West Seattle, Washington
-As of this writing, the West Seattle Bridge ramp to northbound I-5 is STILL closed because of the situation which, piecing together various accounts (see comments on post below), appears to involve public-safety/emergency workers trying to talk someone off their perch on that ramp. This has been ongoing for almost 11 hours, according to the city 911 log, which shows the incident open since units were first sent to a “rope rescue” at Columbian/12th at 10:27 this morning.
-WSB reader Venkat found an advance link to an article in this Sunday’s New York Times about “what you get for $900,000” in several real-estate markets. One is right here in “West Seattle, Washington,” where the article features an Alki condo.
-We mentioned last week that the city Parks Department is holding meetings all around the city in the next few weeks to gather thoughts about what should be in its forthcoming Strategic Business Plan. We also promised to let you know when a link was up for an online survey to be offered to people who couldn’t attend those meetings. Now it’s up — go to this page and follow the “short online survey” link.
New low-low-low-price West Seattle real-estate listing: 4801 23rd Ave SW (map shows that’s a couple blocks off Delridge), 7 bedrooms/4 baths, described as “a serious fixer that needs a lot of work, not for the faint of heart,” $175,000. The listing agent’s page doesn’t have photos, but you can find them on search pages like this from other agents’ sites (from which we have pulled the photo @ left). County property records show its owner bought it for more than twice that two years ago. Googling the address shows an appliance-repair business there at some point, but nothing more nefarious, aside from a city stop-work order on some remodeling/rebuilding there earlier this year. Hmm.
Yes, we know the West Water condo-conversion marketers are likely laughing all the way to the bank, while observers grumble and gripe and gnash teeth over the unprecedented overkill of their over-the-top campaign. Nonetheless … it’s the gaudiest thing to hit this side of West Seattle in a long time, so we’re all over it. Earlier today, we discussed the spotlights that are the latest bling in this blitz. After dark, we couldn’t resist heading down the hill with our video camera:
In today’s earlier post, and its comments, readers shared info about how to complain about aspects of this condo campaign that appear to break city rules, such as the sandwich-board signs along roads and highways. One more to add — this one from Jill:
Please add the Seattle Dept of Planning and Development number 206-615-0808, so that citizens can complain. Or file one online at
The marketers have laughed off the city’s attempts to assess 500-dollar/day fines. Apparently that’s less than the cost of renting throw pillows. Maybe a lawsuit over light pollution, the windsail signs, or a traffic accident in front of Ladro will be needed to do the trick.
A few new comments and e-mails have come in about the latest marketing tactic deployed by the heavily marketed West Water condo complex, ex-Watermark(e) Apartments, south of Morgan Junction — a light show (equipment at right of above photo, taken late yesterday). The latest e-mail, from WSB reader Kerri, begs the question, how much marketing is TOO much marketing?
Is anyone other than me tired of West Water condominiums’ overzealous and trashy marketing campaign? I thought I would share the contact information for the person who takes credit for the sandwich boards every 200 feet going both directions on the viaduct, the posters staked every 15-20 feet up and down Fauntleroy and California, the dozen giant flags, used-car lot style balloons and now giant spotlight laser show that pollute the front of the building, etc….
Her name is Judy Gamel, office phone: (206) 216-7200.
I went in to complain tonight and she seemed pretty pleased with how successful their trashy marketing campaign has been so far. It sounds like they plan to keep it up full force until the building sells out.
Got another one of those “Dear Ms. Blog” e-mails from the Strata mailing list; seems today is Grand Opening Day (as opposed to Priority Opening Day) for the condo-converted ex-Graham Street Apartments at California/Graham (map). The e-mail includes a link to this video tour for the curious, and florid design descriptions aplenty, so we screen-grabbed it to share:Read More
It’s been four months since we last checked on this empty lot in the 6000 block of California, north of Morgan Junction. Just discovered a couple new permit applications came in only days ago for a big grouping of townhouses and “live/work” units here — Knoll Development is seeking permits for four addresses: at 6021, at 6025, at 6029, and at 6031.
For everyone who just couldn’t wait to find out more about this suddenly much-advertised condo conversion south of Morgan Junction … the website is now up. (As are [illegal] sandwich-board signs all along southbound 99 going at least as far back as the Battery Street Tunnel.) If you’ve got some time to kill, take a look at the site and (a) find the errors and (b) tell us if you recognize the coffee shop on the “contact” page.
-After driving under the Fauntleroy overpass “Help 7-year-old Dylan fight leukemia!” banner again, we caught the phone number (and realized we originally posted the wrong name – surname on the banner is actually Redlinger). So we called that number last night to try to find out more; it was answered by a very generic voicemail/machine message. We left our contact info; no response yet.
-More on the lightning-speed condo conversion at the newly renamed West Water, south of Morgan Junction. Sarah e-mailed to say she saw a TV commercial for it, adding: “Thought it was interesting that they didn’t show any pictures of the condos themselves, but there sure were plenty of Alki and downtown!”
-One week till Election Day. You may well have voted already (if you vote in person, like us old traditionalists, this may be your last chance, we’ll see you at the polls). There’s been so much great election coverage all over other media sources lately that we haven’t had anything unique to add, but here’s one note we’ve been meaning to mention — if you are still trying to sort out where you stand on Proposition 1 (“Roads & Transit”), Chas Redmond pointed out the recent Sustainable West Seattle forum on Prop 1 is captured in a podcast (mp3 download) on the SWS site. One other election note – saveseattleschools.blogspot.com has an interesting West Seattle-specific observation on the School Board District 6 race. (Though the entire city votes on every School Board seat that’s on the ballot, whoever wins District 6 — Steve Sundquist or Maria Ramirez — will be “our” representative, replacing Irene Stewart, who decided not to run again.)
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: