Mural covers design review color problems on Capitol Hill apartment building

Seattle’s design reviews can be a mystery but a compromise decision reached by the East Design Review Board in June might have produced one of the most unusual design solutions in the history of the process.

Work was recently completed on a big new mural on the west-facing wall of the surface parking lot neighboring E Madison’s Broadcast Apartments. Designed by artist Sarah Robbins, the retaining wall mural was a solution approved by the board earlier this summer in a dispute over the use of the wrong color siding during the construction of the six-story mixed-use apartment building. In the end, the board split with one member pushing for the replacement of the siding fins but the rest of the board deciding the mural would do the job.

Building developer Trent Mummery of Trent Development, Inc. tells CHS his project “wanted to work with a local group” to create the art and connected with Urban Artworks to find Robbins.

Design review: Microhousing on Boylston, apartment tower on First Hill

Wednesday night’s East Design Review Board session includes the big and the small. On First Hill, the board will ponder the early massing plans for a 28-story apartment tower set to replace one of the apparently plentiful surface parking lots around Saint James. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, a development firm known for its microhousing projects will present its plans for a Boylston Ave E development.

Design review: 420 Boylston Ave E

Developers Johnson & Carr and architects at SHW bring forward a plan for a seven-story building with 58 small efficiency dwelling units to replace a possibly historic but already lined up for demolition early 1900s Boylston Ave E house that has been used as an office building in modern times. The Tucker House stands at 420 Boylston Ave E. Continue reading

Echoing Pike/Pine’s preservation, seven-story E Union project set for final design review

A project slowed by concerns that its design wasn’t doing enough to consider preservation of the old auto row garage on the E Union block where it is planned to rise will go back for what could be the development’s final bow in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night — but it won’t be preserving any of that old garage.

Design review: 953 E Union

CHS first reported on the $1.8 million acquisition of the property at 953 E Union neighboring the bustling Optimism Brewing building in October 2016 when regional developer SeaLevel Properties plunked down the cash with plans to build a restaurant and apartment project on the lot. Continue reading

Seattle set to give Central District its own design review board

In an effort to preserve and grow the historically Black culture of the Central District, Seattle is creating a new Design Review Board for the area. The proposal passed out of committee April 4, and will  go before the Seattle City Council for a vote scheduled for Monday afternoon, April 9th. UPDATE 3:20 PM: In a unanimous vote, the council approved Rob Johnson’s legislation creating the new guidelines and board. Johnson thanks Central Area activists for their  “several decades of work” to make the new process possible. “I’m really proud to be playing a small part here in the end to help get this across the finish line,” Johnson said.

“The creation of a Central Area Design Review District and Board will support equitable and inclusive community engagement and process specific for those most impacted by displacement, maximize the effectiveness of the Central Area Design Guidelines, and help guide future development to respond to the unique Central Area historical character and identity,” according to a report prepared explaining (PDF) the legislation.

The proposal sponsored by Council member and planning and land use committee chair Rob Johnson (District 4) would make a new, eighth design review district by carving it from Capitol Hill’s East District Review Board and the Southeast district. Continue reading

If Seattle is going to build its way out of affordability crisis, why aren’t there more Capitol Hill design reviews?

If Seattle is to “build its way of out” its affordability crisis, the market seems to be indicating that Capitol Hill, for now at least, has done enough. Design review, the most public component in Seattle’s development process, has slowed to a trickle in the East District covering Capitol Hill and parts of the Central District. There is only a single project on the East review board’s calendar this month; last year there were six. After a small pulse of activity in January, looking ahead, the calendar doesn’t appear much more robust. In 2017, there were more than 30 reviews scheduled for major projects in the area.

The simplest explanation could be that we’re simply built out. Liz Dunn, the Capitol Hill-based developer behind Chophouse Row, said she wasn’t sure what might be behind a slowdown, except that all the sites just might finally be built.

There are other indicators that also point to a construction slowdown. The number of active cranes dropped over the past six months. We still have more than any other city in the US, but this is the first time the number has gone down in years.

Seattle has built more than 300 new apartment buildings since 2010, many of them in this area. Recently, some analysis suggests rents have stabilized, and even dropped in parts of the city, a possible indicator that supply has finally caught up with demand.

And the supply is going to keep going up in the neighborhood in the near term. The development at Capitol Hill Station, the Bonney-Watson project, a building on what used to be Piecora’s, new development at 23rd and Union and more at 23rd and Jackson, mean there will be hundreds of new units available in the next couple years.

