I am writing in response to the Guest Editorial published on June 9 regarding the proposed Safeway/Albertsons mixed-use project on 32nd Avenue West in Magnolia.

The author states that the project “will not fit in easily with the current Magnolia Village style of small, intimate shops, the quaint, newly reimagined village streetscape and the historical small town, island feel and pace of Magnolia Village and neighborhood.” I disagree with this statement for several reasons.

Seattle and most cities need to find ways to create more housing and more density, and Magnolia has a responsibility to take its share of this density. The City Council is trying to push more density into single-family areas, which I think will damage our neighborhoods. The increased density should occur on arterials and in commercial areas such as Magnolia Village. 

The Village, like all environments, must evolve. It has always struggled with its remote location and limited market area, and like retail areas everywhere, it has been hard hit by internet competition. The pandemic only made things worse. 

As a result, while there are unique and wonderful shops in the Village, some long-term anchor businesses have closed and the Village is markedly less diverse and robust than it was when I moved to Magnolia 30 years ago. It will benefit greatly from development that brings in new and varied customers who actually live in the Village. 

I think the character of Magnolia Village will actually be enhanced by projects like this. I like the quaint feel of the Village, but it could be improved. 

Unlike most similar areas in Seattle (think of Queen Anne Avenue), the Village has had relatively little new development or investment in decades. 

Some of its buildings are vacant and in need of renovation, and much of the time it feels underused and too quiet. New development with housing and 24-hour residents will reinvigorate the Village and its businesses. 

Christopher Kirk

Architect and former member of the Queen Anne-Magnolia Design Review Board



— To submit a letter to the editor, email it to editor Jessica Keller at qamagnews@pacificpublishingcompany.com. Please include your name and neighborhood in which you live.