West Seattle, Washington
An early-stage proposal has appeared in city files for a 30-townhouse development in the upper Luna Park area, at 3101 SW Bradford [map]. Documents describe the site as “vacant”; a collection of what’s listed on the city website as “site photos” shows a greenbelt at the end of SW Bradford, downslope from the approach to the West Seattle Bridge. Also in the file: A city letter to the site owner saying the project will have to go through Design Review, so they need to arrange for Early Community Outreach to neighbors. The information available online so far suggests the townhouses would have 34 parking spaces in an underground garage.
“Name that street corner.” If you can’t without referring to the address in the headline – then you’ve underscored the point made before tonight’s second Southwest Design Review Board meeting wrapped up.
Board chair Don Caffrey and members Scott Rosenstock, Matt Hutchins, and John Cheng decided unanimously to send the mixed-use proposal for 7617 35th SW – the Complete Auto Repair site (whose future has been in play for 5+ years) – back to the drawing board for a second try at Early Design Guidance. Here’s what preceded that decision:
The once-and-future Golden Tee Apartments site, above the northwest side of the West Seattle Golf Course, was the first of two projects getting their first Southwest Design Review Board look tonight. After the review before a full gallery, the board voted to allow the project to move on from the Early Design Guidance phase of the project, which mostly looks at big-picture issues such as building size, shape, and placement on site.
It wasn’t a slam-dunk vote, though – the board almost deadlocked, but talked through concerns. Biggest one: “I want to know that they’re doing the right thing between the buildings,” said board chair Don Caffrey. He was referring to this 7-story project and the 5-story condominiums next door, where most of those commenting during the meeting said they live (that building is partly visible in the photo below):
We first reported last December that redevelopment was proposed for the site, at 3201-3211 SW Avalon Way.
Present tonight from the board along with chair Caffrey were members John Cheng, Matt Hutchins, and Scott Rosenstock, along with the project’s assigned city planner Abby Weber. Here’s how the review unfolded:
Upton Flats – the High Point mixed-use development at 35th SW/SW Graham – “isn’t as close to complete as you might think.” That’s what Seattle Housing Authority spokesperson Kerry Coughlin told us when we checked in after receiving multiple recent e-mails wondering about its status. Coughlin explained, “The developer is facing the same issues that a lot of construction projects are right now. It’s difficult to get certain subcontractors, which creates delays.” Most of those e-mailing us to ask about the project’s status were particularly curious about its commercial space. As we’ve reported previously, most of it will become offices for SHA; Coughlin says that will total about 5,300 square feet, and they’re now expecting to move into that space next summer. No tenant yet for the retail space, about 1,200 square feet. In addition to those spaces and the ~100 apartments, which Coughlin says are still under construction, Upton Flats will include a “nearly 3,000-sf community room with kitchen and restrooms.” (If you’re interested in more information about the 6058 35th SW project, here’s our report from its final Southwest Design Review Board meeting in 2016.)
The second West Seattle project to have an early-stage meeting as part of the city’s new Early Design Community Outreach process is 5616 California SW, proposed for eight townhouses to replace a 93-year-old house. As was the case for the first West Seattle project in the process, 1772 Alki SW, the meeting for this one drew a single-digit turnout – three community members. Two representatives of Cone Architecture talked with the three attendees for an hour at the 4 pm Monday meeting in the community room at High Point Library. They said they had sent postcards to nearby residents, as required by the city, including a URL for an online survey about the project, but that had only drawn one response.
One of the attendees, Jim Guenther, suggested it might have been a bigger draw if the project team instead had planned an open house at C & P Coffee (WSB sponsor), which is next to the project site. (The architects said their firm has been talking with C & P about the project.) The talk was almost as much about the process as the project; one of the other attendees was Deb Barker, president of the Morgan Community Association and retired land-use planner, who suggested that 4 pm on a weekday was not a time many could work with.
