By Jack Stubbs
On Tuesday, June 12th, a 112-unit development slated for Seattle’s Mount Baker neighborhood was given the green light at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting. At the meeting, applicant Caron Architecture presented preliminary plans to the southeast review board on behalf of the developer, Rainier Byron Properties LLC.
The development, located at 3235 Rainier Ave S., calls for the construction of an 8-story mixed-use apartment building with 4,000 square feet of ground-level commercial/retail space, a 4,250 square foot resident amenity area, 25 parking stalls and 30 bike stalls. According to the submitted plans, the applicant has applied for bonus residential floor area to incorporate affordable housing into the development for households with incomes no higher than 50 percent of the area median income. The two-parcel site is currently occupied by three single-family residences and a commercial property, which would be demolished as part of the applicant team’s project plans.
Beginning the applicant team’s presentation, Archana lyengar of Caron Architecture discussed the neighborhood context around the proposed building, which sits in close proximity to the Mount Baker Light Rail Station at the intersection of S. Byron St. and Rainier Ave. S. The applicant discussed various existing and in-the-works mixed-use developments that the proposed project will hope to take design cues from, and also emphasized how the project’s preferred massing option would help it fit into the surrounding neighborhood context. The hope is that the proposed development plans will successfully activate the streetscapes along Rainier and Byron Streets, effectively incorporate ground-level open spaces into the project and encourage pedestrian circulation and access to the building.
Most of the board’s clarifying questions focused on how the applicant team planned to program various elements of the project. Board member David Bader asked for more detailed plans about the proposed amenity space and commercial area, while board member Jhomar Small asked for more information about the location of the building entrances. The board also requested the applicant to elaborate on the community outreach efforts that had been made for the proposed project, especially in relation to an adjacent mixed-use building near the project site. Finally, the board asked for more information vehicular access to the site from Byron St., and also inquired whether an adjacent alleyway would impact the applicant’s plans for parking.
There was one public comment expressed during the meeting that asked the applicant team to work further on successfully programming the commercial space along Byron St.
During its deliberation period, the board talked at length about the applicant’s three massing options, and whether the project’s commercial/amenity space would successfully activate the adjacent streetscape. The board also discussed potential traffic and circulation issues around the project site, especially in relation to the current location of the building entrances. The board also recommend that the applicant work on refining the programming of the street-level commercial space and resolving vehicular circulation around the site.