Development – West Seattle Blog… West Seattle news, 24/7 Wed, 15 Aug 2018 01:30:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 FOLLOWUP: Old warehouse demolished at future self-storage site on Harbor Avenue Sat, 11 Aug 2018 03:10:48 +0000

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.

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Southwest Design Review Board sends 4508 California SW back for 2nd try at 1st round Fri, 03 Aug 2018 06:35:06 +0000

(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.)

David Reddish and Andrew Kluess from Caron Architecture were introduced; Reddish led the presentation. Reddish said the site’s proposed 19 parking spaces (plus 1 bicycle stall per unit) – in a zone with none required – would be accessible off the alley. He detailed the context of the site (as explained in the packet) as a mix of small commercial structures and newer mixed-use buildings. He showed a massing rendering with a two-story base that he said would be consistent with the older building next door. As is standard during Early Design Guidance, he went through three massing (size/shape) options for the site. (You can see those in the packet too.) The project team’s “preferred” option, #3, would be 75′ high (the zoning would allow up to 85′) and would have multiple setbacks as well as a “simple palette of materials.” Reddish contended this would “respect” the nearby architecture. It would include an “outdoor amenity” on a higher floor.

Landscape architect Karen Kiest said they want to keep the existing street trees and they are working on enough street setback to “provide pedestrian space.” She added that the project has “a considerable number of terraces.”

Reddish noted that the lot is only 75′ wide and they are planning “small” spaces “to encourage the local retailers to come here.” He also said the upper levels will have “architectural elements like balconies to create interest.”

BOARD QUESTIONS: Among the points/issues that emerged here was an explanation of what “lodging” – planned for part of the non-residential space – meant. “Month to month, not a hotel,” elaborated Reddish. Asked about material change/contrast, that might emerge along the alley, he allowed. Loya wondered about recessed retail to provide for pedestrian activity; “our goal is to recreate what you see along the avenue today,” replied Reddish. Could be restaurants, could be other types of retail, the project team added. Caffrey noted that they spent a lot of time talking about the street plan, so he wondered about the 12′ sidewalk; that’s 10′ now, including 4′ for trees, Reddish noted. Loya asked about the private decks on levels 3 and 7; those go with specific units, while the rooftop deck would be for the entire building, the team clarified.

(Alley side of the three storefronts that would be replaced by the new building)

Caffrey asked about the alley, pointing out that many in West Seattle are more like “secondary roads,” and wondered about the trash-room plan; it’ll be right off the alley similar to the new AJ Apartments (also Capelouto’s project and almost directly across the alley from this one), said Reddish. How many retail spaces? asked Loya. “Several smaller shops,” replied Reddish.

PUBLIC COMMENT: First, Whitworth read written comments received before the meeting. One had to do with the “height and massiveness of the building and how it would affect the historic quality of the street,” she said, and others had to do with non-design factors. Another was from a Capelouto tenant nearby, Pizzeria Credo‘s proprietor, who vouched for him.

First, Margaret said “it looks like a very well-designed project” but wondered if West Seattle really has a vision for the two blocks in the heart of The Junction. She said the community that’s created there is vital. She invites “residents of West Seattle to consider, what is it that we want to see happen in those two blocks?” She believes people “hang out” in the area “because it’s not super-urban.”

Next, former Design Review Board member Deb Barker, who talked about the 2016 survey “What Makes the West Seattle Junction Special?” including the Category C building on the site, and the Category B building immediately south (at one point proposed to be part of this). “I feel this building needs to acknowledge both sides” – a 1927 and 1955 building – “and this design does not.” She also advocated for brick materials and “small storefronts.”

The next woman to speak said she’s concerned about parking and traffic.

Next person said she is concerned that the “location choice” will affect the West Seattle Farmers’ Market. “Putting a 7-story building in front of it” will “deprive vendors of sunlight” and affect its character, she said. She cited a recent report about unfilled apartments nearby, saying AJ is offering 2 free months of rent and a free TV. “What is the need for (this new building) and why here?” She also noted that she is a renter and is concerned about affordable housing. “I”m very afraid that we will lose the culture of this West Seattle community.”

Lora Swift of the West Seattle Junction Association spoke next. She thanked Capelouto and said “he was 100 percent correct when (he said) he helped us preserve our free community parking.” Then she discussed this project’s design. “What we are seeking … is harmony in The Junction itself.” So she said they hope the board will look at whether the building “does match the historic nature of the West Seattle Junction itself.”

