City Losing that Space Needle View?
posted by September 16 at 14:53 PMon
UPDATE: Here is the tallest of three proposals to increase building heights in South Lake Union. The larger of the two numbers in each area refers to the proposed height limit for residential buildings; the smaller number refers to commercial buildings.
The city will unveil three proposals for taller buildings in South Lake Union at a public meeting tonight. Flip charts will be out for attendees to write their comments, says Alan Justad, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Planning and Development. Surely, many of those comments will be, “Too tall!”
The most ambitious proposal would allow towers up to 400-feet on many of the blocks between Denny Way and the lake’s southern shores; on the other end of the spectrum, a proposal would leave height limits at current levels. You can read more on this over here, here, here and here.
Realistically, SLU—part of downtown—is the logical place for tall buildings. But folks with views of the Space Needle shouldn’t worry about 400-foot buildings. That proposal is a bookend, I think; it was proposed so the development interests and neighbors can come to an apparent compromise somewhere in the middle. What we should worry about is packing the area with chunky, institutional buildings devoid of character. Vulcan has already proposed several for Amazon—reminiscent of those already built by the Cancer Care Alliance—that look like hospital wings. They fall pathetically short of the city’s stated goal of making the area “a livable, walkable and sustainable neighborhood where people choose to live, work and play.” We can build density that still has character.
The city will take comments at a yet-to-be-scheduled forum this fall, forward its recommendations to the mayor, who will forward it to the council, which will hold more meetings, and South Lake Union will be upzoned moments before we invent flying cars. Tonight’s meeting runs from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., with presentation at 6:00 p.m., at the South Lake Union Armory (Naval Reserve Building at Lake Union Park), 860 Terry Ave North.