The architects did show “massing” renderings for three possible ways the townhouses could be arranged on the site. They also explained that the project is strictly residential, though the site could have had a commercial component too, and that it has five parking spaces because that’s all that’s required given its proximity to “frequent transit” (RapidRide stops nearby). They also said the “exceptional tree” on the site is staying – “we have embraced and want to” protect it. Barker suggested that impervious surface be minimized on the site.
If you’re interested in the project but couldn’t get to the meeting or hadn’t heard about it, you’ll have another chance to comment when the design proposal becomes officially available for Administrative Design Review (no public meetings in that part of the process but the city will announce it in the Land Use Information Bulletin).
(LATE-NIGHT P.S.: Since we published this, a third West Seattle project has been added to the Early Outreach list – 5009 Fauntleroy Way SW, three rowhouse units and three single-family houses. No meeting date yet.)
Next Thursday (September 20th), the Southwest Design Review Board meets for its first look at two West Seattle projects. The design packets for both are now online:
3201 SW AVALON WAY: See the packet here. This is a 7-story, 150-apartment, 85-offstreet-parking-space project proposed to replace the Golden Tee (map; two buildings, 28 units, 30 spaces). NK Architects is designing the project. It’s first up on the SWDRB’s agenda at 6:30 pm Thursday.
7617 35TH SW: See the packet here. This is a 4-story, 42-unit, 28-offstreet-parking-space proposal for the Complete Auto Repair site [map]. LDG Architects is designing the project. It’s scheduled for the 8 pm spot on the agenda.
Both meetings are at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction (4217 SW Oregon); both include public-comment periods. Since both are for the Early Design Guidance phase of Design Review, they are focused on size/shape/site placement of the buildings (“massing”), and there will be at least one more meeting for each project.
Thanks to Scott for spotting this early-stage proposal in city files: We reported back in late July that the Junction 7-11 site (4800 Erskine Way) was for sale. No sale on record yet, but now there’s a redevelopment proposal, summarized on the city website as “a six-story apartment building with approximately 65 small efficiency dwelling units. No parking provided.” The site plan shows prolific Blueprint Capital, headquartered a few blocks north, as the prospective developer, with Cone Architecture designing the project. Again, this is an early-stage proposal, so there’s no formal application yet, and official comment periods are some ways out.
Three (re)development notes:
TRANSITIONAL RESOURCES PROJECT PROCEEDING: We first reported back in February that nonprofit Transitional Resources had an early-stage proposal to replace three houses in the 2800 block of SW Yancy with more than 40 microapartments. TR CEO Darcell Slovek-Walker has an update on the project, which has the official address 2821 SW Yancy: “Transitional Resources will soon be submitting funding applications to develop up to 44 studio units in two buildings (three stories each) that closely mirrors surrounding development scale. The buildings will have a single common entry with staffing 24 hours per day/7 days per week. Like our other projects, this housing will serve adults in need of behavioral health treatment and support to live independently in permanent housing.” Currently TR provides housing for 85 people in what Slovek-Walker describes as “a mix of owned and leased properties,” including buildings on SW Avalon Way near this site.
5 UNITS FOR 3014 CHARLESTOWN SW: Also in the Luna Park area, this site is proposed for four townhouses and one live-work unit, with four off-street-parking spaces. It will go through the Streamlined Design Review process; watch here for the comment period and design documents. The century-old house on the site, sold for $825,000 in May, will be demolished.
DEMOLITION SOON FOR 5917 CALIFORNIA: A demolition permit has been issued for the boarded-up Charmann Apartments, with a long history of complaints.
We reported back in February that an early-stage plan was in city files for eight townhouses at the site; that appears to still be the plan, making its way through the system. The property was sold in July for $1.3 million.
After 19 days of testimony before city Hearing Examiner Ryan Vancil, the appeal of the HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning is now in his hands. Friday was the last scheduled day of testimony – the 19th, in sessions spread across 2 1/2 months – in the appeal challenging the city’s Final Environmental Impact Statement on the plan. We listened to audio from the hearing’s conclusion to find out what happens next: Both sides have deadlines to submit their wrap-up briefs to Vancil, and he indicated he doesn’t expect to announce his decision before November.
