CHS’s preview of Wednesday night’s meeting of the Capitol Hill Design Review Board to examine the 230 Broadway project drew dozens of comments about how the planned development will look and feel when it takes over the block of Broadway south of Thomas.
At Wednesday night’s meeting, many of the same sentiments voiced on CHS about the plain design and heavy bulk of the planned building were repeated during the public comment session. Afterward, the board deliberated on approving the plans so SRM Development can begin work on the project in February 2011. The board has two weeks to issue a report on their decision or to request another recommendation meeting with the developer.
Summarizing the majority of feedback voiced by community members at the meeting, there were many “out of context,” and “too big” comments. A handful of people suggested that the building be lowered to 40 feet on the Broadway side. It is currently planned to be 65 feet tall on Broadway and 40 feet on the 10th side of the structure. One neighbor said she and others nearby will have their views completely blocked by the structure, lowering their property values. The board also heard plenty about the lack of originality in the design. “This is straight out of Bellevue.”
As for the review board, members (see a roster here) focused questions and discussion mostly on specific issues like the building’s service entry and its impact on neighborhood noise and access issues. Another issues discussed by the board was a desire for more visual connections to the courtyard. The board also praised the building’s “modulation and symmetry,” especially on the 10th Ave side of the structure — though one board member did admit the design reminded him of a building in South Lake Union.
- One major shift in plans was outlined during the presentation. A plan for community space has been eliminated from the design. The community room is now just a private room for residents and guests.
- The possible salvage of the “First Bank” arch was discussed. The architects called for putting it on a blank wall in the courtyard but a number of community members suggested incorporating it into the Broadway facade for the public.
- The developers are planning to include about 50 affordable units to qualify for an affordable housing tax exemption.
- Sound Transit will be tunneling under the site, so they are working closely with SRM on construction dates.
- Like the new Broadway Building, 230 Broadway’s retail locations will be varied in size, shape and height.
- Presenters talked of a “10th Ave Plan” to increase planting strips and make it a pedestrian connection to Cal Anderson. The route is already designated a bike boulevard.
- Two trees on Broadway will be removed for construction and replaced in the same locations afterward.