West Seattle, Washington
Three notes this afternoon:
TRIANGLE POLICE RESPONSE: Thanks to the reader who sent a tip about that big police response in the alley between Link and Lien Animal Clinic a short time ago. We went over to find out what was going on; police at the scene told us they had detained a suspect they had been seeking in relation to an assault on an officer. No other details so far.
STOLEN ROLLERBLADES: Tracey emailed this report this morning:
Reporting a car prowl at 30th ave SW and Holden evening of 9/13. Hoping readers could keep an eye out for my stolen rollerblades. I imagine they will get dumped. Sunglasses and prescription glasses too.
ABANDONED BICYCLE: From Amy:
I found this ditched bike near my apartment (Alki area) this morning.
Yours? Let us know and we’ll connect you.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Though Design Review is supposed to focus on buildings, the streetscape occupied much of the attention as the Southwest Design Review Board got its first look at the second half of the Sweeney family’s West Seattle Triangle proposal.
The first half, 4406 36th SW, got first-phase approval (Early Design Guidance) two weeks ago (WSB coverage here). Thursday’s meeting was about the building to its west, 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW. Four of the five SWDRB members were present – chair Crystal Loya, John Cheng, Alan Grainger, and Scott Rosenstock (all West Seattleites serving on the all-volunteer, city-appointed board) – along with the city planner assigned to the project, Sean Conrad. The meeting followed the long-standard format, in four segments:
Two weeks ago, the Southwest Design Review Board gave first-phase approval (WSB coverage here) to 4406 36th SW, half of the two-building Triangle megaproject planned by the Sweeney family, longtime owners of Alki Lumber. At 4 pm today, online, the board takes its first look at the other half of the project, 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW, described as “a 7-story, 209-unit apartment building with retail (with p)arking for 136 vehicles.” The meeting packet is here; information on watching the meeting, and/or commenting during/before/after it, is here.
The West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) has announced its reopening plan:
We’re excited to announce that we’ll be welcoming our members back starting the week of August 17th! We’ve adjusted available services, reduced capacity, and launched new policies and procedures to ensure the safety of you and our staff and adhere to the governor’s Safe Start guidelines. Here’s everything you need to know about coming back to the Y.
The Triangle facility (3622 SW Snoqualmie) reopens next Tuesday; the Fauntleroy facility’s reopening date is not yet set.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Five months into the pandemic, the city’s Design Review program has joined the online-meeting world, and a West Seattle project was first up.
The Thursday afternoon meeting for 4406 36th SW – one-half of a two-building megaproject planned by the Sweeney family, longtime Alki Lumber owners – went smoothly, and concluded with the Southwest Design Review Board voting unanimously to advance the proposal to Phase 2.
The online meeting followed the same four-segment format of in-person Design Review Board meetings, with just one alteration – signing up to comment was supposed to be done within the first half-hour.
All five board members (a volunteer position) were present – chair Crystal Loya introduced members John Cheng, Alan Grainger, Matt Hutchins, and Scott Rosenstock; all are West Seattle residents. Three city reps to – planner Sean Conrad, assigned to the project; Lisa Rutzick, the program manager; and Daniel Kopald, handling the tech.
Here’s how the meeting unfolded:
The Southwest Design Review Board‘s first online meeting happens at 4 pm today, earlier than previously announced, but the agenda is the same – the 7-story, 277-unit mixed-use project proposed for 4406 36th SW, one of two buildings comprising the Sweeney family’s first proposal for their West Seattle Triangle holdings, including the site of their legacy business, Alki Lumber. (The other building, 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW, will be reviewed at 4 pm August 20th.) Information on how to watch/listen to today’s meeting is here – registration required – along with information on how to comment on the project. The design packet for today’s meeting is here; our recent preview is here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
As we first reported 2 weeks ago, two 7-story mixed-use buildings proposed for the Sweeney family’s property in the West Seattle Triangle are going before the Southwest Design Review Board next month. Though these will be reviewed as two projects – 4406 36th SW (277 apartments) and 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW (209 apartments) – the all-West Seattle team behind them says it’s one vision, and met with us this week for a design preview, 5 months after we covered their “early community outreach” session.
