Here is the first look at early design proposals for the two projects that will work together to shepherd the newly landmarks protected Knights of Columbus building into its new adaptive reuse future and add more than 150 new apartments to the block at Union and Harvard.
The projects from developers SRM Development and the Runberg Architecture Group will begin the city’s design review process with a joint session Wednesday night.
CHS reported on the $18.55 million sale of the 106-year-old clubhouse building and surrounding parking lots to SRM last summer as the local Knights chapter sold off its valuable asset on the rise of Harvard between First Hill and Pike/Pine. We detailed SRM’s early plans for development and an historically respective overhaul of the 33,708 square-foot Knights hall. Last week, the landmarks board approved SRM’s bid for protections on the building that will shape its overhaul. That protection plan still needs to be finalized by the developers and the landmarks board. SRM also nominated the building for a listing on the National Register of Historic Places and hopes to qualify for a federal tax credit.
Wednesday’s session won’t generally focus on the historic centerpiece of SRM’s development.
Instead, SRM and the architects from Runberg will be presenting the early massing plans for the two apartment buildings they hope will rise around the Knights building by the summer of 2021.
The projects pre-date the city’s Mandatory Housing Affordability program expansion and therefore are not subject to the rezoned heights in the area — or the affordability or in lieu payment requirements.
The first building, blue, above, will fill the land where the smaller parking lot now fronts E Union with a five-story, 37-unit apartment building. Under SRM’s vision, the preferred proposal would feature units an average of around 330 square feet each.
The second, red in the diagram above, is a much larger endeavor. The land currently home to a surface parking lot on Harvard is being planned for a seven-story project — boosted an extra story thanks to the Pike/Pine preservation incentive from not tearing down the Knights of Columbus building — with 125 market-rate apartments.
The design proposals to be reviewed by the board Wednesday include the required set of massing options for each building as well as a bonus set of dual design concepts for each for the board members to ponder and advise on. Another option with the options relates to the Harvard building where a set of “exceptional trees” can be retained thus splitting the building in two portions or removed and allowing the building to avoid being sliced in two. The giant scale of the combined projects also allows some big thinking when it comes to landscaping around the project so a compromise could be in order trading the old trees for a more ambitious landscaping strategy.
Parking for the development will be centered on the larger Harvard structure where architects are planning an underground structure with room for around 176 vehicles.
There is no commercial space being planned for either of the new buildings — the retail, restaurant, or insert your great idea for the future of the Knights building here future for the block could hinge on the adaptive reuse overhaul of the central structure. Or SRM could opt to create even more apartments in the rehabbed club building.
As for what that overhaul will entail, while the final agreement will need to be pounded out with the landmarks board, SRM has provided some details of what it hopes to achieve including window and masonry upgrades as well as some dramatic lighting.
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