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Design review: Belmont Commons ‘co-living’ building will rise eight stories and squeeze 78 units into Capitol Hill’s dense core

(Image: Hybrid)

When CHS wrote about the first round of approval for this eight-story, 78-unit project on Belmont Ave E the most densely apartment-ed heart of Capitol Hill in October of 2019, we noted that design reviews in the area had slowed to a trickle. Little did we know that things were about to get much slower.

Still, somehow the East and Central Area Design Review Boards have managed to review around a dozen projects through the pandemic. Wednesday night will bring the next online session as reviewers could make the final sign-off on the Belmont Commons project,

The project from developers Kamiak Real Estate and architects from Hybrid will replace a two-story, eight-unit apartment house built in 1910 in the 400 block of Belmont between Republican and Harrison. The building will not include parking.

Belmont Commons, Kamiak and Hybrid say, will be a “co-living” building. We called it “microhousing” in 2019. The city refers to the apartments as “small efficiency dwelling units.” It will include “a congregate residence” with “24 sleeping rooms.”

Wednesday night, the developers return with updates that build on the board’s support for a design with a “mass has been pushed in at street level to provide overhead weather protection for guests and residents and activate street scape along sidewalk” and that “relates to neighboring context to break down bulk and scale.” They’ll also be showing off final touches like incorporating feedback on improving the pedestrian experience and adding “vertical landscaping” that incorporates the building in a “pollinator pathway” through the neighborhood.

The project goals, the developers write, are to “design affordable, buildable, livable dwelling units and community spaces with ample amenity opportunities” with “a diverse mix of unit types.”

In the end, the trade will turn eight 650 square foot units into 78 averaging around 400.


421 Belmont Ave E

Land Use Application to allow an 8-story apartment building with 54 small efficiency dwelling units, 8 apartment units and a congregate residence with 24 sleeping rooms. Existing building to be demolished. No parking proposed. Early Design Guidance conducted under Project #3034490-EG.

View Design Proposal      

Review Meeting
December 9, 2020 5:00 PM

Meeting: https://bit.ly/mtg3034501

Listen Line: 206-207-1700 Passcode:146 666 4257
Comment Sign Up: https://bit.ly/comment3034501
Review Phase
REC–Recommendation  

Project Number

Planner
Wayne Farrens  / For more info on how to provide comment: https://bit.ly/DRcomment

Who will live there? Time will tell. There is some evidence of dropping rates and increased incentives like months of free rents to attract new residents in the neighborhood and many are keeping a close eye on Capitol Hill’s largest new project — hundreds of new apartments opening above Capitol Hill Station — as it enters the market.

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caphiller
caphiller
4 months ago

Fantastic project. Great to have more housing options (micro units / co-housing). I’m glad the building has no parking, as it saves construction costs and helps keeps rents lower for those who choose not to have a car.

Acid Jackson
Acid Jackson
4 months ago

I am 100% for increased housing density, but I am very skeptical as micro housing branded as “co-living”. Transparent branding as developers racing to the bottom for that $$$.

anonymous architect
anonymous architect
4 months ago
Reply to  Acid Jackson

Definitely the most profitable form of housing on a rentable dollars/sf basis

Bruce Nourish
Bruce Nourish
4 months ago

Looks great. Let’s build it already!

L A
L A
4 months ago

So, basically you’re building public “dorms”. Something in between apodments, and actual apartments. Interesting idea. I suppose that could work well in an openly social community where people will interact freely. As opposed to Seattle in a pandemic.

hope
hope
4 months ago

horrible. fucking capitalists.

Bob
Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  hope

Lol. Hope, it’s the country we live in :)

anonymous architect
anonymous architect
4 months ago

I’d maybe think about another color for the railings….these pops of super saturated colors are a trend I could see us move on from. Otherwise, the massing and composition of the facade is fine….build it.

Ladybug
Ladybug
4 months ago

Seems perfect housing for replicants with implanted memories living in Rain City. Just add Venetian blinds and a flashing neon sign.

C Doom
C Doom
4 months ago

One of the reasons we got rid of tenement housing 100 years ago was because of the recognized role they had in spreading disease and unsafe living conditions. Now, we appear to be welcoming back shared, cramped housing. Just in time for new global pandemic. I hope somehow these 78 units and shared facilities are less socially dangerous this time around.

Pilly
Pilly
4 months ago

Santa Monica banned all microhousing projects, in part bc evidence that these corelate with lowered psychological health. I think living in this profiteer’s dream dorm wld be stressful