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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Put Up or Shut Up

Posted by on March 23 at 14:59 PM

The whole debate Dan and Erica were having this week about the design of the condos going up on the north end of Broadway was sparked when developer Schnitzer Northwest released their design plans—and they got panned by Bob Burkheimer, the developer who owns the property across the street. Burkheimer complains that the design isn’t in keeping with “the character of the neighborhood.”

You know what Bob: You’re the one who pushed for a height rezone on Broadway so you could change the current character of the neighborhood by building something. Right now the character of the neighborhood is empty lots and closed shops.

My advice to you is put up or shut up (literally). You have no right to bust on Schnitzer Northwest. Sure, maybe you think the design is ugly (it looks okay to me)…but it’s certainly better than the blank grafittied lot you’ve got going across the street.

What are you waiting for? You got what you wanted from the city, now return the deed. Build.

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Thats weird... I thought that guy would have started building by now... Capitol Hill is still hotter than hot for realestate. If he doesn't like that building, he should build a better one.



I'd rather someone who cared about the character of the neighborhood took their time building something than putting up something ugly and fast that could potentially sit there for hundreds of years. Good for Burkheimer.

On the other hand, the character of the neighborhood is jeopardized by a lack of urban activity on the north end of Broadway, so hopefully Burkheimer has something in the works.

What I'm not getting in this whole thing is this architectural character of broadway. What is it anymore? Don't get me wrong, I love broadway. I live on 10th and I work on Boylston--and I have for more than a decade--but I don't see much inspiration in the buildings. They all seem pretty old as well, and there's nothing worse than a new building trying to fit in with its old neighbors--it never feels genuine. (See 700 Broadway)

I'd like to hear some more in-depth critique of the building itself. I don't love it, but I don't hate it either. "Blocky and ugly" isn't enough. And to mandate that a building look like everything that surrounds it is tiresome.

Why is the building so bad? And more importantly, what should it be instead? It's a worthy debate.

I used to be president of a neighborhood residents' association here in Vancouver and recall great debates about new home architecture. Bylaws were being proposed to encourage architects to design new buildings that "fit in" with existing street architecture. The architects -- Arthur Erickson in particular -- were upset because they felt their creativity was being unfairly limited. And I truly take their point. Why emulate older mediocre buildings instead of encouraging fresh, innovative, interesting new ones? The problem was that certain speculative developers would build the biggest, cheapest, nastiest things they could in order to maximize profits -- and they needed to be restrained. Arthur Erickson and other quality architects and developers were not the problem... In your case (Schnitzer NW's Broadway project) the company appears to be trying to create an interesting new building with innovative housing options. Great! Their architects are intelligent people with broad experience and I bet they can provide solutions we'd be unlikely to think of. Unfortunately the problem probably lies with your planning department and their bylaws which likely constrain Schnitzer and their architects.

Yeah, we really want Seattle to look like god awful Vancouver.

1980s! 1980s! 1980s! 1980s!


Self important architects should definitely be left to determine what a good urban landscape looks like (seems to be working awful well for ya'll up in Canada... ahem)

Keep your bad ideas in your ugly city.

Seattle stop being such a pussy.

Developement is always good for a neighborhood. Things change, old buildings get torn down, bigger and better buildings get put up.

There is no "right" architecture. Every fool out there has a favorite building style. Broadway is ugly. Tear it all down and put in something new.

Development is always good for a neighborhood, huh? Ever read "The Death and Life of Great American Cities?" Are rendering plants good for neighborhoods? Big Box retail stores? That's development too, in case you didn't know

Hell, for that matter, let's just tear down that stinky old Pike Place Market just like those 60's developers proposed, and the International District and Pioneer Square historic neighborhoods too!

This bozo definitely sounds like another candidate for a one-way ticket out of Seattle to me...

I like the new height. All Ok with me as long as site has street retail and possible second story professional.

Style debate is like debating the bible.

And those that get paid well to do so are really not a good source.

There are twenty good styles in this city.

The Deco dog of the past is the darling of the moment. Glass become brick. Brick chages to stucco. Stark simple changes to decorated. Gray tower is contasted to bleu glass.

I like the tile exterior on the Deco Apt. on South 1st. - but I bet it has never won a contest.

1980s! 1980s! 1980s! 1980s!

This is a perfect example of uninspired critique. What the hell are you talking about? How does this building relate to the 1980's?

Should we build more 1990's-style buldings like The Villa Marjorie on Olive Way? The proposed building and the 1980's have nothing in common.

I don't think for a minute that Schnitzer is at the forefront of modern development--but they are decades ahead of popular opinion. Maybe the building should blend in with its natural surroundings. I see a large bell and a terra-cotta roof...

Nice site

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