HALA MHA would upzone commercial and multifamily property citywide, plus residential property in “urban village” areas, with developers allowed to build higher/denser as a result, while being required to include a certain level of “affordable housing” in their projects or to pay the city a fee to fund construction somewhere else. (Check the interactive map here to see how/whether any particular site would be affected.) The coalition of more than 30 neighborhood groups that filed the appeal last November (plus some individual challenges that were heard concurrently) contends that the FEIS is inadequate for a variety of reasons and wants the city to have to go back to the drawing board and work directly with neighborhoods to address their specific challenges and conditions. Until the appeal is settled, the City Council’s vote on HALA MHA – a proposal initiated before Jenny Durkan was elected mayor – is on hold. They’ve had a multitude of meetings and hearings on it, including in-district hearings that concluded with one June 5th in West Seattle (WSB coverage here). Meantime, documents in the appeal case, as well as minutes (detailing who testified but not the substance of their testimony) and audio, can be found here. The Hearing Examiner (whose role is explained briefly here) has the city’s final say in matters brought before him; a court challenge would be the next step.
Another event we covered today: The first-ever West Seattle community meeting scheduled as part of the city’s new “Early Outreach” stage of Design Review. Certain projects will be required to go through Early Outreach to get community input before the project reaches the official Design Review stage, whether with or without board meetings. In this case – as we previewed here – the project involves 5 townhouses set to replace two houses at 1772 Alki SW.
Seth Hale from MAS Architecture was the lone project rep for the meeting this morning at Alki Community Center; five community members showed up, four nearby residents and one person from another neighborhood who is a longtime community advocate on land-use issues. Hale said they had sent 100 postcards to people living near the project site. One of the nearby residents identified herself as from the Action Alki Alliance, which had been active in issues related to the apartments-turned-condos development soon to start construction at 1250 Alki SW. She was concerned that the setback proposed for the 1772 Alki townhouses wouldn’t be enough. Other participants’ comments included a request to keep a big old monkey-puzzle tree on the site; the architect had design options with and without it. He said the design proposal hasn’t been finalized yet – they’re working with a neighbor to decide whether an existing driveway ca be shared. They’re also still working out how tall a retaining wall on the slope at the back of the site needs to be. The meeting was very informal, and is a prelude to the project going through Administrative Design Review – which does not include public meetings.
NEXT ‘EARLY DESIGN OUTREACH’ MEETING IN WEST SEATTLE: As first mentioned here a week ago, the 8-townhouse project planned for 5616 California SW is set for one of these meetings, 4 pm September 17th at High Point Library (3411 SW Raymond).
HOW TO FIND OUT IF ‘EARLY DESIGN OUTREACH’ IS PLANNED FOR SOMETHING NEAR YOU: The city is using this page to note when a project enters this process, but at least so far, it isn’t cross-referencing when meetings are set – you have to check this calendar page for those, unless you happen to be one of the very-nearby neighbors who gets notice. (Media notification is apparently not required, as we haven’t received notification of either of the meetings scheduled so far.)
Development notes this afternoon:
ANOTHER PROJECT SETS ‘EARLY OUTREACH’ MEETING: As noted here previously, the city has a new phase of Design Review for some projects – “early outreach.” Some developers/builders are required to give the community a chance to comment even before the formal DR process begins. The second West Seattle project in this process (here’s the first) is 5616 California SW, eight townhouses planned for the site next to C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor). The “early outreach” meeting, open to anyone interested, is planned for 4 pm Monday, September 17th, at High Point Library (3411 SW Raymond).
HOUSE MOVE: More than seven months after a house was moved (WSB coverage here) from the future development site at 1250 Alki SW (currently proposed for ~40 condominiums), a permit is being sought to move another one.
That’s the house at 1254 Alki SW, subject of the permit application. We had noted at the time of the other house’s move that it was up for sale too; the page for it on the website of “house rescue” company Nickel Bros confirms it’s been sold.
