230 Broadway returns to design review board on Wednesday

230 Broadway, the massive building planned for the corner of Thomas and Broadway, has sparked some serious discussion here on CHS. With a building footprint of 61,000 square feet, it is set to dramatically change the streetscape along Broadway, replacing seven buildings as well as the current home of the Broadway Farmer’s Market.

Meanwhile, repercussions from the development have rippled to north Broadway as Bank of America’s temporary home and plans for nearby development in that area have increased tensions between SRM Development and community members.

Back at 230 Broadway, as we noted about a month ago, the Capitol Hill Design Review Board was not satisfied with the proposal, sending it back for a few more studies and revisions. Eager to get through the design review process, Runberg Architects will be back in front of the board on Wednesday, June 16th (details below), making the case for a new and improved version of the building. The developer, SRM, hopes to begin construction of the project by early 2011.

A report on May’s recommendation meeting spells out some of the concerns the board had about the project proposal and points to what we can expect from the new design:

    View from 10th Ave

  • Interestingly, much of the Board’s concerns were with the north and south building facades, the smaller, and arguably less prominent, of the building faces. The board suggested that the north facade, which transitions from commercial to office, be more consistent with the rest of the design, and that the landscaping respond to the unique street grid shift at this spot, which creates a visual corridor to the building from 10th Ave. The south facade had little architectural detail because, as the architects argued, it would likely be hidden from view in future adjacent redevelopment. Still, the board recommended at least a “toned-down” version of the other facades. They also asked that an 8-foot tall solid wall on the south side be replaced by something less “imposing”, such as a metal fence.
  • Perhaps responding to some of the community concerns about the loss of diversity along Broadway, the Board recommended a scheme for more unique storefronts within the building, suggesting that tenants be allowed to choose from a variety of “storefront systems, signage, and other commercial expression”. Yet, they did want to see some regularity and recommended that the retail canopies remain consistent.
  • The board was a little concerned with the usability of the walk-up patios along 10th Ave, which extend just 5 feet out from the building, and recommend further examination on this element.
  • The project team had proposed salvaging the First Bank facade and incorporating it into the residential courtyard of the building. The board recommended that they use it in the public facade along Broadway, a suggestion that came up multiple times from community members at the meeting.
  • Finally, the board felt that the gates and balconies were too generic and recommended the designs be “inspired by the diversity and creative character of the Broadway community.”

As always during the design review process, there will be an opportunity for community comments and feedback during the meeting Wednesday night. It will be interesting to hear if there are any new concerns from the community that will further shape this project or if the review process is finally ready to draw to a close.

Review Meeting: June 16, 0:00
  Seattle University
  824 12th Ave  map
  Meeting Room
Review Phase: Recommendation past reviews
Project Number: 3009249 permit status | notice
Planner: Lisa Rutzick
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3 thoughts on “230 Broadway returns to design review board on Wednesday

  1. Maybe this is a dumb question, but as someone who works in the bank building, I’m wondering when demolition might begin. Is that something that’s been stated, or is there no date in place until all the reviews get done?

  2. Perhaps they would keep the small original building the Cap Hill C O C occupies and re create a street scene on the south side, with anotehr new building mirroring the style of the original building, instead of giant wall of concrete. You could then enter the courtyard from this angle. I really hope to design review board does something that has some teeth and steps up to the plate now before everything is leveled. I walk by this spot every morning and I will miss the trees and the Cap Hill C 0f C building. I give up, as I have come realize nothing new or exciting will be done, just another box building.

    I sadly could not make tonights meeting. Big thanks to CHS keeping us posted on the develops of this plan.
    M.

  3. I seems there has been little meaningful comment regarding the Broadway side of the building. Here are the facts as I see them. Seattle traditionally has very narrow sidewalks. As density grows this equals more people on the sidewalks. The drawing sections show a typical sidewalk with street trees and it looks congested because it will be congested. The beauty of retail along the sidewalk is that it invites interest and participation. The little insets showing a few chairs side by side just doesn’t do it. Store front windows rarely invite entrance to the establishment. There is nothing new in design here. Even though developers cringe at the idea of losing a little retail square footage, greater store front setback would free up the cramped walking zone. Larger openings into the retail spaces, and better yet, the ability to fully open the side walk frontage on warm days would truly create a more friendly, inviting street scape. It would also make the retail spaces more rentable. Think about it next time you are walking down Broadway. What do you look at, besides dodging around other pedestrians?