Next, Lynne said she had a question and a comment. She said Option 3 was “probably the best.” She wondered how many lodging units it was expected to include; 14, replied the project team. She asked that they would “rethink that.” She voiced concern that it would affect safety in the area.

Randy Leskovar said he hadn’t realized the height could go up to 85 feet in this area; it had been that way since the ’90s, was the response. He also said he’s concerned there’s not enough parking.

Brad Chrisman of the Historical Society’s We Love the Junction group noted that this building will be adjacent to the “Penney building, which was really the anchor business in The Junction for decades in a historic 1920s building.” He said that his group “will be monitoring the project.”

Next Jeff McCord, the Historical Society’s executive director and a former Design Review board member, spoke. “With this particular building’s design …I would ask the board to consider how its design relates to existing buildings” like the aforementioned Penney building next door.

Finally, Corinne said she had never been to a meeting like this before and said she sees WS as the “last community that has a heart. … This really does matter to everybody here.”

BOARD DELIBERATIONS: First, chair Caffrey asked about “hot-button items.” Board members listed various issues related to the building’s base, as well as materials, the south-end “blank wall,” landscaping (including street trees). They then discussed preferences in massing options; Caffrey said he felt the “preferred ” #3 did the best job of “breaking up” the blank walls. Cheng said he liked options 1 and 3. Rosenstock said he “kept gravitating to Option 1.” He liked its “bonus open space” among other features. Ensuing discussion led to acknowledgment of a concern voiced by one attendee, that the Farmers’ Market would be shaded; Caffrey said he didn’t see a way around that. Rosenstock noted that this building will be very visible, and Hutchins agreed “it’s almost like a corner lot.” He too said he had some affinity for option #1 – though it seemed to be “the smallest of the three options.” Hutchins’ concerns about Option 3 included a “weak” stair tower. But Rosenstock said he didn’t feel he could commit to passing the project out of EDG with an Option 1 recommendation – he said it seemed to have inconsistent aspects. Loya thought some parts of Option 1 needed more study. “If it was Option 1, there’s a lot of high risk in there,” observed Caffrey. The board brought the discussion back around to the “hot-button issues” and whether they could offer enough guidance to let the project advance to the second phase.

Reddish at that point said they had put a “level of thought” into respecting the historic context. He also said one concern they had about Option 1 was its 85′ height. But subsequent discussion led to Option 3 being the preference, 4-1 (Loya stuck with Option 1 and Rosenstock said he still had 20 percent sentiment toward 1).

Reddish pointed out that all three options were maximized with FAR (floor-to-area ratio) so they don’t have much wiggle room.

After a bit of a digression into issues that aren’t supposed to come up until the second stage of Design review, and a look at which design guidelines they want the project team to take heed of, the board concluded that they wanted a second round of Early Design Guidance rather than advancing the project to Phase 2 (Recommendations).

Their summary: “Option 3 showed promise but is not well-developed enough yet” – particularly in respecting neighborhood history, a concern that came up multiple times in the meeting.

WHAT’S NEXT: As Caffrey mentioned, even if you weren’t at the meeting, you have chances to comment right now – for one, you can e-mail the planner at A date will be set for the second meeting weeks or months from now; we’ll publish an update when that date is made public.

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DEVELOPMENT: Townhouses planned for 5616 California SW, next to C & P Coffee Tue, 31 Jul 2018 19:08:30 +0000

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.

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REAL ESTATE: 2 West Seattle convenience-store sites for sale Tue, 31 Jul 2018 04:07:35 +0000 Spotted in the commercial real-estate listings:

(King County Assessor website photo)

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′.

(King County Assessor website photo)

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.

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DEVELOPMENT: 4508 California SW’s downsized site; 5011 Delridge Way SW comment period opens Thu, 26 Jul 2018 19:24:49 +0000 Two development-related notes:

(4508 California SW “preferred option” rendering by Caron Architecture)

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 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.

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4747 California SW – ‘future home of Husky Deli’ + apartments – gets Southwest Design Review Board OK to move to next phase Fri, 20 Jul 2018 06:13:57 +0000 (WSB photo: Jack Miller speaking, Ed Hewson at left, Design Review Board members Crystal Loya, John Cheng, Scott Rosenstock, Matt Hutchins in background, architect Katie McGough at right)

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.”

