West Seattle, Washington
Demolition-for-redevelopment notes today:
4745 40TH SW TEARDOWN UNDERWAY: Thanks to Maris for the heads-up on Monday that backhoes had taken up position at the 40th/Edmunds project site. They hadn’t started work by day’s end but this afternoon, they’re taking down the office building on site, former home to businesses including what might be West Seattle’s biggest tech firm, Tango Card. (You’ll recall our story last August about its search for a new WS location, which it found not far away, in Jefferson Square.) 4745 40th SW won final Design Review approval in December (WSB coverage here), and applied for the demolition permit in March. is slated for 150 units and 115 parking spaces, with some live-work units and a relatively small commercial space on the ground floor, adjacent to the future city-park site to its north. (That site in turn will soon be the temporary home of Fire Station 32 while that station is rebuilt on its site in The Triangle at 37th/38th/Alaska.)
THREE DEMOLITION-PERMIT NOTES: From the city files today, all in single-family-house projects:
*1 DOWN, 2 UP AT 4316 SW THISTLE: A demolition-permit application is in for the site of this 106-year-old Gatewood house across from the top of the fabled Thistle stairway, as well as early word of two houses to replace it, pending a lot-boundary adjustment which has a case number but no documents on file so far; county data for the 7,500-sf site does show two lot numbers.
*1 DOWN, 1 UP AT 3426 38TH SW: The permit has just been granted for demolition of this 106-year-old bungalow, with a new house slated to replace it.
1 DOWN, 1 UP AT 4707 14TH SW: A demolition permit is sought for this 85-year-old house on 15,000 sf of land, where records show one new house is planned.
Quick update from the city Municipal Tower downtown: The city Landmarks Preservation Board has just voted to approve the nomination of Charlestown Court, the brick fourplex at 3811 California SW, as a potential city landmark. A consultant hired by its owners – who want to demolish it and replace it with eight townhouses – said they don’t think it merits landmark status, a decision reached by the board six years ago when another demolition/redevelopment proposal was pending. (Since more than five years have passed, city reps explained, a new review was warranted.) Today’s vote sets the stage for a final vote on August 6th.
Nine months after a real-estate/development group bought the 12-unit apartment building at 3060 Avalon Way for just under $1 million, they’ve put it up for sale for more than twice that. The 9,500-square-foot site is listed for $2,552,000, with the listing mentioning renovations since last year’s sale, and also: “With the ability to build up to 65 feet in height on the property. The land value today is approximately the same as the asking price for the apartment building, giving the buyer an opportunity to earn income while processing permits at the City of Seattle.” The building is sandwiched between two sites that have had development proposals in the past few years – apartments at 3062 Avalon (which the DPD site notes were canceled last year) and 104 units of microhousing at 3050, and a few lots east of a project that just won a key approval last week, 100+ apartments at 3078 Avalon.
P.S. If you like stats and numbers, they abound in this background brochure about the 3060 Avalon property, which takes a broader look at the West Seattle and citywide apartment market, too.
If you feel strongly about microhousing – the new wave of mini-apartments that cluster around shared kitchens, usually one per floor – Monday’s your chance to speak to the City Council’s Planning/Land Use/Sustainability Committee about the proposed new city rules/definitions. The meeting agenda circulated today reminds us of the date, which, as reported here, was first announced last month. Here again is the council memo about the proposal; here’s the agenda. The public hearing is at 5:30 pm Monday (May 19th) in council chambers at City Hall downtown. (WSB photo: First West Seattle microhousing project to open, Footprint Delridge)
Dan Engel shares that video he recorded today as a house in his Seaview neighborhood was torn down – 6008 44th SW, one of the demolition permits mentioned in our roundup last Saturday. Dan says the 96-year-old, 1230-square-foot house took less than 20 minutes to take down; his video is at six times real time, so the entire demolition (minus cleanup) is shown in about 3 minutes. The house’s planned replacement is shown here.
Add another project to the Southwest Design Review Board‘s schedule for the first few months of 2014: A North Admiral apartment project first reported here last October, 16 units replacing a fourplex and house at 1606 California SW (map), is tentatively set to debut before the board on March 6th. The project site is zoned L(owrise)-3 and is proposed as three stories, with 21 offstreet parking spaces. (It’s not in a frequent-transit zone, so parking is required.) This is the eighth West Seattle project scheduled for design review in the next eight weeks.
