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The Sawant? ‘Small efficiency dwelling’ building on 10th faces review

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 4.24.44 PMTwo projects on opposing ends of the affordable housing spectrum will will take their turn before the East Design Review Board Wednesday night. A proposed “small efficiency dwelling unit” project on Capitol Hill and a nonprofit affordable housing project on First Hill would create a combined 129 new studio-style apartments. The two projects will require the demolition of three buildings and a parking lot, adding needed density to their respective sites. Neither project includes commercial space.

120 10th Ave E
The building at the intersection of a surprising number of Capitol Hill narratives is on track to turn another chapter. Most recently used as the headquarters Kshama Sawant’s City Council campaign, a house and an adjacent apartment building near 10th and E John are slated to come down to make way for a 4-story, 49-unit apartment building.

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120 10th Ave E
Land Use Application to allow a 4-story structure containing 27 small efficiency units and 22 studio units. Existing structures to be demolished. View Design Proposal  (94 MB)    

Review Meeting: December 9, 2015 6:30 pm, Seattle University, 824 12th Ave, Admissions & Alumni Community Building

Review Phase: REC–Recommendation See All Reviews
Project Number: 3018296 View Permit Status | View Land Use Notice
Planner: Holly Godard

Developer Scott Shapiro, the managing director of Eagle Rock Ventures, plans to include a mix of SEDU’s and studio apartments in the project. SEDU’s, unlike their microhousing predecessors, must have at least 220-sqaure-feet of living space and include a bathroom and kitchen area.

The S+H Works design uses an offset massing in an attempt to break up the building’s shape while creating a large, recessed lobby. Designs also call for no car parking, plenty of bike storage, and preserving a small yard in the back of the building.

Architects had considered using offsetting shades of gray to accent the building’s shape, according to the design packet, but sided with a single color preference. A roof deck on the building would also give residents some of the best unobstructed views directly into the Capitol Hill Station development just across the street.

The project sits on a highly coveted piece of real estate, adjacent to the Capitol Hill Light Rail station and just one block from Cal Anderson Park. In 2009, a group of contractors hired to dig the light rail tunnels under Capitol Hill purchased the 126 10th Ave E building and the two-story brick building next door for their offices. When the tunneling wrapped up last year, the contractors sold the properties off for $1.95 million, pocketing a cool $765,000 on the transaction.

The buyer is a familiar name in Capitol Hill’s property rush. Shapiro is behind several microhousing projects as well as the preservation restaurant+office project at the Harvard Exit.

According to Shapiro, demolition of the 10th Ave E properties will start sometime next year to make way for the new development.

710 Cherry St
The vacant three-story office building that currently stands at 7th and Cherry is so far recessed into First Hill it’s barely visible from a block above. The Plymouth Housing project on deck to replace it will be significantly more noticeable.

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710 Cherry St

Land Use Application to allow a 7-story, 84 unit apartment building. Existing structure to be demolished. View Design Proposal (20 MB)

Review Meeting: December 9, 2015 8:00pm, Seattle University, 824 12th Ave, Admissions & Alumni Community Building

Review Phase: REC–Recommendation See All Reviews
Project Number: 3018296 View Permit Status | View Land Use Notice
Planner: Holly Godard

Designs from SMR Architects call for an 80-unit affordable housing project that will include offices and a large common room will face 7th Ave, replacing the private parking lot that currently sits on the property.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 7.47.43 PMAs part of the project, Plymouth is planning to build a landscaped “hill climb” along  7th Ave to connect downtown and First Hill:

Creating a “gateway” to First Hill with developed landscaping at the corner of 7th avenue and Cherry Street that continues up the steep hill climb with seating for respite along the way. Providing an enhanced pedestrian experience connecting First Hill and Downtown neighborhoods with an engaging, transparent ground level interior that emerges from the hill of Cherry Street.


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4 thoughts on “The Sawant? ‘Small efficiency dwelling’ building on 10th faces review

  1. In contrast to most of the microhousing which has been put up in the past few years, the 10th Ave E building looks reasonably well-designed, and is in scale to the surrounding neighborhood for a change. The difference between “SEDUs” and “studio” apartments is not clear to me, except that perhaps the latter are a little larger.

  2. Both of the buildings actually look nice. A surprising change in recent trends. I also really like the smaller nature of both of these buildings. It would be nice if instead of one 200 unit mammoth building we could have four smaller buildings per block.

  3. And what exactly is considered ‘affordable housing’? $1,200 per month for 200 sq ft? Just because something is substantially cheaper than the average rent doesn’t mean it’s affordable. How much will these ‘affordable’ units go for, how does that compare to average rentals in the area, and are the student communities from two local campuses able to take advantage of these new builds? Or are these truly ‘affordable’ units for well paid tech employees, rather than other target populations that used to contribute to our neighborhood’s diversity but are rapidly being squeezed off the hill? I think the answers to these questions need to be a part of any article referring to ‘affordable housing’.

  4. If they name it ‘The Sawant’ I imagine everyone will pay everyone elses’ rent in the building, or just complain about the rent without a solid plan to reduce it.