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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Design Reviews: A First on First, a Second on Second, and the Great Technicolor North

posted by on April 22 at 15:15 PM

First Things First

The only thing missing from the northeast corner of 1st Avenue and Stewart Street is, well, everything.


It’s been a parking lot as long as I can remember. To see that corner used the way a downtown corner should be used, you’ve got to flip the calendar back 80 years, when it looked like this.


Touchstone Corporation plans to fill out the site’s zoning envelope, which limits buildings to 125’. The proposed development would stand 11 stories, contain 75 apartments and 100 hotel units, operating as a sister hotel with the Inn at the Market.

“We’re going to have a tall wall of buildings behind us,” says Paul Schlachter of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen. The zone is a strip between the 65’ height limits around the Pike Place Market and the 400’ allowances on 2nd Avenue, where three buildings are slated for construction.


Images via Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen

“We have an opportunity to celebrate the corner and make a landmark as you ascend 1st,” says Schlachter. He envisions a restaurant on the top floor, satisfying Seattle’s pining for a restaurant with a view of the skyline and Sound, a la Cloud Room. He plans to include a courtyard connecting 1st Avenue to the alley, the location of the hotel’s main entrance.

Tonight’s meeting marks the first step of the design process with the city. Why build now, I asked Schlachter, considering the forecast of a stormy economy? “The timing just seems right. This piece of property is one of the most prime pieces in Seattle. Nothing has been done with it. It’s a mystery to us why this signature location hasn’t been used before.”

Cheer them on at 5:30 pm in the boards & commissions Room L280 at City Hall, 600 4th Avenue. After-hours access info is here.

Second Try

Environmental Works goes back to the design-review board tonight with a revised proposal for Bakhita Gardens on 2nd Avenue. It’s low-income housing for women and it rocks my casbah. You can read more and see the design’s previous iteration here.


Environmental Works

“[The design review board] liked the building for the most part but had a couple design suggestions,” says Brian Lloyd of Beacon Development Group, which is developing the project for the Archdiocesan Housing Authority. He says the board members asked to change the shape of the windows (less narrow), integrate the brick and the rest of the façade (no color-band between), and unify the roofline (remove the jagged lines). “I was a little frustrated… because you go into the meeting and don’t know what the concerns or objections are going to be,” says the affable Lloyd. “Upon further reflection, there are some good ides that are going to make a better looking building.”

The design board’s second recommendation meeting will be tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Seattle City Hall. More info here.

The Great Technicolor North

This looks like a promising development. High density. Underused area. Please, almighty Lord in the heavens, may it not be these colors.


A couple hundred feet from the Seattle-Shoreline border on 15th Avenue NE (here’s a map), Jackson Square, LLC proposes what it calls Jackson Square Multifamily. The six stories would contain 65 units and 88 parking spots.

Does “multifamily” in the name mean the units could contain two or three bedrooms for families—a welcome relief from the one-bedroom apartments for singles and couples that dominate the market? Kelly Shyne of the Justen Company, the architect, said it’s too early in the process for her to know how many bedrooms would be in the units. That’s really weird. Last night’s meeting was the second recommendation from the design board – the third meeting in all – a year and a half after the first payment to begin the design process with the city. Calls to Jackson Square’s Jim Abbot haven’t been returned.

Another life-changing experience after the jump.

That bit about changing your life was pure hyperbole. Next up, another contruction in Seattle’s deep north, on Lake City Way NE and NE 140th Street, is a proposal for six stories, and it’s packed full of housing.


Architect and developer Carleton Development Group, LLC proposes 390 units, 9,500 square feet of retail space, and parking for 440 vehicles. It’s so large, I’m sure someone has written about it somewhere, and I’m sure someone, somewhere is also very upset about it. I just don’t know what they said. The meeting was yesterday. Sorry.

Finally, this next project, off Rainier Avenue South on Dearborn Street, which I briefly wrote about here, goes in for another meeting.


The proposal is for two duplexes, a triplex, and two fourplexes, comprising 15 units. The meeting is tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Rainier Cultural Arts Center, 3515 South Alaska Street.

RSS icon Comments


That rooftop restaurant sounds exciting. I hope The Stranger keeps an eye on it and sends Bethany there the minute it opens.

Posted by NaFun | April 22, 2008 3:28 PM

I like the First Things First design, considering the zoning limits and impact on views.

The Second Thing ... it's still too short, but a nice implementation considering what's there.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 22, 2008 4:20 PM

15th Ave NE apartments will be next to the Executive Estates complex, which always gets a chuckle from me when I bike past. Guess it's for those high-powered execs who golf at the Jackson Park Golf Course and eat at the taco truck across 145th.

Posted by Greg Barnes | April 22, 2008 4:24 PM

Much as I like Dominic, everytime I read "This Week in Property Development" about the latest luxury high-rises, I have to wonder if The Strangers' target demographic hasn't shifted, some.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | April 22, 2008 5:00 PM

@4 - no, it's just the Weekly lost it's readership and the daily papers stopped covering local news.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 22, 2008 5:19 PM

I believe the developers at 2nd and Virginia called killed the project. So those two towers behind 1st and Stewart are out.

Thank god they fixed Bakhita Gardens. It looked truly awful before.

Posted by Cale | April 22, 2008 6:49 PM

Yeah like Dominic has this pile of low income housing announcements he's tossed aside because he's he can't tear himself away from his first love, bigass palaces and the rich folk that build them.

Posted by elenchos | April 22, 2008 7:16 PM

@ 4 & 7) Surely, you jest. I've been indiscriminately covering EVERY design review in the city.

In this post, the second project is transitional housing for homeless women--the opposite of luxury high-rises for the wealthy. Let's see, then we have apartments in prestigious Lake City Way and another on the border of Shoreline. We also have apartments and hotel on an empty lot downtown. Then there are duplexes in the Rainier Valley. Where are the palaces for rich people, again? Where are the low-income projects I'm ignoring?

Posted by Dominic Holden | April 23, 2008 12:18 AM

The new development at 15th and 145th will be right behind the liquor store. Convenient, eh?

Posted by Greg | April 23, 2008 8:58 AM

I enjoy having the design review synopsis here on Slog. They're one of my favoite things to read on here. That and the Hillary-bashing, of course.

Posted by Justin J | April 23, 2008 1:11 PM

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