West Seattle, Washington
(Singing Marcello the painter: Jason Fowler; entering, as Rodolfo the poet: Gino Lucchetti)
On the lower level of The Kenney, the strains of “La Bohéme” have been resounding for months – as Lyric Opera Northwest prepares to perform Puccini‘s “crowd-pleaser” opera at The Moore downtown next Sunday afternoon. With the company’s founders based in West Seattle, Kim Cooney explains, The Kenney became its “secret rehearsal site” … she adds, “Sometimes at night you can hear a soprano soloist singing in the dark on the way to her car.” The rehearsing’s almost about to make way for showtime. Lyric Opera NW co-founder Pamela Casella is directing the production; co-founder Craig Heath Nim sings the role of Colline.
One of the reasons they chose “La Bohéme” for their next production: The cast includes more than a few children (as you’ll see in the background in our video clip); they have a children’s workshop on Queen Anne and this enables some of their proteges to return to the stage (some of them were in an earlier LONW production of “Oliver“). We dropped in on their rehearsal Friday night; they practiced at The Kenney again tonight, and now move to The Moore for dress rehearsals and a preview, before the Sunday 4 pm show (March 27 – ticket info here, including an online-purchase option).
Residents and visitors at The Kenney got a summer serenade on the northwest lawn tonight – that’s Ed Hartman on the marimba, during the retirement center’s annual summer barbecue party. Here’s the view looking over the roses and dahlias:
As reported here earlier this month, The Kenney is currently revising its redevelopment plan – two years after announcing the expansion project – and promising to have a new one out for community consideration within a month or two, before the official review process resumes.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It’s been almost exactly two years since a WSB’er’s e-mail about redevelopment plans at The Kenney – the century-old retirement complex north of Lincoln Park – led us to sit down with CEO Kevin McFeely for a conversation that resulted in the first news story about the project.
It’s an understatement to say a lot has changed as the proposal – which stirred intense emotions, from neighbors, other community members, and from those with ties to The Kenney – has evolved over those two years. And now it’s evolving again – with the goal to have a new, smaller plan for consideration at community meetings in the next few months, according to McFeely, with whom we talked on Monday, along with the local architect/developer who joined the project team earlier this year, Euclid Development‘s T.J. Lehman, who describes it as in “retooling mode.”
As first reported here in April, the redevelopment plan for The Kenney is undergoing some revision – changing into “something smaller,” as T.J. Lehman of West Seattle-based Euclid Development told the Morgan Community Association at their last quarterly meeting. As part of the changes, The Kenney has just sold some land. CEO Kevin McFeely confirmed to WSB not only that they’re selling 7022 46th Avenue SW (the quarter-acre parcel across SW Myrtle from The Kenney’s NE corner; the site holds an old house and was listed for just under half a million dollars), but that the deal is closing today. He explains that “the property no longer fits into our plans” because of the “retooling” of the redevelopment project. McFeely says he expects to be able to reveal more specifics on the downsized project by the end of next month. (Our 2-year archive of stories on The Kenney’s project can be browsed here.)
Tonight’s Morgan Community Association meeting at The Kenney was really two meetings in one. For the first hour, president Deb Barker cracked the whip to keep a jammed agenda galloping ahead, to leave maximum time for the second hour (and then some) to focus on the reason for a big turnout (more than 50 people) – the controversial proposals for “Combined Sewer Overflow” control in the area feeding Murray Pump Station at Lowman Beach. We’re writing a separate, long story on the latter discussion – full of “passions,” as visiting Fauntleroy Community Association president Bruce Butterfield put it – but before then, here are the highlights of what else was discussed in Hour 1, from a change in the Kenney’s redevelopment, to the case of homophobic-graffiti vandal Ryan Cox, to a RapidRide update, to park proposals, to the official date for the Morgan Community Festival, plus a followup to the Beach Drive mudslide – read on:Read More
NEW FERRY’S JOURNEY: The state’s new 64-car ferry Chetzemoka will make its first journey tomorrow, under tow to Everett Shipyard “for final outfitting and system testing prior to conducting dock and sea trials,” according to the WSDOT announcement. You should be able to see it from east- and north-facing West Seattle shores after it leaves Todd Pacific Shipyards on Harbor Island around 8; it’s due in Everett around noon.
