Saying that they felt the project’s design made a commendable effort to fit into the “changing” neighborhood around it, the East Design Review Board Wednesday night signed off on the early design guidance proposal for a five-story apartment project destined to join a block of 13th Ave E and neighbor landmark co-op The Maryland.
In front of a packed audience of Maryland residents and residents from single family homes and other apartment buildings in the neighborhood, Bradley Khouri of Capitol development and architecture firm b9 made his case that the 614 13th Ave E project planned to add 20 market-rate apartment units to the street had been shaped for the block just north of E Mercer and was respectful of its future neighbor, The Maryland co-operative. “We feel that we are trying to be very deferential to it,” Khouri said.
It was one of many moments that drew mostly quiet groans from some in the crowd who were waiting for their turn to speak during public comment to echo the issues around height, bulk, and scale CHS reported on earlier this week. Others said they were pleased at some of the rapid progress Khouri and b9 had already made to listen to concerns about the loss of trees and greenery and make a project that lives up to the area’s zoning potential without completely altering the block’s character.
Not everybody was satisfied, of course. “There’s an amazing kind of porch transitional zone,” in the area, one speaker said, lamenting the project’s impact to the street’s “neighborly porchiness.”
“I think you’re maximizing profit,” another said, with complaints about the project’s plans to rise to five stories and to not be set back far enough from adjacent buildings.
“You shouldn’t be maximizing. You should be fitting it in.”
The board’s decision moves the project forward in the design review process where the next round will focus on tweaks suggested in the early design guidance session and elements like materials and finishing. The next review is not yet scheduled.