Almost exactly six years ago – on New Year’s Day, 2008 – we took a quick “past/present” look at 4808 SW Alaska, thanks to neighbor Bill pointing out its past identity as Fraker’s Grocery. Today, the building is pretty much what it was at the time of that WSB story – vacant and rundown:
But its days are finally numbered. We’re mentioning it today because our latest routine check of city Department of Planning and Development files turned up new applications for demolition and construction permits. A new single-family house is proposed for the site, which was separated from an adjacent lot in a land-use action three years ago. But it’s noteworthy given its history, still hinted at by this shadow of a Coca-Cola sign on the south-facing window:
County records show the market’s former proprietor, Dean Fraker, owned the site until 2001; he died in 2009. It was sold again two weeks ago to a real-estate-investment LLC.
Across from the 13th hole of the West Seattle Golf Course, in the 2800 block of SW Genesee (map), a crane is lifting three prefab townhouses into place, module by module. We reported on the modules’ arrival back on Saturday; now, the installation is a hot ticket on the cold, shady side of the street:
Of course, we, our fellow newspeople, and the spectators could leave at any time. Not an option for the crew working to make sure it’s all done correctly and safely – no mean feat given the size of the lot:
As noted in our previous story, the dozen or so modules comprising Method Homes‘ 3-unit, 2-building townhouse project were trucked in from the factory in Ferndale and parked along 26th SW west of Delridge Community Center/Park, a temporary staging zone:
The work is scheduled to continue tomorrow, with intermittent lane closures on Genesee while it’s under way.
P.S. For three quick video clips from the midmorning module lift, check out the WSB Instagram feed.
(2011 photo by Ellen Cedergreen)
Nearly three years ago, the family of the creators of West Seattle’s Walker Rock Garden – a hidden but world-famous backyard labor of love – announced they planned to sell it and the little house on its grounds. At one point, it had a buyer … but the sale wasn’t completed, and it went off the market. Public tours – previously offered at least a few times a year – never resumed. We get questions from time to time about its fate, and all we could say was that public records showed it was still owned by the family. Now, we discover via a tip from Deb that the property, at 5407 37th SW, is listed for sale again, this time for $549,000, up from the $392,000 asking price in early 2011. As the listing notes, it’s a double lot, more than 12,000 square feet. (See more galleries here and here.)
Next month, the DESC housing complex now known as Cottage Grove Commons is scheduled to open at 5444 Delridge Way SW, after about a year of construction. Its 66 units will be home to 66 people who are currently homeless and dealing with challenges including mental illness and/or addiction. The advisory committee that has been meeting for more than a year and a half toured the building earlier this week; committee member Dorsol Plants recorded cell-phone video, with some narration, and published it via YouTube. After he mentioned it on the North Delridge Neighborhood Council e-mail list, we asked him if we could feature it here, in case you are interested. It’s broken into seven separate clips that are viewable as a “playlist,” or can be selected from an index, via this YT page. The clip above is one of those seven, showing the front desk area and its view of the street and courtyard.
WSB coverage of the project, dating back to first word of it in 2011, is archived here, in reverse-chronological order.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier this year, WSB started a series of stories about independent local businesses and why they matter more to a community like ours than you might realize. Then, the “West Seattle: We Have That” campaign launched at midsummer. Now, we’re continuing to publish stories as part of the series – and inviting you into the conversation. Many of the reports, including this one and the one we published four weeks ago, are being underwritten by the West Seattle Junction Association, but not as ads – it’s their contribution to an issue of importance from Alki to Westwood, Fauntleroy to Highland Park, and all over WS.
By Keith Creighton
Special to West Seattle Blog
This past month, my wife and I moved from a hill atop Morgan to that same hill a mile south in Gatewood. One of the biggest considerations we faced was trading more space for less view and giving up the easy walk to the Morgan and Alaska Junctions.
We’re not the only family facing big changes in West Seattle.
How will the surge of demolition and construction (California/Alaska, above), store closures/moves (Sweetie, Coffee to a Tea, Alki Arts) and chain introductions (including Fatburger on Alki and plans for Whole Foods Market, LA Fitness) affect the values of your home and the quality of your life? I asked several Junction-area residents and real estate pros to share their expertise:
√ Dawn Leverett of Windermere Real Estate
√ Katie Hildebrand and Kirsten Donovan of The Usonia Group/Keller Williams Realty
√ Jill Campbell of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate
Can you put a price tag on the concept of walkability? What will happen if the big chains push mom and pop shops out of West Seattle? Is White Center becoming the new West Seattle? Read what the pros have to say and weigh in with your comments.