From this morning’s Land Use Information Bulletin, just sent by the city: First, key land-use approvals have been granted for 5020 California SW, a 91-residential-unit/4,000-sf-retail project south of The Junction, once being developed as “Spring Hill” (rendering at right) by BlueStar, the original Fauntleroy Place (Whole Foods etc.) developers, then foreclosed on last year, as reported here. The decisions are linked here; the contact listed for a project is a representative of Shoreline Bank, which owned the site (home to three vacant multifamily buildings) at last report, and put it up for sale last fall (reported here). – we have a message out to ask if they plan on proceeding, but in the meantime, the city documentation notes that anyone interested in appealing the new decisions has until February 22nd – how to do that is explained here. (P.S., before you ask, nothing major new on the Whole Foods site, just a continually growing sheaf of legal documents in the ongoing lawsuit – 269 separate documents; we check the file frequently.) 11:35 AM UPDATE: Just talked to Shoreline Bank’s contact re: 5020 California. He says they are pursuing the permits while continuing to offer the property for sale; the bank does NOT intend to develop the site itself.
Also from the land-use bulletin: The city has officially received the street-vacation petition for 46th Place SW (Google Street View map), as part of The Kenney‘s redevelopment. That means it’s time for public comments. The petition, and comment process, are explained here, on the notice.
THE KENNEY: From last night’s Morgan Community Association meeting (full report to come) – A West Seattle consultant working on the retirement center’s redevelopment project says they’re working toward having its next Design Review meeting in early March (no date formally set yet). The latest comment period for the proposal is open until Feb. 3; the consultant says the project team is looking at all the comments as they come in – “We just went (downtown) and picked up another batch (Wednesday), 16 more.” He says traffic and parking concerns are generating the most comments right now.
ADMIRAL SAFEWAY: The lone West Seattle item on today’s Land Use Information Bulletin from the city finalizes the Design Review meeting date first noted here a week ago – 6:30 pm February 11, Youngstown Arts Center. Here’s the official notice.
Thanks to Cindi Barker from Morgan Community Association for the update that the city has granted a request to extend the comment period for The Kenney‘s redevelopment-rezoning request, reported here earlier this week. The comment period now will be held open till February 3rd; the notice posted online includes a link you can use to send in your comment(s). The Kenney project also will be discussed at the quarterly MoCA meeting next week (as noted here last night).
As pointed out by Cindi Barker in the latest Morgan Community Association bulletin, The Kenney has now officially applied for the “contract rezone” it needs to carry out the current redevelopment plan (above), which the online notice summarizes:
Council Land Use Action to contract rezone 228,490 sq. ft. of land from LDT & L3 to MR and to allow a 387,450 sq. ft. expansion to an existing independent living apartment, assisted living and nursing home facility (The Kenney). Project includes three, 4-6 story multifamily structures containing 202 independent living apartments, 112 assisted living units, and 35 skilled nursing units. Parking for 279 vehicles to be provided below grade. Project includes 57,681 cu. yds. of grading and street vacation (46th Pl SW). Existing landmark building (Seaview) to be modified and relocated on site. Ten existing multifamily structures to be demolished.
A “contract rezone” means that a site would be rezoned under specific terms for a specific proposal, and, like any zoning change, requires City Council approval. Comments on the proposal are being accepted through January 20th; the online notice has a link for submitting them. As for the status of the project overall, here’s our October report on its most recent Southwest Design Review Board meeting – at least one more SWDRB meeting is still required for final approval. The date for that is not set yet. It’s been almost a year and a half since our first report on the project at The Kenney; all WSB coverage is archived here (newest to oldest).
