With Town Hall ready to undergo a major renovation of its own, the plan to transform its block of First Hill will move forward Wednesday night with a double-header design review for a set of twin 32-story apartment towers.
“The project proposes a notable amount of open space and landscaped area throughout site and along the right of way to enhance the urban fabric of the surrounding context,” Perkins+Will architects and developer Lennar write.
“The plaza will create a strong pedestrian connection to the adjacent entrance to Freeway Park. The design team and client have met and collaborated with Town Hall stakeholders to create a cohesive design that accommodates planned improvements for the historic Town Hall building.”
Planned for 550 units across the two towers plus four townhomes along 8th Ave, a small 1,300-square-foot cafe space, and underground parking for 410 vehicles, the Lennar development will also seek “a full alley vacation to provide through-block connections” and will create “a large plaza area on the northwest corner of the site to foster gathering and activity.”
Earlier this year, CHS wrote about the plan to rebuild the old Town Hall and functionally rotate the structure’s presence to create what the nonprofit hopes is a new presence for the cultural and events center as a connector between downtown and a rapidly growing First Hill neighborhood.
Capital campaign director for Kevin Malgesini told us in August that the corner of Town Hall closest to the I-5 lid Freeway Park is a focal point of the renovation project. “We’re looking at the way this corner links the two neighborhoods,” he said. “What it is is really visually connecting Freeway Park and First Hill, rather than First Hill turning its back on the city.”
Wednesday night, developers will make the case for their preferred design for the massive project set to replace surface parking lots on the block. While each of the three variants to be discussed Wednesday plays with different solutions for the project’s base, only the preferred design includes a large open plaza that would qualify the development for its planned height bonus.
The twin project is one of two currently moving forward on First Hill involving a set of double apartment towers. A 33-story set destined to become senior housing is currently being planned to neighbor the Frye Art Museum. That set, too, is designed by Perkins+Will.