By Jack Stubbs
West Seattle has a new mixed-use development in the works.
On Thursday, April 19th, a residential project consisting of two buildings in West Seattle—which, combined, will include 306 apartment units—was given the green light at a Design Review Recommendation meeting held at the West Seattle Senior Center.
At the meeting, project applicant Encore Architects presented updated plans to the southwest design review board on behalf of developer Seattle-based Legacy Partners. Landscape architect Thomas Rengstorf & Associates is also on the team for the project, which was last seen by the board in July 2017.
The two-part development, called “West Seattle Apartments,” consists of two different projects sitting adjacent to each other along southwest Alaska Street that will be developed concurrently. The first building, Building A located at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW., is a five-story structure that will include 256 units (240 residential and 16 live/work), 241 parking stalls, approximately 10,000 square feet of street-level commercial/retail space and a landscaped “green” rooftop. The second project, Building B, is a four-story mixed-use building located at 4721 38th Ave. SW that will include 50 residential units and 30 parking stalls.
Kicking off the presentation, Derrick Overbay of Encore Architects discussed the surrounding neighborhood context around the two project sites and how the design of both buildings would hope to respond to the character of the nearby shipping yards. The applicant team hopes to create a residential community that blends into the established West Seattle neighborhood context and serves the needs of the West Seattle apartment residents.
Overbay also discussed the primary design changes that the applicant team had made to the project plans since the last EDG meeting. The applicant team worked on further detailing and expressing the exterior massing and facade of the building along Fauntleroy Avenue to improve the pedestrian experience along the streetscape and also added various landscaping elements. The applicant also improved the overall design and materiality of the two buildings, specifically in relation to the alleyway and open space courtyard areas between the two projects. Finally, Overbay also discussed how the applicant had worked on integrating the bus stop along Fauntleroy into the project plans. Thomas Rengstorf & Associates discussed the various landscaping and bio-retention features that had been added to the rooftop of Building A and along Fauntleroy.
Most of the board’s clarifying questions focused on how the applicant team planned to program the two buildings. Board member Scott Rosenstock asked the applicant to elaborate on potential challenges with pedestrian and vehicular circulation around the project site, inquiring how this would be impacted by the adjacent alleyway. Board members John Cheng and Crystal Loya asked for more details about various elements of Building A, including the plans for landscaping and lighting, and whether there were any tenants planned for the proposed retail space.
During its deliberation period, the board voiced its overall approval of the respective facades and massing of the two buildings, and also expressed its approval of the location of the live/work units and building entrances. The board recommended that the applicant continue to coordinate with SDOT regarding the landscaping features along Fauntleroy and give further consideration to how the alleyway between the two buildings would impact pedestrian and vehicular circulation around the site. Finally, the board also agreed that the applicant would need to reduce the amount of proposed retail space along the street.