New Construction

Screenshot_2_15_13_10_44_PMWhat with all the condo construction going on, it seems like Wallingford is the new Ballard.

The latest property up is the former AV Tech building at 34th and Wallingford, just above Gas Works park and across from the Varsity Inn Restaurant. The Seattle Times is reporting that Chicago-based AMLI Residential has proposed a 240-unit complex in that location.

Jason Moll writes:

While we are a welcoming community, 240 new neighbors adds a lot of density to our little slice of Wallingford. A few neighbors in the South end are planning to reach out to the developer and our Community Council to make sure we’re moving forward together. It will be a great help if you publish this notice with a request that interested neighbors connect with our HOA to let us know how they want to be involved in any conversations that develop.

HOA stands for Home Owners Association. You can reach this one at [email protected].

  • yesyes

    We are all for it. It doesnt need parking- they can all work for Skanska. It doesnt need a zoning variance- the city will reword laws in place. Actually Gasworks could have its space reduced and someone can build a second tower there.. it already has parking and a playground.

    We are all for the building on 42 and Stone Way, one on 46 and Woodland Park and the large complex where Jennifer Huntoons clinic was.

    Its progress and we are all for it. If we dont like it then go away.. that is sentiment here.

  • Donn

    Don’t forget 118 units where Stoneway Roofing was, and 280 at Stone/Woodland Park & 38th/39th. If all these units are ever occupied, a lot of people (and cars, etc.) here in Wallingford. Or lots of half empty apartments and condos.

  • yesyes

    well, I hope they hurry up and build them so the apts can be half full.. then rents will go down, instead of up.. as is happening

  • yuckyuck

    I agree with yesyes.

  • What Ever

    I agree with yuckyuck agreeing with yesyes.

    Lets also get more chronically unemployable sidewalk warts and some gang members to diversify our quiet culture.

    Let’s have more abandoned property occupied by squatters and lets have some slumlords and at least one meth lab, please, to defeat the oppressive elitist middle-class culture of tax paying citizens served by their elected officials.

    Let’s get more jive-talking street hustlers to organize us into anarchy.

    Lets build shelters around Green Lake for rapists so they won’t get damp when it rains.

    Lets have a lottery to select the next victim of random violence and/or crime.

    Lets have deathsquads patrol the neighborhood and inspect homes to make sure people can not defend themselves from evil.

    Humanity is a fungal plague. Grieve your birth and repent your existence.

  • Donn

    Let’s have a clue to what that was about.

  • Michael

    Enough with the snarky and obtuse. What’s wrong with increasing density, increasing the number of housing units in the city, and thereby reducing the demand to develop farmland in King Co? Is there a merchant who will be hurt by more foot traffic? My only concern is that the school district is clueless as to how to plan for growth. But that will remain an issue with or without this project.

  • Ian

    AV Tech employees use the roads too. I wonder where they’re moving to.
    Seattle Times said ”both sides of 34th”.
    Does that include the Varsity?

  • Donn

    Did anyone say anything was wrong with it? So far we’re just adding up the numbers. My theory is that we’re looking at about 1000 new units in the stretch from this AV Tech site, up to 45th & Stone. If I’m off, I bet it’s a couple hundred higher.

    How big would that number have to be, before we start to wonder if there’s anything wrong with that big of an increase in density all at once? Maybe even more development on top of that will practically ensure a paradise on earth?

    Does development here prevent development on county farmland? No. If the county doesn’t prevent development of those lands, then eventually they will be developed. If it does, they won’t. Residential density makes sense as a direction for Seattle as a whole, but not at all costs. If a neighborhood stands to lose something of value, they had better push back.

    And as they experience the futility of that, they should reflect on the way they called this on themselves by electing people like the current council (minus Harrell and Licata) and mayor. Can you build a great city by pushing an issues portfolio, or do you just end up giving “progressive” a bad name?

  • yesyes

    It is losing much at all costs. And the city sold us out already when the dismissed the variance for Skanska. They did it once. They’ll do it again.
    Does anyoene recall when one could cross the fremont Bridge and see water and green below? have ou crossed the Univ. bridge lately and seen the concrete boxes going up, almost completed?

    Know about wetlands? City violence increases due to inhumanization syndrome?

  • Maggie

    What exactly is the “something of value” we’d be losing? All I’m hearing about is lack of parking. Is that what we value? Parking? Meanwhile great local businesses have gone (Terra Hemp, Not a Number, two lovely toy stores.) They’re being replaced by souless national pharmacies (yes I’m talking to you Walgreens) and hair salsons. The neighborhood office has closed due to lack of funding and community involvement. People complain that we’re becoming the new Ballard. How many of my neighbors spend their weekends at the Ballard Farmers Market (because frankly it’s bigger and better than ours.) How many times a month do you drive down to visit Senior Moose or Ocho? See movies at the Majestic Bay? Stroll along Ballard Ave? I love Wallingford and would love to WALK to all the local buinesses I love, but how many times a month can you visit a hair salon? More residents will present more opportunities for small businesses and more volunteers for community events. We have a great opportunity here but not if we give these new residents the cold shoulder because god forbid they TOOK OUR PARKING!!!!

  • Fruitbat

    It used to be nice around here, back when Dexter Horton owned it. Once that John Wallingford started building it up, it got just so crowded and awful. And so many people meant it was hard to find a hitching post!

  • TRW

    @Ian: AV tech occupied buildings on both sides of 34th. I heard that they moved to Everett.

  • Donn

    In fact, I have been been to the Ballard farmers market almost every week going back to when it was just Anselmos and a couple others. I usually walk, but last week I was in a car – hope I don’t have to do that again soon. Parking is quite scarce. Think Terra Hemp would do better at a location like that without a reasonable chance of parking?

    (FYI, Señor Moose is closed for remodeling, so check before you go.)

    We want the same things, really. I want a rich, walkable urban environment that supports diverse, interesting businesses. It’s probably true that increase in density plays an important role in that picture. But I do not want to go the way Ballard has gone, and I think it’s fair to look at the details before going along with whatever and wherever density increases the city/developers have up their sleeves (as if we have a choice.)

    What will this place look like in 20 years, 50 years? I’ve got no answer, it’s just a question we ought to be asking. The big 280 unit block at 38th-39th/Stone-Woodland Park looks like it’s going to be built in a pretty tight budget … maybe that’s good in the long run, it will relatively quickly be ripe for tear down, where the Prescott across the street will be an eyesore and embarrassment long before it returns its investment.

    As far as I have noticed, new retail in Ballard is upscale clothing boutiques and chic sushi restaurants. Can we do better, somehow? We already have enough sushi restaurants, really, but really what I’m talking about is, who are these people? Are our new neighbors going to be this same crowd? Was that what Ballard saw in itself, is that what we see in ourselves, do we have anything worth hanging onto? If you really want meaningful retail diversity, got any ideas how to keep the street front rent down to where little guys can afford to be there?

    “Change is coming”, no one has trotted that one out in this thread yet, so let me get it over with. But the reason we have to supinely go along with it is not because it’s naturally going to be great if we leave it to the city/developers, it’s just because we have no recourse. It’s still worth thinking about.

  • walkinroun

    Thank you, Donn, for your thoughtful comments. It is truly important to consider all the intended and unintended impacts of increased development and density in “neighborhoods”. Wallingford has been a vibrant and interesting family-oriented neighborhood with enough open and green space to attract and maintain a wild bird and mammal population and ingenious parking strip gardens. For many, it is the best of all possible worlds: urban living with rural opportunities. I still see kids playing outside, walking in animated groups to the park and setting up tiny free libraries outside their single family homes on tree lined streets. Retired folks and young parents regularly stroll our imaginative and cared for streetscapes. It is definitely worth the effort to protect the wonderful quality of life here.

    You are right to ask who is coming to the neighborhood through the construction of these big housing projects. What is difficult not to notice is that these new developments tend to remove single family homes, replace them with dense housing, often with teeny studio and one bedroom apartments and build out to the margins of their footprint. They are dollar maximizing and space minimizing projects that make a tidy sum for the owners. It is not hard to imagine that these developments, which begin at the arterial edges of a neighborhood, will be marching inexorably up the hill toward the heart of Wallyhood. These folks will use every maneuver in the book to promote their agenda. And the streets where we now take our lovely walks, will simply become another conduit for plugged in, tuned out, fast walking worker bees to get from one cubicle to another.

    Something I think neighborhood people might consider is to support the efforts now underway to change our city council from an at large council to a precinct or neighborhood represented council. Wallingford is not the only place under incredible development pressure. I get a kick out of people who charge that anyone who isn’t on the bandwagon for “change” is somehow out of touch with the times. Not all change is inherently good. It seems so obvious, but it bears repeating.

