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What the proposed Town Hall towers will look like

What the proposed Town Hall apartment towers will look like

With Town Hall ready to undergo a major renovation of its own, the plan to transform its block of First Hill will move forward Wednesday night with a double-header design review for a set of twin 32-story apartment towers.

“The project proposes a notable amount of open space and landscaped area throughout site and along the right of way to enhance the urban fabric of the surrounding context,” Perkins+Will architects and developer Lennar write.

“The plaza will create a strong pedestrian connection to the adjacent entrance to Freeway Park. The design team and client have met and collaborated with Town Hall stakeholders to create a cohesive design that accommodates planned improvements for the historic Town Hall building.”

Design Review: 1101 8th Ave

Planned for 550 units across the two towers plus four townhomes along 8th Ave, a small 1,300-square-foot cafe space, and underground parking for 410 vehicles, the Lennar development will also seek “a full alley vacation to provide through-block connections” and will create “a large plaza area on the northwest corner of the site to foster gathering and activity.”

Earlier this year, CHS wrote about the plan to rebuild the old Town Hall and functionally rotate the structure’s presence to create what the nonprofit hopes is a new presence for the cultural and events center as a connector between downtown and a rapidly growing First Hill neighborhood.

Town Hall hopes to become First Hill gateway as two 32-story towers set to join block

Capital campaign director for Kevin Malgesini told us in August that the corner of Town Hall closest to the I-5 lid Freeway Park is a focal point of the renovation project. “We’re looking at the way this corner links the two neighborhoods,” he said. “What it is is really visually connecting Freeway Park and First Hill, rather than First Hill turning its back on the city.”

Wednesday night, developers will make the case for their preferred design for the massive project set to replace surface parking lots on the block. While each of the three variants to be discussed Wednesday plays with different solutions for the project’s base, only the preferred design includes a large open plaza that would qualify the development for its planned height bonus.

The twin project is one of two currently moving forward on First Hill involving a set of double apartment towers. A 33-story set destined to become senior housing is currently being planned to neighbor the Frye Art Museum. That set, too, is designed by Perkins+Will.


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9 thoughts on “What the proposed Town Hall towers will look like

    • You are insane if you think this building is going to help with affordability at all. I’m not opposed to building more, but you live in a fantasy land if you think anything but luxury units are being built.

    • When more luxury units are brought online it increases the open capacity and requires the older buildings to reduce their rents in order to compete. It doesn’t matter what kind of units are being built we just need more inventory to drive down rents or at least stop them for rising as fast as they have been. Which is already starting to happen.

    • Jeff, there’s no credible economist nor group that doesn’t accept at this point that more units decreases rents as compared to a world without those units. Like – actually none – not the ultra liberal urban displacement project down in SF, not any university or think tank, even the white house accepts that more housing leads to lower prices.

      Why do you reject the near unanimous consensus of economic professionals?

  1. Affordability in Seattle, that will probably be Kansas shortly. Cost of housing now based on only 15% of the work force that makes those big bucks……

  2. The open space on the corner looks very promising, but there are still many questions about this design proposal. What is the rationale for putting townhomes on 8th Ave rather than more retail/commercial spaces? Will the public space offered in exchange for vacating the public right of way and adding ~8 extra stories be truly open the public? Too often the “privately owned public spaces” in these developments end up being designed for private benefit rather than the public. And should deviating from the normal set back rules be permitted just to create more space between the towers? Sure, that may allow the developer to rent/sell the units for a higher price, but is that a good reason to waive the rules everyone else has to follow? Still, if it’s designed right, this project could be a great thing for the developer, the future residents, and the neighborhood as a whole.

  3. I love it! We need more of these in dense urban areas including Capitol Hill. Whether they are luxury units or not, building more in dense areas keeps quieter side streets quiet rather than building 30 apartments here, 30 apartments there etc.

    Build them large, build them high, build them only in dense areas along arterials!

  4. “Enhance the urban fabric of the surrounding context.”???? — Must be this year’s version of “vibrant”? — in other words, “there goes the neighborhood”.