First, remember that the reviews on August 6 and 20 are in the Early Design Guidance stage of Design Review, which means the focus will be on the proposed size, shape, and location of the buildings. In this case, as explained by developer Ed Hewson and architect Jenny Chapman in our conversation, there’s a vision for the street between them – 36th SW south of Fauntleroy – too:
The street factors heavily into the plan – explained as a “reinvention.” Over the years, 36th has seemed more like a default loading zone for the Sweeneys’ legacy business, Alki Lumber; this development will change that in a big way, transforming this gateway to West Seattle (with a potential light-rail station nearby in 2030, as well as the eventual restoration of bridge traffic before then). The project is envisioned with “boardwalks” between the building and sidewalk – here’s a cross-section:
The project team is working with SDOT on the plan, which proposes that about 6′ of the boardwalk would come from city right-of-way (they note that the street is 80′ wide) and 4′ from their property. That would all be in addition to a standard sidewalk. So what might it look like? Here’s a street-level concept drawing:
Because the “boardwalk” would lead to an extra setback at street level, they are proposing a zoning exception – “departure,” which the Design Review Board will be asked to consider – that would skip the upper-story setbacks instead.
Lynn Sweeney explained that the ground-level retail vision includes part of the family business – a “heritage hardware store” – as well as café-type space, and other retail potential, with a “market feel” – in an “unexpected” area that they hope will synergize with other businesses new and old, including the family’s Grove/West Seattle Inn lodging as well as the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor). Another envisioned synergy – the midblock connection heading eastward toward 35th SW just south of Avalon, with RapidRide stops and West Seattle Stadium access:
The connection would be to the hillclimb stairway at Aura on 35th.
The project is going into review a year and a half after the Sweeney family first announced it was studying “alternatives” for some of their property. So what happens next? Both Design Review meetings are scheduled online for 6:30 pm – these city-website links will show how to watch/participate/comment:
The last time the Southwest Design Review Board met was March 5th, just before in-person community meetings came to a halt because of the pandemic. Four months later, the city is working on getting the all-volunteer boards set up for online meetings, and two neighboring projects in the West Seattle Triangle are tentatively set for reviews in August: 4406 36th SW on August 6th – summarized as “a 7-story, 277-unit apartment building with retail. Parking for 188 vehicles proposed” and 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW on August 20th, summarized as “a 7-story, 209-unit apartment building with retail. Parking for 136 vehicles proposed.” Seeing those dates and knowing the board hasn’t been meeting, we checked with the Department of Construction and Inspections, whose spokesperson Wendy Shark told us:
We are hoping to launch the pilot of virtual Design Review Board meetings in August. At this time, these projects are intended to be conducted with the Board via an online platform. Details regarding the remote meetings will be forthcoming on the Design Review website.
You might also be wondering about big projects proceeding despite the bridge’s closure and uncertain future. These are part of the Sweeney family’s holdings centered on the current site of their longtime business Alki Lumber; we asked family spokesperson Lynn Sweeney, who replied, “We are moving forward with Design Review. I know there is a lot of uncertainty right now but we remain hopeful that our project will ultimately be well-timed.” We last spoke with her back in January, when these two sites were first entered into the city process; that was a year after the family announced they were “studying alternatives.” Our past coverage also includes February’s early community outreach meeting with the development team.
Usually right about now on Memorial Day, local veterans and other community members would be gathering at Forest Lawn (WSB sponsor) for the annual remembrance ceremony. It’s not happening this year, so instead, you’ll find American Legion Post 160 commander Keith Hughes, an Army veteran, at the post (3618 SW Alaska) with the traditional poppies. If you’re in the area, he’ll be there until about 5 pm.
This Memorial Day will be without most of the traditional West Seattle observances. No flags in The Junction; no service at Forest Lawn (WSB sponsor). But we do have this announcement from American Legion Post 160 commander Keith Hughes:
As you are all aware, we are still under the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, so there will not be any of the usual Memorial Day activities/services. However, on Monday I will be at the Legion Hall with Memorial Day Poppies (9 am-5 pm), and there will be a Texas BBQ Food Cart (Veteran owned and operated) next door at Mountain to Sound Outfitters that will be giving 25% discounts to Veterans & Families from 1 PM to 5 PM. In addition to the Vets Discount, he also donates a percentage of his net to the DAV Emergency Fund. If you happen to be out that day (for an essential trip), please ware your face mask and stop by for a poppy.
Post 160 is at 3618 SW Alaska.
