, the property owner would expect to pay a fee of almost $30,000 in lieu of having affordable units. Five offstreet-parking spaces are planned. The city approval document is here; the notice explaining how to appeal is here.
11:58 AM: As previewed last night, the tower crane for 1250 Alki SW is going up right now, which means traffic is down to one lane (alternating) until it’s done.
The project team estimates it’ll take until 4 pm or so.
7:41 PM: By just after 6, the installation appeared mostly done:
With this, there are currently two tower cranes in West Seattle; the other is at the 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW two-building mixed-use project.
Just got word of a traffic alert for tomorrow: The Infinity Shore Club Residences construction site at 1250 Alki SW will get its crane installed, which means, according to the project team:
Alki Ave will be reduced to a single lane of alternating traffic from 5:00 AM to approximately 4:00 PM.
Police will be providing traffic control throughout the day.
That’ll be West Seattle’s second crane; the other is at the two-building 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW project.
The next phase of public comment is beginning for the last project seen by the Southwest Design Review Board before in-person meetings were suspended in March (WSB coverage here). It’s 3417 Harbor SW (map), currently described as a “5-story, 115-unit apartment building (with offstreet parking) for 68 vehicles,” on a site that currently holds a house that’s been serving as a commercial office. The project’s land-use application has been formally submitted, so that opens a 2-week comment period (through June 8th); the notice explains how to comment. The project also still has to go through the second phase of Design Review – no timeline for that yet; we’ve been tracking the proposal for more than a year.
Thanks to Stewart L. for the photo and tip. It was demolition time today for the houses at 1778 and 1780 Alki Avenue SW [map], 82 and 110 years old, respectively. They’re making way for a 3-story, 6-townhouse project with 9 offstreet-parking spaces. It’s been in the works since August 2018; the site changed hands this past February, for $2.3 million.
That’s the final rendering for Yancy Street, the supportive-housing complex that West Seattle nonprofit Transitional Resources plans to build on the project’s namesake street, with 44 studio apartments for people living with behavioral-health challenges. It just got key city approvals, as announced in Monday’s Land Use Information Bulletin. We first reported on the project in February 2018; it’s replacing houses at 2811, 2821, and 2827 SW Yancy that TR has long used as shared housing. (Our past coverage also includes a design-feedback open house last year, plus news of partial city funding.) You can read the full decision here; its publication opens a 2-week appeal period, explained here. TR CEO Darcell Slovek-Walker tells WSB, “We anticipate that demolition/construction will start end of June/early July.” Her nonprofit, headquartered nearby, already provides housing for more than 80 people.
More south West Seattle redevelopment: That 99-year-old house at 9238 20th SW [map] is proposed to be replaced by an 8-unit rowhouse/townhouse project, with 8 offstreet-parking spaces. Nearby resident Colleen tipped us after an Early Design Review Community Outreach flyer arrived via mail. It points to this website, which includes the design packet by John Trieger Architects, as well as a survey.
A new early-stage redevelopment proposal for Alki will replace the last pocket of beach bungalows at the tip of Duwamish Head with one building containing 50 to 65 units. The project address is 1116 Alki SW [map]; the site also includes five lots to the west, according to the site plan filed last week. Another document in the online file says the building would be six stories with one partly underground level of parking, which would include 77 to 103 spaces (as per the Alki Parking Overlay, which requires 1 1/2 spaces per unit). Property records show the three westernmost parcels were sold together in 2014 for $3.6 million; the three easternmost parcels were sold in 2017 transactions that totaled more than $4.5 million. Four of the six houses to be demolished are more than a century old. This is an early-stage proposal, so no public-comment opportunities/reviews are set yet.
Another change in plan for the ex-auto-shop site at 9201 Delridge Way SW. Originally it was planned for redevelopment as a self-storage facility; then the plan changed to a mixed-use building with xx residential units. Now, city records show it’s changed again – a new developer, new architect, and new plan. The developer is now an LLC with the same ownership as STS Construction Services (WSB sponsor), whose headquarters and other recent projects are nearby; online records show the site was sold for $2.1 million in March. The new architect is Atelier Drome. The previous plan, which was about to go to the Southwest Design Review Board before public meetings were suspended in March, included 46 apartments and 3 live-work units The new early-stage site plan proposes ~67 residential units. As for public comment, the process has changed because of the pandemic but we’re continuing to watch city files.
Today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin includes word of a final land-use approval for 4508 California SW, a mixed-use project described as “a 7-story building with 38 apartment units, 20 small efficiency dwelling units, lodging and retail,” with 14 offstreet parking spaces. Much has changed since we covered the project’s final Design Review meeting six months ago – a pandemic and a closed, possibly unfixable bridge. So before publishing word of the approval (here’s the decision), we called the site’s owner/developer, longtime West Seattle entrepreneur Leon Capelouto, to ask if the project is still on. He noted that “the process” started a relatively long time ago (we first reported on it in March 2018) and they’re certainly going to go ahead and get the permits, but it could be “a long time” before construction. So – provided they survive the COVID-19 economic trouble – the three restaurants in the project’s future space (Lee’s Asian, Kamei, Naked Crepe) won’t be moving any time soon. Meantime, as part of the official process, today’s notice triggers a two-week appeal period (the notice explains how).
Thanks to Karl for the tip: Demolition is wrapping up at 5616 California SW, on the south side of C & P Coffee (WSB sponsor). We first reported in July 2018 that townhouses were proposed for the site, replacing a nearly century-old house. Recently finalized permit documents show the plan is still for eight townhouses with five off-street parking spaces (none required as the site’s on the RapidRide C Line).
From today’s Land Use Information Bulletin, a proposal for seven townhouses on two adjacent Fauntleroy Way parcels has reached the official comment stage. We first reported almost a year ago on the proposal for 5051-5053 Fauntleroy Way SW, which is now listed as two separate projects: four units at 5051, three at 5053, with one offstreet-parking space for each unit. You have two weeks to comment; the notices (here’s the one for 5051; here’s the one for 5053) explain how to do that.
That mid-1940s house at 9425 18th SW [map] is proposed for demolition and replacement. An early-stage site plan (PDF) has just been filed to build 5 townhouses with 5 offstreet parking spaces. It’s right next door to the Muslim-American Society religious/community-center complex.