Two high profile Capitol Hill development projects more or less glided through their first meeting before the East Design Review Board last Wednesday evening on their way to final reviews.
Equity Residential and architects at Ankrom Moisan showed off their plans to replace the old Piecora’s building with a 140 unit, six-story development that includes parking for 140 cars. The second project — a 90-unit, six story building across the street from Cal Anderson Park — will be replacing the Hugo House on 11th Ave and E Olive St. The project from developer Meriwether Partners and designed by Weinstein A+U has drawn the ire of at least one resident of a nearby condo.
The view from the street and inside, however, should be a welcome surprise to those who bemoan the prevalence of Hardie board siding and corrugated steel exteriors. Plans call for a full brick facade, and not just the pasted on variety. “A real brick building,”said architect Ed Weinstein, adding that it was the longtime property owners and Hugo House benefactors that insisted the building have a timeless look.
During the public presentation, the architects displayed detailed images of the brick facade and other design elements, but declined to share those images with CHS until they received “client-side approvals.”
CHS wrote about the planned “mixed-use” future of Hugo House late last year as the literary nonprofit announced it would be part of the redevelopment project.
The placement of the Hugo House development’s parking garage on 11th Ave generated significant discussion on the board. Concerned about cars clogging up the “green street” up the block and 11th Ave’s connection to Cal Anderson Park, several members were frustrated that the garage was not placed on Olive St. Architects from Weinstein said the street grade on Olive St was too steep for a ramp.
Meanwhile, the project has generated a swell of public comment letters from residents of the neighboring Onyx condominium building. Needless to say, this building is not going to add to the charm of this neighborhood,” one concludes. “Walling off Cal Anderson park, creating numerous traffic and noise issues, and blocking light for surrounding buildings are just a few of the points of negativity related to this building project. Capitol Hill should be preserved, not made an industrial eyesore of giant buildings which lack respect for the surrounding community.”
During discussion of the Piecora’s project, architects suggested the Madison-facing storefront would be a good fit for a 24-hour gym drew snickers from the board.
“I’m personally not that crazy about another gym at the street level,” said board member Barbara Busetti.
The Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council put its support behind both plans. Capitol Hill architect and P/PUNC member John Feit read letters from the group that praised both teams for working with neighborhood groups. Both P/PUNC and the design review board also supported the handful of minor code departures the teams asked for.
In an effort to keep newcomers better informed, one board member read a new prompt explaining how the design review process works and what comes under its purview. Meanwhile, the city is looking for ways to improve the design review process.
1401 E. Madison St
- Ankrom presented three different layout options, including their preferred option with a south facing courtyard facing that would face the courtyard at the Chloe.
- The “lush and traquil” courtyard will be private but viewable to public, architects said.
- Most of the retail will be concentrated on 14th, with perhaps one retailer on Madison.
- When asked about how shading in the courtyard would affect plant life, the landscape architect said “there are plenty of plants that could survive in this situation.”
- Board member Natalie Gualy urged the developers to avoid making their leasing office “a typical office with the blinds closed at 3 PM.”
- Board member Curtis Bigelow said the proposed development seemed to be an appropriate size for 14th and Madison.
1634 11th Ave
- “The driving force was the Hugo House,” said Meriwether’s Brian Oseran. “A new home thats a little bit more efficient and allows them to grow their mission.”
- Earlier this week, CHS published this letter from a resident of the Onyx condos, who criticized the project that will rise on the same block.
- Architect Ed Weinstein said the Onyx architects made a “curious” decision to put the windows so close to the property line. “The original developer and architect made a conscious decision to put units at risk.”
- No unit windows will face the Onyx in the preferred scheme.
- Initial plans call for apartments that are “slightly larger” than the standard market size, with many one bedrooms and two two-bedrooms.
- Plans call for a sidewalk bulb on the corner of 11th and Olive for milling about before and after Hugo House events. Board members supported the bulb with some asking if more could be done to give more room to pedestrians.
- “Cal Anderson Park is analogous to Central Park,” Weinstein said while explaining how larger buildings could fit around the Capitol Hill park. “There are some scale differences, admittedly.”
- The corner cafe is conjoined with Hugo House and would share a common entry, but the two will be able to be separated.
- One public commenter said that the building’s should better reflect the auto row character of neighborhood, with taller a first floor and bigger street level windows.
- Another commenters praised the development team for working with the Hugo House community. “It gives me hope for development in the neighborhood,” she said.
- The project will include 80-90 parking stalls with 20-25 reserved for Hugo House events.