  • Emily

    Increasing residential density, and with it the number and mix of close-in local businesses, is something I welcome to the Stone Way & 34th corridors. I love the quality of life in Wallingford and think it could be even better with more vibrant & interesting arterial streets. With all the current development, we need to make sure it is thoughtful and graceful and in keeping with neighborhood values including: walkability, bikability, appeal to mixed incomes & purposes, public access to open spaces and natural places (including waterfronts), view corridors, and other core values we all share. When raising concerns, neighbors should never forget our own economic clout; the stake of any one block of homeowners is easily equal to the stake of a $10m commercial parcel owner.

  • Maggie

    Perhaps we need some sort of mission statment for Wallingford. Something like “We are Wallingford, we value greenspaces, independant businesses, sustainablity, urban farming, art ect.” This is something we can do with the community council perhaps? We can use our current community events to support our mission and consider in when adding new ones. If we present and publicise our mission statment to new businesses and developments we may have a better chance of bringing in businesses, developers, and neighbors that we would like to add in to our diverse and quirky neighborhood.

  • Junipero

    For most of you this is just a theoretical argument. I live next door to this project, I look out over the old AVTech site. My view and my experience at home will be dramatically changed.

    And I *welcome* this project. I hope it gets built and soon.

    I would not be able to live here were it not for density that was built 20 years ago. As our city grows, adds jobs, that creates competition for existing units. The only way to avoid everyone else’s rents going up is to build a lot more housing. So this is a great way to bring more people to the neighborhood.

    It’s also in a good location. There’s already two dense housing developments on the west side of 34th and Wallingford, so another on the eastern side makes sense. Hopefully with more residents we can get more shops and restaurants at that intersection, which could be the basis of a new if smaller neighborhood business district.

    As we face an economic crisis and a climate crisis, building more density in cities is an essential part of solving both problems. Wallingford is a great neighborhood, but it’s also in the middle of a city, so it’s unreasonable as well as regressive to argue we shouldn’t ever add new density. This is replacing property that’s currently unused, including an abandoned house that was the subject of a Wallyhood post recently. This doesn’t threaten anyone’s existing home, so there’s no good reason to do anything but welcome this to the neighborhood with open arms.

  • Donn

    Well, talk to your neighbors – who weren’t saying we shouldn’t ever add density, nor did I see any specific criticism of the siting. If you don’t understand their concerns, there’s no point in belaboring it here, but maybe they can explain. I can’t imagine they could prevent this development even if they intended to, but it sounds like they aren’t ready to passively accept whatever happens either, which is a fine thing and testament to the neighborhood.

    On city council district representation – I go back and forth on that, from a pessimistic point of view maybe it just changes the way the big money interests buy elections. But how else could anyone muster the funds to unseat someone like Conlin whose city-wide power brings in the big contributors? So that’s a point in favor. The current scheme as I recall is a bit of a compromise anyway.

  • yesyes

    drive along 34th? in front of abandoned PCC building.. its still empty, across the street 2 empty coffee place empty places stand.. return to in front of Gasworks.. the old chem bio or what ever building… empty.. I am NOT totally against all development.. I am for some development and use of buildings which already exist..

  • Breadbaker

    I’ve lived here 32 years and I’m still waiting for the apocalypse. It’s certainly been predicted.

    It was supposed to come when Food Giant sold out to that huge chain, QFC.
    It was supposed to come when Ballard High moved into Lincoln.
    It was supposed to come when McDonald’s moved to 45th and Stone. Dick’s was doomed. (For those of you who are new here, there was a McDonald’s on that corner for many years.)
    It was supposed to come when the “Wallingford Wall” was developed.
    It was supposed to come when we lost the Honey Bear Cafe to development.
    It was supposed to come when the Fremont Public Association moved to Wallingford with its food bank.

    I’m still waiting, but I’m not holding my breath. This neighborhood can support a lot of development. No one is coming to knock your home down if you don’t want to sell.

  • Chris W.

    @yesyes — I didn’t like it, so I went away. Plus I couldn’t afford the huge rent increases every few months anymore. Left 34th & Wallingford before the construction really gets going…

  • Chris W.

    @Ian — Avtech has 2 buildings. The second one abuts the Varsity Inn (look for the same tan color as the building across from the Inn)

  • Lee

    The developer of the Avtech property will present its project at 34th and Wallingford to the Wallingford Community Council on Wednesday, March 6th, 7:00 PM at the Good Shepherd Center. Everyone is welcome.

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