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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Lofty Visions of the Future

posted by on December 4 at 9:30 AM

I assumed that everyone capable of designing and constructing a multi-story, multi-million dollar development in Seattle was also capable of saving their design proposal as a .pdf document. I was wrong, apparently.

Since the Department of Planning and Development began requesting digital versions of the design proposals for upcoming developments to post online, many developers haven’t provided them. Maybe they don’t want their shitty designs made public for asswipes like me to share with asswipes like you. But they should. We’re good asswipes, and we like pictures. And many of the designs are pretty nice. So, to celebrate and honor the developers and architects who have mastered the “export” and “save as” functions, enjoy this preview of buildings coming up around town.

Most of the designs after the jump are not yet final. So, don’t get your hopes up. Or, alternatively, don’t give up hope.

Click on the intersection headers to see a map of the surrounding blocks.

14th Ave and E Union St

My ex-boyfriend wrote most of his literature thesis in Perkatory, which has since been razed to reveal a wall perfect for graffiti.


Think of it as a welcome note for Piecora's incoming neighbor.



This design is awesome. Her name will be The Chloe. Nice work, Runberg Architecture Group. But are buildings like ships? Always with a woman’s name? How I long for a condo named Steve.

24th Ave NW and NW 58th St

Presiding over a neighborhood haunted by the ghosts of Norwegian fishers, she will be known only by the name Danielle. Behold her 31 units of for-sale splendor.

Danielle by day.


Danielle by night.


Queen Anne Ave N and W Howe St

I’m really, really trying to like this. So hard.


The folks at DDG Architects will turn three lots into one four-story medical office building with a single residential unit cradled inside.

There’s a public design review meeting Wednesday. But, if you go, don’t be like these people. I hate these people.

Walking into the Safeway on upper Queen Anne one morning this week, Deonne Lamb ran across a neighborhood acquaintance leaving the store.



A small gesture, but it exemplified why Lamb, 41, isn't happy about the new buildings in the neighborhood -- such as the four-story apartment building going up across from the supermarket.

Lamb's friend, who is 39 and has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, worries about the neighborhood losing its small town feel. "I don't think I'll feel like I know everybody in the neighborhood," she said.

26th Ave and E Cherry St

Adding credence to my theory that developers should be barred from penning promotional copy, the Great Northern Land Company introduces their design proposal for nine live/work units like this:

“Located in the heart of the Central District this development will strive to augment the urban renewal burgeoning along the Cherry Str. Corridor, not only in its physical presence but also in providing an opportunity for an emotional connection between its occupants and the neighborhood."

Oh, Jesus, God. Make these fucking hippies stop. An emotional connection to the crack dealers across the way? Fuck.



Okay, all better now. Lovely units, they are. Live-work units they’re called. You live there. You work there. You never leave there.

And, hey, if you live in an enchanted sweatshop like one of these, Jonah might still want to talk to you. Jonah, can you save these people?

Rainier Ave S and S Willow St

In case troops returning to Seattle are pining for that back-in-the-barracks feeling, this proposal will deliver. Here is one of three townhouse designs, each soul-crushing in its own special way.


I’m all for property rights and affordable housing--this will create 32 units with attached garages--so bid farewell to the equally dismal scene it will replace.


Second Ave and Virginia St

If this parking lot is developed next week it won’t be soon enough.


Two almost identical buildings, 38 and 39 stories, from the Justen Company will make up the luxurious 2nd and Virginia Towers and fill the site with hundreds of units I will never be able to afford.


Stewart St and Minor Ave

Let’s give a shout out to the mad fools at Collins Woerman.

If you’ve ever left the Re-Bar stumbling – and really, is there any other way to leave the Re-Bar? – wouldn’t it be great to only have to stumble across the parking lot to get home? Residents of the 400’ Stewart | Minor | Tower (with the lines just like that) will enjoy that greatness.


The translucent purple thing on the left is 1200 Stewart.

RSS icon Comments


A small gesture, but it exemplified why Lamb, 41, isn't happy about the new buildings in the neighborhood -- such as the four-story apartment building going up across from the supermarket.

My heart fucking bleeds for the Queen Anne resident that has to share her little enclave with someone that she doesn't *know*.

Gasp. They might not be white, either!