Two notes from today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin:
NEXT COMMENT PERIOD FOR 3084 AVALON MICROAPARTMENTS: The 7-story, 37-microapartment (“small efficiency dwelling unit”), no-offstreet-parking project at 3084 SW Avalon Way has gone through Administrative Design Review, and now, four months later, there’s a land-use-permit application. You have two weeks to comment – the “notice of application” linked here explains how.
TOWNHOUSES FOR 3852 BEACH DRIVE: That century-old house will be replaced with 3 townhouses and three offstreet-parking spaces under this proposal. Because it’s close to the shoreline, there’s a longer comment period, four weeks – the notice linked here explains how.
Three sites on 35th SW with development/real-estate-related notes:
DESIGN REVIEW BOARD DATE CHANGE FOR 7617 35TH SW: Last month, we noted a date had been set for the first Southwest Design Review Board meeting on a four-story mixed-use proposal at the Complete Auto Repair site, 7617 35th SW. The date has changed – the meeting will be part of a SWDRB doubleheader on Thursday, September 20th, 8 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon), after 3201 SW Avalon Way is reviewed at 6:30 pm.
ADMINISTRATIVE DESIGN REVIEW FOR 9037 35TH SW: Also via the city’s Design Review site, a mixed-use project is advancing for 9037 35th SW – four stories, 26 microapartments, ground-floor commercial, six offstreet-parking spaces, replacing a house and small commercial space. This is going through Administrative Design Review, which means no meeting, but the next phase of public comment is launching; read the Early Design Guidance report here (PDF).
9201 35TH SW FOR SALE: The site of Dere Auto is up for sale, asking $785,000. The listing says, “Business opportunity and Real Property are to be sold together. Perfect opportunity to take over automotive business or use existing foot print for new business venture. or re-develop property.” The site is zoned NC2P-40, which would permit mixed-use development up to four stories.
(King County Assessor website photos of 1772, 1774 Alki SW houses to be replaced by 5 townhouses)
Almost two months after the city launched a calendar and website for a new component of the Design Review process known as Early Community Outreach, the first West Seattle project has turned up in the pipeline: 1772 Alki SW, five townhouses planned to replace two houses (at 1772 and 1774), with 8 offstreet-parking spaces.
The new process is intended to formalize something that some developers had been doing and some hadn’t – reaching out to community members before the project design got to the formal comment phase. The Early Community Outreach meeting for this project is set for 10 am Saturday, September 8th, at Alki Community Center (5817 SW Stevens) and is open to all.
SIDE NOTES: If you receive – or have already received – a direct notification about this meeting, please consider letting us know (firstname.lastname@example.org), as we’re interested in seeing how this new process plays out. … Also of note regarding this particular project, it’s next to, but apparently separate from, a similar project, six townhouses replacing two houses at 1778 and 1780 Alki SW, with an application notice in today’s Land Use Information Bulletin.
More than three years after first word of a self-storage facility to replace a century-old warehouse at 3310 Harbor Avenue SW, the building has been demolished. We noticed the pile of debris when passing through tonight for another check on SPF30 preps a few miles west. We first reported on the plan in March 2015; West Coast Self-Storage obtained a street vacation for part of the site, which includes the former tow yard north of the ex-warehouse.
(The “packet” prepared for the Design Review meeting)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
For the second time this summer, a West Seattle Junction business owner brought a California Avenue SW mixed-use redevelopment project to the Southwest Design Review Board for the first time.
Both reviews started similarly – with the business owner introducing himself and talking about his history in The Junction – but they ended differently.
Thursday night, unlike two weeks ago, board members sent the project back for a second attempt at the first phase of the process, Early Design Guidance.
The project is 4508 California SW. The entire board was present for the review – chair Don Caffrey, Crystal Loya, John Cheng, Scott Rosenstock, Matt Hutchins – plus assigned city planner Allison Whitworth.
PROJECT TEAM PRESENTATION: The longtime local entrepreneur who owns the site, Leon Capelouto, stood up and opened with some personal history.