During Wednesday’s celebration of The Kenney‘s grand-opening centennial, attendees also were invited to look to its future as well as its past, with renderings of its latest redevelopment proposal set up on easels around the room. That proposal was presented to the Southwest Design Review Board one week ago, along with the latest layout for the Admiral Safeway project. We reported the meeting’s headlines that night but never the details – several have asked, so for starters, here’s the rest of the story on The Kenney’s review, and what’s next – read on:Read More
At The Kenney‘s celebration this afternoon of the 100th anniversary of its grand opening, Kaia Hlavacek portrayed the senior-living center’s co-founder Jessie Kenney, in turn-of-the-20th-century garb. Meantime, just blocks away, the Solstice Park P-Patch hosted young gardeners and their adult assistants:
A group of students from the Fauntleroy Children’s Center before-and-after-school-care program – headquartered at the old schoolhouse – have a plot at the P-Patch where they are growing produce to donate to food-bank clients. Today, they were “winterizing” the plot, as FCC’s Kim Sheridan put it – with the help of a generous donation of soil-amending material from Burien Bark.
EARLY DISMISSAL DAY FOR MANY SCHOOLS: It’s officially an “early dismissal day” for Seattle Public Schools, with many independent schools following suit, while some tweak the schedule to suit what needs to be done (at Chief Sealth High School, for example, no classes – it’s parent/teacher conference time).
(August 2009 photo by Christopher Boffoli)
THE KENNEY’S 100TH: Big celebration today at The Kenney (7125 Fauntleroy Way) – marking the 100th anniversary of its grand opening. Here’s the invite:
In honor of Samuel and Jessie Kenney, please join us as we celebrate 100 years of The Kenney’s Grand Opening!
4:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m., Community Rooms at The Kenney
It will be an open house with a short program at 4:15 p.m. in the Community Rooms. If you are unable to make it for the program, please stop by later for a glass of wine and some food.
The Calvary Lutheran Choir will also be performing songs from the early 1900s and will be dressed in clothing from that time period.
A chocolate fountain and champagne bar in the Historic Seaview Building, along with a historical timeline and Samuel and Jessie Kenney (volunteers dressed up), will also be in attendance.
HIGHLAND PARK ACTION COMMITTEE: 7 pm tonight, Highland Park Improvement Club building – the agenda note from HPAC chair Dan Mullins:
This month we will have 2 speakers and a twist on Nicole’s Local Business Spotlight that will surprise you.
Our first Speaker will be Susanne Friedman from Seattle Parks Dept. to give us an update on the progress and future plans for Westcrest Park. Our second speaker will be Amy Shaflik from Treehouse to let us know about the great work they are doing for foster children in our community. And Nicole’s Spotlight will be very different and fun and I predict that you will want to get involved.
Please come and meet your neighbors, enjoy a little potluck dinner and help make our neighborhood a great place to live!
“DOW CHOW”: No, this has nothing to do with a certain candidate. In this case, “Dow” stands for “Dow Jones Industrial Average.” 5-11 pm tonight, Endolyne Joe’s (WSB sponsor) is raising money for Arts Corps with a fun contest that’s paired with special discounts. First – the discounts: Whatever the Dow closes at today, no menu price will be higher – for example, yesterday it closed at 9882, so the most expensive menu item would have been $9.88. Now, the guessing: Guess tonight what the Dow will close at TOMORROW – $1 per guess – and the person who comes closest will win the closing number worth of meals at Chow Foods (parent company of Endolyne Joe’s) restaurants – if it closes at 9900, you get $9,900 worth. Read more about the contest, promotion and fundraiser here – then go to Endolyne Joe’s between 5 and 11 tonight (maybe right after visiting the not-far-away Kenney!).