His business partner in the development, Ed Hewson, pointed out that he too is a West Seattleite who also had his first ice-cream cone at Husky Deli. He also is an apartment developer and has built (mostly in North Seattle) for some time now. “I didn’t want to do a project in my own neighborhood unless it was a great one,” Hewson said.

Then it was back to architect Chapman, who said a key goal is to create an “anchor” to draw retail energy further south on California Avenue SW. Colleague Katie McGough noted that the site is in “the heart of West Seattle” and also pointed out that HALA MHA upzoning would rezone their site to 95′ (it’s 85′ max now). She noted the mural on the site and promised they had ideas for how to “replace” it. She discussed a lot of other context for the site, which you can see in the packet.

Chapman presented the three massing options – at this phase of Design Review, it’s required to show at least three, though the project team usually identifies one as its “preferred” scheme. Theirs in this case would have 74 apartments, 54 offstreet-parking spaces, and a “strong one-story base” with the top six stories set back. None of the proposed massing schemes would require zoning “departures” (exceptions). (See the packet for all three possibilities.)

The city-blessed West Seattle Design Guidelines call for a 2-story base, Chapman said, which option #2 would deliver, but they don’t feel that’s right for their project/site.

About the preferred option, there would be a residential entry on California on the north edge of the property. The residential property over the commercial space would be set back 10 feet. The “entry court” would include more retail frontage. In the residential space, they’re maximizing window possibilities, even where it’s not required.

Though this is not the phase in which materials are usually discussed, they hope to take the inspiration from Husky Deli’s spirit, including some wood elements, Chapman said, adding that unlike most mixed-use project, “retail design is really driving this project.” The project also would have two terraces for residents, including one that would take advantage of westward views.

It was a friendly crowd – the end of the architects’ presentation brought applause, which also is not a regular feature of meetings like these.

BOARD QUESTIONS: Hutchins asked a question about material similarities between base and top levels of the building. Chapman said a goal is to “let the retail shine” and they will work on “vertical integration” to make sure of that. Rosenstock wondered about the alley side, which didn’t get much mention. Chapman mentioned that they plan to keep the Junction tradition of alley entrances. There also are a lot of utilities on that side, she noted. Cheng asked about more storefront detail; Chapman noted that it will be broken into three bays, but there are lots of details yet to be worked out as design continues. Loya asked about the “festival street” terminology the architects had used for California SW, and it was clarified that’s not a formal designation, just a description given all the events that are held in the street. Next question: Are they pursuing that extra height HALA would bring? Hewson said, “We’re sort of ignoring (it)” in part since the City Council review process is “not moving very fast.” Rosenstock wondered about the trees shown in the renderings. Existing street trees, said Chapman. Next question: What about the roof? There’s a dog run envisioned, “a really minimal space” – but otherwise amenities are a bit further down. Loya asked about the mural’s future – “initial conversation is to replace it in the current site” on the new building, said Chapman.

PUBLIC COMMENT: Javier – who identified himself as a West Seattle resident, Husky Deli customer, and architect – said he lives at semi-new 4730 California across the street, and urged this project’s team to visit its roof deck and see what an amazing amenity it is. Bob, another local resident, asked about parking spaces – up to 54, per plans, was the reply. “How many parking places (in local buildings) are used on a daily basis?” He said he wonders about the alley, since it’s so busy. Hewson replied that, as a developer, “we don’t want to lose one potential tenant because they had a car we couldn’t accommodate in the building. … We found that the magic number is something like .6 per tenant,” so they think they’re proposing maybe a few more than they’ll ultimately need. “If we thought we needed more, we’d go down another half a floor.” Next, Shanna said she really likes thoughtful development and is “throwing my support behind how this is being done.” Then Dave, another Junction resident who said he lives across the alley from this site, congratulated Miller on the “very exciting” development before voicing a concern about the alley not becoming too congested since residents have medical reasons to need to get in and out. Mike said he and his family are Arbor Heights residents and Husky Deli customers. He thanked the design group “for putting parking in.”

Then Deb Barker, former Design Review Board chair and retired professional land-use planner, offered comments: She was glad to see the three massing options really do differ, though she noted “it’s a challenge” that the preferred scheme, as noted, is at odds with the West Seattle guidelines. She supports that scheme but “I hope you realize it’s precedent-setting.” She also encouraged “extensive use of brick to strengthen this building’s connection to existing buildings in The Junction.” She also wanted to be sure that the board and project team are aware of the mural’s history and will involve many in vetting its future. And she encouraged seating and balconies, as well as a ‘strong rear entry” for the building. She was followed by Amanda, a Junction resident, who said her “big request” is to “really think about sidewalk use, green(ery), how the public uses Husky Deli.” And she also added her thanks for inclusion of parking.