He described his background (which we covered in this 2014 story) as “the American dream.” He noted that he has long represented the “interests of the merchants and the (Junction Association) and will continue to do so.” He also mentioned serving on the board of Trusteed Properties, owners of the land that holds The Junction’s “free parking lots,” and being committed to continued parking availability.
Capelouto said his ~70-apartment project will include 25 percent affordable units and says he’s offering the existing commercial tenants on the site “a chance to relocate (in the new building) at a reduced rent if they so choose.” (One of the three spaces in the buildings proposed for demolition is vacant, the former West Seattle Cyclery; the other two spaces have long housed two restaurants, Kamei and Lee’s Asian.)
That’s the King County Assessor photo of the 93-year-old house at 5616 California SW, next to C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor). Five months after the coffeehouse’s proprietors bought their property at 5612 California SW to spare it from redevelopment, their southern neighbor appears demolition-bound: City files show an early-stage proposal for eight townhouses with five offstreet-parking spaces (though none are required, because it’s in a frequent-transit zone). As with the C&P site, this is a 7,500-square-foot parcel zoned Lowrise 3. The site plan in the city’s online file shows three townhouses would face California and three would be on the alley, with north-facing entries for the two between them. The coffeehouse site is bordered on the north by an apartment building with ground-floor commercial.
Spotted in the commercial real-estate listings:
SUPER 24 JUST LISTED: The Super 24 store site in Delridge’s “Brandon Node” business district has just been listed, asking price just under $2 million. The site at 5455 Delridge Way SW is described as a “great redevelopment opportunity of mixed use or multi-family with short term leased back.” It’s a quarter-acre site currently zoned for four-story development, and if HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability is approved, the 40′ zoning would go up to 55′.
JUNCTION 7-11: The store at 4812 Erskine Way SW is a smaller site – 7,100 square feet – with a slightly smaller price, $1.8 million, but zoned for taller development – 65 feet, and here too (as with all commercial/multi-family property), more if HALA MHA is finalized – 75′ is proposed. The listing says in part, “First time available to the market. This is a high exposure property located in the heart of the West Seattle Junction. There is approximately four and one-half years left on the 7-11 lease” while noting that 7-11 parent company The Southland Corporation has the right of first refusal.
Two development-related notes:
4508 CALIFORNIA SW DOWNSIZED: One week from tonight, 4508 California SW goes to its first Southwest Design Review Board meeting. The packet is now available online, and we noticed a big change from when we originally reported on this project back in March: It’s proposed for a smaller footprint. The original early-stage filing described the site as stretching from the former West Seattle Cyclery storefront all the way to West Seattle Windermere; now it’s covering three current storefronts – ex-Cyclery, plus two restaurants, Lee’s and Kamei. As is standard in the Early Design Guidance stage of Design Review, the project packet proposes three possible “massing” configurations – they would each include more than 70 apartments plus 19 offstreet-parking spaces (city rules do not require any parking in this area) as well as ~11,000 square feet of retail (ground floor) and lodging. The SWDRB meeting next Thursday (6:30 pm August 2nd, Senior Center/Sisson Building, 4217 SW Oregon) will as usual include a public-comment period; if you can’t be there, you can send comments via e-mail to email@example.com to get them to assigned city planner Holly Godard.
5011 DELRIDGE WAY SW: Comments open today and continue through August 8th on the streamlined design review for this six-townhouse, six-offstreet-parking-space project replacing a triplex. You can see the design packet here. The notice explains how to comment – this type of design review does NOT include a public meeting.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It was a Southwest Design Review Board meeting unlike most.
This one spotlighted the proposed mixed-use project’s future commercial anchor, whose proprietor is the property’s owner: Pre-meeting, a time-lapse clip of customers inside Husky Deli – whose next home will be inside the planned building at 4747 California Avenue SW – played continuously on the big screen.
The board and attendees heard a quick history of the iconic deli from proprietor-turning-developer Jack Miller. And even the lead architect shared a few memories.