First Southwest Design Review Board meeting in three months tonight – if there are no projects to review, they don’t meet – and it was a 3 1/2-hour doubleheader. Toplines while we work on the longer story: The Kenney‘s redevelopment (see the presentation here) advances out of “early design guidance” after four meetings, which means one more meeting ahead for what could be a final review; most of Admiral Safeway‘s redevelopment (see the presentation here) needs to come back for at least one more look – main objection is that the California side of the store doesn’t have openings/entrances/features with which to engage – but the board gave thumbs-up to the request for final approval for the smaller retail building on the site, which Safeway wants to build fast so it can house the pharmacy while the rest of the store is closed during construction. More to come in the morning! (From left in photo: Kenney CEO Kevin McFeely, Design Review Board members Myer Harrell and Joe Hurley, city planner Michael Dorcy) P.S. One reminder: Friday (10/23) is the deadline for comment on the “alley vacation” that is part of the Admiral Safeway proposal, requiring a separate type of approval. Here’s our original story about the proposal and the call for comments (with info on how to send yours).
When we reported this last week, the date was labeled in the city system as “tentative” – but the official notices came out in today’s Land Use Information Bulletin, so you can mark your calendar: On Thursday, October 22nd, the Southwest Design Review Board will get its next look at two major West Seattle redevelopment proposals: The Kenney (6:30 pm; here’s the official notice) and Admiral Safeway (8 pm; here’s the official notice). The meeting’s at Youngstown Arts Center, 4408 Delridge (map). For The Kenney, this is the 4th “early design guidance” meeting, so the Design Review Board will look at the project at least one more time after this; Safeway passed EDG, so this could be the last look. Public comment will be taken on both. (What’s Design Review, you ask? The city explains, here.)
A sign of the development slowdown – the Southwest Design Review Board hasn’t met in 2 months – no projects to review. But now the schedule shows encores for two redevelopment projects that have both been before the SWDRB at least once: The Kenney and Admiral Safeway (each of those links will take you to the official city project page). The city’s scheduling page cautions that this date is tentative, but for now, they’re both on the schedule for a SWDRB meeting on October 22nd at Youngstown Arts Center in North Delridge. The last review for The Kenney was in May (WSB coverage here); since then, its iconic cupola-topped Seaview building has been declared a city landmark. The last review for the Admiral Safeway project was in November (WSB coverage here); last Tuesday, the city announced it’s seeking comments on the request to “vacate” an alley section that goes through the site. If the scheduling doesn’t change, The Kenney is scheduled for a 6:30 hearing October 22, followed by the 8 pm review for Admiral Safeway.
(Thursday night photo by Christopher Boffoli)
KENNEY SALE: West Seattle’s newest official city landmark, The Kenney‘s cupola-topped Seaview Building, marks the site of one of today’s many sales – Household goods, treasures, more, 9 am-4 pm, with this sale at The Kenney benefiting its fund taking care of residents who “outlive their financial resources.” 7125 Fauntleroy (map).
LOTS OF OTHER SALES: Other fundraising sales (like one for PAWS) and garage/yard sales happening TODAY are listed in the WSB Forums’ Freebies/Deals/Sales section – any time you have a sale, whether yard or business, you’re welcome to post there for free too.
HOLY FAMILY STREET FAIR: Holy Family School is on the line between West Seattle and White Center and inviting everybody in both communities – and beyond – to its El Carnaval street fair today and tomorrow, 10 am start both days. 20th SW will be blocked off just south of Roxbury for the fun (map).
MORE EVENTS/ACTIVITIES/ATTRACTIONS! … listed in the latest West Seattle Weekend Lineup.
AND A TRAFFIC REMINDER … The South Park Bridge is scheduled to be closed 7 am-7 pm today for repair work.
We’re at the Municipal Tower downtown, where the Landmarks Preservation Board has just made its decision: The century-old, cupola-topped Seaview Building at The Kenney will be designated as an official city landmark. Much discussion centered on whether the site itself (with the stipulated exclusion of four other buildings) should be included in the landmark designation, which would mean the Landmarks Board will have more of a role in decisions to be made regarding The Kenney’s redevelopment project. Board members expressed particular interest in the “west gardens” outside The Seaview. In the vote, they decided the site WILL be part of the landmark designation too. (This is the second meeting in a row at which the Landmarks Board has voted to designate a West Seattle facility as a landmark – two weeks ago, The Sanctuary at Admiral, formerly Sixth Church of Christ, Scientist, was designated.)
