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What the Piecora’s building will look like

ViEW TOWARDS SOUTHEASTAfter cruising through the first review of the project’s basic bulk and scale last summer, development giant Equity Residential has unveiled the architectural vision for the mixed-used apartment building that will fill in the empty lot where Piecora’s Pizza once stood at 14th and Madison. It’s been two years since CHS broke the news on the $10.3 million deal.

VIEW TOWARDS corner of 14th & madisonHere is how Equity and architects Ankrom Moisan describe the six-story project with 137 market-rate units averaging 606 square feet, 3,8000 square feet of commercial space, and underground parking for 81 vehicles:

To allow for the strongest, most viable retail, we propose a highly transparent commercial street front along 14th and Madison. The proposed retail entry/entries will mainly be along 14th or at the building corner due to the grade change along Madison. The proposed residential entry is along E Pike, allowing for some visual and physical separation from vehicle-oriented Madison. The residential entry will be setback from the property line to help with the slight grade change (+/- 4’) along E. Pike. As the grade steps up along Madison (+/- 10’), a landscape buffer is proposed to help with the transition from retail to residential uses.

VIEW TOWARDS north from private mews

A break in the Madison street frontage separates retail from residential, with the proposed residential entry off of E Pike Street. Conceptually, the E Pike Street frontage signifies the start of the private “Mews”, and is the beginning of a pedestrian experience that is more residential in character. Also, in keeping with the established Madison Avenue building precedents, the primary residential entry is located off the busy street.

VIEW TOWARDS 14TH from west

The proposed vehicular entry is along 14th Avenue. Due to the limited street frontage and pedestrian curb ramps/crossing along E Pike there is no room for vehicular entry at this location. Moreover, a vehicular entry along the heavily trafficked Madison Street frontage would negatively affect the streetscape and potential pedestrian safety. The most logical location is at the southeast corner of the site.

After a review was abruptly canceled earlier this year, the development takes what could be its final step in the design review process next Wednesday night, April 13th. The Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council has said it support the project. Oh, and by the way, there are no clues yet about any plans for the commercial space. So, your dream about a return of Piecora’s lives on. Though the family behind the restaurant now has $10.3 million reasons to never touch dough again.

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40 thoughts on “What the Piecora’s building will look like

  1. Surprise! it looks like most of the other generic buildings that are tossed up. I mean, it’s not completely terrible, but it’s just another box.

    I wonder if architects ever just cry themselves to sleep over the bland designs they’re allowed to make.

  2. I feel bad for anyone trying to get in/out of their garage on 14th. I see people waiting long periods of time to get in/out of Chloe. I imagine vehicles wanting to turn left into the garage will have to traffic backing up onto Madison as they wait for traffic heading North on 14th to clear. And with Madison turing into a 1 lane road with the MRT, this will be an eventual disaster.

    People in this city are terrible at forecasting.

    • I care. People who need goods and services care. People who drive emergency vehicles care.

      Even people who are simply trying to walk across the street care when traffic jams. Please take off your blinders.

    • It’s awfully cute and smug and precious to pretend nobody needs cars anymore and can just “choose” to not drive anymore if they just would only do so. But unfortunately, wishing won’t make it so. I guess what you’re really saying is that for anyone who still needs a car, we should just make it nearly impossible or impractical to live on Capitol Hill.

    • Slow traffic impacts pedestrians when vehicles can’t get through. Blocking the box is a huge issue in Seattle where it pushes pedestrians out into traffic.

      Its better for everyone to keep traffic moving smoothly and safely. Especially the environment. Idling cars are the worst.

    • 14th Ave between Union and Madison is already quite congested, especially northbound. This design (for the parking entry) will make it even worse.

    • Another question that should be asked is what is going on with PPUNC? They claim to speak for the community, but they seem to be in bed with the developers. We need a neighborhood group that demands a higher bar for redevelopment (better retail spaces for small businesses, better design, historic preservation, higher quality materials, setbacks for outdoor seating) rather than a rubber stamp for global equity firms that are cashing in on the neighborhood. The old smaller building that was razed had four restaurant/retail spaces facing Madison. This one has one subterranean space facing 14th. This is totally unacceptable.

    • The question is what’s wrong with the Seattle Energy Code and design guidelines. There’s no way to build an attractive mid-range building with all the micro-managing they do – and all their “green” requirements add to the cost of the building, which drives up rent.

    • DG: Have you actually attended a PPUNC meeting? The meetings are open to the public and are a good opportunity to talk to the architect and developer about your concerns personally. Having attended the first meeting of this project, I found them to be receptive to my concerns about materials and massing. If you really care, then show up! Also, all of the design review meetings are open to the public. There are many opportunities to have your voice heard.