But the business of project review got done too – and without much controversy or critiquing, the four board members voted to send it to the second phase of Design Review. Crystal Loya chaired the meeting; other members present were John Cheng, Scott Rosenstock, and Matt Hutchins, plus the designated city planner for the project, Allison Whitworth.
Here’s how things went:
ARCHITECTS’ PRESENTATION: Jenny Chapman with Ankrom Moisan Architects opened by saying Husky Deli is where she – and her two daughters – had their first ice-cream cones. Miller then stood up to offer Husky Deli history – did you know they didn’t start making sandwiches until the ’90s? – “The Junction has changed more in the past six years than it did in the first 80” of Husky Deli, he noted. The current home of his business is “tired” so it’s “time for a change,” he said. “We’re going to put a building together we’re going to be proud of.”
Starting with tonight’s meeting for 4747 California SW, four projects are now on the Southwest Design Review Board calendar for the next two months. A September 20th date has just been added for 3201 SW Avalon Way, proposed for 7 stories, 152 apartments, and 80 offstreet-parking spaces. We first told you about this project last December, when the early-stage proposal surfaced for the site of the 28-unit Golden Tee Apartments at Avalon/Genesee. The September 20th review – which would focus on the size/shape/siting of the building, since it’s the Early Design Guidance phase – is set for 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon); if you have comments before that, you can e-mail Abby Weber (firstname.lastname@example.org), the city planner assigned to the project.
We first reported one month ago on the new mixed-use proposal for the auto-shop site at 7617 35th SW. Now there’s a Southwest Design Review Board meeting date set – 6:30 pm Thursday, September 6th. The draft packet available via the city website offers three “massing” options for the proposed development, all four stories, ranging from 42 apartments, 16 offstreet-parking spaces, and 5,500 square feet of commercial space to 51 apartments, 27 spaces, and 5,000 sf of commercial space. Since this is the Early Design Guidance phase, the “packet” focuses on massing – size/shape/siting of the project – rather than final design touches. There’ll be a public-comment period at the meeting, which will be at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon); if you have comments sooner, the assigned city planner is Michael Gushard – reachable via e-mail, email@example.com.
One week from tonight, it’s the first of two Southwest Design Review Board meetings scheduled this summer for the next two redevelopment projects in the heart of The Junction. At 6:30 pm Thursday, July 19, the board takes its first look at 4747 California SW, the project we first told you about back in February, with its development team including Jack Miller, whose Husky Deli will move to a new home in the new building when it’s done.
When we reported the meeting date back in early June, we included a link to the draft “packet” – and now, embedded above (or see it here), the final packet is out. Keep in mind that this is the Early Design Guidance phase of Design Review, so the focus is on the building’s size, shape, and siting, not final design details. Reading through it – we discovered a surprise: Direct responses to WSB commenters. On page 25, the packet includes the “letter from Jack Miller” that we received and published last month. And then, on the next four pages, something we were surprised to see – a section titled “Community Engagement,” including screen grabs of some of the comments that WSB readers wrote about what Miller had to say, and responses from the development team, with this preface:
WEST SEATTLE BLOG – COMMUNITY FORUM
The West Seattle Blog has become the de facto community forum for the neighborhood. Whether it’s checking in on breaking news, or finding out about the latest restaurant opening, the blog is the place West Seattle goes for trusted local reporting and discussion. On June 2nd, Jack Miller of Husky Deli published his essay on the Blog. From the nearly 100 comments, we have complied and responded to a range of them here touching on the most common themes.
In all the years we’ve been extensively covering local development, we’ve heard WSB comments mentioned by development teams at some SWDRB meetings, but we can’t recall a spotlight in a packet before. The packet’s other components include the three options for project massing, with the “preferred” option (see page 46) expected to include 74 apartments and 54 offstreet residential parking spaces (see page 33, which says the apartments in that configuration would be 21 studios and 53 one-bedrooms).
The July 19th meeting is at the Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon) and will include a public-comment period. If you have something to say but can’t make the meeting, you can e-mail the project’s assigned city planner, Allison Whitworth, at firstname.lastname@example.org.