Planner Whitworth said one written comment was received, also from an across-the-alley resident, voicing hope that alley access and usage will get consideration.

BOARD DELIBERATIONS: The preferred massing alternative got general support. About the break with WS design guidelines – a one-story base rather than two – Loya noted that she appreciated the point that it would be a site-by-site decision. Rosenstock said he supported it but it was not something to be considered lightly. Hutchins pointed out that the modulation of balconies and other features on the retail level would be vital with this option, to keep the residential portion from being just a “big box.” They also discussed the importance of encouraging as much streetfront activation as possible, especially given how Husky Deli customers interact with the sidewalk and storefront even in their current location. Hutchins also noted the importance of the street trees. Loya made a note to ask the architects to offer options for street landscaping. Regarding the alley, the project team’s concern for access and safety was lauded. Back to the difference between the retail base and residential levels, Loya suggested there should be a strong contrast in the materials. They went through the checklist of the many things the architects should consider as they move ahead with design.

Then, the summary of key points:
-Supporting preferred option 3
-Encouraging deeper balconies in upper levels
-Supporting 1-level base if a great difference in materials from the top floors
-Would like to see streetscape/landscape studies with options, including how it relates to retail entry
-Supporting more retail spillout on street level
-Materials appropriate to neighborhood and of high quality
-Mural on southeast wall
-Alley lighting
-Want to see views from back of building
-Want to see how indoor/outdoor relationship with amenities would work

And with that, the project gets to move to the second and final phase of Design Review – it’ll be up to the city and project team to agree on a date for the next meeting. It ended so smoothly and dissent-free that someone in the back was heard to say, “That’s it?”

It is, until the TBD next meeting. Meantime, you can send comments to

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Another West Seattle project gets its first Design Review date: 3201 SW Avalon Way Thu, 19 Jul 2018 22:43:00 +0000 (King County Assessor’s Office photo)

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 (, the city planner assigned to the project.

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First Southwest Design Review Board date set for mixed-use project at 7617 35th SW Mon, 16 Jul 2018 21:16:34 +0000 (WSB file photo)

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,

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DEVELOPMENT: See the ‘packet’ for 4747 California SW with one week till first meeting – plus, a surprise Thu, 12 Jul 2018 20:21:44 +0000

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:


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

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DEVELOPMENT: Design Review changes kick in, including ‘early outreach’ Wed, 04 Jul 2018 04:45:47 +0000 Like to know sooner rather than later when a significant development project is on the way? Early outreach is one of the recent Design Review program changes that just kicked in, and here’s how to make sure you’re plugged into that early info. First: Keep watch on this new city webpage where projects doing “early outreach” are supposed to be listed. (Thanks to Cindi Barker for first sighting of that.) No West Seattle projects listed yet. Also, the city has a new calendar page for events related to early outreach. These are for events even before a project has its first Early Design Guidance meeting. The process is explained here. Previously, some developers did early outreach, but it was entirely voluntary; now, for projects of a certain size/scope (explained here), it’s mandatory.

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DEVELOPMENT: First Southwest Design Review Board date set for 4508 California SW project Wed, 27 Jun 2018 20:59:10 +0000 (Massing for ‘preferred option’ from draft Design Review packet for 4508 California SW)

As noted here earlier this month, the first of the next two mixed-use projects in the heart of West Seattle, 4747 California SW, is set for its Southwest Design Review Board debut on July 19th. Now, the other one, 4508 California SW, has a date set too – August 2nd. (Thanks to Scott for the tip.) This – as we first reported in March – is planned for a site immediately south of the Sisson Building (Senior Center of West Seattle). It’s currently proposed as 7 stories, 79 apartments, and 20 offstreet-parking spaces. The 6:30 pm meeting on August 2nd at the Senior Center (4217 SW Oregon) is for the Early Design Guidance phase, so the “design packet” (here’s the draft version in PDF) mostly addresses size and shape – “massing” – rather than the building’s potential appearance, which would be reviewed in the second phase.

