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.
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)
March 31, 2021 5:00 PM
EDG–Early Design Guidance
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.”
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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