Two business updates from the WSB inbox:
THE GROVE: From general manager John Coney at West Seattle’s only hotel/motel, in The Triangle:
Just letting you know that The Grove is open for anyone needing a room for a few days. We have lowered our rates to help out in this difficult time. We are all practicing safe distancing, wearing masks, cleaning everything with disinfectant cleaner and do our own laundry in house so it’s not being touched by anyone off property. If anyone just needs to get a way for a few days, they can call or drop by.
The Grove is locally owned, at 3512 SW Alaska, 206-937-9920.
STAPLES: From general manager Deena Knapton at the Westwood Village Staples:
I wanted to let you know that Staples has been deemed an essential business; we are open and ready to serve our community. We see it as a privilege and a large responsibility to continue serving our community. As such, we’ve compiled a few services to specifically help the restaurant industry and provide just a little more relief.
Local restaurants can immediately take advantage of 250 free full-color menus from our in-store Print & Marketing department, as well as free full-color CDC health awareness posters and complimentary faxing, scanning, and computer workstation services. We are also offering curbside pickup to all customers for any orders from our print center and for products from our floor.
In addition, we are excited to share that Staples stores (are) accepting donations of the following types of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals: unused N95 respirator face masks, disposable face masks, face-shields, goggles and eye shields, and isolation or surgical gowns. If you have any of the above, please drop it off at the Westwood Village Staples store or any Staples location and we will get it in the hands of our heroes. Check out cmnh.com/staples for additional information.
We checked – Seattle Children’s Hospital is the nearest CMN hospital.
Got a business update? Please let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org preferred, but text/phone 206-293-6302 if you can’t email.
It’s April, and that means the final stretch of paving, plus permanent striping, for the 35th/Avalon/Alaska repaving-and-more project. SDOT sent this update late Friday:
Week of April 6, final grinding and paving night work on SW Avalon Way from Fauntleroy Way SW to 35th Ave SW. Work will begin at 7PM, driveways will be temporarily impacted overnight.
As early as the week of April 6, installing final striping on 35th Ave SW, SW Alaska St, and SW Avalon Way. No parking signs will be placed along the corridor 3 days in advance to assist with striping.
Please note, we are not able to complete paving or striping during wet weather.
SW Snoqualmie St is now open. We anticipate completing grinding and final paving of SW Avalon Way between 35th Ave SW and Fauntleroy Way SW next week. When we grind and pave, SW Avalon Way from 35th Ave SW to Fauntleroy Way SW will be closed to traffic from 7 PM to 7 AM. Work is weather dependent and subject to change.
During nighttime grinding and paving next week, starting April 6, please expect:
Overnight grinding on Monday night, April 6 beginning at 7 PM:
We will grind the road down to prepare the road for an even repaving. Driveways will be temporarily impacted as equipment moves along the pavement
Overnight paving on Wednesday, April 8 or Friday, April 10 beginning at 7 PM:
Paving will take place after grinding and at night. We will send updates to confirm when this work is taking place.
Nighttime work hours from 7 PM – 7 AM. Crews have a temporary noise variance to do this work.
Grinding and paving work to cause vibrations and the smell of tar.
Grinding and paving to take approximately one overnight shift each to complete.
Driveway access on SW Avalon Way between 35th Ave SW and Fauntleroy Way SW to be closed for 2 nights, while we grind and repave the road. We will let property owners know which night to expect this work, when confirmed, and emergency access will always be maintained.
Fresh pavement is hot, oily, and extremely sticky. Please keep off new pavement if you are walking, especially with dogs, as the oil and pavement can harm their feet and be difficult to remove from fur.
We will open driveways as they are safe for people walking and driving
As a reminder, for the safety of our crews and your fellow residents, please follow posted detour routes and do not disturb traffic control. We anticipate laying down final striping in April, weather depending.
Also this next week:
35th Ave SW and SW Alaska St: Next week we will be wrapping up work along sidewalk and will be working on ADA curb ramps at the east side of 35th Ave SW at SW Alaska St.
When the work began a year ago, it was projected to last 14 months (as reported here in April 2019).
Thanks for the tip! We received email on Monday that the ex-Midas site at 4457 Fauntleroy Way SW had a new FOR SALE sign. No online listing as of last night, but it’s up now: Asking price $3,250,000. From the brochure (which is a wealth of info about demographics, other nearby prperty prices, etc.):
The 11,442 SF lot provides flexible zoning, NC3-75(M) with a 5.5 FAR (floor area ratio) for maximum density. … Although the highest and best use is considered a mixed-use multifamily development, a developer could lease out the existing building until development plans were in place.
