A plan to bring new development to the corner of E Republican and Federal Ave E neighboring the area’s mix of single family-style homes and old apartment buildings stalled during the pandemic, but now it’s coming back and will appear before the East Design Review Board this week.
Three existing homes, each dating to the first years of the 20th century, will be demolished. According to tax records, two of the three are single family homes, while the third is a duplex. In a trade a city desperate for new housing should be happy to make, an eight-story, 75-unit building will rise across from Broadway Hill Park.
In the works for years, developers began meeting with the Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council in November 2019. There were more community outreach meetings in November of that year and in January 2020. Then 2020 happened. There was another, email evaluation by Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council. There was some movement later in 2020, but then things seems to have stalled. That earlier version had called for a 117-unit building, but there’s no longer any mention of that number.
And now, it’s back in the building pipeline with a recently released plan for design review (PDF).
One of the most noticeable parts of the existing site at 1013 E Republican, an exceptional paper birch tree on the corner lot, is to be preserved. Plans call for the building to basically be constructed around the tree. Two existing street trees along Republican have been deemed in poor health and will be removed and replaced. The street trees along Federal will be preserved.
A large flowering cherry tree, also on the corner lot, will be removed and replaced. The developer acknowledges that the existing tree could technically fit in the space, but its low-hanging branches could possibly cause problems with the entryway. A new tree, of a different species that won’t impact the entry, is proposed.
Plans from developer RMJ Holdings and Grouparchitect call for a building that is roughly a rectangle, but has one corner carved out to make a courtyard for the specimen tree. The opposite corner is also recessed to conform to the lot line.
The façade facing Republican is to have brick veneer for the lower six stories, with metal siding on the top two floors. The recessed area will largely have metal siding. The side of the building facing Federal will have brick on the bottom four floors. The top four floors, which will be stepped inward, will have metal siding.
The side facing Federal will have an amenity room at street level. The ground floor will also have bike storage. There will be no parking for cars. There is a planned roof deck, roughly in the center of the building.
The building proposes a smaller setback than is required by code on three sides. In each case, the developer points to the exceptional tree which they are preserving. The courtyard, which will work to save the tree, means the building has to push out in three other directions to maintain correct proportions, according to planning documents filed by the developer.
Similarly, the proposal wants the building to push into the setback along the southern side, which faces existing buildings. In this case, the minimum is supposed to be 15 feet, and the plan calls for a 9-foot setback.
Finally, along the west face, the issues appear in the upper floors. There is a 10-foot minimum setback at heights above 42 feet. The plan calls for some areas to be set back a bit over seven feet, while other parts will have a 9-foot setback.
The landscaping plan calls for five new street trees along Republican. Additional trees are proposed along the western and southern borders, to screen the property from existing, adjacent properties.
Bike storage and trash areas will be accessed via a walkway off Federal.
The review comes as Seattle is rethinking the way it handles public design review amid continued high rents and high demand for housing.
The proposal is set to come before the East Design Review Board at 7 PM, Wednesday July 13. The meeting will be virtual. To watch, or sign up to comment, visit the city’s website.
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