By Jack Stubbs
A new mixed-use development is officially on the way to North Seattle.
On Monday, July 23rd, a 113-unit project planned for Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood was given the green light at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting. At the meeting, project applicant Urbal Architecture presented preliminary project plans to the board on behalf of Alliance Residential Company, the developer of the project. Landscape architect Fazio Associates and civil/structural engineer DCG are also on the project team.
The 4-story development, called “Alliance Stone Way” and located at 4106 Stone Way N., will include approximately 7,500 square feet of retail space, a rooftop amenity area and 80 parking stalls. The applicant team also requested a departure relating to the location of the parking lot, which the board did not approve. The larger project, however, was approved by a vote of 2 to 1.
Beginning the applicant team’s presentation, Chad Lorentz of Urbal Architecture discussed the Wallingford neighborhood context around the site, and articulated how the building’s location along Stone Way—a main arterial in the area with multiple bus routes—would serve as an important intersection between the Fremont and Wallingford neighborhoods.
Lorentz emphasized how the zoning and development patterns in the surrounding area—the project site is adjacent to a single-family-zoned neighborhood—meant that particular attention was given to the massing, composition and exterior materiality of the proposed project in relation to the pedestrian experience along Stone Way N. Lorentz also explained how the applicant’s preferred option, called “Urban Edge,” would allow for the most effective integration of pedestrian and vehicular circulation around the project site.
Most of the board’s clarifying questions focused on how the applicant team planned to program the building in relation to the surrounding Wallingford neighborhood. The board asked for more detailed project plans about pedestrian access to the building lobby from Stone Way N., and board member Katy Haima asked the applicant how it would ensure pedestrian safety along the adjacent street. The board also requested that the applicant provide more information about the proposed height and massing of the building, especially in relation to the MHA Up-zones occurring in the neighborhood.
During the public comment period of the meeting, several audience members highlighted various design-related concerns with the project. A couple of neighborhood residents expressed issues about the excessive bulk and scale of the building, while another comment asked the applicant how it would ensure that the development would become a more pedestrian-oriented destination. Another neighborhood resident living in a single-family home adjacent to the development voiced her opinion that the proposed structure would negatively impact views from the single-family buildings. A final comment urged the applicant to integrate other design-related cues from existing buildings in Wallingford into the project plans.
During its deliberation period, the board articulated various recommendations for the applicant team to consider moving forward in the design process. The board recommended that the applicant reduce and refine the overall scale and massing of the building and the programming of the street-level retail space. Additionally, the board suggested that the applicant work on strengthening the exterior materiality of the building by taking design cues from other projects in the surrounding neighborhood and asked for more detailed information about how the structure’s architectural programming would ensure pedestrian safety along Stone Way.