After the Midas shop abruptly closed more than nine months ago, a sign on the door called it a “construction” closure, and corporate HQ told WSB, “We have every intention of reopening the location to continue serving the community.” But there has been no sign of activity at the site or in permit files. Two weeks ago, an apparent burglary led to an explosives scare, and now, the site’s on the market.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Businesses’ concerns dominated this week’s Early Community Outreach for Design Review meeting for the two-building megaproject planned for two sides of a Triangle block owned by the Sweeney family of Alki Lumber fame.
The handful of community members in attendance included an adjacent business’s owner and founder as well as the proprietor of a business that wlll have to move (as will the Sweeneys’ own century-old enterprise) when construction begins – though that’s still years away.
The potential timeline was one of the new pieces of information made available at the meeting, which happened Wednesday night at Chaco Canyon Organic Café, not far from the project site, which is officially in city records with the addresses 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW and 4406 36th SW.
6:08 PM: Tomorrow brings the first public discussion of the biggest project since the city launched the Early Community Outreach for Design Review process – the early-stage plan for two mixed-use buildings with ~500 apartments on part of the Sweeney family’s land along Fauntleroy west of Avalon. (The official project addresses are 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW and 4406 36th SW.) The meeting’s at 6 pm Wednesday at nearby Chaco Canyon Organic Café (3770 SW Alaska); this stage of the process is generally informal and, as seen in the ECODR meetings we’ve covered, a good chance to truly talk with, more than listen to, the project team. No RSVP required.
9:33 PM: Checking the project’s files, we’ve found a few more details. Pre-application documents say the 4400 Fauntleroy site is envisioned so far as 215 apartments and 135 offstreet-parking spaces; the 4406 36th site, 285 and 185.
This past week, we checked in on the status of the planning for a major project in The Triangle, exactly a year after the Sweeney family – best known for Alki Lumber – announced intentions to explore redevelopment. We noted that the sites at 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW and 4406 36th SW had appeared on the city website for the Early Community Outreach for Design Review process, with a ~500-apartment project in the early stage of planning. Since then, a community-meeting date has been added to the city calendar – 6 pm February 12, at Chaco Canyon Café (3770 SW Alaska). This is a casual early-feedback meeting, before, before the project moves into the formal Design Review process.
One year ago today, the Sweeney family announced they were looking at redevelopment alternatives for some of their West Seattle Triangle properties – most notably, the ones that hold their best-known business, Alki Lumber.
So what’s happened since then? We talked with family spokesperson Lynn Sweeney just as the potential project showed up this week on the city’s Early Community Outreach for Design Review website.
There’s no specific proposal yet, she told us – this is another step in the required process. Here’s the summary on the city website:
The proposed mixed-use project includes approximately 500 new residential units over approximately 18,000 SF of retail located near the future Avalon light rail station. The project spans two sites on either side of 36th Avenue SW between Avalon & Oregon.
The family, meantime, is still scouting for a new location for the lumberyard, but wants to stress it is NOT closing any time soon – the Alki Lumber move is at least “two or three years” away.
The project’s official addresses remain those of two sites, 4440 Fauntleroy Way SW and 4406 36th SW, both zoned for 75-foot mixed-use development. (The family’s holdings stretch beyond that, as detailed in this followup from last year.) The Early Community Outreach process means there’ll eventually be a community meeting or site tour before the project gets into the official Design Review Board stage, but there’s no date for that yet. The Sweeneys are continuing to work with West Seattleite-founded developer HB Management.
ADDED THURSDAY: The aforementioned early community meeting has just shown up on the city website for February 12th.
More news from the West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor) – a new executive director! Here’s the announcement introducing you to Miller:
The YMCA of Greater Seattle is proud to announce that Miller has been named as the Executive Director of the West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA. Miller joins the branch with nine years of leadership, operations, and team building experience at the YMCA and in other community organizations.
“Miller is a leader whose vision is guided by the Y’s paramount value of ensuring that all people are welcomed and belong,” says Loria Yeadon, President and CEO for the YMCA of Greater Seattle. “We’re thrilled by the leadership Miller will provide to the West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA.”
