The West Design Review Board wants to see a more fleshed out design for a new Magnolia Safeway project that will be topped with 135 condo units and replace the aging Albertsons store.

Security Properties and Bumgardner Architects will have to return for a second Early Design Guidance meeting.

The review board determined Wednesday that the developer can proceed with plans to site parking access for the mixed-use project on 32nd Avenue West, which Bumgardner Architects principal Mark Simpson argued was a critical decision needed in order to advance its design.

SDOT has not wanted to budge on having access to underground parking for residents and Safeway customers off the alley running along the east side of the property, which Security Properties argues would negate planned project amenities, including a public plaza on 32nd.

Security Properties chief development officer John Marasco told the WDRB the project at 2550 32nd Ave. W. will set a precedent for new development in Magnolia Village, which is zoned for growth.

WDRB member and Magnolia resident John Morefield was most critical of the project during the EDG meeting. He felt three architectural options presented were incomplete, particularly in regard to massing concepts.

The preferred option breaks the building into two blocks, with the south side setback to open up a 19-stall surface parking lot, where residents and shoppers would access a ramp to two levels of underground parking. The Safeway store would be 25,000 square feet, and 135 condo units would be included in six floors on top.

Morefield echoed concerns expressed by some residents about plans to site parking access next to a proposed public plaza. While Safeway is requiring 75 stalls, Simpson said the city doesn’t require any parking for the project. The total proposed stalls for the project are 224.

There are already two surface lots on the property, and delivery trucks currently park on the street at 32nd, which is also used by buses for nearby Catharine Blaine K-8.

Simpson said a mid-block crosswalk between the new plaza and parking lot would help with traffic calming. Traffic studies also show many students pass the alley heading to and from school along Raye Street.

One resident told the review board she was concerned about cars exiting the site next to a crosswalk, cautioning many children roam freely in the Village. She did say the surface lot would be helpful in directing drivers to the parking garage.

Magnolia Community Council member Cheryl Jacobs supported parking access from 32nd. A midblock crosswalk would be helpful, she said, because people already jaywalk there.

While Morefield disagreed with the project design team’s argument that alley parking access would negatively impact the design, he agreed with WDRB member Patreese Martin that access on 32nd would limit impacts to adjacent residents with garage access from the alley. The alley would have a loading bay for delivery trucks and angled housing units, to provide privacy for adjacent homes.

The design review board directed the developer to come back with more information about how the project will impact site views and sun exposure for nearby residents and the park and Mounger Pool across the street. The EDG packet included sun/shadow studies, which show the preferred option would create the most shade in the morning and late afternoon during winter months, but relatively little during other parts of the year.

Security Properties believes redevelopment of the Magnolia Albertsons site will be the first mixed-use project with a grocery store to attempt to qualify for the City of Seattle’s Living Building Challenge pilot program, which provides an incentives that allows the building height to reach nearly 68 feet. Simpson said the site is at the bottom of a hill and is the right location for height and density to increase.

Morefield lamented that there was no way of stopping the height increase allowed through the Living Building Challenge pilot, but said he wanted to see those green-building elements applied to the massing for the project, which WDRB member Brian Walter believed would be reflected in a later design.

“I don’t think any of them were developed enough to say, ‘A little bit of this, a little bit of that,’” Morefield said of the three design options presented.

Simpson said the project will address the Living Building Challenge guidelines with materials, beauty, and health and happiness, the last of which would be satisfied through biophilic design — addressing people’s desire to be connected to nature. This will be partly accomplished with prominent decks, some curved, spiraling forms — to make people think of seashells — and lighter-colored materials to better reflect light. The design team is also looking at using recycled materials, Simpson said.

“We feel that this must be a building from the future,” he said.

The project is expected to use 25 percent less energy than what is allowed under the current energy code, and recycle groundwater for non-potable uses; a groundwater seep or seasonal spring is proposed for the plaza.

A solar farm is proposed on the roof of the north block of the development, and a rooftop garden would be on the southern block.

The decision by the review board to have Security Properties and Bumgardner Architects return for a second EDG meeting pushes the timeline for the project out further.

A larger redevelopment project for the Queen Anne Safeway — a 50,000-square-foot store and 325 residential units — squeaked through EDG in October, which allowed developer barrientosRYAN to proceed with its master use permit application.

Magnolia Chamber of Commerce member David Dougherty told the review board the Safeway project would be a boon for the Village, where small businesses have been struggling for years. Studies have found nearly 90 percent of people who shop in Magnolia Village live in the neighborhood. Dougherty said a project that puts more customers in the Village will keep it viable while also providing residents looking to downsize with another housing option.