Boom Brown Outs, Yellow Jackets, and Growth Spurts
posted by March 19 at 14:40 PMon
Here are the design proposals going before the city’s review boards tonight for guidance and evaluations.
It would be difficult to intentionally design something as ugly or unhealthy for sidewalk activity as “The Marion” apartments on Bellevue Avenue and East Pine Street. The shit-colored building is, in essence, a homage to the carport. The units turn their back on an interesting intersection, stacked three stories above a windy, foreboding parking lot. So, it is without remorse or nostalgia that we bid the fair maiden Marion farewell.
The Stratford Company, developers and owner of the site, wants to build a six-story residential building. “The plan is to ‘condominiumize’ the development,” says Stratford’s director of asset management Mark Isner. The proposed building would contain 103 condos and use the ground floor for retail and office space. Parking for 123 cars would, thankfully, be underground.
Ankrom Moisan Architects
The firm recently hung a banner from the Marion’s façade asking would-be tenants and neighbors to complete an online survey about what sorts of qualities they seek in the new building. “We’re trying to make them affordable as we can possible make them,” Isner says. Stratford hopes to break ground this summer.
At tonight’s meeting, open to the public, architects and developers will respond to design guidance provided by the city’s volunteer design-review board in October. If you want to go, it’s at 8 p.m. in room of 3211 of Seattle Central Community College, 1701 Broadway.
Good intentions can get in the way of good design. For example, an impressive proposal for condos at E Thomas Street and Melrose Avenue E may not mesh the city’s milquetoast plans for the site. Developer Masto Properties has proposed replacing a squat apartment building with a six-story building, containing 30 condominiums and parking for 32 vehicles below grade. One point of friction: It’s bright yellow.
Copyright 2008, Group Architect Inc.
“They said it might be too bold,” Steve Gawronski of Group Architect Inc. says about the design-review board’s take on the design at a previous meeting. But the color works with the building and is spectacularly refreshing. Thousands of cans of taupe paint already threw up all over pre-fab boxes around the city—we don’t need another one.
In addition to maintaining a 15-foot clearance from the building to the north, the building’s other spatial challenge is related to I-5. Melrose abuts the freeway, parallel. Seattle’s Department of Transportation maintains a right-of-way 20 feet back from the street on Melrose and asks developers to keep that space level with the sidewalk. The problem: complying at this site, on a steep grade, would require transitioning from the sidewalk-level to the bottom floor of the building with this hideous concrete wall.
Copyright 2008, Group Architect Inc.
Group Architect’s proposal to terrace the sidewalk (as shown in the first rendering) is a vast improvement and should be permitted. If SDoT needs the space in 50 years, which it may, then it can ask the building’s owners to tear out the terrace. At tonight’s meeting, architects address will those issues and respond to previous design guidance. It’s at 6:30 p.m. in room 3211 of Seattle Central Community College, 1701 Broadway.
More about this gargantuan devlopment on Westlake…
…after the jump.
West Lake Union Grows Up
It is huge. Developer CarrAmerica has submitted two proposals for office and biotech facilities on Westlake Avenue North, which further contributes to the rapid devlopment around West Lake Union. “We’re reviewing them as two projects, but considering the project cumulatively,” says project planner Scott Ringold at the city’s Department of Planning and Development. “It’s a way for us to comprehensively review as much of project as they can envisions at this point.”
The first phase would be to construct a six-story building with 149,564 square feet of office space and parking for 292 vehicles inside the structure, at and below grade. Developers initiated the design review process in 2006, and are now returning to the design board with a fleshed out proposal.
The second phase would be to construct two additional six-story office and laboratory buildings with four levels of parking, two of which would be below grade.
Between the two, Ringold says, the developers are asking replace to 13,000 square feet of Highland Street with a hill climb and pedestrian plaza.
The meeting for the newer proposal is tonight at 6:30 p.m. in room #1 of the Queen Anne Community Center, 1901 1st Avenue West. The second meeting, for the more developed proposal, is at the same place at 8:00 p.m.