Vulcan comes to Broadway for the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace

(Image: Runberg Architecture Group)

(Image: Runberg Architecture Group)

Block 2E (Image: Runberg Architecture Group)

Block 2E. The redevelopment of Yesler Terrace is a big deal. How big? There is even a new Fir Street involved (Image: Runberg Architecture Group)

This April Fool’s, the joke was that Vulcan was redeveloping Cal Anderson Park. There was some truth to the farce. The Seattle development giant so closely associated with South Lake Union’s transformation is bringing its game uphill. But it won’t be part of the signature redevelopment project of the late two thousand teens on Capitol Hill at the Broadway light rail station. Instead, Vulcan comes to Broadway from the south as part of yet another signature redevelopment project for our shiny new Seattle.

Wednesday night, the developer’s vision for two of the three projects it plans to be part of the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace will begin the public design review process.

Here are the plans for Block 2E and Block 3 including more than 400 apartment units, some 10,000 or more square feet of commercial space and parking for something between 250 and 310 vehicles when all is said and done. Both projects will be presented in a double-header of a design review session Wednesday night.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 4.58.40 PM“Our goal is to design a project that balances social, economic, and environmental interests through developing healthy community, healthy buildings and healthy residents,” the “project vision” for the Runberg Architecture Group-designed projects begins.

These are the stats:

BLOCK 2E PROJECT DATA | 123 BROADWAY
• Approximately 195-205 residential units
• Approximately 2,000-3,000 square feet of commercial space
• Parking for approximately 100-140 vehicles

BLOCK 3 PROJECT DATA | 120 BROADWAY
• Approximately 225-235 residential units
• Approximately 5,000-7,500 square feet of commercial space
• Parking for approximately 150-170 vehicles

2E (Image: Runberg Architecture Group)

2E (Image: Runberg Architecture Group)

3 (Image: Runberg Architecture Group)

3 (Image: Runberg Architecture Group)

The projects are set to replace a set of 11 two-story apartment buildings that provide low-income housing as part of Seattle Housing Authority’s original, 1940s-built Yesler Terrace development. The SHA selected Vulcan — with an assist from Capitol Hill Housing providing guidance for the affordable housing component of the proposal — to be the major private developer driving the Yesler Terrace Redevelopment Plan. Vulcan is under contract to purchase three blocks within the Yesler Terrace properties for $22.1 million. As part of the agreement, Vulcan will make 20% of the more than 600 apartment units in the three planned projects available as affordable housing, for only renters earning up to 80% of the area’s median income. The rest will be offered at “market rate” and will likely be snapped up by eager tenants making well over $45,000 a year who want to live on the edge of downtown and near a streetcar line that will connect the neighborhood to Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square.

It’s part of a plan SHA sees as reinventing “the first racially-integrated housing project in the United States” in a new light where low income housing is mixed with market rate development:

The new master plan includes replacement low-income housing, market- rate housing and neighborhood improvements. New streetscapes, bike and pedestrian paths, hillclimbs and parks are key features of the new plan. Street adjustments include the removal of Spruce Street and the creation of Fir Street west of Broadway.

Wednesday night, Vulcan and Runberg Architecture will show off some of the shapes this new, mixed-income development will take.

The architects cite the original Yesler apartment buildings as inspiration for their new designs. “The goal was to develop housing that was decent, safe, and sanitary,” the project document says of the old buildings. “The result can be seen in plan: long, bar-like buildings spaced to take advantage of sunshine, views, and air circulation.”

Vulcan’s new Yesler projects are intended to echo with this past. “The proposed design for Block 2E and 3 repurposes the bar-like design to take advantage of sunshine, views, and air circulation,” the packet continues. “Like timber, the blocks are arranged to encourage air flow while stacking to create density.”

Today, Yesler Terrace provides 561 low income apartment units. The redevelopment plan calls for the replacement of those units plus 100 additional apartments for low income residents, plus 290 units for the next tier of tenants at 30 to 60% of average median income, plus 850 units of 80% income level (many of these coming from the two Vulcan projects), and a possible 1,200 to 3,200(!) market rate units. Meanwhile, smaller projects are already re-shaping the area. And there are grand visions of office projects and a new world “kind of like South Lake Union” dancing in many heads. Wednesday night, the design review board will busy itself with issues of massing and zoning departure requests though it’s difficult to see the architecture as anything but trivial given the incredible social change being wrought on the area.

Block 3 – 120 Broadway
Yesler Terrace Master Planned Community Design Review for a 7 story building with 235 apartment units above 7,500 sq.ft. of retail. Parking for 170 vehicles to be provided within the structure. Existing structures to be demolished. View Design Proposal 

Review Meeting
May 13, 2015 6:30 pm-9:30 pm
Seattle University, 824 12th Ave, Admissions & Alumni Community Building
Review Phase: EDG–Early Design Guidance
Project Number: 3020159  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notice

Block 2E – 123 Broadway
Yesler Terrace Master Planned Community Design Review for a 7 story building with 200 apartment units above 3,000 sq.ft. of retail. Parking for 140 vehicles to be provided within the structure. Existing structures to be demolished. View Design Proposal 

Review Meeting: May 13, 2015 6:30 pm-9:30 pm
Seattle University, 824 12th Ave, Admissions & Alumni Community Building
Review Phase: EDG–Early Design Guidance
Project Number: 3020158  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notice
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5 thoughts on “Vulcan comes to Broadway for the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace

  1. The new Yesler Terrace is already taking shape – a new building and park are under construction already, and that park should have amazing views! Can’t wait to see what future developments will bring.

  2. Hi Capitol Hill Seattle Blog,

    Would you have any interest in covering the new construction at 1414 E. Yesler Way? The building is intended to contain several hundred mini-apartments. I think this means they are too small and under-furnished to be called studios. The developers avoided the normal review process by classifying it in the same manner that student housing was once classified. If you take a look at all the documents available on the city website, along with the blueprints you can find copies of angry emails from area residents demanding to know what is going on and why there is no review.

  3. Sounds worth looking into it. Is that review an opportunity to evaluate if the construction meets regulations, or just a meeting for neighbors to vent their feelings against change?

  4. Pingback: Design review: First Central Station’s out-of-the-blue six-story block, Capitol Hill Lofts on Boylston | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  5. Pingback: Design reviews: 15th Ave E project fits on a parking lot — Plus, what Vulcan’s first Yesler Terrace development will look like | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle