What is hoped to be the final step in the design review process for the redevelopment of 23rd and Union’s Midtown Center is slated for December but the companies and groups working on the project are holding two community “conversations” this week to meet with neighbors about the planned three-piece, seven-story apartment building with 429 apartment units and underground parking for 258 vehicles.
Developer Lake Union Partners is hosting a set of meetings — one Wednesday night and one Saturday — to “explore community opportunities at the Midtown project site” —
You can RSVP here for the sessions.
Earlier this month, CHS reported on the beginning of the end for the old shopping center at the heart of the Central District community as plans have begun for demolition and clearing the block for the new project.
Wednesday and Saturday’s sessions follow the project’s unsuccessful bid to pass through the final step in the design review process in July as the board felt the project’s design from Weinstein A+U did not meet expectations recognizing the history and the culture of the Central District and would not foster a strong connection to the surrounding neighborhood or support the hoped-for Black-owned businesses inside.
During the public comment at the review this summer, attendees said the developers needed to do more to incorporate feedback from Central District community meetings and “design ciphers” that had been held in conjunction with the Africatown community group. Many also called on the project to move under the auspices of the newly formed Central Area Design Review Board instead of remaining with the East Design Review Board responsible for neighborhoods including Capitol Hill and First Hill.
December’s review will continue with the East board, according to city records. It’s not clear what role if any will be played by members of the Central Area Design Review Board created earlier this year by splitting off the Central District neighborhoods from the East region in an effort to preserve and grow the historically Black culture of the Central District.
The Lake Union Partners project will take place on 80% of the Midtown block, while the other 20% of the property was sold by Lake Union Partners to Africatown Community Land Trust and Capitol Hill Housing. The two projects have separate design review processes with the Africatown project still in the earliy planning phases.
This week’s community meetings are being organized by the developers and are not part of the city’s newly implemented “early outreach” requirements that more recently planned developments must incorporate.
The designs that will be discussed in December have not yet been made available via the city’s Department of Construction and Inspections system.
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