Plans would move deliveries off 32nd Avenue West to a loading bay in the alley behind a new, larger grocery store.
Plans would move deliveries off 32nd Avenue West to a loading bay in the alley behind a new, larger grocery store.

Security Properties chief development officer John Marasco is confident a proposed mixed-use redevelopment of the Magnolia Albertsons will get the green light, but it will still be up to three months before the company concludes its feasibility study.

Albertsons Companies is being methodical about redeveloping its Safeway and Albertsons stores with its new urban concept design, targeting several at a time in each market.

“We’ve been actively working with them on some of their other sites, but we’ve never been able to get one under control until the Magnolia redevelopment came about,” Marasco said.

Security Properties has developed a number of mixed-use housing projects above groceries, including above PCC Markets in Fremont and Columbia City, and On the Park apartment project on top of the Ballard QFC.

Security Properties and its partners at Bumgardner Architects have brought their working concept for the Magnolia Albertsons to the local chamber and community council for feedback.

It will likely take another 60-90 days before the team finishes studying the property and determines if its plans are feasible, Marasco said. It will also be up to Albertsons Companies whether the project proceeds.

Preliminary plans were submitted to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections that allowed Security Properties to begin the feasibility process.

Those plans call for a six-story project at 2550 32nd Ave. W. A larger grocery would take the ground floor, with 146 apartment units above.

Marasco said condominiums are being considered for the project, which would reduce the housing units to around 120 due to them being larger than rentals. Whether that’s possible will also be determined during the feasibility process. Apartments built by Security Properties have ranged from 530 to 1,300 square feet, the latter being two-bedrooms with a den and three-bedroom units. Those are managed by Security Properties Residential.

A big question to be answered is whether a departure would be possible that would allow for access to below-grade parking on 32nd Avenue West, which zoning does not permit. SDCI wants the developer to use the alley, but Marasco said mixing cars and delivery trucks would be a bad idea. Mark Simpson, principal at Bumgardner Architects, said he believes the design team can successfully make that case to the SDCI director. Delivery trucks currently park along 32nd to unload. Simpson and Marasco agreed some surface parking would likely remain.

The project is proposed to include two levels of below-grade parking with 212 stalls as submitted to SDCI.

A large focus for the feasibility of the project is the water table — the upper surface of the zone of saturation.

“It is high, so we do know that now,” Marasco said, adding saturation is such that water could be diverted off the property with limited impact to the project.

Another part of the feasibility process has been determining if the redevelopment could be designed to qualify for Seattle's Living Building pilot.

“It goes way beyond LEED actually,” Marasco said of the environmental sustainability requirements. “You have be 25 percent more energy efficient than code.”

Marasco said he would like to see the project proceed through design review and permitting in 14-16 months, followed by a construction timeline of 18-20 months.

The potential Albertsons redevelopment has so far received a positive reception from the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce, which seeks to reinvigorate Magnolia Village.

“The neighborhood has evolved, and the village has stayed constant, it has not changed,” said David Dougherty with the chamber.

Around 80 percent of respondents to an SDOT intercept survey released last December documenting transportation and spending habits in Magnolia Village either lived or worked in the neighborhood.

“The idea is you have to increase the consumers here,” Dougherty said. That means more residential construction. “This really hit the bull’s eye in terms of the development that is needed.”

As with any proposed large-scale redevelopment, there have been community asks.

“We’re trying hard to get a nice outdoor seating area,” Marasco said.