Boom What’s on Second?
posted by June 2 at 11:39 AMon
The most mind-boggling thing about the parking lot on 2nd Avenue and Pike Street is that there even is a parking lot on 2nd Avenue and Pike Street. This ideal downtown crossroads has been underused—and budding with potential—practically forever.
Greg Smith, developer and Principal of Urban Visions, had plans for the site a couple years ago, before downtown was rezoned to allow taller buildings. But last week, Smith was back before the city’s downtown design-review board to present a bolder vision for a geometric, two-tone tower that will stand 440 feet tall. It’s called the Candela Hotel and Residences.
Olsen Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects
“We recognize the intersection as one of the most important in the city,” Smith said. Bravely, the architects disregarded a design guideline that requests new buildings relate to the immediate architectural context—because, really, even one Newmark building is too many—in favor of adding something unique to the skyline. Portions of the pearly tower cantilever out over the rest of the building’s frame, and an arm of the hotel juts unexpectedly away from the body. However, the building encounters its greatest obstacles at the street level.
More after the jump.
Zoning rules for that corner require vehicles to enter the parking garage from the alley on Pike Street. However, according to Tyler Myers, who introduced himself as the guy building the IGA grocery store on the other half of the block, about 12,000 pedestrians per day walk along the sidewalk between Second and Third Avenues. Allowing more car traffic there would clog the alley, which is needed for deliveries to the grocery store and Wild Ginger, and create “a pretty dangerous situation” for pedestrians, he said.
The blocky red area on the left represents a restaurant on Pike Street. The greenish-brown horizontal strip along Second Avenue represents the plantings that obscure views to the lobby and hallways.
The design review board, in turn, recommended an exception to the rules: allowing the Candela’s parking garage to be accessed via a ramp on Second Avenue. To accommodate the parking ramp, the architects have chosen to eliminate almost all retail or restaurant space along Second Avenue (there is a restaurant space on Pike Street). Why should that matter? Pedestrian activity at this intersection is the reason Smith and others recognize that corner has citywide significance. “That’s where the activity happens—at the pedestrian level,” said architect Tom Kundig.