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DEVELOPMENT: New proposal for 7617 35th SW Mon, 18 Jun 2018 23:16:10 +0000

The future of the auto-shop site at 7617 35th SW [map] has long been in play – we noted a real-estate listing five years ago, and it was finally sold in 2016. Now there’s a new redevelopment proposal: A 4-story mixed-use building. Documents in city files say it’s proposed for 6,000 square feet of commercial space, plus 50 apartments and 20 offstreet-parking spaces. LDG Architects is designing the project. It will have to go through the Design Review process, though there’s no date set yet for the first hearing.

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DEVELOPMENT: It’s all about the rowhouses – including a project inspired by tiny houses Thu, 14 Jun 2018 21:43:04 +0000 Two rowhouse reports today:

PIGEON POINT PROJECT: The eight-unit rowhouse project on the former City Light substation site at 21st/Andover has taken shape in an eye-catching way. An inquiry into a neighbor’s question led us to look more closely at the project, and we found the site plan noting that each of the eight units would be 600 square feet – far smaller than the average for-sale project, so we sought further details from the designer, Cleave Architecture and Design, whose Justin Kliewer replied:

As you mention, they will be small units, but the slope of the site allows them to be spread over two floors and a mezzanine, each of which looks out over a maple grove and includes a small deck. The developer is planning to integrate some clever built-in storage ideas, spiral stairs, and other ways of making the small space livable. We approached the project with a similar mindset as a tiny house, and are excited to try out these smaller units as a way of providing a lower-cost home ownership option.

The project’s on-the-record address is 3855 21st SW [map]. County records show Greenstream Investments bought the 8,000-sf ex-substation site for $185,000 in October 2016; it was originally listed as seeking “a minimum bid of $400,000” until the broker selling it for the city changed that to a “major price reduction” a few months before the sale.

And from today’s Land Use Information Bulletin:

NORTH DELRIDGE ROWHOUSES: Today’s notice opens a comment period for a 9-unit rowhouse proposed to replace a 113-year-old house 4308 26th SW, in the rapidly redeveloping neighborhood north of the Delridge Community Center Park. 9 offstreet parking spaces are proposed. The notice (PDF) explains how to send a comment; the deadline is June 27th.

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What Jack Miller wants you to know about his West Seattle Junction development project, Husky Deli’s future home Sun, 03 Jun 2018 04:31:26 +0000 On Friday, we brought you an update on The Junction’s next mixed-use project, the one we discovered in city files three months ago – 4747 California SW, with an “all-West Seattle team” planning the development, including property owner Jack Miller, best known as Husky Deli‘s proprietor. As you saw in our Friday report, the packet for the upcoming Design Review meeting confirms Husky Deli will move into the new building when it’s done. And today, Jack Miller sent us this first-person explanation of his plan:

The Heart and Soul of Husky Deli and the West Seattle Junction
By Jack Miller

(WSB photo, 2017)

It’s been more than three months since the news broke about our plan to build a new building so that we can move Husky Deli four doors south in the West Seattle Junction. Since then, I’ve been truly honored to hear so many positive reactions. It’s also been a good chance to hear the questions people have about the project. I hope this little article will provide some answers and perspective for anyone who is interested.

Our goal, of course, is to keep Husky Deli going in the Junction and to give the next generations of our family a chance to shape it in their own image and make it a success.

Many people know that Husky has been around since 1932, when my grandfather, Herman Miller, bought a tiny grocery store called Edgewood Farms that operated in what is now the card section of Northwest Art & Frame. Right away, he put in an ice-cream machine in the front window, and then a soda fountain. Fresh-sliced meats and cheeses soon followed, and by the end of World War II, my dad, John, and my uncles had turned it into a full-fledged deli.

My dad moved Husky two doors north to our present location in 1969, three years after I started working here. In 1975, when he had a heart attack, I left college to fill in, and I’ve been here ever since. Just like society, Husky has evolved, and now we focus on ready-made convenience foods while still keeping the traditional deli, ice cream and specialty items. My kids have lived through all this and are grown up now, Kate (and husband Tom), John, and Tony – run a lot of the business day to day. Just like me, they love Husky, they love the Junction, and they’re the future.

But the future isn’t the exact footprint where we are now. Anyone who comes into Husky knows that we still look a lot like 1969 and that the structure needs some basic work, from the cramped restrooms to the up-and-down flooring to everything in between. My brother, Joe, who owns the building, has no plan to develop it anytime soon, and with the new Seattle minimum wage and other increasing costs, and being a small business we will be unable to shut down our business for an extended period of time to remodel. At the same time, we all agree that we need the ability to serve the ever-growing West Seattle population by updating and streamlining the Husky.