ADDED 5:17 PM: A few more notes: The Kenney was the work of Graham and Myers; one of the partners, John Graham Sr., is credited with designing many of Seattle’s best-known commercial buildings. The buildings excluded in the site designation were listed as Sunrise, Ballymena, Lincoln Vista and a collection of sheds; some features of the Seaview Building itself also are excluded, including its interior – which is proposed for renovation as part of The Kenney’s redevelopment – and a few other features added in the ’50s and ’60s, including an enclosed exterior staircase.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR ELECTION RESULTS: Our previous five reports focused on last night’s first round of election results, and candidate reaction. But many more votes remain to be counted. Next step: 4:30 pm today, King County goes public with its next count. This will be a daily affair for a while (here’s the official schedule), with final certification expected two weeks from today.
HEAT: Could hit 90 today, and that would be a record for this date.
THE KENNEY: One air-conditioned place to be at mid-afternoon: The Landmarks Preservation Board‘s meeting, 3:30 pm, Municipal Tower downtown. They’ll decide whether to designate The Kenney‘s Seaview Building as an official city landmark. (Here’s our preview.)
Publishing the reminder today, in case you want to attend tomorrow afternoon’s hearing: The city Landmarks Preservation Board is scheduled to decide at 3:30 pm tomorrow whether The Kenney‘s century-old Seaview Building (left) should be designated an official city landmark (here’s the nomination document). Last month, board members voted to accept the nomination for consideration (WSB coverage here); tomorrow, they will see another presentation, ask questions, take public comment, and vote. At an early stage of The Kenney’s planning for major redevelopment, the building was proposed for demolition, but the latest plan calls for saving Seaview. The Landmarks Board meets on the 40th floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower (700 5th; map) downtown; if you can’t be there in person, you can send comments here.
Later this month, The Kenney‘s century-old Seaview Building will be considered by the city Landmarks Preservation Board for designation as a city landmark – but tonight, it’s a stately backdrop for the retirement center’s annual barbecue. What’s for dinner, you ask? Salmon and hot dogs, among other things:
And though “green” may not be a color you associate with sizzling barbecue, The Kenney’s been making headlines for its Green Team (as reported here last year), and that led to some showcasing tonight as well:
Tonight’s music is being provided by the Duwamish Dixieland Jazz Band, who you can catch tomorrow night at Providence Mount St. Vincent‘s first show in this year’s Summer Concerts at The Mount (WSB sponsor) series (6 pm, free):
The Kenney’s guest list for tonight included hundreds of residents, neighbors, family and friends, and they’re scheduled to continue the celebration till about 7 pm.
ORIGINAL 3:44 PM REPORT: We’re back in the city Landmarks Preservation Board‘s hearing room on the 40th floor of the Municipal Tower downtown as The Kenney presents its landmark nomination for part of the property, including the iconic Seaview Building (2008 photo above). See the photo-laden nomination document here. This is part of the process for its redevelopment plan, which at one time included a proposal to demolish The Seaview; that proposal has been scrapped and the plan now calls for saving it. Those on hand for the hearing include The Kenney’s CEO Kevin McFeely and Ron Richardson from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. We will update this item when the board decides whether to accept the nomination for consideration, which would then lead to a later public hearing and vote; landmark status brings some financial incentives (such as tax breaks) but also means restrictions on what can be done to the landmark in the future. 5:08 PM UPDATE: The Landmarks Board has just voted unanimously to consider the Seaview Building for landmark status. A hearing, at which the final vote will likely be taken, is set for the board’s 3:30 pm meeting on August 19th. No one spoke today against the proposal; those speaking for it also included SWSHS director Andrea Mercado and a representative from Historic Seattle.