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What the Broadway ‘post office’ building will look like — Plus, first look at plans for 95 Slide development

Believe it or not, this is not the plan (Images: )

Believe it or not, this is not the plan at Harvard and Pike (Images: Skidmore Janette )

There aren’t any plans — exactly — to preserve old Capitol Hill buildings as part of two projects slated to share the City of Seattle design review stage this week. We’ll get our most complete look yet at the six-story project that will replace Broadway’s old post office. And, at Harvard and Pike, we’ll get our first look at the plans — and the preservation scheme — behind the seven-story building set to replace 95 Slide.Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.09.50 AM

722 E Pike St

722 E. Pike St – Design Review Early Design Guidance for a 7 story structure containing 90 residential units with 4,000 sq. ft. of retail at street level. No parking is proposed. Existing structure to be demolished. View Design Proposal      

Review Meeting
August 26, 2015 6:30 pm, Seattle University, 824 12th Ave, Admissions & Alumni Community Building
Review Phase: EDG–Early Design Guidance  

Project Number: 3020112  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notice

Planner: Magda Hogness

CHS first reported this spring on the plan to develop the old pre-1940 building at the corner of Harvard and Pike currently home to sports bar 95 Slide. Owner Marcus Lalario later told CHS he was bummed by the choice to go the redevelopment route and not allow him to buy the club. “Capitol Hill is what it is, now,” Lalario said.

On this particular block, at least, Capitol Hill is set to stand about seven stories tall and be packed with apartment units. The property, by the way, was purchased in June from its longtime owners for $2.9 million. The new owner knows a little bit about Capitol Hill these days — Kevin Pantzar is chief financial officer at W.G. Clark Construction.

Wednesday night, developers Johnson Carr and the architects at Skidmore Janette will bring a design to the review board that will easily fit into the block now dominated by the seven-story Pike Motorworks project. It is being planned for around 26,000 square feet of residential space. At 90 units or so, the average living space will be a tidy 288 square feet.

But the design of the project is less interesting than the means by which developers Tyler Carr and Kelten Johnson propose to build an extra story in the six-story-approved zone:

The project is utilizing the Transfer of Developmental Potential (TDP) program to gain additional FAR & 10’ of additional structure height, using the Melrose Market at 1501 Melrose Ave as the sending site. The structure that currently sits on the project site is a character structure as defined by land use code, due to its construction prior to 1940. However, the building has no historical or architectural significance, and does not provide opportunities to retain the structure and still achieve other land use provisions such as blank facades and street-level transparency, which are especially important at this dynamic, pedestrian zoned corner. (CS2.B2, CS2.C1, PL2.B3, PL3.AB, DC1.A1, DC2.B2) By participating in the TDP program the resulting design response will be more compatible with the adjacent developments, both of which are preserving portions of character structures and gaining the additional 10 feet in height. (CS2.A2, CS2. D1, CS3.A4) The proposed design and removal of the character structure allow for the commercial area to be easily subdivided into smaller retail spaces that respect and maintain the desired rhythm of the neighborhood streetscape, a priority of the Pike / Pine specific neighborhood design guidelines.

The developers included this rendering of what the project *could* look like if they preserved the building

The developers included this rendering of what the project *could* look like if they preserved the building

The proposal is the first of its kind we’re aware of under the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay development incentive program. Under the district rules, because the 95 Slide building is older than 1940, normally the developers would need to preserve the structure’s facade to receive the extra floor of height. Under this proposal, Johnson Carr is hoping the board will agree the project should receive an extra floor of height because of the preservation that occurred as part of the development of the Melrose Market.

There aren’t a lot of precedents to be set — mainly because the ingredients of the proposal including a preservation-friendly development of a beloved commercial building with no residential components aren’t on every corner of the Hill — but it will be an interesting strategy to watch play out at Harvard and Pike.

101 Broadway

Land Use Application to allow a 6-story structure containing 44 residential units above of retail. Surface parking for 4 vehicles to be provided. Existing structure to be demolished. View Design Proposal  (26 MB)    

Review Meeting
August 26, 2015 8:00 pm, Seattle University, 824 12th Ave, Admissions & Alumni Community Building
Review Phase: REC–Recommendation  See All Reviews

Project Number: 3018402  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notice

Planner: Beth Hartwick
Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 7.58.14 AM

Nighttime rendering (Images: Studio Meng Strazzara)

The US Postal Service is already on the hunt for a new home. Across the street, development planning is underway to create Capitol Hill Station’s housing and The Market Hall commercial project along with affordable apartments. Now it’s time to fill in the pieces around it. Developers Henbart and architects Studio Meng Strazzara are ready to bring their final design for a six-story, mixed-use building at the corner of Broadway and Denny that will replace the old post office. No plans for preservation here:

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.51.30 AM

The project went through its first “early design guidance” review with the board last winter. Public comment at the review seems to have attracted a young urbanist or two — it included support for the project and encouragement of “more height and density on the site,” according to the planner’s notes.

The developer plans to use brick, corten steel and glass to finish the structure and units are planned to have 3’x6′ balconies from which to gaze out upon the wonders of Capitol Hill Station and the most rapidly growing stretch of Broadway.Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 7.58.32 AM

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27 thoughts on “What the Broadway ‘post office’ building will look like — Plus, first look at plans for 95 Slide development

  1. More over-sized blocks of windows. Cap Hill is going the way of SLU: monotonous, same-as architecture that will sap any remaining character.

    To the barricades, I say! Block the bulldozers!

    • Totally agree. Kudos to these developers for not adding more cars to our already clogged roads. I’m tired of all these new developments building literally hundreds of new parking spots. I’m OK with more residents coming to the hill, but when we roll out the red carpet for their cars, it’s bad for those of us trying to walk and breathe in the neighborhood. And since underground parking is so expensive to build and rarely pays for itself, it just drives up rents further and makes the neighborhood more unaffordable. Glad to finally see the slowdown in construction of new car spots.

      • Hum, I read that initial comment as being sarcastic. Parking is already a huge problem. And this is only going to make it worse. But I know the arguments…parking is not a right, cars destroy the earth, there will be a lightrail….yadda-yadda. There are obviously 2 very strong opinions here. The fact of the matter is there are too many people trying to park on the hill. With all the new buildings going up without parking…where has the affordability come in? They are STILL charging a TON for apartments with no parking spaces. If buildings are built with parking, the people that have cars will pay extra for those spaces thus taking care of the extra cost of building the spaces….but not even having that option and pushing all the cars out on the road is just plain stupid.

      • “the people that have cars will pay extra for those spaces thus taking care of the extra cost of building the spaces” That’s a pretty strong assumption. What if they don’t make enough to cover the extra cost of building the spaces?

      • This is priceless. You should read “The High Cost of Free Parking” by Dr. Shoup and learn about parking policy 101. I don’t think there’s a single assumption in this post that isn’t firmly contradicted by exhaustive peer-reviewed research.

        That said, buildings are built without parking, then there will be fewer people living in the neighborhood with cars because you can’t park two cars on top of each other, and the maximum parking capacity of the neighborhood will be reached.

        It sounds like they’re building 10,000 new parking spaces being constructed right now over the freeway in SLU (and really, many hundreds more in other Cap Hill developments). Presumably people who value having a car will live over there.

      • The reality versus the study is quite different. There is an aPodment building that was built with 120 units and no parking. Once surveyed, they found that there were 40 residents with cars. Some people plain and simply need (or will have) cars. Despite the appearance that everyone works at Amazon and can walk to work, some people need their cars. Is the new light rail going to take you directly to Bellevue? NO!. It takes two buses and over an hour. It is understandable why someone would not want to live in Bellevue…

        I see townhouses that have parking spots and the owners’ cars sit there all day and are not used to choke traffic. Off-street parking is for people who want cars, but do not necessarily use them all the time The traffic in Seattle is from people who commute INTO town mostly. In addition, I am tired of developers whining that parking makes projects financially unfeasible. Since when is 15%-20% profit unfeasible. It is simply GREED!

      • I agree with NT. Yes, no-parking policies probably do result in fewer cars on our roads than there would otherwise be, but there will still be MORE cars on the roads as more and more people move into the area, some of whom will have cars whether their building has parking or not. Those who argue for no parking are kind of narrow-minded in their opinion….don’t they care about all those people who will have difficulties finding a parking spot when they come home from a long day at work? And please don’t repeat the old advice to park in a garage….they are quite expensive on a monthly basis, and just not available for many.

        The real key to reducing traffic congestion is to build more transit infrastructure, especially light rail, so that people can commute that way instead of in a car.

      • Bob, That’s exactly the point, if someone can’t afford to park their car in a garage, why should the rest of us be subsidizing their car storage on public land? There are much higher priorities like housing affordability and homelessness for people not cars.

      • I do agree with your last paragraph though. But it’s a chicken or the egg. If we keep subsidizing cars and parking, that pulls resources away from creating a more transit friendly neighborhood.

  2. Re: the 95 Slide building:
    I appreciate the honesty of the person who created this rendering – it does not sugar-coat the ugly blight that is the street level view of this building – four prominent, grafitti-covered dumpsters dominate the view from Harvard, with two city-provided cans along Pike St. The forlorn, lone tree in the weedy tree well is also an honest touch. I would hope that with the re-development of this space, more accomodation of hiding dumpsters would be required by the DPD. Exposed dumpsters encourage dumpster diving, ending up with trash and food strewn around them, not to mention the fact that they provide cover for people using the sidewalk as a toilet. Overall, this design is disappointing… is 95 Slide really worth saving? The analogy of polishing a turd comes to mind, or lipstick on a pig. Not making this corner better is a missed opportunity, IMHO.

    • I agree completely with you about the issue of hiding ugly dumpsters(and, I would add, locking up the storage areas)…..this should be absolutely mandatory for all new buildings, otherwise we end up with the blight that is so evident in many areas of Pike-Pine.

    • That block is a poster child for taking away a neighborhood’s charm and character, but I won’t miss 95 Slide a bit. It’s a terrible neighbor, especially this summer, with the extremely loud DJing on the rooftop deck for hours on Sunday afternoons/evenings(!).

      I said this on twitter already, but I think (especially if they keep the dumb facade), they should add a few more units and call it “95 Apartments”, with an alteration of the current sign.

  3. Looks like the 95 Slide developer is trying to out-ugly the new units that just went up around it. Mission accomplished! And I hope that 288 sf average unit size is a miscalculation of some sort.

    As for the post office building, is anyone else getting sick of the hideous and artless bolted on metal balconies that half the new buildings in town have? Along with the accompanying cable supported sidewalk covers. How often do you ever see anyone out on these tiny, ugly balconies? I know I don’t very often at all. I’d be curious to know if most local architects think this actually looks good, and if they’re proud of these designs. I admittedly know nothing of the subject, only what I like and don’t. I suppose it’s possible that I’m in the minority, and that people today have the same crap taste in architecture that they do in most modern mainstream music, from bland and forgettable to obnoxious and uncreative.

    • The Juliet balconies are a way to get more airflow through an apartment, but these mini balconies help the developer meet out door square footage amenities that the DPD requires. I agree they are silly, and I rarely see them used, except for people having a late night smoke.

      I’d rather see a bunch of bay windows and larger rooftop deck (I realize the post office building does have a rooftop deck, although not the full amount). I think the silliest balconies I’ve seen are in the Hollywood Lofts down the block. Just a strange set up.

    • Thank you, brick by brick, for bringing up those God-awful balconies. Has anyone else noticed the balconies on the center section of the multi-colored building behind the Joule are uneven and not level? It’s really noticeable and I haven’t seen anyone trying to correct them for the 2 weeks or so since they have been installed. Guess the new occupant is not going to want to put anything with wheels on one of those!

    • I agree completely about the useless mini-balconies. My understanding, like Prost Seattle’s, is that they are included to help satisfy the DPD’s requirement for “open space.” But it seems to me DPD could amend their regulations by figuring out a way to provide adequate open space without the ugly balconies, even if it impacts the developers’ profit. What do other cities do?

  4. I love the growth that Seattle and Capitol Hill has been experiencing these past few years, but why do they keep building such ugly buildings? The builders are digging their own graves. If Capitol Hill looks and feels like Belltown, then why would anyone want to move to Capitol Hill?

  5. What does the north side look like? Are they going to have the same large windows? If so they will be blocked if another building goes up on the north lot next to Dicks . The value of rent for those units would be cut in half.

    If no windows is it going to be a huge brick wall?