By Meghan Hall
Western Seattle has seen increasing mixed-use and mid-rise development in the last decade, with an array of new developments popping up along Southwest Avalon Way, including the Marq Apartments, which opened in 2014, and the Residences at 3295, which opened in 2009. Another new development—one whose 152 units make it significantly slightly larger in size for the area—was reviewed Thursday night in its first public meeting by the Seattle Southwest Design and Review Board.
The proposed seven story building, located at 3201 SW Avalon Way, is in the Early Design Guidance phase, but property owner Jenkins Properties, a third-generation owner whose grandfather built the original property, was given the green light to proceed to a second round design meeting.
“I think overall the scheme is pretty strong,” said Matt Hutchins, principal at CAST Architecture, and one of the volunteer members of the board.
The proposed plans would demolish the Golden Tee Flats, two five-story wood frame apartment buildings originally constructed in 1967, which currently has 28 units on the 27,791 square foot site, 16 covered carport spots and 14 uncovered parking stalls at the back of the buildings. In its place, the developer is proposing to construct a 152-unit residential structure with 86 parking spots below grade. 18 percent of the units would be allocated for affordable housing with an 80 percent average median income levels.
The plans for the new development included several different options, all of which revolved around where to place the project’s exterior private and semi-private courtyards. The preferred option called for two courtyards: one located at the front of the building off of Avalon Way, and a second at the rear of the development facing an adjacent golf course.
The current neighborhood is composed primarily of apartment and condominium buildings, and Seattle-based NK Architects, which presented the project to the board, argued that the development would fit in well with the numerous others in the predominantly residential district of Delridge. The lot shares a boundary with the West Seattle Golf Course and is within a 10 minute walking distance of Trader Joe’s, LA fitness, the West Seattle Bowl and the historic West Seattle Stadium. From the site is a 15 minute walk to the West Seattle Junction Hub Urban Center.
NK Architects took cues from the surrounding neighborhood and golf course for the development’s modern design. In addition to newer apartment buildings in the area, many of the area’s multifamily developments were built in the 1990s and recently renovated, such as The West Side Flats, which were built in 1991 and remodeled in 2014. The Edge Apartments, located across the street from the proposed project site, were built in 1968 and renovated in 2008. Other developments in the area are often clad in metal siding, cement panels and have exposed concrete bases.
The design team and owner have decided to keep the development’s original name in an ode to the lot’s history and new building theme.
“There’s a little bit of a golf theme to everything, even down to the landscape approach,” said Steve Fischer, the architect presenting the project. “I think I’ve been focusing on this for about ten years now, making apartment buildings look friendly and warm and residential.”
The meeting was well attended by members of the West Seattle community, who expressed concern over the lack of parking included in the project and the potential impact the development could have on Luna Court, the neighboring development.
“Most developers dig as much as they can afford,” said Don Caffrey, an associate at GGLO design in Seattle, another board member, when members of the public asked if the development team could dig deeper to add additional parking. Fischer nodded his head in agreement.
The proposed project would also butt up closely against the Luna Court condominium complex to its North—the buildings would only be separated by about 20 feet—obstructing the views of the complex’s occupants and potentially affect the condominiums’ property values.
The board recommended that the development team pay more attention to the façade facing Luna Court, given that much attention had been paid to maximize the design value of the other three sides of the building facing the streets and golf course. The board also had concerns about the security of the courtyards due to their size and accessibility to the street.
“I’m not sure vertically, it works,” said Scott Rosenstock, a senior project manager at Seco Development on the portion of the building next to Luna Court. “I don’t feel like the massing is best suited for this project. They will have to use the lighting and materials to solve the issues that the massing has created.”
However, the board voted to move the project forward, provided that the design team work towards resolving the issues of massing and security in future designs. The project will move toward a second design review and the development team will begin the process of submitting an application for a master use permit.