Boom The I.D. Building
posted by March 10 at 15:13 PMon
There is a void on Fourth Avenue, between the southern edge of downtown’s business district and the northern border of Chinatown. Despite the proximity to two thriving urban centers, nearby blocks are mostly parking lots, single-level businesses, and the erstwhile club Aristocrats.
Fourth Avenue and Washington Street (above), and Fourth Avenue and Main Street (below)
In this bridge between the two neighborhoods, the challenge for architects is designing buildings that meet standards for the historic International District, yet mesh with the glass and steel of downtown. In one example, an almost-completed fire station at 4th and Washington combines angular shapes and industrial materials with panels painted the color of red associated with luck, gold, and dragons. Across the street, however, developers are proposing a fresher approach to Asian design—the I.D. Building.
“The design is taking cues from current trends in modern Asian architecture,” says Chris Pardo, principal of Pb Elemental, a local development and architecture firm behind this proposal and the proposed Trophy Building. Pardo says that the designs, still preliminary, are geared to attract “a premier modern boutique hotel for Seattle.” The 24-story building would contain 110 hotel and 120 condo units, and would be crowned with a rooftop bar. (Don’t worry, dear Cloud Room, we’ll always remember you.)
If the Fourth and Blanchard Building (or some say the Columbia Center) can be dubbed the Darth Vader Building, then the I.D. Building could become Vader’s mini me. Far more square, though, the design is unlike anything else downtown or in the International District—like a cut block of black quartz. But this is not wayward, this is forward. It is the sort of statement the I.D. needs. As a modern Pacific Rim city, Seattle’s new I.D. construction must occasionally deviate from the predictable Asiana gestures of jades, reds, and yellows.
But it’s uncertain if the board tasked with reviewing construction proposals will approve this stark design. “There is some preference to earthen materials and muted colors within the district,” says Rebecca Frestedt, Board Coordinator of the International Special Review District. The timing could also play a role in the design; the review board is currently revising guidelines for new construction in the area. “We are hoping to adopt that set of guidelines this summer,” she says. Either way, Frestedt continues, “It will likely undergo many revisions before the design is approved.”
On building over the bus tunnel and a temporary new lounge after the jump.
The building’s greatest challenge may not be on the surface, however, but underneath. Located directly above the bus tunnel’s International District station, developers are allowed to dig only 15’ below grade. Thus, the parking garage is contained above ground, generally discouraged in downtown zones, in a lower quadrant of the building, in a semi-transparent shroud.
Pardo says the slope of the hill provides access to the parking garage from the alley, thus opening the sidewalk to pedestrian activity. “This allows for full retail on Fourth, Main and Washington,” he says. Pardo expects it will take two to three years to acquire the permit.
In the meantime, Pb Elemental plans to convert the Aritocrats space into a lounge called Silver. “Currently, we are discussing the space with Josh Henderson of Skillet and plan to have the lounge/tapas bar open in May,” he says. (Awesome!) “The spot would be opened until we break ground on the new development.”
Pardo plans to submit his proposal to the International Special Review Board soon and expects the Department of Planning and Development to assign a project number later this week.