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Alki Homestead restoration clears the first hurdle

February 12, 2011

(West Seattle Herald, 01/28/2011 by Patrick Robinson)

In a hugely positive meeting on Jan. 28, the two architects hired to create the restoration plan for the Alki Homestead met with the 10 member Architectural Review Committee of the Landmarks Preservation board.

This is in keeping with the purpose of the committee and the larger board whose “goal is to manage change, not to eliminate it.” Greg Squires and Mark Haizlip of Alloy Design Group had previously shared with the members of the committee via email what they intended to present, but the standard half hour allotted for such presentations, still grew to over an hour as any initial questions about the removal of non-historic elements of the existing structure were easily answered and the focus shifted to how the restoration might be accomplished. The non historic parts of the structure, one added in 1961 and a second in 1985 predate the designation of the building as an historic landmark. Squires made it clear that since this was the first meeting based on this new plan they were “taking the view from 20,000 feet.”

A question from the committee centered around first, confirming that the intent of the owner and his team was and is to restore the building. Squires confirmed this, and Haizlip read their Mission Statement: “Our mission is to restore the historic Fir Lodge/ Alki Homestead Restaurant the iconic structure that has stood for decades in the core of the Alki Community. To revive the unique dining experience that has served generations of people and to insure that the legacy of the Homestead continues for decades to come.” Haizlip talked about “Five key areas for accomplishing this mission.”

1. Homestead will be restored “to the greatest extent possible”

2. The existing entry landscaping should be restored

3. To keep the existing 22 stall parking capacity

4. Remove the non historic expansion structures

5. Building an attached external structure. Part of the plan, as the West Seattle Herald described in a previous story, involves that fifth point, the construction of an external building.

In the current iteration of the project it would be 18 feet 7 inches deep, and shorter than the width of the existing building. It would be behind the present Homestead structure and would house a commercial kitchen, possibly ADA bathrooms for the disabled, recycling and waste and “vertical circulation” meaning a staircase and elevator for disabled access to the upstairs (and a 120 person banquet facility), possibly using the existing rear door. It would, under its present NC130 (Neighborhood Commercial) zoning be allowed to have no setback from the alley, but a 7 foot separation would exist between the back of the Homestead and this new structure.

The banquet facility could be allowed since the apartments that were built later in the building’s life were non-historical.  To continue reading click here.

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