To make that happen, we are looking to move four doors south to where Sleepers furniture store and Bikram Yoga (which some of you remember was Junction Feed & Seed) are located. Those two buildings have a lot of the same big challenges that the current Husky building has. The buildings are in bad shape from top to bottom, and they are not landmark historical buildings worth saving.

So our plan is to start anew. The only way we see for us to put together enough capital for my children to create the Husky of the future and to stay in the Junction is to tear down these two buildings and construct a taller one on that combined site, with apartments on the top to help pay for the new Husky down below.

On first thought, this plan might not sound like something that would reflect the Junction’s low-scale character. We all have seen other tall buildings recently go in and start to create the feeling of a narrow corridor. That’s not what I want to create, and I don’t think it’s what most people want in the Junction. We think it’s important to keep, as much as possible, the feeling of our small-town, downtown West Seattle. So we want to create something different that really focuses on the Husky’s shop space instead of the upper levels.

The apartments above the store are set back to minimize the visual impact along California Avenue, and retain the historical retail storefront height. The project will contain a commercial kitchen and ice cream plant so we can continue to prepare our own food and make ice cream on site. (And yes, we will make sure that the beautiful Eric Grohe mural on the south side of the yoga building gets either reproduced or replaced with and updated mural on our new structure.)

We have been talking with the Junction Neighborhood Organization (JuNO) about our plan, and they want us to put together a building that sets a good example for future new buildings on that side of the Junction. That makes perfect sense to me. We are planning something with good neighborhood qualities and hopefully anything built after us will follow suit.

My biggest concern is that Husky will continue on in our family and serve the overall family of West Seattle – that we can maintain the traditions started by my grandfather 86 years ago, that we can update everything but still keep it cool, and that my kids can have the chance to feel like it’s theirs, too, so that they will put their heart and soul into it.

The Junction is all about heart and soul. It’s about actively local ownership, where you can meet the people who own and run the stores, where there’s an active business association that puts on really good activities, and easy transit (even light rail, which will come sooner than we think). It’s also about the common feeling that it’s our main neighborhood business district – the hub of our small town in the big city.

Throughout West Seattle, a lot of older folks who have lived here forever have sold their homes for huge amounts of money to younger families who moved in from all over the country. They were not originally West Seattle kids, but they really want to embrace West Seattle, and the character of the Junction, and want to be a part of it.

All of that sort of seeped into me as I grew up. My dad wanted us at Husky all the time. Even if we were running around in the backroom, he wanted us close-by. We helped make ice cream in the middle of the night. He had us running back and forth with ice-cream scoopers getting people cones because he wanted us active in it all.

We are blessed in the fact that we have been here long enough that we are a big part of the community.

When we move a few doors down the street, it might be a new building, but it’s going to be the same people. It’s become a huge comfort zone for me, being in West Seattle with all these people that we know. I know my kids agree, and I trust that West Seattle will feel the same way.

Thanks for reading this. If you have any questions or comments about our project, I would love to hear from you. Drop in the store and say hi anytime.

Again, as we reported Friday, the first Southwest Design Review Board meeting for the 4747 California SW project is now set for July 19th. The draft packet for that meeting, as linked in our Friday update, can be seen here (PDF).

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DEVELOPMENT: First Design Review date set for next West Seattle Junction mixed-use project, 4747 California SW Fri, 01 Jun 2018 23:24:56 +0000 (Preferred ‘massing’ – size and shape – option for project, from draft Design Review packet)

Thanks to Scott for the tip! He spotted the first Southwest Design Review Board meeting date for the Junction mixed-use project we first told you about back in February, at 4747 California SW, on the sites that currently hold Bikram Yoga and Sleepers in Seattle. The site’s owner/developers were described by one of them, Husky Deli‘s Jack Miller, as an “all-West Seattle team.” The review date is July 19th, 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle, and as always with Design Review meetings, there will be a public-comment period.

The proposed project is listed as 7 stories, 82 apartments – mostly one-bedrooms, some studios – with 5,000 square feet of commercial space and 45 offstreet parking spaces. The draft Design Review “packet” in the city file confirms that Miller plans to move Husky Deli there. Two other things to note: Since this is the Early Design Guidance phase, it’s focused on the “massing” – size and shape – of the project, not design details, so don’t read too much into the imagery; second, the formal notice of this meeting isn’t out yet – it’s “tentatively” scheduled on the city’s calendar until the notice is out.

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