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Gateway *and* terminus, what the 15th/Mercer Chutney’s building will look like

The future Stream 15th must serve as "gateway" and "terminus" on 15th Ave E, the design board says

The future Stream 15th must serve as “gateway” and “terminus” on 15th Ave E, the design board says

On the edge where Capitol Hill transitions from its more dense, multi-story apartment core to the practically suburban leafy Hill streets around Volunteer Park, the four-story apartment building destined for 15th Ave E and E Mercer comes back before the design board Wednesday night, its developers hoping to show a new plan with friendlier connections to the building’s surroundings. Also on the docket is a Capitol Hill firm’s design for a 12-unit, energy efficient Eastlake apartment building. Details, below.

Stream 15 Apartments
We still think they should call it the Chutney’s building. Currently deployed as an art installation until the existing former restaurant building is demolished, 605 15th Ave E is destined to be home to a four-story, mixed-use apartment building with 33 units, 3,400 square feet of retail or restaurant space and 24 below-ground parking spaces.

The project, developed by Stream Real Estate, also behind this Stream Belmont project, passed through the first stage of design review in April — but not without direction from the East Design Review Board to respond to community feedback and do a better job integrating the four-story building with nearby single-family homes.

Review Meeting: September 18, 6:30 PM
Seattle University
901 12th Ave
Admissions & Alumni Community Room
Review Phase: Recommendation past reviews
Project Number: 3014339 permit status | notice
Planner: Beth Hartwick

“At The Early Design Guidance Meeting the Board strongly noted that the project design and massing should be respectful of the neighboring structures,” the city’s report on the April meeting reports. “Specifically the Board would like to see the project massing transition to the residential zones to the north and west.”

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 3.28.01 PM Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 3.28.18 PM

The board also asked architect Nicholson Kovalchick to do a better job designing the building as “a gateway and terminus to the neighborhood commercial uses to the south and residential to the north.” The board was also troubled by a blank northern wall and asked for a better concept to be presented.

The updated product will be on display Wednesday night. You can let Stream know if they succeeded against those challenging directions for its $1.4 million real estate investment in the neighborhood.

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 3.25.12 PMSola 16
Capitol Hill’s Schemata Workshop is the architecture firm behind a new Eastlake project to create a 12-unit, “energy efficient” apartment building at 2351 Franklin Ave E. The development is planned to replace a two-story, 1913-built house just south of Rogers Playground in a stretch of housing popular with young renters and students. Notably, the project is planned to incorporate “on-site solar energy production.”

Design Proposal (6.8 MB)
Review Meeting: September 18, 8:00 PM
Seattle University
901 12th Ave
Admissions & Alumni Community Room
Review Phase: EDG–Early Design Guidance
Project Number: 3015644 permit status | notice
Planner: Shelley Bolser


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23 thoughts on “Gateway *and* terminus, what the 15th/Mercer Chutney’s building will look like

  1. Welcome to Nameless Faceless Hill. More uninspired architecture from people who have zero imagination.The homogenization of the hill is nearly complete. There must be a key command in CAD that just shits out these bland pieces of crap all over the city

  2. The 15th Ave E sidewalk appears to be very narrow. It would not be able to support café seating or outdoor displays that define the character of the street.

  3. These ‘renditions’ never show the power line poles and infastructure – which are a tangled mess at this corner. Is the developer actually going to underground all that? I doubt it! And it would sure spoil this image.

  4. This neutral, robatic box only makes the old Canterbury building across the street look even more attractive and human. Yeah, it’s an “intro to 15th” spot…and it’s not at all inviting (we approach the 15th biz district from the north; the old low profile was a perfect gradual introduction to the commercial area. As the poster before me noted, the lack of any set-back along 15th that would allows such as outdoor sitting for a restaurant is unfortunate. A sudden solid monolith is NOT inviting.

  5. What do people expect? Decorative plaster molding and cherubs? So many critics on this blog but no one states what they like, just criticisms.

    At least it’s not a beige cube that we were stuck with in the 50’s and 60’s. It’s nice to see some attempts to add color, setbacks and variation in scale.