Six West Seattle development updates today – starting with a special public meeting for one of the projects proposed without parking spaces:
SPECIAL MEETING FOR 4535 44TH SW: This five-story, 36-apartment building on the west side of The Junction (map) currently includes no parking. Neighbors concerned about that and other aspects of the “Lofts at The Junction” project circulated a petition last summer seeking a special public meeting to address that and other State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)-related concerns, and that meeting has just been officially scheduled and announced. The meeting is set for 6:30 pm Tuesday, November 19th, at Hope Lutheran School (42nd/Oregon); here’s the formal notice. This is separate from the Design Review process, in which this project passed Early Design Guidance in May (WSB coverage here), with an early-stage proposal including the sketch you see above; it still has to go through at least one more Design Review meeting, and there’s no date for that yet.
Meantime, today’s edition of the city’s twice-weekly Land Use Information Bulletin also included confirmation of the next two Southwest Design Review Board sessions, both on November 21st, as reported here earlier this month:
3210 CALIFORNIA: As first reported here more than two weeks ago, this 5-story, 143-apartment, 168-parking-space mixed-use building (map) is scheduled for its next review at 6:30 pm Thursday, November 21st, at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon). See the official notice here.
3078 AVALON WAY: As first reported here 11 days ago, this 8-story, 108-apartment, 61-parking-space residential building (map) is scheduled for its second and possibly final review at 8 pm during that same November 21st meeting; its first review was more than a year ago. Here’s the official notice.
Also in today’s bulletin:
6917 CALIFORNIA SW: This is the official published notice regarding the 30-apartment, no-parking building in Morgan Junction (map) that we’ve mentioned twice, first on October 16th; the clock is now ticking on its official comment period, through November 13th.
4522 DELRIDGE WAY SW: This four-house proposal (map) also was mentioned here back on Monday; the official notice of its land-use-permit application is in today’s bulletin, with a comment period through November 13th.
3947 SW KENYON: The city is taking comments through November 13th on an application to split one lot into two at this Gatewood location (map). Separate from this application, the city website shows applications to build two new homes on the site.
(WSB photo, added Wednesday morning)
The DESC homeless-housing building at 5444 Delridge Way is three-fourths complete, DESC executive director Bill Hobson told its Advisory Committee tonight when they met at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Hobson says it’s expected to be complete in November, with residents starting to move in near year’s end, two and a half years after the $14 million plan was first disclosed to neighborhood advocates.
Asked by committee member Dorsol Plants how the residents will be chosen, Hobson said they will use DESC’s standard procedure (described in part in the project FAQ). He also announced that they’ve hired a building manager from within DESC, Levi Dineson. He and his to-be-hired staff will handle the process of choosing residents, who will be moved in groups of 15 to 20 until the 66-studio-apartment building is full. Hobson said the manager’s job also will include neighborhood outreach and participation in the North Delridge Neighborhood Council. One decision yet to be made – a permanent name for the building, currently dubbed Delridge Supportive Housing. The committee discussed the possibility of using a relevant local geographic term as part of the name – such as Longfellow, Findlay (the nearest east-west street), or Cottage Grove. The name will be chosen at the next DESC Board of Directors’ meeting.
(WSB photo, July 25: Original house at right, under-construction house at left)
The city Department of Planning and Development has just announced that it is approving the revised boundaries for splitting what was once one home’s lot at 55th/Manning (map) into three. “Lot boundary adjustments” are not uncommon, but this one has been under a microscope since early this year, because of a challenge by residents who call their neighborhood Benchview. They appealed the city’s original approval of the lot split and went all the way to King County Superior Court, where they won a partial victory last month. They believed Judge Mariane Spearman‘s decision meant the site’s new owners could only build one new house on the lot. Shortly after the decision, the owners/developers filed documents for revised boundaries, and today, the DPD sent this letter saying those will be approved – read it here (or as a PDF here if you can’t see Scribd embeds):
Benchview residents had contended the city could choose to “protect the neighborhood” rather than consider the revised boundaries; DPD director Diane Sugimura contended, in both a letter earlier this week and the letter today, that her department was required to review them for consideration. We will be checking with the Benchview neighbors to see if they plan to challenge this new decision.
ADDED 5:17 PM: Benchview spokesperson Dave Allen cc’d us on his reply to the city – an excerpt follows:
6:11 PM TUESDAY: Earlier today, we reported that The Residences at 3295, a 60-apartment mixed-use project completed last year at 35th/Avalon, is up for sale. This afternoon, WSB has learned that another building finished in 2012, Nova Apartments (WSB sponsor) at 4600 36th SW in The Triangle, has a new owner. Nova was the last West Seattle holding for Harbor Urban, which sold Mural in The Junction and Link in The Triangle last year, both built by Harbor Properties before its merger with Urban Partners last year. County records show the $17.5 million purchase closed today for Nova, an all-residential 62-unit, 36-parking-space building that started leasing last September. The new owner is Sea Apartment 1 LLC, which so far traces to a New York City-based LLC listed in state records here as ZREC.
ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING, 9:09 AM: The formal announcement of the sale, just received:
With at least half a dozen other projects along Avalon Way in varying stages of planning/construction, a recently completed building on Avalon is now up for sale.
Here’s the listing for 3295 SW Avalon Way, also known as The Residences at 3295, a six-story, 60-unit, 100-parking-space building which got its construction permits in 2006-2007, sat partially built for years, then finally was completed last year. Part of the delay was because it was originally in the portfolio of now-fugitive real-estate tycoon Michael Mastro (detained recently in France, which wouldn’t extradite him). Before that, it was supposed to be part of the Seattle Monorail right-of-way. While still unfinished, county records show that it sold for almost $4 million in 2010, and then again for $7.3 million in April of last year. It’s now owned by Randolph Street Realty Capital, headquartered in the same Chicago building as, and led by former executives of, Equity Residential, which owns the not-yet-begun Junction project site at California/Alaska/42nd.
Back to 3295 Avalon (which has a bit of history on its current owners’ website): According to the listing and accompanying documents, there is no set asking price for The Residences at 3295 – they are calling for offers this Thursday (July 25). The extensively detailed flyer for the property mentions that the building’s entire retail space is leased for five years; that would be the new Redline, whose proprietors we’re working to reach for an update on when they plan to open – we last talked with them in March.
P.S. Selling a recently completed project isn’t unheard of; three newer West Seattle projects – Mural in The Junction, Link in The Triangle, and the Admiral Safeway redevelopment – were purchased last year by American Realty Advisors, which is headquartered in Los Angeles.
Datapoint: The flyer for The Residences at 3295 quotes analysts as saying the vacancy rate in the West Seattle apartment “submarket” is currently 2.5 percent.
The city’s first take at “microhousing” regulations is scheduled for a special meeting Friday (June 28th) of the City Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee. That’s the date mentioned by DPD director Diane Sugimura when she visited the Southwest District Council earlier this month; now the agenda’s out, with the draft of what’s being proposed. The map above accompanies the agenda and includes four locations where microhousing is under construction or planned in our area. (See the addresses and unit counts on this list.) Among other things, as laid out in this memo, it sets up new terminology such as “micro dwelling unit” – up to 8 living units sharing a kitchen – and “congregate residences,” 9 or more living units sharing one. But the term “dwelling unit” will still apply to that group of up to 8 living units, for State Environmental Policy Act review purposes, anyway. And for purposes of tracking neighborhood growth, a group of four living units would count as one “unit.”
As for parking:
*Parking minimums are not required or are reduced in certain areas of the city, primarily
urban villages, centers and frequent transit served locations.
*Outside the areas noted above, required vehicle parking for most multi-family residential
uses is 1 required parking space for each dwelling unit (SMC 23.54.015).
*For congregate residences, and for assisted living facilities the vehicle parking requirement
is 1 space for each 4 residents.
*In areas of the city where parking is required, add a parking requirement for micro dwelling units
consistent to that of congregate residences: 1 space for 4 micros
*Currently the amount of required off street bicycle parking required for residential uses is one (1)
bicycle parking space for every 4 dwelling units in multifamily housing, and 1 bicycle parking
space for every twenty (20) residents in congregate residences. (Table E, SMC 23.54.015)
Micro dwelling units appear to have higher demand for bicycle usage than other forms of
development; increase the requirement for off-street bicycle parking for micro dwelling units to
1 bicycle space to 4 micros.
A later section of the memo addresses microhousing built in Residential Parking Zones, and says there should be up to four permits for each “micro dwelling unit.” Meantime, the agenda for Friday’s meeting also includes a memo from the Seattle Planning Commission, which says these types of apartments “fill a unique niche” in the city and should be permitted wherever multifamily development is allowed. But the SPC does think the buildings should be required to have more amenities. Friday’s meeting is at 9:30 am at City Hall.
