By Jack Stubbs
On Wednesday, September 12th, an approximately 103-unit project planned for Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood was denied approval to proceed at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting. At the meeting, project applicant Public47 Architects presented preliminary project plans to the East design review board on behalf of developer Shilshole Development LLC. Karen Keist Landscape Architects and civil engineer KPFF are also on the project team.
The board ultimately agreed that while the applicant team had made positive progress with its initial plans, it would need to further explore the unique constraints of the project site to further refine the massing and overall architectural concept of the development.
The project, located at 3138 Fairview Ave. E., will include between 100 and 110 new apartment units, approximately 10,000 square feet of commercial office space, 40 off-street parking stalls and a green roof. Two existing office buildings occupy the site’s south section and the north section of the lot is currently vacant.
Public47 discussed the neighborhood context around the project site—which sits between Lake Union and Portage Bay and just across the water from University of Washington—and the primary objectives for the development.
According to the applicant team’s submitted project plans, the primary goals are to integrate public amenity space for the Eastlake neighborhood and create a positive model for shoreline development along Lake Washington. The applicant discussed the pros and cons of its three proposed massing options. The preferred option, according to the submitted project plans, looks to preserve the southern portion of the existing building, and emphasizes a public access stair along E. Martin St.
Public comments expressed concerns with parking around the development along Fairview Avenue; highlighted issues with the applicant team’s three proposed massing options; emphasized the importance of preserving an exceptional tree located in the middle of the property.
During its deliberation period, the board focused on how the project would fit the surrounding neighborhood context of the site. Board member Alastair Townsend highlighted potential concerns with the applicant team’s proposed massing options. The board also emphasized how more design work would need to be done to refine the overall massing of the project, and recommended that the applicant team further activate the streetscape along Fairview Ave. E. and more generally create a more “cohesive architectural concept” for the development.
Board members Melissa Alexander and Betsy Anderson agreed that more would need to be done to refine the overall massing concept for the development. Additionally, the board recommended that the applicant work further on creating a project that fit into the existing and historical context of the Eastlake neighborhood. The board also agreed that the applicant would need to further explore the relationship between the proposed development’s massing and the adjacent streetscape along the Lake Union Shoreline.