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What the 16-story Broadway Whole Foods development will look like

(Image: Tiscareno Associates)

(Image by Tiscareno Associates)

(Image by Tiscareno Associates)

(Image by Tiscareno Associates)


Though its first round in the Seattle design review process isn’t slated until March, city planners are getting their first looks at the plans for the new Whole Foods grocery store and 16-story apartment tower planned for the intersection of First Hill and Capitol Hill at Broadway and Madison.

Developer Columbia Pacific Advisors and the architects of Tiscareno Associates are preparing plans for a 160-foot-tall, 288-unit apartment building featuring a two-level 40,000 square-foot street-level “urban grocery,” and five stories of underground parking for 374 motor vehicles and 98 bikes.

“The four sides of the project site face different neighborhoods. The design responds to these different areas with one unified concept. forms and materials wrap the corners to create continuity,” a draft of the “early design guidance” document for the project reads.

The planned future of Broadway and Madison (Image by Tiscareno Associates)

The planned future of Broadway and Madison (Image by Tiscareno Associates)

The "preferred" concept planned for March's first design review (Image by Tiscareno Associates)

The “preferred” concept planned for March’s first design review (Image by Tiscareno Associates)

In November, CHS broke the news that the national grocery chain was coming to the area with a targeted late 2017 to early 2018 opening planned as part of a massive new development replacing the 1928-built, three-story masonry medical building currently at the site. In its announcement, the company cited the coming First Hill Streetcar line and proximity to First Hill’s hospitals and nearby Seattle University as important factors in choosing the Broadway and Madison location. The developers acquired the property in 2008 for $21 million, according to King County Records.

(Source: EDG draft)

(Source: EDG draft)

The proposed plans for the development describe a “modern”-style building. “The existing neighborhood has diverse building types and architectural styles with no well-defined character,” the design review draft reads. “The proposed design is for a modern mixed-use building that respects the context while exploring new forms and materials.”

The architects also say the project is designed to take advantage of the corner location and the changing elevation of the site.

(Image by Tiscareno Associates)

(Image by Tiscareno Associates)

“The existing site is located at the hub of several neighborhoods, and the intersection of two street grids results in a very visible site,” they write in the draft plan. “The design puts the main retail entry at the most visible corner, establishing an attractive pedestrian draw at the sidewalk.”

Tiscareno plans “a high-profile design with significant presence and individual identity” for the corner that “holds the street edge, with lots of transparency at the ground floor and the opportunity to create a vibrant streetscape.”

The residential entrance is planned for Spring St “where it is quieter and more private,” the architects note. Apartment unit size is planned to average just under 900 square feet. The project is also planning to coordinate with green space improvements planned for Spring by the city, according to the document.

What stands there today (Image by Tiscareno Associates)

What stands there today (Image by Tiscareno Associates)

The developer plans to ask the design board for permission to have smaller than average parking stalls among other departures (Source: EDG draft)

The developer plans to ask the design board for permission to have smaller than average parking stalls among other departures (Source: EDG draft)

Parking garage access is planned for the Harvard side of the development. The design will also “break up the facade” along Harvard “to avoid a monolithic structure.”

Meanwhile, “with the dedicated bike lane on Broadway close at hand, bicyclists will have a direct connection to the project site,” the developers promise.

The first public review of the project is slated for March.

1001 Broadway/Design Proposal Not Yet Available
Review Meeting: March 4, 6:30 pm
Seattle University
1016 E. Marion St
PIGT Room #304
Review Phase: EDG–Early Design Guidance
Project Number: 3019050 permit status
Planner: Lindsay King


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69 thoughts on “What the 16-story Broadway Whole Foods development will look like

  1. 16 floors so it will be concrete and steel (not pressboard and epoxy). 288 homes averaging just under 900 sqft. Parking for 374 vehicles. Space for 98 bikes.

    Way to go First Hill! Too bad we’re not building structures with these stats across the street on Capitol Hill.

    • Perhaps a little education for you smart asses out there would be useful. Concrete construction is very expensive and can only be afforded in large, typically high rise structures, and or office buildings. The cost is amortized over larger scale making it more affordable to build on a square foot basis, which translates into market rate rent (office or residential). The wood structures built over one level of concrete is not a low quality structure. It’s actually quite good, and the materials are not press-board and epoxy. The siding you are referring to is commonly known as Hardie-Panel, which is made of concrete fiber and is pretty bullet proof. If you want concrete construction in a low rise, then rents would need to be even higher than they are now. These projects are unbelievably expensive to build for a multitude of reasons which ultimately result in higher rent unfortunately. It’s not greedy developers…it’s just a high cost to build. Frankly, the returns on investment in mixed use apartment projects is pretty thin right now.