Posted by bma | December 4, 2007 9:51 AM

(Although those high property values certainly do a good job of keeping out those "undesirables", eh?)

Posted by bma | December 4, 2007 9:53 AM

Why does the Rainier Valley get stuck with such crap? What they can't build near Aurora and 85th anymore.

Posted by anna | December 4, 2007 9:58 AM

nice report - good to see all this in one place

Posted by kinkos | December 4, 2007 10:00 AM

It's more than just "Save As". These kinds of illustrations don't serve any real purpose, and they are expensive to make. Shoestring developers just go for the blueprints, and leave the fancy CAD drawings to the fancy boys.

Great Northern's ad copy is pretty hilarious.

Posted by Fnarf | December 4, 2007 10:03 AM

Glad you posted this. However, those designs (at least those I can see) are atrocious.

Posted by Ryan | December 4, 2007 10:08 AM

The first one was nice, but all the rest were really bad.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 4, 2007 10:12 AM

Thanks for the report, Mr. Holden. Excellent work, as always,

Posted by excellent | December 4, 2007 10:16 AM

with a single residential unit cradled inside. huh?

Posted by infrequent | December 4, 2007 10:24 AM

Not all programs export to PDF, Mr. Holden. Do you know how much a site license for Acrobat costs?

Posted by Greg | December 4, 2007 10:36 AM

All you need to make a .pdf of any document is a mac. "print to pdf" no license required.

Posted by Finish Tag | December 4, 2007 10:47 AM

That 14th & Union development looks like it takes up the whole block. True?

Posted by Paulus | December 4, 2007 10:56 AM

@11: You can't use AutoCAD on a Mac. Nor SolidWorks.

Posted by Greg | December 4, 2007 10:56 AM

LOL - stumble home from the Re-Bar.... Not likely, it'll somehow get shutdown due to noise complaints.

Posted by notonthehill | December 4, 2007 11:09 AM

@10 CutePDF is an awesome, faster alternative to the bloated Adobe program, and it ranges in price from free for the basic writer to something like $50 for their pro version. I use the free version at home and it creates pdfs that are indistinguishable in quality from the pdfs I make with Adobe Professional at work. And CutePDF is only one of several free Adobe alternatives that are out there.

Posted by drewvsea | December 4, 2007 11:52 AM

This was a great commentary on urban planning... I'm glad so many people made remarks... but how come no one has written that Dominic's commentary on the whole thing is laugh-out-loud funny!!! This guy is smart AND hilarious.

Posted by David | December 4, 2007 11:54 AM

I certainly don't see room for Piecora on the artist's rendering.

Maybe someone at the Stranger should stop looking at the pretty pictures, and find out just how much of the block that project's gonna displace?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | December 4, 2007 12:03 PM

Jesus christ, these comments (@1, for example). Yes, more, more, more misery. Spread it around. schaudenfrade is sexy, huh.

Anyone with more income than you *deserves* a kick in the nuts?

Posted by Paul | December 4, 2007 12:05 PM

The building on 14th won't soggy Piecora's crust. Click on the intersection hyperlink--it will take you to the DPD's web site with a graphic of the block. In addition to the shaded area, The Chloe will also occupy the corner on E Union St.

Posted by Dominic Holden | December 4, 2007 12:10 PM

Hey NapoleonXIV, you lazy sack of sh#*... if you're the one concerned about who the Piecora project is going to displace then why don't YOU FIND OUT MORE ABOUT IT AND DO SOMETHING?! Just because someone writes an article with "pretty pictures" to give readers an idea of what building projects are happening in their neighborhood, by no means makes that writer or that publication responsible for the consequences of said projects. So here's an idea, you sad little hippie who can't do anything for himself, get off your fat ass, do some research, and post your own article... your laziness is the primary reason America is falling apart... you always think it's someone else's responsibility. Sad.

Posted by David | December 4, 2007 12:21 PM

Off your meds again, David?

I'd say I'm sorry for not giving you my spare change on Broadway.

But I'm not.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | December 4, 2007 12:42 PM

Nice work Domonic - Tell Savage to give you a raise!

Posted by High-Rise | December 4, 2007 1:48 PM

Aw, NapoleonXIV... a lazy response from a lazy guy. And that "Broadway" response is a lazy joke. Where does it end with you?

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