By the end of 2019, you might be living above Capitol Hill Station. The development projects to create four new buildings and a public plaza above the bustling transit terminal passed through the final step in design review Wednesday night.
Still, not everybody is satisfied.
One man stood up during public comment to say, “I think this project should’ve been built yesterday.” He then urged the board to reduce the number of parking spaces. “This is a transit-oriented development, right? Like, y’all, come on guys.”
The four building designs finalized Wednesday night will create more than 400 affordable and market-rate apartment units and 59,000 square feet of commercial and community space — and, yes, more than 200 new parking spaces below ground for residents and shoppers.
Developer Gerding Edlen is leading the project with designs from Hewitt and Schemata Workshop. Capitol Hill Housing will develop and operate the affordable housing component of the projects in Site-B North. The apartments will be spread across the four project sites, combining to make 428 new units. 176 of those will be affordable housing. The affordable housing will be reserved for those under 60% Area Median Income (or below $40,320 for one person; $51,840 for three people). The development’s retail component, meanwhile, is planned to include a grocer and a daycare facility. Gerding Edlen’s Jill Sherman tells CHS they are not at a point where they’ve signed with anchored tenants.
Wednesday night, one of the biggest concerns expressed in public comment had to do with the daycare center plan and pick-up/drop-off locations. The location moved from its original plans in the Site-B North location where the affordable units are located. This allowed for 15 more affordable units than there were with the daycare kept in its original location. Now, the daycare will be located in Site C, and the outdoor play space has been reconfigured to accommodate the neighboring retail storefronts.
Construction on the projects is hoped to begin in the spring of 2018 with the buildings finally open in late 2019 or early 2020. It will be a project more than a decade in the making. The community process to shape the projects began years before 2011 as the Capitol Hill Light Rail Stations Site Urban Design Framework document was published, distilling information shaped over a period of years in the community. In 2013, the City Council approved a development agreement allowing developers to plan for 85-foot tall buildings along Broadway in exchange for going above minimum affordable housing requirements.
The design review component of shaping the projects began in December 2016. At Wednesday night’s finale, there wasn’t much left to pound out. The board suggested a few tweaks before construction including nixing a proposed solution to reduce the amount of glazed glass used in the project. The architects suggested some smaller windows — still glazed. The board said no, thanks. You can check out more of the final design proposals here.