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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Vision of the QFC’s Future

Posted by on June 22 at 14:18 PM

The city-block size QFC has sat abandoned on Broadway for years and is reviled by all. Last night at a public design review meeting, Bob Burkheimer and Driscoll Architects unveiled the still malleable plans for the mixed use development in the works for the site.

The “preferred option” looks like this: (the white arrow points north, so Broadway is on the bottom side of this diagram)
with apartments (not condos!) along Harvard, retail on Broadway and entrances to underground parking garages in the middle of Mercer and Republican. They’re planning space for 400 cars, open to commercial folk during the day and exclusive to residential at night. Those white bars in the diagram? Entrances to the apartments and their private courtyard. The main lobby to access the apartments is on Harvard, but they’re planning a secondary entrance on Broadway. What those entrances, or the building itself, will look like (glass? colors? a nautical motif?) is still undecided.

What they do know is that it’ll be 65 feet tall, which is 25 feet more than usually allowed. Here’s how that’ll look in relation to the surrounding neighborhood:

Given the tumultuous history of this development, I thought the meeting would be kinda hostile. No dice. Totally tame, with the public who showed up offering constructive criticism and expressing enthusisasm about FINALLY having the bum-magnet developed.

Most of the criticism revolved around the retail space and the courtyard. During deliberation, a member of the board said they should consider having public access to the courtyard during the day, thought the architect cited issues of safety in keeping it gated. As for the shops, the architect planned on 4-5 shops that could choose to build their own facades, awnings and public face. Several people in the crowd suggested more like 10-12 shops, so the stretch could resemble the Republican to Harrison block (“the best block on Broadway!”). Another person suggested a stronger architectual hand in designing the retail space, to curb the “rampant individualism” of places like U-Village.

oh, and will the apartments have any affordable housing? Silly you.. not on Capitol Hill! They’ll be sold at market rate, though a mix of studios, 1 and 2 bedroom apartments is planned.

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That elevation view is completely bogus. How tall is the Broadway Market? Last I checked it was 30 feet at the most. This shit is going to TOWER over any of its neighbors built pre-2006.

Thanks for the prompt follow-up. The courtyard is a very cool idea. It seems very unreasonable to expect it to be open to the public though. Anyway, it's better than no courtyard whatsoever.

My only gripe is that from the outside the buidling doesn't seem to do much to differentiate from the other boxes. (I guess it's hard to tell.) It would be nice if it could be built a wee little higher after a raised setback. Although the apartments would command even higher rents, the patios would put more eyes on the street; eyes that might actually care about what's going on (should they see or understand the street as part of their residence).

But that might only work for condo owners... I'm not yet formally trained in this area.

This was going to be the first public-review meeting I've ever attended, but it was my girlfriend's birthday... no dice. Keep up the Boom posts!

I certainly hope that the devloper and the Arcitecht are able to build, without any pain in the ass neighborhood community council morons getting in the way.

One can hope that this plethora of new units will somehow drop the cost to rent other units in Capitol Hill. I doubt it, but one can hope.

Well, it won't, Gomez, but at least it will bring more 43rd district style voters to the area!

Doug, I'm not the concrete canyon fan that Dan is (i swear), but I think that Broadway is plenty wide enough to handle sixty feet. As long as it isn't one oppressive structure that spans the whole block, I think it has the opportunity to look really fantastic. We'll see, I suppose.

I bet Broadway Market is taller than 30 feet. There are four floors of apartments in the back, aren't there?

The courtyard seems like a great idea -- creating a little european-style semi-private open space.

The key to good redevelopment seems to be keeping old, big trees around the new building to make it seem like the new building has been there longer (compare the development at the southwest corner of 45th and Stone way to the more typical chop'n'build new developments). Since this block doesn't have much in the way of old trees (does it?), it won't look like it fits into the neighborhood no matter what the height.

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