    I’m pleased to see some use of color and that it’s not 5 or 6 stories. It seems to be somewhat in scale. This is a building I will walk past every day and I don’t mind what I see.

  6. “I’m okay with this.”

    That line… that line of thinking is the problem with what’s happening on Capitol Hill and around the rest of the city. We shouldn’t just be okay with it. We should be excited about it. We should be proud of it. We should be looking forward to it. This soulless box inspires none of these emotions in me and, if you’re honest with yourself, it doesn’t inspire them in you, either. How could it? Look at it!

    • I agree with you. I haven’t seen a new building in Seattle in years that has made me go out of my way to walk by it, so that I could admire it. However, we have plenty of older buildings that do this for me. What happened to imagination?

    • Ummmmm there are so many buildings that exist thatll never pass that test. No residential building thats multi family has ever done that for me in seattle.

      • This. Like I said, not every new building has to be a marvel and such. I don’t mind the aesthetic so much. The modern style isn’t really my favorite, but again, it replaces a building that didn’t exactly have a breathtaking style either. It’s not an eyesore to me, not a blight on the neighborhood, it looks fine. It’s not me “settling for mediocrity”, it’s me not making a jump from this to “this is what’s wrong with our neighborhood, and this modern-style box which is not to my liking is the shining symbol of why this neighborhood is losing it’s soul.” Hogwash.

        I mean, I live in one of the brick buildings built in the 50s/60s, and I don’t think much of the outside exterior of this building either. It looks okay to me. Not terribly ugly, not terribly exciting. I love living in it, though.

  7. What on earth are they teaching in architecture school?? This boxed and boring design is being repeated everywhere. Is this a reflection of our culture? Fear of being something distinct and different? Profit above content? I’m not against modern architecture, but this is nothing more than a box. This will be viewed with as much disdain as we currently view the aptly named mid-century Brutalist style.

  8. Great. A building to rival that of those on the streets of Paris or Rome, for sure!

    I can’t blame the architects for these dull uninspired designs. Unemployment for architects is at an all time high and they are desperate for work. The designs are motivated purely by budget and the greedy whims of the developer. The design firms just keep their collective heads down and say “yes, Boss” shovel out some shit as fast as possible and pray the check clears.

  9. I think it’s a perfectly nice building, although I agree that there could be more setback on 15th. People, this isn’t a new downtown public library. Why does it have to be amazing and inspiring? Why can’t it just be nice-looking (which I think it is) and fit into the neighborhood (which I think it does a decent job of)?

  10. That would be the Bloch’s building. There are lots of great memories from when that was Bloch’s restaurant and the living room of Capitol Hill. But that was another era and one that is much missed by those who worked and ate there. The Stream will be just another nail in Broadwayization of 15th Ave East.

  11. Oh, whoopee. Yet another in a series of square edifices that looks as though it ought to have “Fed-X” or “UPS” or “Priority Mail” emblazoned across the outside with the expectation of styrofoam peanuts and plastic bubble wrap inside.

  12. I don’t know what people are expecting, but I’m definitely tired of the whining about *every* new building that is being constructed. People complain constantly! Evidently some people would be happy if every new building on Capitol Hill looked like it was from historic Florence, Paris, or London. But you know what? a.) That’s not the style of our era and b.) that would look completely stupid and derivative!

    Case in point are the new-Italian condos on Bellevue Ave. E. which may have sounded like a good idea on paper, but look profoundly fake in real life. Meanwhile there are hundreds (or thousands) of boxy, generic apartments that were built in the 1960’s and 1970’s. So evidently those are fine?

    The bottom line is that all of the new building have to go through the architectural review board, which is fine with me since they have more expertise than the legion of critics and self-declared “experts” that pop up every time a new building design is revealed. This building looks good. Let it go already!

  13. I’m kind of surprised the Stream building gets so much criticism when the Sola building is ten times worse. To me the Stream building is a bit boring but otherwise fine, especially once it has some plantings here and there. The Sola building is both boring and ugly.

  14. Pingback: Making space for more, Capitol Hill’s old apartment buildings trading parking, laundry for new room to rent | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle