Plans for the somewhat controversial site where Seattle’s Teatro ZinZanni operated for a decade, were presented to a packed room at a Seattle Design Review Board meeting on Wednesday April 5. The developers of the project located at 225 Roy Street, Barrientos + Ryan, along with the architects GGLO and Hewitt landscape architects, gave a presentation to the board, which in this instance took up twice the standard allotted time due to the site’s complexity and public input.
Original plans for the site included a 165-foot office tower, however that has since been canceled, according to city planner Lindsay King. GGLO’s proposal at this meeting focused on an 85-foot mixed-use residential structure instead.
Beth Dwyer, principal and director of campus environments with GGLO walked the board through the idea and inspiration of the design. “The 225 Roy team is excited to be working on this project,” she said. Dwyer said they’ll be developing housing, creating a pedestrian experience and using purposeful urban architecture to integrate into the Queen Anne/Uptown neighborhood. This includes a public plaza in front of the property, which is owned by the city, and will be redeveloped in concert with the new development, as well as a second lot directly adjacent to the proposed building, which the city will keep for future development.
Another important aspect for the team, she said, was playing off the vibe of the Seattle Center and maintaining some level of consistency. “Our focus has been to incorporate as many design principles from all of these plans,” she said, speaking to the surrounding neighborhood. “It’s not technically in Seattle Center, but we want to integrate into the neighborhood and work alongside them,” Dwyer said. She also noted that the fountain in the Seattle Center will be visible from their building and that it’s important that they incorporate that into the design in some way.
Tiina Rival, associate at GGLO, outlined the four potential options for the site. The first option, as required by the city, is the code compliant plan, which, as it currently stands, has a 40-foot maximum height. The second option presented is nearly identical to the first option with the height up to 85 feet, assuming the Uptown upzone passes. Option three offers a midblock portal, and their preferred option, the fourth plan presented, has an open air thru block, which is accessible to the public.
The architects said the building will likely be in a masonry style, with minimal to none upper level setbacks. The preferred option also includes plans for live work units at grade in loft style.
While the team seemed excited and optimistic about their plans, members of the public who attended the meeting had their own set of concerns. One of the biggest issues the residents had raised, which was nearly unanimous, was the mass of the building. Nearby community members said the plan didn’t fit the rest of the neighborhood and will be the first and only 85 foot building in an otherwise 40 foot, low-rise community. Other residents were concerned over building’s mass blocking sunlight into their adjacent apartments. Several people who lived at 200 Roy spoke up at the meeting to say they were afraid the building would limit the amount of natural sunlight that comes into their units, particularly in the winter time when they are wanting it the most.
Concerns for the plans ranged from the bulkiness of the mass to the lack of street parking and the public plaza being truly accessible to the public. In a final remark from the public, one gentleman, which prompted a round of applause for his comment, said, the building seems out of character for the neighborhood and added, “I don’t think anyone is going to love this building.” The board will take into consideration all the feedback from the public when advising the project’s team going forward.