      • Thanks, Jerome. You’ve done well at making mass assumptions and reading words that were not posted! You also sound like a bitter developer. We are all aware that these taller structures are more expensive to build.

        I’d like you to visit Joulle and then go across the street to Brix. The difference in the materials used (Joulle is a stick build, Brix uses concrete slabs) offer an experience that is night and day in terms of quality and end-user experience.

        Mid and high rise concrete and steel buildings are built across the planet every day and are not exorbitantly more expensive to occupy than their low rise stick build counterparts. In fact may of Seattle’s low income housing resides in concrete mid rise structures.

        Moreover, my main point was this development better uses vertical space instead of stubby 5 floor structures. Before we know it Capitol Hill will be as visually appealing as Belltown – a neighborhood that has been voted one of the ugliest in the region due to the type of construction that is popping up now on Capitol Hill.

      • Timmy, this time I agree with you that this building height is appropriate for the area it will be in. First Hill already has a number of taller buildings, so it will fit right in.

        I’m not qualified to comment on the debate about building materials/cost etc….but I definitely agree with you about the difference between Joule and Brix….the latter is a superior building aesthetically because of the quality materials that were used. Joule is unfortunately more typical of most of the buildings going up around us.

      • Bob, I agree you as well about the Brix vs Joule. The key difference however is that Brix is a for-sale condominium building and Joule is a market rate apartment. Condominiums can typically afford more expensive materials like brick cladding. I think people react negatively to Joule because it’s just not that attractive. The use of Hardie Panel siding is not a good excuse for ugliness. It could have been designed with more thought and care, especially at the street level. The reason we don’t see many for-sale condominium buildings in Seattle is because of the State Condominium Act which is a very one sided law that gives Plaintiff Attorney’s open season on suing developers of condos for anything any everything, It just becomes too onerous to build for-sale condominium buildings because of the potential litigation…whether there is a problem with a given building or not. Cheers.

      • I believe that only the east half of Brix is condominiums, and the western half (fronting Broadway) are market-rate apartments. I’m sure this was the case when the building opened…..maybe something has changed?

      • The ‘pressboard’ being referred to is probably the OSB (oriented strand board) sheathing that these stick framed buildings are sheathed in before they receive their rain screen cladding. This is essentially a pressed board of wood particles and a resin (epoxy) binder

      • They use phenol formaldehyde and it’s “oriented strand board” – wood strands arranged for strength and durability – not particles.

      • I would not want to be near that phenol formaldehyde-based oriented strand board in a fire… don’t think it’s not possible for the sprinkler system to lose pressure (e.g. in a natural disaster).

    • These apartments are much to large. We should have a law limiting all condos and apartments to be no more that 300 sq ft. This would allow more people to live there. Also we should allow developers to designate those who buy or rent apartments to be day residents or night residents with day people living in them during the hours between 6AM and 6PM with the night ones allowed between the house of 6PM and 6AM. We could then house more people and have a higher density of development. Things like this worked very well in the New York tenements and we all know that Seattle is striving to be the next New York, by and by.

      • Just to let others know, we usually remove obvious trolling. And sometimes not so obvious attempts, too. We’ll leave this one here as a symbol.

      • I have to assume that Bubbamike’s comment is satirical and meant to be funny. If they’re not….then….well, I really have nothing to say.

      • It’s satire but it misrepresents reality and is disrespectful of a different point of view. He is comparing this building to a tenement while for some that is the ideal living arrangement. It’s derogatory and disrespectful to the choice of those people and it’s the result of somebody who has little experience with life in such an environment.

        As a contra-example, where I grew up, single family homes existed almost exclusively in rural villages. Cities only had apartment buildings with the very lowest height being 3 floors. The notion of a single family home brought up notions of farmers and animals. If one would want to be derogatory one would use the word “peasant”. But I don’t refer to anybody who lives in a single-family home neighborhood this way and I respect their lifestyle choice. So for the people who would love to live in a high-density neighborhood, please respect it. The above post does not.

    • Brix West and East side are Condos All of them.

      East side is not Steel and Concrete . Only the West -Broadway facing side is steel and concrete

  2. I’m glad to see a structure including parking for once! I know it’s just because of the grocery store. Also, they’re already asking for smaller parking stalls! But I guess you can’t have everything. Including a well-designed parking garage. I hate that developers on the Hill aren’t required to include parking at all. As a result, they don’t, forcing all of those cars onto the street. It’s a madhouse.

      • actually, First Hill, where this is being built, has the lowest car ownership and highest transit use of any neighborhood in Seattle.

    • So you guys like the idea of hundreds of more cars clogging our neighborhood streets on a daily/hourly basis? When does it end? When is it too much?

      • People who can afford Capitol Hill living often own cars. The typical pattern I see in my condo complex is a full parking lot during the week (i.e. no additional cars on the street) and an empty one on the weekend. Given traffic patterns around the area, this seems to be typical of more than my complex.

        By not providing parking, what you do is force these car folks to park on the street (unless they rent a space somewhere). They have to move their cars frequently. There is less street parking for everyone. Less parking for guests. More people circling the block for longer looking for a spot.

        Not providing parking doesn’t solve the problem of too many cars on the streets/congestion, it creates a host of new ones. You don’t get people out of their cars by punishing them for owning them. You do it by providing good alternatives.

      • I hear that argument a lot. That building more off-street parking will somehow relieve the pressure on on-street parking. On-street parking is essentially saturated already, and will remain saturated as long as it is drastically underpriced (RPZ’s) or free. And as long as underpriced or free street parking is an option, people will circle in hopes of finding that elusive free spot. This circling and lack of street parking is a product of underpriced street parking, not an undersupply of off-street parking. Luckily the city has been moving towards market pricing of street parking in business districts, but until that spreads to residential areas, we will always have an on-street parking shortage, no matter how many off-street spots and garages are built. Now my beef with building so much off-street parking, is that the streetfront becomes a major car traffic magnet and harms the pedestrian environment. Ask anybody who lives across the street from the Lyric parking exit. The noise, headlights, and constant stream of cars crossing the sidewalk is a drag on this block and it creates a deadzone on the streetfront. An even more extreme example is rush hour in SLU when cars are blocking the street and sidewalk trying to exit parking garages with 1,000+ spots onto streets that simply don’t have the capacity to handle them.

      • The flaw in that reasoning is that once there is no free street parking people will quit circling the block and they’ll all pay to park. But they won’t. A significant % will just go somewhere else they can park. Not necessarily a bad thing for businesses located elsewhere, but it’s business Capitol Hill will lose.

      • I live across the street (and slightly east) from the Lyric’s parking entrance/exit, and have experienced absolutely no adverse effects. And I walk by there often too….there is very little auto traffic in and out of the building.

      • @Jim98122x, “significant %” is a significant assumption. Sure I could see that at a grocery store in Bellevue, but I would challenge you to prove that is true in a neighborhood like Capitol Hill.
        Regardless, the developer of this building agrees with you since they are choosing to pay to build that much parking and attract these drivers. But I’m always surprised to see residents demand or applaud lots of parking. All that parking will never translate to a benefit for the neighborhood (the misguided “OMG! Save the street parking!” argument), unless you see benefit in more cars driving on our streets. People who arrive at these places by car also have a tendency to drive in, park, buy, drive out, leave, which I might even argue is a net negative for the neighborhood.

      • Also I take issue with your first statement: “People who can afford Capitol Hill living often own cars.” Capitol Hill has about the lowest car ownership rates in the city. I look at it in the reverse: Building apartments with so much parking drives up the cost of rent, which ensures and exacerbates the problem that only the wealthy can afford to live in the neighborhood. Not cool.

      • I’m bemused that so many take issue with my statement. Yeah: First Hill and Capitol Hill have low car-ownership and high public-transit numbers. They are also fairly densely populated, so even though the rate is low, the number is high. For rentals: not everyone generally gets a space, and they pay more for it. It shouldn’t affect others.

        Personally, I don’t own a car, and haven’t. I’ve been in Capitol Hill for over a decade. You don’t need a car in CH because it’s walkable. But they always threaten to cut or alter the line I transfer to downtown in order to get to work. Sometimes they force you to own a car. Someone with children usually has a car. I do have friends with cars, and it’s very convenient to borrow every once in a while.

        People have cars. They are convenient. Can’t we all just get along?

      • Despite the funding issues, I really like the layout of the Pacific Place garage. No columns at the entrance to the spaces, angled parking (for the most part). The Macy’s garage is decent as well, for similar reasons. If you’re trying to park in that central area.

  3. 4 February

    Another tepid? No ugly, a really disappointed blight on the landscape. Where is the interest?, the public spaces and the human touch? Who approved this monster? Sorry to be so critical, but I am tired of the Seattle’s trend of really bad architecture. A big step backward.


    • Yes, an utterly conventional, uninspired and uninspiring building. It seems that MANY American architects need to take a look at commercial architecture abroad: so much of it is likeable, innovative, fresh.
      Seattle’s Design Review Board could use new leadership. They cannot force, but surely they can encourage builders to do better.

      • Agreed. The new architecture in Seattle is uninspiring, to say the least. Clinical and uptight, boxy and uninviting. Disappointing, and it seems to be taking over the landscape. I guess some people like that postmodern minimalism … but a lot of it feels stark and cold …

        Seattle needs a full-on train system. It can’t accommodate too many more vehicles. I-5 is a bad joke most of the time. Given the shape of the city, traffic bottlenecks. I’m surprised, as forward-thinking as Seattle likes to present itself, that this city does not have a remarkable light rail or similar transit system that reaches all the neighborhoods. The guy being sarcastic about Seattle becoming NYC … well, the subway is convenient … compared to the buses.

        Same as it ever was …

      • Glad to see I’m not (nearly) alone in my thoughts on this development. ‘Uninviting’: precisely the word that I had meant to include earlier. Would anyone be proud to call this ‘home’?
        I agree with your unrelated comments re. rail transportation.
        Many other cities have managed to build wide-ranging rail systems in a fraction of the time it has taken in Seattle to build a single starter line….

  4. It’s an improvement over what is there at least. We need a high end grocery store, too bad it’s not Metropolitan but WF is better than nothing.

    • The selection at Whole Foods is much better than Metropolitan Market. The only stores that rival Whole Foods are Central Co-op and PCC.

  5. Why put up a grocery store a block or two away from the existing QFC? The dense housing is nice, but there’s got to be a better place to put this.

    • Grocery options are a good thing!

      Also with all the new housing coming online along Pike/Pine/Union/Madison we need places for residents to get groceries. Also, if the proposed BRT comes to life this is a convenient option for people to hop on & off for groceries. If people adopt the street car we may have more visitors from First Hill, ID and Pioneer Sq traveling into the area as well – those ares are underserved. This transit hub and new housing will place a strong demand for grocery options.

      This site makes a lot of sense.

    • I’m sure for several reasons, such as what space was available, being on a major street and because the fact that QFC is so utilized proves it’s a solid choice for a grocery store. On North Broadway, QFC and Safeway were within 1 block of each other for many years.

      QFC does not deserve a monopoly. That said, I have zero expectation of any type of competition driving down prices. But perhaps, QFC may not be able to continue to charge exorbitant, inflated prices for some natural food items because Whole Foods has cheaper prices for some of them (due to selling more volume or just due to their emphasis on them on the shelves).

      People have an assumption that QFC has good prices and Whole Foods doesn’t. Assess each and compare based on your shopping list. It’s likely shopping at multiple grocery stores (such as these two), will result in better prices overall if you buy at whichever is cheaper for that item. So in that sense, it’s good they are close.

      Plus it has a more built-in audience toward the First Hill side.

      I do think it’s good though that the Farmer’s Market will move more North to the light rail station building. As I think Whole Foods is competition for that.

      • Whole Foods is not nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” for no reason. Sure, selected items are priced similarly to other stores, but overall Whole Foods is significantly more expensive than the rest ( except for Metropolitan Markets). As far as the suggestion to shop at two stores to buy items from each, that’s just too darn inconvenient and time-consuming for most people.

      • Bob, it’s simply not true that Whole Foods is significantly more expensive than other stores. There was a time, when the moniker “whole paycheck’ was adopted that Whole Foods being more expensive was the case, but nowadays, it’s just simply not the truth.

        Whole Foods has it’s own line of products in nearly every department of the store that are on par with Trader Joe’s prices, actually. And they are significantly cheaper than most of QFC’s Simple Truth line. As well, most of the Whole Foods items are organic.

        I did a little shopping comparison today, and I can tell you that on every single produce item I bought (avocados, pineapple, bananas, garlic, ginger, celery, onions, taters, oranges, mangos and lemons), Whole Foods was the same or cheaper than QFC on Harvard (I consider Whole Foods transparency in produce sourcing a plus, compared to QFC as well). They aren’t cheaper on fresh produce than TJ’s, but I wouldn’t buy produce from TJ’s, it’s just not as fresh and I don’t think sourced as well. I could put out a whole list, but I won’t. Needless to say, WF’s brand of hummus, salsa, pasta sauces, canned goods, and a ton of other products are cheaper, right now, at this moment, than comparable products at QFC.

        On the flip side, I think what people see as more expensive is that Whole Foods also carries a lot of premium products. Cheese, wine, chocolate, meat, ice creams, dairy, etc. And maybe that’s why people feel it’s more expensive. But the reality is, you get a better, higher quality product. These are things that I like, buy, and am willing to pay for. It’s a cost to product ratio. Good and quality versus ok and cheap. You want to buy discolored meat wrapped in plastic and styrofoam and stinky fish at QFC, go ahead, I’ll take the fresh stuff from Whole Foods.

