West Seattle, Washington
In the tradition of Graham Street Apartments=Strata, etc., yet another California Avenue condo conversion has its fancy new name. The lettering above for West Water has just appeared on all the exterior fancying-up that workers have been doing at the former Watermarke Apartments (6960-6970 California, chronicled here in August and in September) for the past several weeks. West Water’s future website promises these will, of course, be “luxury condominiums.” (Found the complex’s pre-conversion sales price, $13 million, on this site, along with sales data on several other WS buildings we are now researching. EARLY MONDAY ADDENDUM: That brokerage site also has a blog, with what appears to be the behind-the-scenes story of this building’s sale.) Before/after pix (not the same exact angle but close enough) — one month ago, then today:
Several West Seattle projects turn up in the latest edition of the city’s Land Use Information Bulletin:
JUNCTION MEGA-PROJECT BEHIND PETCO: A land-use decision is in for this 7-story, 136-apartment, 5K-sf-retail project, to be called “Mural” (more info here on the developer’s website). Construction permits are the next step.
Maybe too soon for the Christmas phrase-turns; blame the decorations that already have sneaked into some stores … But we digress. This post is about real estate — always a Sunday pastime as “open house” signs pop up on corners around WS. A couple noteworthy offerings, not necessarily brand-new, but they just hit our radar. First, 4315 SW Stevens, across the street from PCC , across the alley from McDonald’s, $725K:
This is notable because the property was home to a hair salon that some neighbors were upset about (as reported here last March). Thanks to WSB reader Luckie for the tip that it’s now for sale; she sent the photo shown above as well as a photo of the flyer posted in the window, which touts “beautiful extended family home … also has a fully running hair salon … you can work from home!” Here’s the official listing page, though it currently appears to be displaying the wrong photos. … Now, to another up-for-sale home, with almost twice the price ($1,499,000), almost twice the age, and countless times the history:
That’s the Herren House at 1603 45th SW, shown in a photo from the city Department of Neighborhoods’ page detailing its history, which DON says dates back to 1891, though King County property records say 1900. Interestingly, the official listing website calls this house “The Painted Lady,” same as the still-apparently-unsold “Satterlee House” on Beach Drive.
These WWII-era multiplexes on the west side of California near Hinds — 3409 and 3423, sold earlier this year for almost $2 million — are now future townhouse fodder. A permit has just been granted to change the lot boundaries; two 4-unit townhouses are planned at 3409, same thing for 3423.
One month after the yellow mesh came off the remodeling project at Cal-Mor Circle (which we first mentioned in May), the cylindrical Seattle Housing Authority building in Morgan Junction, details of what happened inside as well as out are discussed in the latest issue of “The Voice” (see page 11).
The marketing website is now up for Strata, the condo conversion (first mentioned here in June) formerly known as the Graham Street Apartments, at Cali/Graham north of Morgan Junction. Always fascinating to take a look at how these sites market the buildings and the neighborhood — in this case, the page about “the location” pitches The Junction (mentioning Elliott Bay and Uptown) rather than much-closer Morgan Junction; “the building” is described as “Northwest Contemporary” (though built in 1987); the page about “the design” mentions “tidy modern landscaped spaces for ground floor homes” (we’ve noticed fences going up on the Cali side of the building). The home page describes Strata as “priced within reach”; prices aren’t on the site right now but the promotional e-mail announcing the website says “from the low 200s.”
Almost six months have passed since we first told you a teardown-to-mixed-use proposal was on the drawing board for the elegant old brick apartments shown above, at 3811 California (across from the also-in-limbo Charlestown Cafe), drawing laments from dozens of commenters (as well as from us). The four-story project planned for the site appeared to be proceeding full speed ahead. But maybe not – according to the following e-mail we received late last night from one of the current tenants:
I realize this is an old story for most, but for anyone interested in the fate of this beautiful building, we (the tenants) received a notice from the landlords today stating the following:
“The Landmark Preservation Board has determined that this property may meet the standards for Landmark Designation. Before this can be determined by the board, it is necessary to access the units for construction details.”
