Well that was fast. It was only a little over a week ago when we found out about this project (previous coverage here) and its already up for Design Review on August 19th. Just to recap the new building will be a 6-story residence with 84 apartments and “artist lofts” (What makes them specifically for artists will certainly be a question at the Review) And of course ground floor retail. Two interesting things about the project: the original facade will remain and their will only be 4 parking spaces.
This will be an Early Design Guidance meeting, which means that its your best chance to give your opinion and influence the project. While I’m excited to see what the developers, Pryde + Johnson, will do with it, I also think its important that the community keeps a close eye on the process. The location and history of this project mean it will undoubtedly be one of the most high profile projects on the Hill and will play a big part in defining Pike/Pine’s future character. It also comes in the wake of the City Council’s approval of the Pike/Pine Conservation District legislation designed to preserve the neighborhood’s ‘character.’
I’m not the only one who thinks you should go to the meeting. In an e-mail thread sent around by PPUNC (Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Coalition) none other than Liz Dunn, local developer, Director of the Preservation Green Lab at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and all around Hillebrity, sent out this response:
My 2 cents — I think it’s imperative that as many folks turn up as possible for this. I have heard that the owner intends to keep the existing structure and build on top, to get the density bonus. This is great only IF this is done in an architecturally appropriate way. I think we need to be very careful and very vocal about this, based on other examples we have seen. This building has THREE highly visible walls, including the alley wall on the east side which is two stories and fully glazed. All three of these walls should be retained. The original window design and mullion pattern should be replicated, or better yet the original windows re-glazed. And the new structure needs to step back from the existing parapet enough on all three sides that the existing building sits “proud” (in the architectural sense) from the new structure. Hopefully the developer will bring historic photographs that speak to any features that should be restored or alterations that should be undone, although the nice thing about this building is that it looks mostly intact.
This will set an important precedent, because these kind of design guidelines are a critical missing piece from the new overlay legislation. Design review is the only venue to make sure the new rules get implemented in the way we intended and in a way that will lead to success in terms of retaining the integrity of the original structures.
The developer will likely cite cost as a reason to remove one of the three walls for site access. But it is a large site (15,000 sf) and with the roof off it should be entirely possible to work within the existing perimeter walls and have lots of room to maneuver, especially since there are already very large access doors and ramp from the 11th Avenue side. If I had had 15,000 sf to work with at 12 & Pike I would have been in heaven.
So do what Liz says and come to the meeting!
Date: August 19th, 2009
Location: Seattle Vocational Institute, 2120 S. Jackson St. Rm 102/103 [map]
Note: If you find yourself obsessing over Capitol Hill development issues, you should join CHCC’s brand new Policy and Planning Committee. We will tackle such issues as the Light Rail TOD, better building Designs, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, an improved Neighborhood Plan, and much more! If you would like to get involved please send me an email at JoshMahar@gmail.com. Also join us for our first meeting Wednesday, August 12th from 7:30 – 9:30pm at Vermillion (11th and Pike, just down the street from this project).