The Hewitt-designed “workforce” apartment building and retail space destined for the former “wildflower lot” behind Broadway’s massive Joule complex won’t be quite as colorful as those flowers. But its finishes, according to the latest renderings prepared for Wednesday night’s session of the East Design Review Board, won’t be as drab as many of its contemporary Capitol Hill mixed-use projects.
CHS first reported on the development last March as we learned of the plans to take the long-empty lot in the 500 block of Harvard Ave E and build a seven-story, 75-unit, “affordable” apartment project.
The Harvard Ave E land is owned by Greg Stein who acquired the parcels as part of a since dissolved partnership for $1.85 million in 2001. In 2010, CHS noted the impressive field of wildflowers – and weeds — that had cropped up and covered the 515 Harvard Ave E lot.
Design Proposal (20 MB)
By providing a percentage of the units at affordable levels — 75% of median income for one-bedroom units — the building will qualify for an extra floor of height above the six-story limit in the zone. Developer Maria Barrientos is proposing 59 market-rate units in the building with 14 affordable units plus 900 square-foot cafe space on the ground floor of the building. The developer is now planning 65 stalls of underground parking — around three times as many was originally planned in the project’s initial pass through the design review process in May.
At that meeting, public feedback and board discussion centered mostly around the large mass of the building and the risk of a “canyon” being created with the Joule rising across Harvard. The building’s patios and modulation could help it fit into the adjoining midrise neighborhood but only “if very carefully designed,” the board’s meeting notes detail. Even with any reservations about its bulk, the project passed through the first phase and is ready for what could be its final step in the design process Wednesday night. You can review the design packet for the project, below, and sort out just how carefully designed it is.