They’ll be doing a walk-through sometime tomorrow. The real significance for me is that this is the first documentation we’ve received at all from the landlords regarding the potential fate of our homes.
(On a side note, the notices were slipped into our mail slots in Omni
Construction envelopes — my first thought was they were our vacate
notices. Glad to see they weren’t!)
We will check today with the Landmarks Preservation Board to find out more about the expected inspection and what might happen next.
First, a couple updates on this morning’s “doomed duplex” post. Seems demolition permits must be after-the-fact formalities unless all this happened in the hours after the permit was issued yesterday … the duplex and its former neighbor are already gone:
We also heard back from the ex-duplex’s former tenants. They found another rental just a block away; not as small as the ex-duplex (900 sf) but comparably priced per sf (less than $1 per). The kicker … it’s a townhouse. 2 stories, 8 years old. So perhaps some of today’s teardown replacements are tomorrow’s affordable rentals. Meanwhile, in future Fauntleroy construction news, a week after we mentioned the “one of the last (lots of its kind)” listing on the curve, a sign just went up:
7:00 PM: Southwest District Council meeting @ South Seattle Community College
Among the newly granted permits in the city’s latest “daily issuance report”: demolition of this duplex at 5935 Fauntleroy, which we wrote about exactly four months ago after hearing from its saddened, and surprised, tenants:
What’s replacing it? The usual. Meantime, we’re going to see if we can dig up the ex-tenants’ e-mail address and find out where they landed.
This P-I article today reminded us of something similar along West Seattle’s waterfront Condo Row about 10 years ago — a Harbor Ave condo complex that went up in a U shape around one semi-ramshackle little house whose owner refused to sell. We managed to find an archived P-I article mentioning the Harbor holdout, photo included (scroll down this page). According to city permit records, the house finally came down, and the condo buildings came together, in 1999. Haven’t yet found a record of how much the holdout house finally sold for, though.
Remember SeventyOne, the condo-converted 1-bedroom apartments south of Morgan Junction, once proclaimed by signage as “midcentury retro”? A similar complex less than a mile north on Cali has just appeared in for-sale listings: The Cal-Ray Apartments at 6000 California, offered for $1,995,000. Its official flyer (photo below is from that flyer, created by the listing-holders at Summerfield) doesn’t mention conversion but does suggest “strong potential for redevelopment.”
Seen outside the Watermarke @ 6970 Cali, the abruptly announced condo conversion south of Morgan Junction that we chronicled a month ago:
… watch for Alki residents vs. city land-use planners. But seriously — we have attended two Alki Community Council meetings now, and they (the officers and the members/attendees) — are a genteel bunch, as well as lively, involved, engaged. All the things you would want a community group to be. ACC vice president Randie Stone ran tonight’s meeting and she was even passing around a basket of treats during a break in the action. But before visiting DPD planner Mark Troxel was finished with his guest appearance, the room was in a lather over teardowns and soulless redevelopment. Especially considering, as calm and polite as he tried to be, his answers about why there are no rules governing some preservation of neighborhood character in redevelopment, boiled down to nothing more than (we’re paraphrasing) “well, that would cost too much, and we really have to be concerned with housing affordability.” The spark for tonight’s briefly fiery discussion was the impending teardown-to-townhome project we have mentioned before at the site of the Shoremont Apartments (photo right) at 57th & Alki (on the corner east of Alki Auto Repair). “Those townhomes aren’t going to be affordable,” one attendee pointed out, laying waste to the “things might look nicer if it didn’t cost so darn much” defense. Another audience member chided the city, in the person of stalwart Mr. Troxel, for “lack of courage.” He was actually there to talk about amendments on the drawing board for a city planning document, but that discussion got derailed. After a cathartic burst of outrage about cookie-cutter townhouses, which the city rep said he isn’t thrilled about either (because they fail to maximize density potential, as well as because of their aesthetics), all ended fairly civilly, but we were a little worried there for a moment. Randie noted that the topic is enough for a meeting unto itself, and perhaps the group can invite Mr. Troxel, or another city planner, to return. Meanwhile — we’ll have several other ACC meeting items to report tomorrow, including what the city says can be done about those rental trucks that have long been bottlenecking Harbor Ave by ActivSpace. P.S. If you live in the Alki area and you’re not an ACC member yet, you can join online.