Six months ago, we reported on a first-of-its-kind plan for remodeling and reselling three vintage West Seattle homes instead of tearing them down. Now, the Westwood Village-vicinity homes dubbed “The Triplets” are done and listed for sale, with their first public open house today (Sunday). We stopped by for a sneak preview Saturday. Here are two of them:
All three are in the 8800 block of 24th SW – from north to south along the east side of the block, Clara, Zelda, and Louise, as named by Green Canopy Homes, which “re-envisioned” them with financing from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission‘s Sustainable Energy Trust Lending Program. It’s all about energy efficiency – but “The Triplets” have been updated in far more than that aspect, from the entries…
Two local meetings next week feature two hot topics:
MICROHOUSING @ SOUTHWEST DISTRICT COUNCIL: After stirring concern in other parts of the city, “microhousing” started turning up here (browse WSB development coverage), and now the City Council is considering setting new rules for it. Here’s the recent memo from Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and Nick Licata and Council President Sally Clark to Department of Planning and Development director Diane Sugimura, who is scheduled to discuss microhousing at the Southwest District Council‘s monthly meeting next Wednesday (June 5th). Also on the agenda: A Seattle Public Schools manager with updates on the school construction projects in the works here (which include the Fairmount Park addition and the new Arbor Heights and Genesee Hill schools). The meeting’s at 6:30 pm Wednesday, Southwest Teen Life Center/Pool (2801 SW Thistle).
METRO @ WWRHAH COUNCIL – AGENDA/GUESTS UPDATE: We’ve already mentioned that the new Westwood Roxhill Arbor Heights Community Council will focus its entire meeting on Metro next Tuesday (June 4th), and you’re invited even if you’re not within WWRHAH boundaries – there’ll be lots of time for community questions. WWRHAH chair Amanda Helmick has shared the agenda/guest list – read on:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
We learned a lot more about the “Lofts at the Junction” project last night during its first Southwest Design Review Board meeting, which ended with the board giving it clearance to move to the next phase of the process.
For one, while it does include about 40 apartments on a lot of less than 4,000 square feet at 4535 44th SW, it does not have all the attributes of so-called “microhousing” – each of its units will include a private kitchen and bath.
For two, the Nicholson Kovalchick Architects-designed project is now envisioned with an “industrial loft” type of look, and a brick facade, as shown in the “character sketches” (above is the 44th SW view) – completely different from what was shown in the design “packet” prepared for the meeting and shown here two weeks ago.
The Design Review process has drawn more consistent public interest lately, and this meeting brought another full house of about 40 in the upstairs meeting hall at the Senior Center of West Seattle.
Boyd Pickrell from NK Architects led the presentation, which was weighted toward context for the site and an overview of the project’s goals:
Tonight during the monthly West Seattle Art Walk, the new North Delridge apartment building Youngstown Flats not only will be open to visitors, it’ll host a reception for the 14 artists whose work can be seen around the complex. Youngstown Flats, now open to leasing and already home to its first tenants, is a new WSB sponsor; we toured recently to give you a peek inside. The art is not only outdoors, , but also in the public hallways of each floor, including the work shown above, and in the main lobby:
Looking to sell your home and/or buy a new one? One of the newest WSB sponsors, Prudential Northwest Realty, would love to talk with you. Here’s what managing broker/branch manager Don Bereiter wants you to know about their business:
Prudential Northwest Realty has been a part of West Seattle for more than 50 years. Sure, the name has changed from time-to-time, but the integrity and value has never wavered. We are a full-service real-estate office with 75 full-time brokers that range from just licensed to veterans with over 30 years experience. Our average broker has over 15 years in the business! While we do have 5 other offices in the Puget Sound area, West Seattle has always been the hub of the operation.
In the past, Prudential Northwest Realty has sponsored many West Seattle events, including:
*West Seattle Summer Fest
*Global Volunteer Day (Collecting food and cash for the West Seattle Food Bank)
*Admiral Neighborhood Association’s Summer Concerts at Hiawatha
*West Seattle Garden Tour
*Sunshine Kids (Helping to fulfill dreams for kids battling cancer)
We are very proud to be a part of such a great area and most appreciative of our past and current clients that continue to refer their friends to us. Trusting in us to handle their real estate needs gives us great pride and we want to say “Thank you!” to each and every one of them. We are also excited to become a sponsor of the West Seattle Blog!
We thank Prudential Northwest Realty for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Seattle city rules provide for hearings on certain types of developments – while other types only get internal reviews by planners. Then, there are situations in which hearings can be requested. That’s what’s happening with the Alki-area development site shown above, where four 3-story “rowhouses” containing 11 residential units are proposed for 2414 55th SW, a short distance inland from the beach, on a site that’s already gone through a “boundary adjustment.” Neighbor Marie McKinsey says that while she and other neighbors were doing research, they found out that the city MIGHT set a hearing if at least 50 people petition for it. So they’re collecting names right now – Alki residents interested in signing can contact her at email@example.com. Ahead, the concerns she shared with the city: