Post navigation

Prev: (06/01/20) | Next: (06/02/20)

Design review: Capitol Hill auto row-inspired design gets an update for Hilltop Service Station project

(Images: Studio Meng Strazzara)

A Capitol Hill project dinged for what the developers said was “not being modern enough” is back in the design review process and ready for public comment.

The 523 Hilltop project from Capitol Hill-based developer Hunters Capital — and inspired by the neighborhood’s auto row-era preservation projects — is settling into the final phase of design review under the city’s “administrative” system put in place to keep projects moving during the COVID-19 crisis.

Eventually, the development will create a five-story, nearly 70-unit apartment building with underground parking for 21 vehicles on the land at the corner of 15th and Mercer home to the former Hilltop Service Station.

You can provide comment via email through Wednesday, June 3rd. Reference project #3033940 and email [email protected]. The city’s guide to “effective” review comments is here. “To make your comments more effective, reference the applicable criteria, policies or guidelines relevant to each specific type of application,” it reads.

You can view the full proposal here (PDF).

In early March, CHS reported on a decision from the East Design Review Board to kick the project back for, Hunters Capital said, a “more modern and contemporary design” —

First, while this building typology is indicative of the Pike/Pine Auto Row neighborhood, the proposal is not located within the Pike/Pine Auto Row neighborhood or its immediate vicinity. Rather it is proposed on the 15th Avenue E commercial corridor which has its own unique character. Second, the Board was concerned that the architectural concept took design cues from the historic buildings in the neighborhood too literally, mimicking historic architecture rather than complementing it.

The new design from architect Studio Meng Strazzara presents a “modernized architectural concept fitting traditional high quality materials like brick and wood with the new architectural forms, lines and proportions.” The result is elements like “the arch above residential entry” that has been been “revised to a recessed squared opening.” The new design also “uses historic materials in a more contemporary approach, rather than mimicking the historic architecture of other buildings in the nearby neighborhood,” the design proposal reads.

 

NEWS FOR ALL -- KEEP CHS PAYWALL-FREE
Give CHS a buck and support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with no paywall. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.

 

 

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

16 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
dave
dave
1 year ago

I like it. Hope they can start building it right away.

Donald
Donald
1 year ago

Who gives a rip??? There’s police killing people out here!

KJ Gratteau
KJ Gratteau
1 year ago
Reply to  Donald

I care

Yr mom
Yr mom
1 year ago
Reply to  KJ Gratteau

Must be nice to have such a small brain and heart to not occupy much else

JA
JA
1 year ago
Reply to  KJ Gratteau

I care too. Anyone with a normal brain can care about multiple problems. Covid-19 is a problem. Police are a problem. Lack of housing is a problem. Climate change is a problem. People who drop all attempts to fix a problem as soon as they notice a different problem are a problem.

Yr mom
Yr mom
1 year ago
Reply to  KJ Gratteau

These are all problems. You clearly don’t understand or care about priorities. Thanks for not helping. Hope you like the new building.

Alocal
Alocal
1 year ago

Space for yet another coffee shop. So pre-pandemic thinking. How about a sanitizer area ?

KJ Gratteau
KJ Gratteau
1 year ago

It is big but looks great. Can’t deny progress.

PD
PD
1 year ago

This is much better than the previous iteration, which was Bellevue-strip-mall awful.

Still, though, with the 2000s-era oversized cornices at the top!

Whatever middle aged architect at Meng Strazzara (you have terrible design sense as a firm, btw) is responsible for pushing this needs to be fired.

Down with the damn oversized cornices!

JA
JA
1 year ago

Public comment: let them fucking build it already, you precious whining assholes.

SpeakingTruth
SpeakingTruth
1 year ago

I will miss Hilltop. Great service. I live close by and have long bemoaned the missed design opportunities on 15th. The Walgreens and the Safeway are poster children of bad design and abuse of process.

I like this project. I like it a lot. Compared to the new building across the street across Mercer where the nail salon is, this is a jewel based upon the drawings. Nice colors, materials, set backs. street appeal and more.

This could set a trend for the future of the street. The low rise single story stores are ripe for a redo, with housing above and quality construction and design elements, leading to real street appeal and a welcome urban experience. Please include lots of underground parking to mitigate the density, as people drive and residents park.

The house where the Thai restaurant is needs to go. Likewise the strip with the wine store, the gluten free bakery, and Olympia pizza is one story and underused. I love the wine store and Olympia and want them to have a home, but in a nicer building. The one story strip across the street also needs to do. I understand the block with the QFC is being developed – good!

The Key Bank lot is a total opportunity waiting to happen. The bank is a massive space with a few people working there and rare customers. Obsolete concept in a world of digital banking. How many safe deposit boxes are in use? The surface parking lot and the building can give way to something lovely, with a small bank branch included. The Safeway, which was rebuilt in my time in the neighborhood should still be taken down and redone, with multiuse above and underground parking. As should the unfortunate Walgreens. Compare this strip mall version with fake windows, to the nice one Walgreens on Broadway and Pine with housing included. Why was this ever allowed!

To those humorless twits who claim that this sort of discussion is improper given the other issues in the world – do us a favor and don’t live here so that the houses you eschew can be occupied by decent, well-balanced people who care about more than one thing. Get a life, somewhere else please! This is my city and I prefer one with decent design, to serve a decent community.

Ryan Packer
Ryan Packer
1 year ago
Reply to  SpeakingTruth

Underground parking mitigates nothing, and adds construction costs.

RWK
RWK
1 year ago
Reply to  SpeakingTruth

Thanks for your comments. I agree with some of what you say, especially the Key Bank lot and the need for at least some parking in larger new buildings.

But I disagree with your advice to build taller structures along 15th. Can’t we preserve at least one commercial street in Seattle with low-rise, small-town-like buildings, lined with useful small businesses?

JA
JA
1 year ago
Reply to  RWK

sure. somewhere further out than walking distance from downtown sounds reasonable. I’d say there must be hundreds left to pick from.

Carla
Carla
1 year ago

It looks fine and is better than some of the other atrocious junk that has been thrown up. And for all of the nostalgia crowd, it was a gas station. Yes, a gas station. Let’s not get too worked up over a gas station.

elisa
elisa
1 year ago

I can’t wait for the new building !!!!