The six story apartment - Live-Work unit project, Avalon West Apartments have been given conditional approval to go ahead at 4435 35th S.W.

Avalon West Apartments project gets the go ahead on 35th

151 apartments above 8 live-work units are in the proposal

With the departure of The Bridge from the land at 4435 35th S.W. the road is clear for the development there to go ahead and the decision to go ahead is now in place. The Herald covered the early stages of this development here. The Department of Planning and Development has granted conditional approval. Those wishing to make a comment about the project can do so on the DPD Notice of Decision page here and comments will be accepted until Dec. 26.

A six-story structure will be built there with 151 residential units above eight live- work units (9,552 sq. ft.) in an environmentally critical area. Parking for 152 vehicles will be located at and below grade.

The text of the decision including a description and design guidance follows. The full text is available at the link above.

Site and Vicinity Description
This approximately 31,659 square foot (sq. ft.) proposal site is a consolidation of four tax parcels in the Southwest neighborhood of West Seattle bounded by Southwest Oregon Street to the south, 35th Avenue Southwest to the east, commercially-zoned property to the north and an alley to the west. This rectangular-shaped site is zoned Neighborhood Commercial 3 (NC3-65) in the West Seattle Junction Hub Urban Village. Existing development on the site consists of a one-story restaurant building with accessory surface parking.
Vehicular access to the existing surface parking is via both 35th Avenue Southwest and the partially improved 16’ wide alley. The 35th Avenue Southwest right-of-way is classified as a Principal Arterial, pursuant to SMC Chapter 23.53 and Southwest Oregon Street is classified as a non-arterial street. Most of the existing alley and the entire portion of Southwest Oregon Street that abuts the project site’s boundary lines are unimproved, steeply-sloped and covered with vegetation. Sidewalk, curb and gutters abut that portion of the site’s frontage along 35th Avenue Southwest.

The site is modestly vegetated with most of the heavy brush situated at the site’s southwesterly corner. The property topography is characterized with grades generally flat across the majority of the site and ascending dramatically to the unimproved alleyway to the west and to the unimproved Southwest Oregon Street to the south. A portion of the site is identified as Environmentally Critical Area (ECA)-Steep Slope Areas. The applicant has been granted a limited ECA exemption from ECA steep slope development standards for all work associated with this project (#3009518) but all other ECA Submittal, General, and Landslide-Hazard Development Standards and related criteria still apply.

Surrounding property north, south and west are also zoned NC3-65. The property east of the project site is zoned Single Family 5000 (SF 5000). Surrounding development includes a mix of single family homes, multifamily residential buildings, small to medium-sized commercial buildings and restaurants. A fast food restaurant (KFC) is located north of the site at the intersection of Southwest Avalon Way and 35th Avenue Southwest. The Alki Lumber business occupies property located across the alley to the west.

A commercial/residential development (Avalon West Apartments), the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation (DOPAR) West Seattle Stadium and West Seattle Golf Course are directly across 35th Avenue Southwest to the east. Two apartment buildings comprise the block due south of the development proposal. Single family homes are located along 35th Avenue Southwest, two blocks south of the site. A King County Metro Rapid Ride Transit stop is adjacent to the site along 35th Avenue Southwest.

Proposal Description
The proposed project is for the design and construction of a six-story, mixed-use commercial/residential building with 151 residential units above eight ground-level live-work units (9,552 square feet (sq. ft.)). The existing commercial building will be demolished.

Accessory parking for 152 vehicles is proposed to be provided at and below grade within the structure. Vehicular access to 147 stalls located in the below-grade garage will occur via the alley. Vehicular access to five parking spaces accessory to the commercial use located at ground-level is proposed to occur via garage entry at 35th Avenue Southwest.

Application No. 3009518
Grading of approximately 49,349 cubic yards (cu. yds.) of material is anticipated to occur during the removal of debris, construction of the structure’s foundation of the residential building and its’ below-grade parking garage.

Public Comments
Several members of the public attended the second Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting held on June 13, 2013. The following comments, issues and concerns were raised:

 Requested clarification regarding the current and proposed location of the Rapid Ride bus stop.
 Concerned about possible construction-related impacts to the existing Rapid Ride bus stop
located in front of the project site at 35th Avenue Southwest.

 The Director of the YMCA and participant of the West Seattle Triangle planning committee:
o Preferred the current proposal in comparison to the past project design. Stated the current proposal is better designed to take advantage of the site’s complex conditions.
o Strongly in favor of a design that includes the installation of the hill climb in Southwest Oregon Street and requested that the Board support this effort.
 Questioned if the project design included overhead weather protection at 35th Avenue Southwest and at the proposed hill climb at Southwest Oregon Street.

