Murals solve everything. The fix for this Capitol Hill building forced to return to design review this week because it has the wrong color siding will be a giant mural running the length of the western wall below the Broadcast Apartments. No matter the solution, the situation is going to be a challenging and potentially expensive outcome for the developer.
The East Design Review Board settled on the solution Wednesday night in an extraordinary session for the body that had it questioning the very essence of its own existence. “Should we accept a $5,000 mural vs. a $50,000 fix?” one board member asked.
At issue was the bronze-colored siding used across the entirety of the completed and occupied Broadcast building, the champagne-colored siding that was supposed to be used on the structure’s vertical “fins” but wasn’t because the developer says the material was not available, and, of course, what to do about it.
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The board discussed.. A) the possibility of requiring the fins to be replaced — “north of $25,000,” a representative for the developer said — B) the possibility of having the fins painted or coated with a color film — $8,000-$9,000, reportedly — and C) living with the lack of variation in the coloring and accepting the offer from developer Trent Mummery of developer Metropolitan Homes of funding a community mural as a gesture of goodwill — and good design — to neighbors.
There was also, for a brief moment, option D): stall and call for another design review meeting. That option was quickly and thoroughly shot down.
In the end, the board split with one member pushing for the replacement of the fins but the others deciding the mural would do the job.
Even with the modestly priced mural as the solution, the siding mistake has put Metropolitan Homes in a pickle as it has been waiting to resolve the issue so it can receive its final Certificate of Occupancy for the project, a necessary final step to replace its temporary permit allowing residents and a key milestone in the financial process around huge, multimillion dollar developments. With the change to its design signed off on by the board Wednesday night, the city’s project planner told the developers during the meeting session that they will still have to wait for the “major revision” to its Master Use Permit to be published by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. It’s a two-month process. During Wednesday night’s session, a representative for the developer revealed the project is up against “a financing deadline,” a window it seems likely to miss.
Financial logistics aside, the mural agreement was unprecedented for the design review board so art logistics are also up in the air. The board members expressed hope the mural process would be open to community involvement and that the work, when completed, can be an appropriate an enduring part of the block, even as more development is likely to come around the neighboring land owned by the First African Methodist Episcopal Church and the building currently home to arts group Love City Love.
We’ll let you know when we hear more about how the mural project will take shape.
Also in Design Review
The Pivot project at 1208 Pine won final approval from the board Wednesday night, clearing the way for the 8-story, 70-unit apartment and office building to move forward toward construction. Originally planned as a terrace garden-covered building with a rooftop restaurant, the project was re-envisioned earlier this year but the design board wasn’t happy with what it saw at a review in March. June’s revisions to show more “autorow character” were better received. You can take a look at the project details here (PDF — 78 MB).