Some parts of Alki edge closer to something resembling the area’s original name: While we were on Alki Ave this morning watching the 3-Day walkers, we noticed the under-construction condos @ 1350 Alki promoting their “New York-style direct entry elevators.” And from the “soon to be history” file, take another look at a doomed classic brick building; nobody commented when we posted a couple weeks ago about the teardown-to-townhomes plan for the Shoremont Apartments @ 57th & Alki – will it really go without a fuss?
Just steps south of the apartments-turned-condos at SeventyOne and the Housing Authority-purchased apartments at Riviera West — and a few short blocks from the conversion-in-progress at the Watermarke (which our tipster just blogged about at Seattlest) — another building has hit the market. 7130 California Ave. SW is billed as a “prime candidate for conversion.” In case the listing verbiage changes, here’s a grab:
7130 Cali and its condo candidacy can be all yours for $2.6 million.
That’s the game at least two WS apartment-seekers are caught up in — the same ones who first tipped us to the impending condo conversion at a south Morgan Junction complex. After that discovery quashed their hopes of renting there, they thought they had found another place, this time in north WS — until their prospective landlord admitted, when directly questioned, that those apartments have just been sold. (We won’t name the building until and unless we find online records to double-verify this.) Will their third choice be the charm? We’ll wait to hear! Meantime, this blogger caught up in the M-Junction conversion has found a place on Alki.
Sunday afternoons often make us think of … real estate, perhaps because of the “open house” signs flowering on almost every corner, especially on the most famous streets of WS. We all know about Alki Avenue and Beach Drive and their incredible view homes — but if you don’t wander far off the main arterials, you might not know much about the other “streets of (WS) dreams.” In particular, this afternoon we are thinking about Sunset Avenue — a view-drenched blufftop street in north WS that you could consider to be a bit like a WS version of LA’s famous Mulholland Drive.
Sunset Ave parallels Alki Ave for quite a while, but if you look toward it from the shore, it’s hard to see anything but an occasional house from Sunset or other bluffside streets poking over the condo-tops:
Sunset wandered onto our radar screen during a real-estate search, where we encountered three homes for sale there right now: “The Castle” at 1545 Sunset ($1,595,000); a somewhat newer home at 1429 Sunset ($1,590,000); and a chance to buy into this neighborhood for less than a million, at 1532 Sunset ($959,000). Which WS street do you dream of living on?
It’s almost the mid-Cali equivalent of those last few Alki cottages dwarfed by multistory condos — this 95-year-old house at 5232 Cali, between commercial/mixed-use buildings across from the West Seattle Veterinary Hospital/West Seattle Nursery block:
An application is on file to tear down this house and replace it with 3 “live/work” townhouses and 4 “residential” townhouses. The application mentions an architect from Place Architects, as well as Knoll Development, the company also behind the fire-gutted “live-work townhouse” project at 4132 Cali (where, following the rubble removal, only a charred foundation eerily stands).
4 days after we reported on another big Morgan Junction apartment building going condo, we have two updates. First, one of the outgoing (not by choice) tenants has been blogging about her experiences. Second, we heard from Michele Thomas, a West Seattle resident who works for the Tenants’ Union and has taken at least one call from someone caught up in this conversion; since this is far from the only building where tenants are getting/have gotten/will get the boot, she wanted to share some info…
Slew of West Seattle items on the latest Land Use Information Bulletin — busy folks at city HQ before everyone rushes out for the holiday weekend. Highlights:
DOUBLE THE FUN: One lot becomes two in the 4200 block of Beach Drive, as one last approval comes in for two new houses. 12th photo from the bottom on this busy page reminds us, that’s the last lot before the open shoreline of Schmitz Viewpoint.