Design review: Is this 20th Ave townhouse project part of Seattle’s ‘missing middle’?

Just build it already. Wednesday night brings a design review for a 20th Ave project that seems like nobody really needs to review — four four-story townhouse buildings creating sixteen new homes replacing a set of two 1909-built single-family style structures that have seen better days.

But the East Design Review Board will give the projects a final once-over Wednesday:

Design review: 1711 20th Ave

Plans for a larger development that perhaps could have used the oversight fell through. Real estate investors purchased $5.3 million worth of property on 20th Ave with plans for a contract rezone to 65 feet and a new 160-unit apartment building. But by late 2017, they bailed on the plan and sold two of the parcels for $4.2 million to the Flanigan Group.

The Keller Williams development group is carrying the townhouse plan forward with designs from B9 Architects.

Here’s some math. One component of the project will create eight three to four story townhouse units over thirteen parking stalls. The second component will create eight three to four story townhouse units over a garage with two parking stalls. How many bikes will park there? Show your work.

In the end, the twist in history that will create the townhouse project is the kind of change in plans many touting a “missing middle” approach to Seattle housing — including this District 3 candidate — can get behind. The project is being planned on the southern edge of an area of Miller Park where a neighborhood group has been pushing back on the proposed Mandatory Housing Affordability upzoning but it seems even that group won’t object.

But affordability will not be the topic of conversation Wednesday night.

Instead, the board will be checking in on previous concerns regarding “the height and monolithicity of the continuous four-story expression at the street” and “the narrowness of the central stair and it’s unrelieved singlerun to courtyard elevation.”

What’s it mean? We’re not sure but neighbors in the area seem less concerned. When the project took its first step in the design review process last April, there was exactly zero public comment. Like we said. Build it already.


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6 thoughts on “Design review: Is this 20th Ave townhouse project part of Seattle’s ‘missing middle’?

  1. Whenever I see B9 architects you know it’s going to be a cube of hardiboard done with as little grace as possible.

    Click through their portfolio and you see have to ask why hire them – maybe their ability to get the permit overcomes the aesthetic shortfall.

    • Its two different colors of brick. Look closer at the rendering. In fact most of their buildings have brick or other high quality exterior materials. They recently finished a building in Wallingford that’s brick, glass and steel. Its pretty nice.

      • Or brick textured hardi. Go down to the end of university bridge and look at the monster b9’has created. Two different textures of hardi which the builders appear to be struggling to install. Never seen the 2×8 hardi sheet before with vertical lines.

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