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Plan for new City Market building: eight stories, mass timber, and a new home for the longtime Capitol Hill grocery — UPDATE

A rendering of the preferred design showing the proposed basic layout of the development (Image: Ennead Architects)

Plans spawned pre-pandemic for a mixed-use development to replace — and create a new home for — Capitol Hill’s City Market along with eight stories of new apartment and retail space just off E Olive Way will move forward Wednesday night with the “mass timber” project’s first pass through the Seattle design review process.

The review will be a test for Juno Residential, a San Francisco real estate startup launched only last summer with Apple and Tesla pedigree that is seeking to change the residential development market with mass production and pre-fabrication techniques. New York’s Ennead Architects is designing the project while Capitol Hill’s Board & Vellum has provided the landscape plan.

UPDATE 4/1/2021: Wednesday night, the review board agreed the project is ready to move forward in the city’s development permitting process. It will move on to its second and possible final review in coming months.

CHS first reported on the Bellevue Ave and E Olive Way development plans from local firm Barrientos Ryan for the property and early promises that City Market would remain in the mix in the fall of 2019.

Juno’s just revealed plans propose an eight-story, 102-unit timber apartment building with 6,200-square-feet of ground floor retail including a new home for City Market. Parking for two vehicles — presumably for City Market’s needs — is included in the proposal.


1722 Bellevue Ave

Design Review Early Design Guidance for an 8-story, 102-unit apartment building with retail. Parking for 2 vehicles proposed.View Design Proposal  (36 MB)    

Review Meeting
March 31, 2021 5:00 PM

Meeting: https://bit.ly/Mtg3037219

Listen Line: 206-207-1700 Passcode: 187 987 1268
Comment Sign Up: https://bit.ly/Comment3037219
Review Phase
EDG–Early Design Guidance  

Project Number

Planner
Allison Whitworth — Email comments: PRC@seattle.gov

Alas, despite community hopes, it sounds like Crystal Clean Laundry isn’t yet signed up to be part of the plan.

Juno says community feedback collected during outreach showed strong support for the existing retail tenants. “Many respondents supported keeping the current retailers including City Market and the existing laundromat on-site, and encouraged the project team to keep them open during construction as closing the grocer even temporarily would cause significant disruption to local residents as it is an important business that’s vital to the neighborhood,” the design proposal reads.

The developer says there’s no way to avoid a City Market closure as its original building is torn down but claims its pre-fabricated construction techniques will speed the project’s completion.

Responses the plans for big changes on the City Market have been generally much more positive than past development announcements with potential to impact iconic Hill locations. CHS’s report on development plans for the Bauhaus block in 2012 is, perhaps, the leading example. Getting in front of displacement worries has helped — though, remember, Bauhaus, too, had a deal to return to the development. That’s not how things ended up.

Meanwhile, you might also gird yourself for what’s — eventually — coming to the Capitol Hill Goodwill site.

The SF startup is now in the driver’s seat and moving the project forward but no sale information for the property is currently public. Records show the parcel remains held by the Gietzen family who operated the grocery prior to its current ownership — not an unusual situation with agreements under contract during early development phases.

Mass timber projects are becoming a norm around Capitol Hill and Seattle. There’s a plan for a mass timber highrise apartment tower on First Hill and Community Roots Housing’s coming E Union affordable development will also use the building technique.

Thanks to changes in the state building code, mass timber cross-laminated wood buildings up to 18 stories can be built in Washington. Seattle is seen as an ideal market for the building type that industry experts say is incredibly strong, requires less energy to produce, and has been hyped as potentially speeding up construction thanks to prefabrication and enabling some elements to be constructed off-site.

Wednesday night, the review board’s first look at the project will focus on simpler elements like bulk and scale.

Juno calls its Bellevue Ave design “a new way of considering design and construction of residential developments.”