Miller began their career in 2010 with six years of leadership in the YMCA of Central Ohio and the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. During that time, Miller oversaw membership growth, retention strategies, and inclusion initiatives to become an Executive Director providing strategic vision and community engagement for the Rauner Family Y and the West Communities Y. Having designed and delivered a nationwide diversity, equity, and inclusion training program for YMCA branch leadership and key stakeholders, Miller brings specialized training in equity and inclusion, cultural awareness, trauma and conflict resolution, race, gender, LGBTQ+ communities to the West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA.
“The Y is like a second home to me,” says Miller. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of the West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA team – I look forward to learning more about how we can continue to create a sense of belonging for everyone in our community.”
Founded in the 1920s, the West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA serves children and teens throughout the community with programs in eight local schools pioneering new ways to strengthen community foundations. With two locations, the West Seattle & Fauntleroy branch offers a wide variety of fitness, youth, swimming, and community programs for all ages. The Fauntleroy location includes fitness equipment, classes, and youth sports programs. The larger West Seattle facility was expanded and renovated in 2016 providing swimming, family programs, fitness equipment, group exercise classes, and a new healthy eating kitchen. Please join the YMCA of Greater Seattle in welcoming Miller to their new position at the West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA.
Miller’s predecessor Shalimar Gonzales is now district executive with the YMCA of Greater Seattle.
The West Seattle YMCA (3622 SW Snoqualmie; WSB sponsor) will be open on the holiday – and that volunteer opportunity is one of two reasons why. Here’s the announcement:
Did you know that the West Seattle YMCA is open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Come on in for your workout, or stop by the Y on Monday, January 20th for our MLK Jr. Day of Service Community Beautification Project from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm on January 20, 2020. Interested volunteers can sign up online at this link, or just show up ready to garden!
12:52 PM: As first reported here Monday, American Legion Post 160 has opened its doors to be a “warming center” for anyone in the West Seattle area who needs somewhere to go. Just in, an update from Post 160 Commander Keith Hughes:
Through the generosity of Good Neighbors in West Seattle, we now have cots and blankets, as well as lots of coffee, tea, water, soft drinks, and hot food all day. If you or someone you know of needs to get out of the cold and wet, please let folks know we are open and will be through Friday night and breakfast on Saturday.
Post 160 is at 3618 SW Alaska (here’s a map).
THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: Now that the temperature is well above freezing, this will end at noon today (January 16th).
With no official city “warming center” in West Seattle so far, despite this week’s below-normal temperatures, American Legion Post 160 has stepped up to fill a void. Says Post 160 commander Keith Hughes, “We don’t have cots, blankets, or pillows, but we have a warm, dry building with restroom and coffee. We will stay open 24 hours if the need is here.”
Post 160 is at 3618 SW Alaska in The Triangle (here’s a map). They want to circulate the word as widely as possible, so: “Please ask your churches and other social organization to post a notice on their doors. If you see people on benches, in doorways, etc. please stop and tell them we are open for them.”
The West Seattle VFW Hall (3601 SW Alaska) is the new home of martial-arts classes taught by Au Lac Vovinam, previously held at Neighborhood House. On Saturday, the organization held an open house to celebrate. That included a lion dance just before we arrived.
Here’s how they explain what they teach:
“Vovinam is a Vietnamese martial art founded in 1938 to provide practitioners with an efficient method of self-defense. Founding Master Nguyễn Lộc believed that martial arts would contribute to freeing Vietnam from colonial French rule by building strong minds, bodies, and spirits. Vovinam is practiced with and without weapons, and includes a wide range of techniques, making it a very well-rounded martial art. Ultimately, practitioners are taught the importance of using the skills they have developed to build a stronger community. Today, (80+) years since its founding, Vovinam has many training centers in almost all continents in the world (except Antarctica) with millions of disciples.”
The open house included demonstrations:
Classes are open to anyone at least 7 years old and will be taught on Saturday and Sundays, $50/month with a $50 uniform required. To find out more and/or to register, call 206-432-5873 or email email@example.com.
Looking ahead to the weekend – you’re invited to an open house tomorrow afternoon. Au Lac Vovinam is starting martial-arts classes at the West Seattle VFW Hall in The Triangle and is inviting people to stop by, starting at noon. The VFW Hall is at 3601 SW Alaska. Classes are open to ages 7+.