Design, left, courtesy of Collins Woerman. File photo, right, by Ty Swenson
At left, an architect's rendering of the seven-story mixed use building planned for 3922 S.W. Alaska St in 2008. The project is back with plans for apartments and a fitness center, with few alterations to this original design. At right, The Hole as it looks today.

Stalled project known as ‘The Hole’ back on track

West Seattle’s skyline continues to change.

To the chagrin of those resistant to West Seattle losing its small town feel and the delight of those looking forward to progress, another big project for West Seattle’s Triangle at Fauntleroy and Alaska is coming, and this one will fill up “The Hole.”

It was 2009 when a massive hole was dug at the northwest corner of Fauntleroy and Alaska in the Triangle neighborhood, and then left to fill up with seasonal rains. Symbolizing a hurting economy and development cycle, it became locally known as “The Hole” as the proposed project stalled for several years.

According to a Seattle Department of Planning and Development addendum released on Nov. 19, however, the seven-story project that was supposed to rise out of the hole is back in the pipeline, and altered from the original vision to include a fitness center (rumored, although not confirmed, to be L.A. Fitness), more parking and more apartments. The addendum is a continuance of the SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) determination of non-significance for the project originally issued in 2009.

The original plan of developer Bluestar was to put 185 apartments on top of a Hancock Fabrics on the second floor, a Whole Foods Market on the first floor, and four levels of underground parking below that. A master use permit to start building "Fauntleroy Place" was issued by the city in 2009.

Many in the community were excited about the project because Whole Foods, the behemoth of healthy shopping, was slated to come to town. It turns out Whole Foods is indeed coming (in 2015), but it has been announced as the main tenant for a six-story, 370-apartment mixed use project just across the street from The Hole to the south.

The purpose of the Nov. 19 DPD document is to notify the public that the current developer, 3922 SW Alaska LLC (Madison Development out of Kirkland), is moving forward with their plan after purchasing rights to the project in Oct. of 2011 for $32 million, and the city is bypassing another environmental impact investigation (SEPA) because of the overall similarities. The city is accepting public comment on the decision for 15 days from Nov. 19 by sending an email to PRC@seattle.gov.

DPD states, “Because of the change in proposed uses in the project, long-term impacts (transportation, parking and noise impacts) from the proposed development are expected to be less than in the original proposal.”

Part of that lesser impact, according to DPD, comes down to fewer vehicles coming in and out (with a fitness center instead of two retail operations). Where Hancock Fabrics was supposed to go will now be apartments, and the overall apartment count has jumped to 216 units from the original 185.

Beyond the change in retail use, the project is going to look similar to the original plan, with minor changes to building materials and landscaping. To read more on the addendum, please click here.

Jerry Suder, DPD land use team supervisor, said because Madison is moving forward with a “very similar looking building” to the original, there will not be another round of design review meetings for the project. If Madison came back with significant changes to the design (which could still happen), Suder said DPD would revisit the plans and another review process could take place.

The Herald has reached out to Madison Development for a timeline on the project. This story will be updated if/when we hear back.

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