        I personally don’t want a cheap Hershey’s bar from QFC. I buy REAL chocolate bars from Whole Foods. I don’t want juice that’s sat in a fridge for weeks on end. I buy fresh juice that was pressed today and pay for the premium for it. That doesn’t mean it’s more expensive, it means I pay for a better, higher quality product.

        Fine, you want to pay 3.99 for a crappy tub of QFC brand ice cream, go ahead, I’d rather pay 5.99 for a quality pint of something locally produced that tastes amazing. That’s not more expensive really, because you can’t compare a quality product to a low quality product from QFC. You pay a higher ratio for that quality. You want cheap ice cream, great, that doesn’t mean Whole Foods is more expensive than QFC, it means it carries a quality product that warrants the cost and won’t sell the crap that QFC carries. As well, WF’s bulk items are mostly cheaper than QFC’s.

        Also, the customer service at QFC (both stores on the hill) is HORRIBLE. And the people that frequent the stores, especially the one on Broadway and Pike, make it one of the most uninviting grocery stores I’ve ever been to. The layouts of QFC, the lighting, the employees, everything about them are just terrible in my opinion. I don’t think unions are a good thing, because employees end up not caring. It creates a I don’t give a s**t attitude about my job dynamic, at least from what I see. I could go into detail about the checkers and self-checkout people at QFC, but I won’t. I’ve never gone into WF’s and thought this guy/gal hates their job and his/her attitude sucks. You just don’t see it. At QFC, I challenge you to tell me honestly they like working there.

        So, while it’s fine to say WF’s is more expensive, if you’re going to say that, you really have to compare apples to apples. And QFC is an apple that has sat in storage for 6 months, probably gassed to keep it fresh, while WF’s is an apple picked off the tree by a farmer this week and delivered fresh. User experience goes a long, long way. And WF’s has it down. When it opens on First Hill, I will never again set foot in a QFC. For me, it can’t come soon enough. And I am in no way connected to either WF’s, TJ’s or QFC. I shop at all of them, Capitol Hill is my home, I’m just an average working joe, and I am just so sick of this vitriol about WF’s prices. Because it’s unwarranted and just not true.

      • Thanks….I agree with a lot of what you say, especially your criticism of the horrible customer service at QFC. I think you are right that, for basic food items, WFs is no more expensive….and that it is the quality premium products there that result in a higher bill at the cash register. Really good cheese is my downfall, and WFs has an excellent selection, and it’s a lot of my higher total when I shop there. I suppose I could resist…..but, like you, I am willing to pay more for better quality.

      • I have issues with QFC’s prices and selection, but they’re a union store and Whole Foods isn’t just nonunion (I could live with that) but militantly antiunion. I also appreciate QFC’s 24-hour policy (though I wish they would move the Harvard Market’s late-night entrance to Broadway). Those factors will make choosing between those two stores an easy one. What I’d really like to see here is a PCC or Metropolitan Market.

    • A lot of people who live in the immediate area (like me) would be very excited to have another large grocery store nearby to give us another option besides the Pike QFC.

      • I think the people at Whole Foods get paid more than the people at QFC despite the lack of a union and they certainly provide much better customer service. Everybody wins.

      • You can think whatever you like, but in this case, what you think doesn’t match up with reality as the rest of us experience it. About 30 seconds of searching online shows a wide disparity in pay and benefits between Whole Foods and journeyman employees at unionized supermarkets for cashiers, meat cutters, you name it. Only entry level positions (“courtesy clerks”, or bag boys, for example) provide comparable pay.

        Whole Foods is significantly closer to Walmart than PCC in how they treat and compensate their employees.

  6. You don’t want to deal with traffic and parking? That’s easy! Don’t buy a car! I lived on Capitol Hill for twelve years and never had a car.

  7. The biggest questions that arise for me will be impacts to traffic, both car and pedestrian, during the build phase. Besides the developer work I would imagine there will be utility overlays that will be digging and breaking and moving a whole variety of infrastructure. At such a busy 5-way intersection, that is used for a lot of crosstown traffic: downtown to Central District, downtown to Madison Park/Madrona, South Capitol Hill to downtown; I just can’t see this not becoming a real tangled mess for 18-24+ months.

    • this is the only city i have lived where they can’t build within the building foot print and need to take up sidewalks and surrounding streets ,,it does not need to be a traffic jam,but thats the way they like it here

  8. Why only 98 bike spaces?!?! It’s on the bikeway, I’d plan ahead, and also wouldn’t people coming to the whole foods like a secure place to park…

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