Several members of the public attended the Final Recommendation meeting held on October 10, 2013. The following comments were offered:
 The Director of the YMCA and participant of the West Seattle Triangle Planning committee:
o Thanked the design team for a great design.
o Reiterated strong support for the installation of the hill climb in Southwest Oregon Street
and requested that the Board support this effort.
The SEPA public comment period for this project originally ended August 10, 2011 and was later renoticed as a revised application which resulted in an additional public comment period ending August 14, 2013. DPD received no written comments from the public during this comment period.

Additional Information and Project Requirements
On November 19, 2009, an applicant (Neal Thompson w/Roger Newell Architect) presented the following proposal for the project site to the Southwest DRB during an EDG meeting: “A mixed use structure with ground floor retail commercial space of approximately 12,250 square feet, parking for approximately 158 vehicles, and five stories of residential development totaling anywhere from 100 to 150 units. Access to parking would be both from the alley connecting to Southwest Avalon Way and from a driveway connecting through the unopened Southwest Oregon Street to 35th Avenue Southwest.” The Southwest DRB at that time identified the priority design guidelines and recommended that the applicant proceed to the Master Use Permit (MUP) application stage.

On July 1, 2011, the applicant submitted a MUP application to DPD “to allow a six-story structure with 170 residential units above 10,799 sq. ft. of commercial. Parking for 187 vehicles will be located at and below grade. Existing structure to be demolished.” DPD reviewers identified several concerns during correction cycles that needed resolution prior to the applicant proceeding to the Recommendation phase; those concerns being vehicular access, street improvements and allowed structure height measurement techniques.
DPD was notified this year (2013) that the property had been sold to a new owner which, in turn, had hired a new design team (GGLO). The current applicant (GGLO) requested to submit a revised proposal under the same project number. In consideration of the proposed revisions, changes to zoning (C1-65’ to NC3-65’) and applicable codes, and length of time since the first EDG meeting, the applicant was directed by DPD to pursue an additional (second) EDG meeting and submit revised materials. Consequently, the subject of the analysis in this report is focused to the new design offered by GGLO.

This proposal also includes extensive improvements to those portions of the streets and existing alley that abuts the subject site. The applicant has submitted a 60% Street Improvement Plan (SIP) application (#187648) to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) requesting installation of a pedestrian hill climb stair in Southwest Oregon Street; a combined hill climb stair/turnaround in the alley, sidewalk improvements at 35th Avenue Southwest, landscaping and other improvements within the adjacent right-of-ways. SDOT confirmed that the 60% SIP has been approved with condition/comments to be addressed prior to formal review submittal to SDOT. SDOT clarified that any private infrastructure in the right-of-way (ROW) will require an Annual Renewable Street Use Permit and a recorded indemnity agreement. Additional details on agreements or financial obligations to be determined by SDOT.

DESIGN REVIEW ANALYSIS

SECOND EARLY DESIGN GUIDANCE MEETING: June 13, 2013
The EDG packet includes materials presented at the EDG meeting, and is available online by entering the project number (3009518) at this website: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/Planning/Design_Review_Program/Project_Review... or by contacting the Public Resource Center at DPD:
Mailing Public Resource Center Address: 700 Fifth Ave., Suite 2000
P.O. Box 34019
Seattle, WA 98124-4019
Email: PRC@seattle.gov

The design team (GGLO) began their presentation by providing historical background of past development efforts at the project site and revisited the current architectural context of the neighborhood. Land use considerations associated with the West Seattle Triangle Planning as it relates to the project site were also discussed.

Several refinements of the past design scheme were presented to the Board, including a design packet supplement (code departure summary) that was not included in the EDG design packets initially provided to the Board. The project team’s design development goals were to create building massing that was shaped into three distinct components, each with circulation core at their center and unique outward orientation and roofscape. The design presented included a six- story, mixed-use commercial/residential structure with residential units, enclosed parking, and retail space and live-work units at grade. Onsite parking, accessed via 35th Avenue Southwest for the commercial uses and the alley for future residential tenants was proposed.
The applicant’s preferred scheme included a public plaza and breezeway creating pedestrian access onsite from 35th Avenue southwest to the alley. The main residential lobby entrance was facing 35th Avenue Southwest, setback from the sidewalk edge and transit area. Extensive streetscape improvements inclusive of a pedestrian hill climb stair in Southwest Oregon Street and a combined hill climb stair/turnaround in the alley were proposed. This scheme illustrated some ground-related residential units abutting and directly accessed from the alley. This design would necessity the design departures from parking location and access, alley improvements, and parking driveway slope.

FINAL RECOMMENDATION MEETING: October 10, 2013
The packet includes materials presented at the Recommendation (REC) meeting, and is available online by entering the project number (3009518) at this website: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/Planning/Design_Review_Program/Project_Review... or by contacting the Public Resource Center at DPD:
Mailing Public Resource Center Address: 700 Fifth Ave., Suite 2000
P.O. Box 34019
Seattle, WA 98124-4019
Email: PRC@seattle.gov

The applicant submitted a revised Master Use Permit (MUP) application to DPD on July 19, 2013. The design massing scheme offered by the applicant at the Second EDG phase and presented to the Board at the Recommendation meeting did not change. A design packet supplement was provided at the Recommendation meeting that was not included in the design packets initially provided to the Board. The preferred massing design had further evolved to include colors, materials, fenestration, architectural detailing and landscaping. Feedback pertaining to coordination efforts by the applicant concerning proposed improvements within the right-of-ways from Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro was offered to the Board. The applicant’s presentation included five code departures for vehicle access, parking location, driveway slope, street-level blank façade standards, and street-level transparency standards.

After visiting the site, considering the analysis of the site and context provided by the proponents, and hearing public comment, the Design Review Board members provided the following siting and design guidance.

EARLY DESIGN GUIDANCE: June 13, 2013
1. Design Concept and Massing: The design of the new building should respond to specific site conditions and opportunities, and massing should create a well-proportioned
and unified building form.
a. The Board expressed strong support for the applicant’s preferred design scheme.
b. Upon review of the presented design sketches and vignettes, the Board stated the
design concept was headed in a positive direction and encouraged the applicant to continue to explore architectural features, building materials, textures and colors to create a unified building form. (A-1, A-4, B-1, C-2)
c. The Board did not give specific direction regarding exterior finish materials. The Board did state that it expects to review physical materials and color samples at the Recommendation meeting. (C-3, C-4)

d. At the Recommendation meeting, the Board would like to review photo-realistic, eye level perspective renderings from several street and alley locations showing all corners of the building. The renderings should include design elements (walls, fencing, gates, landscaping, stairs, seating, bus operations, hardscape, blank wall treatments, etc.) that would be visible by pedestrians. (A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3, C-4, D-9, D-10, E-1, E-2)
e. The Board stated it expects to review a detailed landscape plan that includes location, size and species of proposed plantings and hardscape materials at the Recommendation meeting. (E-1, E-2)

2. Southwest Oregon Street Frontage: The design of the new building should incorporate architectural features, elements and details to be visually interesting for pedestrians, enhance the character of the streetscape, sufficiently lighted, create a transition between the public sidewalk and private entry, and reinforce the spatial characteristic of Southwest Oregon Street. (A-1, A-2, A-4, D-1, D-7)

a. The Board was in strong support for a design that included the installation of a pedestrian hill climb stairs on Southwest Oregon Street. The Board understood that the applicant hadn’t acquired conceptual approval of the proposed street improvement from Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) prior to the meeting. Therefore, the Board requested the applicant provide street improvement plans (60% SIP drawings) and feedback from SDOT regarding the status of the proposed street improvement.
b. Conceptual residential lighting and signage designs proposed for the building’s south- facing façade should be presented at the Recommendation meeting. (D-9, D-10)

3. 35th Avenue Southwest Frontage: The design of the new building should incorporate architectural features, elements and details to enhance pedestrian comfort and safety, encourage human activity, discourage blank walls, and reinforce the existing spatial characteristic of 35th Avenue Southwest. (A-2, A-4, C-3, D-1, D-7, D-12)

a. The Board was concerned that the proximity of future pedestrian traffic, and proposal-related vehicular traffic and the Rapid Ride Transit Stop to the ground floor commercial parking entrance/exit may cause access to the enclosed parking to be challenging and perilous. Additionally, the Board questioned if the same parking/loading area would be adequately sized/configured in a manner that would allow drivers that enter and are unable to park have the ability to turn around on site. The Board stated this concern must be resolved. At the Recommendation meeting, the Board expects to review a parking layout design and diagrams that clearly illustrate vehicular maneuverability within the parking area and discourages future vehicles from backing out onto 35th Avenue Southwest. (A-8, D-7)

b. The Board was concerned that the specialty paving illustrated in the mid-block plaza may signal to pedestrians an informal mid-block connection across 35th Avenue Southwest which should be discouraged. The Board expects to review the SDOT conceptual plans and landscaping elements pertaining to this area at the Recommendation meeting. The Board offered methods (extension of planting strip, accent walls, bike parking) that would successfully address this potential concern. (D-1,D-7)

c. The Board acknowledged that all visible blank walls (north wall façade) will need to be addressed. The Board expects to review details pertaining to any landscaping and/or design treatments (murals, green screening, etc.) proposed to address this concern at the Recommendation meeting. (D-2, E-2)
d. The Board emphasized the prominent Rapid Ride Transit Stop, shelters and associated equipment (pay station, etc.) should be located and designed to enhance pedestrian comfort and safety, contribute positively to the building design, accommodate both commuters and residents, and be protected from weather elements. The Board commented positively regarding the proposed placement of the bus station presented at the meeting. However, the Board recognized that further consultation with both SDOT and King County Metro is necessary before the Board could offer any feedback. Therefore, the Board expects the applicant to address this requirement with both agencies during the MUP process and provide feedback at the Recommendation meeting. (A-2, C-3, D-1)

e. Conceptual commercial/residential lighting and signage designs (retail, live-work, residential, parking) proposed for the building’s east-facing façade should be presented at the Recommendation meeting. (C-3, D-9, D-10)

4. The Alley Design and Residential Entries:
a. The Board recognized that the proposed alley improvements, to create a combined
hill climb stair/turnaround condition, are atypical-designed with more focus on pedestrians versus vehicles. Consequently, the Board encouraged an alley design that incorporates significant elements (bollards, special pavement, etc.) designed to protect pedestrians/residents from vehicular movements at the alley turnaround (see also 2.a). (A-8, D-1, D-7)

b. The Board recognized that proposing residential townhouse entrances abutting the alley is unusual and, until the access improvement concerns are resolved with SDOT, it is difficult to visualize the building’s functionality and appearance if a through- alley improvement design is required. Therefore, the Board expects to review an enhanced rendering of the design with the through alley build-out profile at the Recommendation meeting. (A-8, D-12).

c. Conceptual residential lighting and signage (addressing) designs proposed for the building’s west-facing façade should be presented at the Recommendation meeting. (D-9, D-10)

5. Pedestrian Open Spaces and Building Entrances:
a. The Board stated that it is critical that the paths and entry areas around the site
(streets, alley) and through the site (mid-block plaza) be attractive, comfortable, well lit, and secure for pedestrians and residents. At the Recommendation meeting, the Board expects to review details of the open spaces (landscaping, seating, screening, stairs walls, etc.) specifically those associated with the ground level plaza, near the alley, and the proposed rooftop deck areas. (D-1)

b. The Board stated the turnaround, which also serves as utility service access to the waste collection area, should be screened to minimize visibility. The screen/wall treatment (materiality, landscaping, and security) should be attractive and enhance the pedestrian/resident experience. (D-6, E-2)

c. Conceptual lighting and signage (directional/wayfinding) designs proposed for the building’s mid-block plaza should be presented at the Recommendation meeting. (D-9, D-10)

d. The applicant explained that the design included: a primary residential entrance facing 35th Avenue Southwest; two secondary entrances-one from Southwest Oregon Street and one from the mid-block plaza corridor; and townhouse entrances abutting the alley. The Board liked the proposed location of the main residential entrance setback from the bus station at 35th Avenue Southwest; felt that it activated the corridor, allows for a more prominent commercial presence and permits for residents/visitors to safely access the building away from the bus zone. (See 4.b.) (D-1, D-12)

1. Design Concept and Massing: The design of the new building should respond to specific site conditions and opportunities, and massing should create a well-proportioned and unified building form.
a. The Board was very impressed with the final building design and appreciated how the final design responds to the unique site characteristics. (A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3, C- 4, D-9, D-1, E-2, E-3)

b. The Board reviewed the conceptual lighting design for the entire project and agreed that it would promote visual interest and pedestrian/resident security. The Board recommended a condition to maintain lighting design, scale, pattern, fixture type and location situated on the site as shown in the REC DRB materials. (D-7, D-10, D-12)

i. The Board acknowledged that the design of the lighting within the right-of- ways (ROWs) is within the purview of SDOT. However, the Board voiced strong support that the lighting design scale, pattern, fixture type and location situated in the (ROWs) be maintained as shown in the REC DRB materials.
2. Southwest Oregon Street Frontage: The design of the new building should incorporate architectural features, elements and details to be visually interesting for pedestrians, enhance the character of the streetscape, sufficiently lighted, create a transition between the public sidewalk and private entry, and reinforce the spatial characteristic of Southwest Oregon Street. (A-1, A-2, A-4, D-1, D-7)

a. The Board reiterated strong support for a design that included the installation of a pedestrian hill climb stairs on Southwest Oregon Street. The Board reviewed the SDOT street improvement plan materials (60% SIP drawings) included in the REC DRB packet and expressed appreciation for the efforts of the design team to provide timely feedback from SDOT regarding the status of the proposed street improvement.
b. The Board appreciated the lighting design proposed for the building’s south- facing façade. (See 1. b.) (D-9, D-10)

