PROJECT: Magnolia Safeway and Condominiums

OVERVIEW: All new construction of a 7-story mixed-use building

  • Residential condominiums: 135
  • Grocery: 29,500 sf
  • Public Plaza: 3,600 sf
  • Bicycle parking: 171
  • Car parking: 242

STATUS:  MUP Approved, Building Permit under review

LOCATION: 2550 32nd Avenue West, Seattle, Washington

Magnolia Neighborhood
Magnolia is one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods.  A near-island with water on more than three sides, Magnolia has tremendous access, visually and physically to Nature, particularly at Seattle’s destination open space: Discovery Park.  Where possible Humans laid out a rectilinear grid of streets.  However where the land is steep, Nature dictated curving streets.

Site: The north portal to Magnolia Village
The commercial downtown of the Magnolia neighborhood is Magnolia Village, a highly walkable retail and civic center of wonderful restaurants, bars, and retail providing nearly every needed item including books, garden supplies, and hardware.  However, The Village struggles for vitality with empty store fronts due to the lack of density.  The site is currently occupied by a one story 1953 Albertsons grocery store surrounded by surface parking

EXISTING CONTEXT: Single Family, Neighborhood Commercial, Civic Use and Open Space.

  • This commercial zoned site is immediately surrounded by single family zoning on the north and west, while facing the Civic heart of the Magnolia community, including playfields, swimming pool, community center, and K-8 public school to the south and west.


The Living Building for more info go here.
Early community input recognized that this badly needed housing density would create a dramatic scale difference with adjacent single family homes and needed to be an exemplary redevelopment and set an exceptionally high bar for future density in Magnolia Village.

To meet that goal, the Developer chose to develop to the most stringent of environmental standards, the Living Building Pilot Program.  In exchange, the city allows a further increase in this badly needed density.  Most of these sustainability standards involve environmental issues, resource conservation, and sustainable materials and practices, which are not readily externally noticeable.

The Living Building Challenge promotes improving the quality of urban life with the concept of Biophila: The innate desire of Humans to connect with Nature:

The Design Parti of Human+Nature reflects this biophilic concept with references to the specific neighborhood of Magnolia. The Human made grid of streets is reflected on the north façade which contains the Safeway store and above it a grid of homes. The south façade is a series of curves that wrap around a public open space that faces the southwest sun and the tree lined open spaces across the street. The Human North and the Nature South are connected in the middle by a tall vertical lantern element.


  • Our Niche
    When completed, the Magnolia Safeway will be our 5th completed mixed-use project that positions a new grocery store under housing in order to create a vibrant neighborhood center where people live, shop, and gather together.

  • Unique Design informed by context and community
    The design team spent literally hundreds of hours with the community-formed Albertsons Advisory Council to determine what was unique about the site and the context. The Design is a result of that Community Collaboration.

  • Precedent Setting Sustainability: The Magnolia Safeway will literally be a beacon to the future of sustainability.
    The Magnolia Safeway is designed to dramatically conserve energy and water, use only responsibly sourced materials, incorporate design features that honor adjacent natural spaces, all while considering the physical and psychological well-being of the people who will live, shop, work, and gather here.

    When completed, the building will use 25 percent less energy than current code requirements and will use no fossil fuels for heating water or interior spaces.  Heat displaced by the Safeway refrigeration will not be dispelled to the environment, but instead will be recycled to heat water and the homes above. Shower and sink water will be treated on site for re-use in toilets, cooling towers, irrigation, and hose bibbs.  The building itself will be constructed of locally sourced materials that do not use Red List chemicals that cause harm to people, animals, and the environment.


  • Type IIIA over IA


  • Security Properties


  • Landscape: Communita Atelier
  • MEP/Living Building: Rushing
  • Structural: CKC