The building design is careful to respond to the neighborhood but still express a singular design that will integrate into the neighborhood while still expressing design individuality. Although many new projects may be considered trendy, the design intent of Juno projects is to provide for a building that is an expression of natural materials and provide for a design that enhances the art district feel of the community. The overall Juno goal is to put the building occupants first and provide for a community centric ground level which, in this case, includes the integration of City Market and enhanced pedestrian areas along Bellevue Avenue.

Calling the market-rate project’s plans “a higher quality living experience at an affordable price point,” Juno says the future City Market building is designed to be “timeless with careful consideration of human scaled design and simple but strong refined massing.”

“The façade materials are limited in quantity of types but have natural material expression and do not try to express a trendy design rather a classic modern geometric design,” the proposal reads.”

Backed by around $12 million in funding raised last summer, Juno has yet to break ground on a project but has hopes the City Market project is the start of a wave of bringing high-scale principles to high-quality developments.

The goal with this first Seattle project, they say is to “integrate into the surrounding community and provide for substantially improved design as compared to the typical residential development.”

Wednesday’s review will be the first test of that lofty goal and the loftier goals of the company.


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Caphiller
Caphiller
1 month ago

Awesome news! Excited for the buildup in this central location – the city market and goodwill lots are so underutilized.

Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen
1 month ago
Reply to  Caphiller

It’s so strange… Normal people don’t generally think in those terms. So are you a contractor, architect, or developer? Or do you work for The Urbanist?

Caphiller
Caphiller
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve McQueen

Hah! No, I’m just a local citizen who’s happy when we have more housing supply

d4l3d
d4l3d
1 month ago

Without adequate parking around the City Market building, I doubt the neighborhood will be able to handle the loads.

Ryan Packer
Ryan Packer
1 month ago
Reply to  d4l3d

Capitol Hill’s rate of car ownership has gone down 31% in the past decade. You’re trying to advocate for more parking?

Jason Lee
Jason Lee
1 month ago
Reply to  Ryan Packer

Off street parking is sorely needed so yes, I would advocate for more parking. Street parking reduces visibility, makes walking and driving more dangerous, and does not solve the issue of all the delivery vehicles blocking the roads.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  d4l3d

Interesting. I’m more concerned about that street being able to handle more cars driving through.

randomhillres
randomhillres
1 month ago

I’ve seen some articles say that mass timber buildings can be built to be earthquake tolerant, but I can’t find anything in the proposal about this building in particular.

Do you have any insight into earthquake tolerance for the mass timber buildings that have been built around here? There’s more stringent rules on earthquake tolerance from the city now right, so perhaps it doesn’t matter since they would be forced to comply with city regulations anyway?

Capitol Hill Neighbor
Capitol Hill Neighbor
1 month ago
Reply to  randomhillres

Here’s an article discussing this topic. Looks like OSU has been doing some research on mass timber, and these new buildings are designed to withstand “the Big One.”

https://democratherald.com/news/local/how-tall-timber-structures-can-survive-the-big-one/article_f882b765-ec70-5a4e-b752-25b51c9cf24e.html

John M Feit
John M Feit
1 month ago
Reply to  randomhillres

All buildings, regardless of how they are built, must comply (and prove they comply) to the same standards.

Ladybug
Ladybug
1 month ago

The space between wooden modules moistened by rain during construction sitting on top of an eternal deep fryer just sounds like cockroach and bedbug heaven

John M Feit
John M Feit
1 month ago

The architect, Ennead, based out of New York, is one of the finest architecture practices in the country. They are many leagues beyond the design and technical sophistication of designers typically employed for such projects. It will be interesting to see how this turns out. I hope the project turns out well and sets a new standard for the Hill.

Caphiller
Caphiller
1 month ago
Reply to  John M Feit

Oh wow that’s great to know – especially in this very visible location!

ibid
ibid
1 month ago
Reply to  John M Feit

But Maria Barrientos is the death of local, neighborhood input.

dave
dave
1 month ago

Awesome! Wonderful to have more housing on the hill.