Design reviews: 15th Ave E project fits on a parking lot — Plus, what Vulcan’s first Yesler Terrace development will look like

The Vulcanic future of Yesler Terrace

The Vulcanic future of Yesler Terrace

Two projects slated to come before the East Design Review Board Wednesday night are probably good examples of the types of projects we’ll see in Central Seattle in the next waves of development. One in the heart of Capitol Hill’s “eclectic” 15th Ave E neighborhood is relatively small and will be widget-ed into a space between buildings where a parking lot is currently found. The other is an enormous investment from a massive name in Seattle development that threatens/promises to completely transform an area passed by in the most recent waves of explosive development.

123 Broadway
Here’s what Vulcan’s first mixed-use foray into the transformation of Yesler Terrace will look like:

The corner expression at the south (Yesler) provides a strong identity marking the corner of Yesler and Broadway. The base features a retail space with a plaza for spill-out dining. The extra width provided by the plaza will allow for increased pedestrian traffic at this important intersection.

It’s going to be huge.

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123 Broadway

Land Use Application to allow a 7-story, 193 unit apartment building with one live-work unit and 2,232 sq. ft. of retail at ground level. Parking for 133 vehicles will be located within the structure. Existing buildings to be demolished. View Design Proposal  (22 MB)    

Review Meeting: November 4, 2015 6:30 pm, Seattle University, 824 12th Ave, Admissions & Alumni Community Building
Review Phase: REC–Recommendation  See All Reviews
Project Number: 3020158  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notice
Planner: Magda Hogness

In May, CHS reported on a set of twin projects Vulcan is undertaking as part of a wave of development of the Yesler Terrace housing projects. Together, the First Hill Streetcar-adjacent projects will create 400 apartment units, some 10,000 or more square feet of commercial space and parking for something between 250 and 310 vehicles. The 123 Broadway project is the first to move forward after May’s successful reviews (PDF) for the duo.

The projects will 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 Vulcanwith 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. UPDATE: A representatives from Capitol Hill Housing tells CHS that the nonprofit did not end up working with Vulcan on the project. “SHA and Vulcan could not come to terms over land value and so the master development team concept was nixed and SHA decided to be their own master developer,” the representative said.

Vulcan was 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.”

“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 buildings reads.Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 6.57.34 PM

121 15th Ave E
The credit union may have shuttered on 15th Ave E but it doesn’t look like the building Salal called home is coming down for the four-story development planned to replace it just yet.

Instead, Wednesday night, the design review board will get its first look at a plan to squeeze in a four-story, 34-unit development into the space currently filled by the empty credit union building’s surface parking lot.

“The objective of this development is to improve the 15th Avenue Corridor area of Capitol Hill through the addition of a 4-story Mixed-use development which will contribute economically, socially and culturally to the existing urban fabric,” the design proposal created by Caron Architecture reads.

The credit union building and parking lot were purchased for $2.5 million this spring by developer Isola Homes, according to King County Records. The Salal branch has since relocated to First Hill.

Caron also designed the four-story building that had been slated to replace the credit union structure.Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 6.57.51 PM

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The Isola project planned for the parking lot portion of the property is envisioned as “two contrasting volumes that relate to the different characters of the neighborhood.”

The concept of this design option is to create two contrasting volumes that relate to the different characters of the neighborhood surrounding the site. Volume “A” represents a warmer expression that relates to the smaller scale residential character of the neighborhood and helps to setup a character for the access easement to the South. Volume “B” represents a cooler expression that shields volume “A” from the larger commercial scale of the neighborhood to the North while providing a distinct transition in scale and edge definition with critical mass to the block.

A – Warm Mass that represents the transition to the more residential end of the street.

B – Cold Mass that represents the transition to the more commercial side of the street.

The project is planned to create 36 units averaging 651 square feet, a 1,200-square-foot commercial space, and parking for 16 bicycles. No parking for motor vehicles is required — or planned.

121 15TH Ave

Design review early design guidance for a four story, 34 unit apartment building with ground floor retail. View Design Proposal  (5 MB)    

Review Meeting: November 4, 2015 8:00 pm, Seattle University, 824 12th Ave, Admissions & Alumni Community Building
Review Phase: EDG–Early Design Guidance  
Project Number: 3020958  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notice
Planner: Magda Hogness
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10 thoughts on “Design reviews: 15th Ave E project fits on a parking lot — Plus, what Vulcan’s first Yesler Terrace development will look like

  1. It looks like Warsaw circa 1975. Can’t the developers do any better than this? The buildings being replaced were not attractive, so this would be a very slight improvement; however, we will have to live with these new buildings for the next 30 years or so. Also, the Yesler Terrace area is one that is perfect for much higher building heights. It is on the trolley line and the entire surrounding area is pretty blighted. Why not build higher in this project and leave the attractive neighborhoods alone?

  2. This isn’t directed at citycat specifically but it sure feels like people just want to complain about everything these days. I guess this is what the comments section is for.

    • Agreed. It’s surprising and even saddening when jseattle links back several years, and you see really engaged, thoughtful and civil dialog.

      It feels more recently like it’s turned into a bitchfest by a recurring minority of people who feel disenfranchised, and definitely not representative of the folks I know who actually live in Capitol Hill.

    • I don’t see such comments as “complaining,” but instead “expressing an opinion.” At least these are people who care enough about the neighborhood to read CHS and to comment.

  3. @citycat Ever been to Warsaw? Doesn’t resemble anything you will find there. This is a pretty nice design for a low rise development. Quality materials and attention to detail. However I do agree that these parcels should go for the highest density possible and be as tall as any residential building on first hill. Build tall and preserve green space around them ala Vancouver.

  4. Irregardless of the merits of this project.
    The city powers seem bent on turning Capitol Hill into a hive for Amazon worker bees, community amenities be dammed.
    What happens if Bezos decides to move? What happens if he comes up with robots to do the work? What happens if a better model for selling goods comes along? What will Capitol Hill become? Detroit of the West?
    Every thing happening seems to be in service of the Seattle oligarchs.

    • I don’t believe Seattle is a one trick pony. There are plenty of other companies that are growing and expanding, not just Amazon. Plus, Expedia is moving their campus from Bellevue to Seattle. These people need housing too.

      We shouldn’t stop supporting growth just because the rug “may” be pulled out from just 1 company.

  5. Re: the 15th Ave development – I don’t see where it says what kind of apartments they’ll be; since it estimates the unit size to be less than 700 sq.ft, I can only presume they’ll be studio apartments or maybe one bedrooms? Seems like the demographic for these units is limited (i.e., families need not apply).

  6. God, can we retire the “Amazon tech worker” line? It was wrong and dumb to begin with, and it’s not getting better with age.

    Yesler Terrace was a dump, and it was a disgrace that we expected people to live there. The redevelopment will replace all of the existing units, and provide additional units for those who are low income, but not low income enough to qualify for subsidized housing. Plus, there will be “market rate” housing to help subsidize the whole thing.

    The reason there’s no high rise development is because a bunch of hand-wringers and Sawant types threw a hissy fit about the “character” of the neighborhood. High rises would have “ruined” it.