Already surrounded by buildings ranging from three to eleven stories, the last remaining single family-style homes on a stretch of Capitol Hill’s Bellevue Ave E just off E Olive Way will meet with demolition crews if a project coming before the East Design Review Board is approved. But questions remain about whether or not a small stand of trees will meet the same fate.
The project involves properties and two 1906-built homes that have been lined up for redevelopment for most of the past of decade as new buildings sprung up in the nearby area and filled the neighborhood in.
The around 170-unit project comes amid ongoing demand for new housing in the city despite the COVID-19 crisis and economic fallout.
The plan is for two adjacent parcels at 123 and 127 Bellevue Ave E, roughly where E John hits Bellevue and stops – about a block north of Denny. Each of the two sites is currently occupied by a building constructed in 1906.
One is still a single-family home. The other started that way and has been renovated and expanded to become a 13-unit apartment building with a small parking lot. The proposed building is surrounded on all sides by apartment buildings, ranging from three to 11 stories.
If the design by Snohomish-based Koz Development is approved, both buildings will be removed. In their place will rise an 8-story building with 167 units. Affordable housing units will be included per city code.
The company paid roughly $6.9 million for the two parcels in separate transactions. CHS reported on the properties hitting the market here in 2013.
The new building will be roughly L-shaped, allowing for a landscaped courtyard along Bellevue. There is an existing grove of trees in the area, and there seems to be some tension surrounding it between the city and the developer. The city would like the existing grove to remain, while the developer wants to replace it with the landscaped courtyard.
123 Bellevue Ave E
Land Use application to allow an 8-story apartment building with 135 small efficiency dwelling units and 32 apartment units (167 units total). Parking for 8 vehicles proposed. Existing buildings to be demolished. Early Design Guidance Review conducted under 3035275-EG.
Design Proposal (83 MB)
February 24, 2021 5:00 PM
Wayne Farrens — Email comments to PRC@seattle.gov
Instructions on how to listen to the meeting, or to register to provide comment, are available on the city website.
The city argues it’s better to retain the existing trees as they help transition the proposed building to the adjacent three-story building. They say the grove should not only be maintained, but celebrated.
The developer notes the existing grove is held in place by a retaining wall that seems to be failing. Additionally, the developer does not believe the trees would be able to survive the disturbance created during construction. They propose a new courtyard.
The developer says the courtyard will “create a sense of place along Bellevue Ave.” in addition to creating an amenity courtyard for the residents.
The fenced courtyard will include some space for barbeques, fire pits and furnishings. In addition to the plantings in the courtyard, the plan calls for adding some trees along both the northern and southern edges of the property.
Whether courtyard or grove, the bulk of the units inside the building – 135 of them – will range from 230 to 420 square feet. In Seattle-speak, they’re known as Small Efficiency Dwelling Units (SEDU). The codes mandate unit size, that it has kitchen facilities and a closet, and that there be additional storage space somewhere in the building. In spite of the small size, the units are all self-contained (they are not apodments). In addition to the required kitchen facilities units in this building will include an in-unit washer and dryer.
The remaining 32 units will be considered apartments.
While many believe the demand for housing in the city will remain strong, there is less confidence about adding more retail space to the neighborhood. In this project, there are no plans for ground floor retail.
The building will have a roof deck, complete with a kitchen facility and barbeque area and plans call for eight parking spots for cars, accessed from the rear alley, along with a substantial room for bike storage.
The building exterior has light beige brick on the bottom two floors. The upper floors have a mix of materials. The portions facing Bellevue Ave are to be generally a white metal siding. The inside corner of the L will feature a broad stripe of brick going all the way up. The portions of the building facing a rear alley will have grey siding in part of the building and taupe on the other.
HELP KEEP CHS 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' FOR EVERYONE -- SUBSCRIBE TODAY! Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to 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.