3. 35th Avenue Southwest Frontage: The design of the new building should incorporate architectural features, elements and details to enhance pedestrian comfort and safety, encourage human activity, discourage blank walls, and reinforce the existing spatial characteristic of 35th Avenue Southwest. (A-2, A-4, C-3, D-1, D-7, D-12)

a. The Board reviewed the commercial parking/loading garage driveway entry, layout and screening design and stated that past concerns regarding pedestrian/vehicular safety and vehicular maneuverability onsite had been resolved. (A-8, D-5, D-7)

b. The Board discussed and reviewed the landscaping and design treatments (murals, green screening) proposed for the visible blank walls; and offered specific feedback concerning the north wall façade. (D-2, E-2)
i. The Board supported the mural design treatment and appreciated the general concept of illustrating historical West Seattle imagery in a modern fashion (pixelated not painted).
ii. The Board was concerned about the future viability of the proposed green screens (at the north façade and mid-block connection) if the proposed plants are not initially well established and maintained by the owner. Consequently, the Board recommended a condition that the plantings for the vegetated walls
Application No. 3009518 Page 9
be installed at a larger size to provide some level of screening at building occupancy. The Board further encouraged the owner to commit to nurturing the vegetated walls until they are fully realized. (D-2, E-2)
c. The Board supported the proposed location of the prominent Rapid Ride Transit Stop, shelters and associated equipment (pay station, etc.) and commented positively regarding the future placement of the bus station presented at the meeting. The Board appreciated the efforts of the design team made in providing comprehensive feedback from both SDOT and King County Metro regarding this concern. (A-2, C-3, D-1)
d. The Board appreciated the lighting design proposed for the building’s east-facing façade. (See 1. b.) (D-9, D-10)
e. The Board discussed the proposed signage design for the ground-level commercial use (live-work). The Board commented that the signage character presented (painted storefront signage and metal panel signage) was too understated. The Board stated additional types of signage options (blade signs attached to wall or canopy, etc.) should be explored to support the marketability of the live-work uses to vehicular traffic as well as pedestrians. (A-2, C-3, D-10)
4. The Alley Design and Residential Entries:
a. The Board supported the proposed alley improvements to create a combined hill
climb stair/turnaround condition and appreciated the significant elements (special paving, bollards, etc.) designed to protect pedestrians/residents from vehicular movements at the alley turnaround. (A-8, D-1, D-7)

b. The Board commented that the townhouse residential entrances abutting the alley were well articulated. (D-12, E-2, E-3)

c. The Board supported the lighting and signage (addressing) signage designs proposed for the building’s west-facing façade. (D-9, D-10)

5. Pedestrian and Residential Open Spaces:
a. The Board commended the design team for creating usable, attractive and well-
integrated pedestrian and residential open spaces (roof deck design). (A-7, D-1,
E-2)
b. The Board emphasized the importance that the scale, texture and uniformity of the
materials (paving, landscaping, etc.) in the pedestrian ROWs be applied and maintained as shown in the REC DRB materials. The Board acknowledged that the design of the materials within the right-of-ways (ROWs) is within the purview of SDOT. (D-1, E-2)
c. The Board noted that the vegetated green screen is an appropriate method to minimize visibility of the blank CMU interior wall façade which screens the turnaround/utility service access area at the mid-block connector.
i. The Board was concerned that the lack of direct sunlight may negatively affect the growth/establishment of the green screen plants. Therefore, the Board recommended a condition that architectural screening alternatives shall be provided if the proposed vegetated screen treatment is not a viable solution to screen the CMU wall adequately. (See 3.b.) (D-6, E-2)

d. The Board reviewed the proposed directional/wayfinding signage design exhibits and commented that they appreciated the tasteful, playful and simplistic manner the signage is expressed in the DRB REC materials. The Board stated that it is acceptable to utilize signage applications (cast-in colored concrete, etc.) on ground plane that aren’t 100% permanent. (D-9, D-10)

e. The Board appreciated the lighting design proposed for the building’s mid-block plaza. (See 1. b.) (D-9, D-10)

6. Materials:
a. The Board was very satisfied with the proposed material palette (concrete, wood, steel, etc.) and acknowledged the durability of the higher quality materials presented. (C-2, C-4)

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.