Third design meeting for project meshing new development with 1931 apartments

When you’re working with 80 years of history, change takes time. On Wednesday, April 21st, the third Design Review meeting will be held for 711 Bellevue Ave, better known as the BelRoy Court project, which aims to add two new buildings with 58 residential units around the historic BelRoy Apartments. The project is being proposed by development firm Point32 (see Cascadia Center) and designed by architecture firm Weinstein A|U (see 11th Ave mews).


The BelRoy Apartments, built in 1931, is one of Seattle’s most significant Modernist buildings. Unlike much of the era’s standard brick buildings with terra cotta ornamentation, the BelRoy uses minimal ornamentation and unique zigzag floor plans and steel sash bay windows. The building was designed by Lionel Pries, one the most prestigious professors at the UW School of Architecture, and William J. Bain, founder of the now-global architecture firm NBBJ. (Bain’s grand daughter, Lesley Bain, is lead architect with Weinstein A|U.)

The development proposal calls for the restoration of the BelRoy Apartments as well as the addition of two new three and six story buildings that will replace five single family homes to the north and east of the BelRoy. The building will add 58 new residential units to the existing 51 in the BelRoy as well as 72 parking spaces and 980sq ft. of commercial space at the far north end facing Bellevue Ave. The developer has not yet determined whether the units will be apartments or condominiums.

According to the October DRB Report, during the last design review meeting around 34 community members were present and over 20 public comments were made, which ranged widely in their support and opposition. Many people praised the developers for their “well studied proposal” and voiced support for the restoration of the BelRoy. Many others were concerned about additional height on the north side of the site and the loss of the existing single family homes, which are “an important part of the existing streetscape character”.

The Design Review Board itself was most concerned about the interior courtyard and strongly advocated for the removal of the central building:

Perferred Scheme

 

“The preferred scheme shows 12 units located within the courtyard space; this freestanding structure within the courtyard area significantly affects the sense of openness and tradition typically associated with an internal open courtyard spaces [sic]. In order to be convinced of the merits of keeping these units in the central structure, the Board will need to see an exceptional development of the outdoor spaces and all facade treatments.”

The Board also wanted to see a “cohesive architectural design” that respected but did not copy the style of the original BelRoy. At the April 21st meeting the developers will likely have significantly more detail on the architecture and facade designs for the project.

Full meeting details:

Project: 711 Bellevue Ave E  map
Design Proposal available at review meeting
Review Meeting: April 21, 6:30 pm
  Seattle University
  824 12th Ave  map
  Community Room
Review Phase: Recommendation past reviews
Project Number: 3010378 permit status
Planner: Lisa Rutzick

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2 thoughts on “Third design meeting for project meshing new development with 1931 apartments

  1. Interesting project on a block that is already a bit of a mish-mash (sp?). Thanks for the well-written review for those of us not quite interested enough to attend the meeting!

  2. The building in the middle really needs to go. With so many units, it will be vitally important to have some community space to give neighbors a place to congregate and get to know each other. The developer should invest in promoting long-term tenancy by facilitating a sense of community, and a well-trafficked grassy courtyard on a sunny day is a great way to do it.