Wednesday night’s session of the East Design Review Board includes what could be the final session before construction can begin on the Liberty Bank Building, a project that many hope can be a model for inclusive development in the Central District. Another trailblazing project — this one at 13th and Pike — could also pass through its final review Wednesday night.
The project hoped to become Seattle’s first Passive House-certified mixed-use project will come to the board with developers Maria Barrientos and Cascade Built teaming up with architects Weber Thompson to take another crack at approval after falling just short in September.
The board liked what it saw earlier this year as far as the development’s plans for passive features including increased insulation affect the massing and windows and that “exterior shading devices” will shield the south and western faces of the building from “heat loads.” But board members said the project’s design still needed work. “Members verbalized that they thought that the project had become three different building types without a unifying design approach,” the report on the September session reads.
Wednesday night, the developers and designers return to the table with a new look for the project’s primary elements — the feature stair, a screened outdoor courtyard space, and the south and east facing building facades. They have also been asked to improve the plan for lighting of the building’s signature stairwell and to reduce the project’s reliance on the seemingly ubiquitous Hardie board siding.
The building will not take advantage of the Pike/Pine Conservation District’s preservation incentives that trade extra height for retaining facades and street-level size and dimensions. To make way for the super-sustainable housing and commercial project, the old Fran’s Chocolates building will be torn down. Fran’s left its original manufacturing space on Capitol Hill in 2014.
Liberty Bank Building
Hoped to become a template for inclusive development in Seattle with a respect for history and the empowerment of the African American community, the mixed-use affordable housing development from Capitol Hill Housing is also on the docket Wednesday night.