By Meghan Hall
The Seattle neighborhoods of Fremont and Wallingford are known for their industrial, low-rise character, but that character is changing as new development and mixed-use properties are becoming increasingly common. A new, five-story, 113-unit apartment building proposed by Alliance Realty Partners and Urbal Architecture is getting set to rise at 4106 Stone Way N., a major north-south conduit that connects Wallingford and Fremont to Lake Union, after the Northeast Design Review Board gave the project team permission to move forward with the permitting process at the beginning of January 2019.
In addition to the 113 apartment units, plans for the 134,651 square foot development also include 6,300 square feet of retail and 87 parking spaces. A roof deck with a seating area and an artificial lawn capable of accommodating bocce ball or cornhole are also delineated in the plans.
Alliance Realty and Urbal Architecture appeared before the Board in the summer of 2018 for a previous Early Design Guidance meeting. The Board, at the time, preferred a combination of the massing options presented by the project team. The Board also asked Alliance Realty and Urbal Architecture to create a development that better responded to the immediate neighborhood context, one that reflected the busy character of the neighborhood and created more interest at the pedestrian level.
The site is composed of three separate parcels, and surrounding developments include a mix of uses such as low-rise workshops and warehouses. Multifamily structures can be found along Stone Way N., while single-family homes abut the lot to the west. The site shares the block with a one-story emergency pet clinic, while commercial buildings clad in wood, concrete and brick sit across 45th St. and N. 42nd St.
Alliance Realty and Urbal Architecture adjusted the massing of the building by increasing the depth and modulation of the retail entry points along N. Stone Way. A large breezeway has been incorporated to improve the retail frontage and enhance the entry plaza in order to further activate the ground floor retail. Minor modulation above the ground level was also increased to break up the overall massing of the building and to mimic the historic building patterns found throughout the neighborhood.
The exterior of the building will incorporate a storefront window system at ground level, a steel canopy with accent soffit, black fiber cement panels, dark gray lap siding, light masonry veneer and wood-toned accent paneling. The masonry unit façade and columns at retail level provide opportunities for entry bays, while the canopy will break up the massing to differentiate the ground level pedestrian realm from the residential units. The fiber cement panels and horizontal lap siding will provide interest and texture all the way up the side of the building.
Overall, the Board was pleased with how the design for the development had progressed since its first EDG meeting more than six months prior. The Board commended the project team on the updated modulation of both the street and upper levels and believed that the secondary architectural features introduced were done well. However, the Board was concerned with the massing at the north and south ends of the building, stating that the stair towers create a utilitarian look, and suggested placing more residential units on the building perimeter. While generally supportive of the materials palette, the Board did suggest further study to evaluate what was appropriate for the neighborhood.
These suggestions, however, were not enough to prevent the project from progressing, and at the end of the meeting the Board approved the project team to apply for a Master Use Permit.