A busy season for Capitol Hill-area design reviews takes a break this week — more projects are lined up next week and the week following — but we do have news on the design of a closely-watched project in the heart of Pike/Pine. The developers working on the project slated to transform 65,000 square feet of a former BMW showroom and garage have revealed the first specifics of the mixed-use building in a filing with the DPD and in renderings shared with CHS.
According to the paperwork to initiate a land review process for the project, Wolff Co. is planning a seven-story apartment project that will also bring a massive injection of retail and live/work space to the block between Pike and Pine just off Broadway:
Design Review Early Design Guidance to allow a 7-story structure containing 270 residential units over 6,000 sq. ft. of retail space. Parking for 190 vehicles to be provided below grade. Existing facade (on Pike Street) to remain.
The renderings on this post provided to CHS by the developer and architects Weber Thompson show early massing concepts of how the components will fit together. As is the case with all massing renderings that look as much like a prison as they do an apartment building, the diagrams and renderings don’t show the setbacks and differing layers of each structure that are likely to be incorporated. But they do provide the first glimpse of the concepts being considered for the development.
CHS has reviewed an early draft of the packet being prepared for a June design review of the project and has been briefed on some of the elements of the early massing concepts that will be discussed. The developers say they continue to meet with community members to further refine the plan but are settling on a concept that could break the structure into three main components and will likely include setbacks and large swaths of open corridors to give the seven-story project a more street-connected character.
Project: 721 East Pine St mapDesign Proposal available at review meeting
The project also is intended to incorporate the southern brick structure that was utilized as the BMW showroom entrance and has housed auto row businesses since the early 20th century. Preserving the facade’s street-facing elements will provide the developers with an additional 10 feet of height thanks to the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District’s provisions that make incentives available in exchange for preserving the neighborhood’s “character” structures. With the benefit, the building will reach 75-feet tall for the bulk of its structure. The height will rise above the building housing the Egyptian Theater to the east — but not by a lot thanks to a small dip in the Hill developers say the parcels inhabit. The planned structure will soar high above its northwest neighbors at Linda’s, however.
According to the briefing CHS attended, the 714 E Pike project retail spaces are envisioned for the north and south fronts of the development’s ground level including the preserved facade. Live/work retail will likely line the sidewalk on the east and west sides of the structures. While the public discussion of landscaping and finishing materials won’t come until later in the design process, the preserved facade presents some interesting opportunities for creating a more public open space along E Pike. You might imagine a restaurant or cafe setting up its tables in the space currently used as a haphazard parking lot.
The Wolff project team has set up a web site at www.714epike.com to provide information on the development and collect community feedback.
The early round of design review will focus on the project’s massing and discussion of departures from zoning in the area required to achieve the development’s concepts. While the design review process often leaves citizens frustrated as issues around zoning laws are tabled during public comment, there are recent examples where the East Design Review Board has stepped in to require more from an applicant hoping to be part of the conservation district. In March, CHS reported on this project at 10th and Union being booted back after the board determined the developers did not do enough to show a plan to “maximize preservation” on a project slated to demolish multiple old structures. The 1020 E Union project, by the way, is slated to come back in front of the board with its new plan in early June. Two weeks later, the board will consider the plans for 714 E Pike.