    • Let’s face it- Seattle has never been a great town for architecture. We have an excellent opportunity to achieve better architecture with all of the current growth, but our policies and practices won’t allow for it.

  3. Sometimes I wonder what future generations will think when they look at the architecture of the aughts and twenty-tens.

    • Capitol Hill is no longer a community but rather a commodity for any out of the neighborhood/state interest with the $$ to exploit it. The residents don’t matter and can easily be replaced and usually with a higher return. And yes this building is ugly and cheap looking IMO.

    • maybe the same thing we say when we look back at buildings erected in the aughts and twenty-tens of the 20th century?

      with time, and familiarity, people grow accustomed to the shape and look of a building. the old piecora’s building wasn’t really anything to look at but i’m sure there are a lot of people in our community that have fond memories of a “beautiful building.”

      plus, beholder + their eye = beauty. not everyone is going to love every (any?) building that goes up.

  4. 81 parking spots in a 131-unit building that’ll be right next to a Bus Rapid Transit stop in 2019 and that’s currently a 10 minute walk from the light rail station, huh? Neat!

    • Thank goodness people aren’t moving here from out of state with a car and the intention of hiking/biking/climbing/whatever in the wilderness on the weekends.

  5. “The proposed retail entry/entries will mainly be along 14th or at the building corner due to the grade change along Madison.”

    How is this remotely acceptable? Can’t put retail there because hills? This is a city built on hills, and the previous building managed to have multiple store fronts on the Madison side — now it’s going to just be a dead wall because the developer didn’t bother with a site specific solution for this lot.

    I hope someone at least holds them to the amount of glazing shown in this rendering so we don’t get another repeat of 1111 E Union just down the street.

  6. What is the point of the ridiculous black appendage on the left side of building? Is it supposed to reduce bulk or make the building look interesting? Either way it is a major fail.

  7. This is actually a really nice looking building. It is neither a boring box, nor a nonsensical schizo-styled Braeburn-esque monstrosity (those multiple faces clearly reflect the different ways that the building interacts with its surroundings).

    The quality of architecture has definitely improved in this town.

    • I agree! Everyone on Capitol Hill is so negative about development right now that they’re not really looking at the buildings and seeing the few nice ones out there.

    • I agree that we’re moving away from the truly hideous (although I see plenty of those examples still popping up, just look at 14th Ave south of Union – YUCK), and there are a couple of nice ones that I do try to acknowledge – the Sun Company building, REO Flats – but this falls in-between. It’s not awful, it’s just another big box.

    • Dude, know which way the light falls in Seattle. The sun travels east to west, with the bulk of the light coming from the south. It is doubtful this project will impact any light to your project.

    • As someone whose light and view of trees is going to become a massive building so close I’ll be able to touch it, all I can say is: anyone in Capitol Hill with a view, those days are numbered. Make peace with it or move, unfortunately.

  8. I love this design. It shows a level of sophistication and tasteful restrain that you don’t see with many new buildings going up these days–from the limited color palette, choice of materials and ample windows. You remember what used to be there, right? Although I enjoyed Piecora’s food, the place was an eyesore. This brings me to the question for all the armchair architects who cry, “Fail!”…what recent developments DO you like? Development and density is inevitable for Seattle. I’d rather it look like this than just about any other building going up right now. This is a welcome addition to Capitol Hill.

    • Max, there are a few new developments that I like. The new building at 24th and Union is attractive and constructed with quality materials and is a decent size and shape. I think it is called Stencil. It is a silly name but the building is decent. BTW, name calling of people who want our city’s inevitable development to be attractive doesn’t really win you any respect.

    • Thanks for the heads up, Citycat. I’ll have to check Stencil out. And you’re absolutely right about the name calling. My apologies. It’s easy for me to feel frustrated at people throwing insults around the internet without backing them up. Thanks for pointing it out. And sorry.

  9. I’d like to remind everyone that in the end it’s the developer that pulls the leash – and architects have higher standards, but lack power.

    With the constraints, this is well designed. Needs half the parking spaces – not that many. Each underground stall adds about 10k-20k to cost (and yes that goes into your rent), and so many of these development’s parking garages are empty. It’s going to be next to a BRT station for goodness sake!

    • And if you are someone that needs to leave the City on a semi-regular basis?

      Believe me, those spots will all be full and the waiting list will be long.

  10. Thanks AMA, another* sub-par design to make the neighborhood look more generic. I hope your design principals take note about how your “vision” is received by the community.

    *See the AVA on Pine and Beryl on 12th