By Jack Stubbs
A new development is officially on the way to northeast Seattle.
On Monday, April 23rd, a 100-unit development in Lake City was unanimously approved by the northeast review board at a Design Review Recommendation meeting. At the meeting, applicant Hybrid Architecture presented updated project plans to the board on behalf of GLP Holdings LLC—an entity comprised of two local investors—who is the developer of the project. The team working on the development, which was last reviewed by the board in October 2014, also includes civil engineer Davido Consulting Group; landscape architect Glenn Takagi; and land surveyor Geodimensions.
The 6-story development, located at 12320 32nd Ave NE., will include 100 units (77 small efficiency dwelling units and 23 efficiency dwelling units) along with 21 parking stalls, 66 bike stalls and a landscaped roof-deck. The site is currently occupied by a one-story apartment building which would be demolished as part of the project plans.
Kicking off the applicant team’s presentation, Robert Humble of Hybrid Architecture discussed the neighborhood zoning context around the site and the three different massing options under consideration, and also articulated the primary changes that had been made to the project plans since the last EDG meeting.
In response to the board’s feedback, the applicant refined the massing, exterior facades and materiality of the building to better fit the neighborhood context and surrounding buildings, and also worked on addressing privacy and security concerns of residents in the street-level units along the alleyway by adding a fence and various landscaping elements. Additionally, the applicant team improved pedestrian circulation and access around the project site along 32nd Ave. NE., added new signage elements and refined the design of the roof-deck area.
Most of the board’s clarifying questions focused on how the applicant planned to program and design certain elements of the building. Board member Anita Jeerage asked the applicant to elaborate on the functionality of the stairways along the exterior facades, while board member Dan Rusler asked for clarification about the functionality of the canopy elements along the streetscape. Board member Brian Bishop asked for more information about the materiality of the building’s facades, and the other board members also requested more information about how the project would conform to the surrounding neighborhood context.
There were a couple of public comments expressed during the meeting by members of Lake City Future First (LCFF), a local planning and development committee. Ray Robinson, chair of LCFF and a consultant for the neighborhood planning process on the project, voiced his general approval of the development, and also expressed his desire to see more landscaping elements along the streetscape, more live/work units rather than commercial space along the street and a wider range of unit types throughout the development. Mark Von Walter, another member of LCFF, expressed his support for the project, but also encouraged the applicant team to work on creating a project that more fully reflected the unique history and culture of the Lake City community through well-chosen signage elements and material choices.
During its deliberation period, much of the board’s discussion focused on how the exterior facades, massing and materiality of the proposed development would fit into the surrounding neighborhood context. The board voiced its overall approval of the project, but also agreed that the applicant would need to collaborate with LCFF and work on incorporating materials and an overall design that harkened back to the history and character of the Lake City neighborhood. The board also recommended that the applicant continue to coordinate with SDOT on the landscaping elements along the adjacent streetscape.