Only time will tell if this is a blip or the start of a trend, but people who study development issues across the city and on Capitol Hill point to a number of possible reasons. Continue reading

Review board says Bonney Watson development needs better connection to Cal Anderson Park

Mill Creek Residential will need to take another crack at their plan for two mixed-use apartment buildings that will eventually rise on the site of Broadway’s Bonney Watson Funeral Home.

At Wednesday night’s meeting of the East Design Review Board, board members asked the developer to come back after presenting them with a laundry list of more details they want to see before the project moves on to the next phase. Continue reading

12th Ave auto shop will make way for apartment and restaurant development

Servicing BMWs, Volvos, and Jaguars on Capitol Hill was good business for the last 46 years or so. Selling the property home to your 12th Ave auto service garage to make way for development of a five-story, 61-unit, mixed-use apartment building planned to feature “sun screens,” a streetfront restaurant, and “a generously planted” courtyard? Probably even better business.

The longtime 12th and E Olive St. fixture Car Tender will be moving out in the next year or so but the design review process for the new building that will replace it begins this week.

On Wednesday, the East Design Review Board will hear about a proposed mixed-use five-story 61-unit apartment planned for the corner of 12th Ave and E Olive St where auto shop Car Tender currently sits.

Design review: 1208 E Olive St

Car Tender owners Russell Kimble and John McDermott declined to comment on the sale and the development. The company claims a pedigree reaching back to the early 1970s. The version of the company owned by Kimble and McDermott was registered with the state in 1999. According to Car Tender’s website, the company has been servicing European cars including BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover, and others, in the city since 1971. Through various platforms, online reviewers have given the business an average of about four stars for its service. Its candy dish game is also apparently on point. Continue reading

Trading 14 for 50, six stories planned on Broadway to add to Capitol Hill Station wave

On Broadway, across from busy Capitol Hill Station, nobody sensible is going to complain about a six-story building with 50 new apartment units replacing a three-story building with only 14. Until rents slow down or, even, dip, the market needs the inventory. Some will say build it higher. Tell the HALA folks about that.

But progress on Broadway will mean change for the people living above the street in the old apartment building and a much-loved Capitol Hill favorite, below. When the old 1905-built Capitol Crest apartment building is demolished, Annapurna and her neighbors will need to find new homes. We say, in the meantime, eat at (CHS advertiser!) Annapurna often. And head around the corner to Ace Barbershop for a haircut. Perhaps Wednesday night before you take your full belly and new hairdo to the first design review for the six-story, 50-unit mixed-use building set to rise on Broadway next to Capitol Hill Station’s west entrance.

Design review: 1833 Broadway

The Roger Newell-designed project is being envisioned as a mix of 50 apartment units including 400-square-foot studios up to 936-square-foot two-bedroom models above 3,500 square feet of space for a store… or a restaurant. Continue reading

Net-zero energy project will connect to an uprooted house behind Broadway Hill Park

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 4.32.59 PMWe have seen old houses relocated to make space for a new apartment building, but linking the two structures to create a single property may be a first on Capitol Hill. Retrofitting the house and designing the new apartment building to meet some of the strictest environmental standards in the U.S. is definitely a first.

The unique plans for 11th and Republican Passive House Apartments faces another round of design review Wednesday night. The outcome of the meeting also carries a special significance for the neighborhood as the building will serve as the new backdrop to the recently opened Broadway Hill Park.

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Continue reading

Capitol Hill height for sale: Developer of 95 Slide building buying right to build higher

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 8.06.30 PM

Here's what it would look like if they were forced to preserve 95 Slide

Here’s what it would look like if they were forced to preserve 95 Slide

Capitol Hill developers do not have to preserve the neighborhood’s oldest buildings to reap the construction benefits that come with that preservation — they can buy those perks, too, as Johnson Carr plans to do for its planned seven-story development at the corner of Pike and Harvard. Someday, you might call it the 95 Slide building. Kids will look at you like you’re old and crazy. That’s the Pike Flats building, old timer. The preservation perks without preservation plan will be on the table Wednesday night as the East Design Review Board takes what will likely be its final look at the project.

John Feit, chair of the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council, said transferring development rights is analogous to moving apples around from basket to basket. “Melrose Market paid for the ability to create an extra floor, they just didn’t,” said Feit. Instead, the developers of the Capitol Hill retail project are selling that right to Johnson Carr. Continue reading