First look at new plan for redevelopment of 23rd and Union’s Midtown Center

Monday’s MLK Day 2018 marchers will pass by the site of the next major change for the neighborhood around 23rd and Union. Here are the first designs for the new mixed market-rate and “inclusive development” project planned for the Midtown Center block.

The newly released plans from architects Weinstein A+U and the Berger Partnership include room for somewhere around 429 units in 273,000 square-feet of residential space, new restaurant and commercial space surrounding a large “public plaza,” and room for nearly 300 vehicles to park below ground.

Design review: 2301 E Union

In 2017, CHS reported on market-rate developer Lake Union Partners stepping in with $23.25M to pull together a project on this key block for Central District redevelopment. Africatown will be part of inclusive development component in the plan.

A previous deal for the block got off to a rough start as the design review board rejected  the first design plan for the Midtown Center block for a project from national developers Lennar Multifamily Communities and Regency Centers. The rejection was soon a moot point when the deal for the big developers to purchase the property fell off the table.

In the new deal with Lake Union Partners, Africatown, Forterra, and Capitol Hill Housing will develop a portion of the block with “120-135 affordable apartment homes, affordable to individuals with income as low as $26,880 – or 40% AMI” and about 3,000 square feet of retail. The developers say roughly 50% of the housing on the full-block will be affordable to people earning between 40-85% of area median income. “We’re working to maintain fertile ground where a Black community that has been here for over 130 years can grow and thrive in place, K. Wyking Garrett, president of the land trust, said in an announcement of the agreements.

Africatown Plaza will occupy the edge of the block south of the set of three Lake Union Partners buildings.

Developers, meanwhile, are collecting community ideas for the large “public square” courtyard that will center the development. Uses envisioned for the courtyard include farmers markets and cultural events.

The project is slated to begin construction in late 2019.

UPDATE: Thanks to Lake Union Partners for sharing these “fly-through” videos that will be presented at the project’s design review. LUP tells us they hope the videos illustrate the design for the development’s passageways to its internal plaza and just how large the internal plaza will be:

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