By Meghan Hall
Bellevue, Wash.-based Continental Properties and Seattle-based Grouparchitect received approval at its Early Design Guidance meeting on Wednesday evening for their proposed 114-unit residential development slated to rise at 412 Queen Anne. Ave. N. The development, according to project documents, will create “visual diversity and funkiness to reflect the arts and cultural district,” an initiative that the community and West Design Review Board supported.
In addition to the 114 residential units, 7,500 square feet of ground floor retail space and 99 parking stalls are included in the project plans. Residential amenities will be located on the first level and on the roof of the building, which will rise seven stories. Currently, the property is developed with a four-story office building, originally constructed in 1964, a parking garage and surface parking. The entire site will be demolished to make way for the new development.
The development team presented three massing options to the Board. The preferred option will make use of L-shaped massing with a strong corner presence at the intersection of Harrison St. and Queen Ave. N. The massing of the building will be broken down into three vertical sections, with horizontal recessing on the lower and top segments further articulate the hierarchy of the building. Balconies and further fenestration on the residential levels of the development will provide additional visual interest. The southeast corner of the building will be recessed in order to include room for a large, residential roof terrace.
For its materials palette, the development team intends to use a mix of brick veneer, screened glazing, metal panels and roll-up doors for the retail spaces. Architectural concrete and canopies at the retail entries will further help to define the building’s presence at the pedestrian level.
The Board approved moving the project forward 3-1, although it did have some recommendations for Continental Properties and Grouparchitect. The Board deliberated on the project’s massing, with one Board member dissenting from the group and backing the refinement and exploration of the second massing option, stating that the option’s T-shaped building better addressed massing concerns and was more sensitive to the tight lot size and surrounding community. However, the Board decided in the end to ask the development team for a more refined version of the preferred option, one that presented a much stronger and cohesive design concept.
In its feedback, the Board also asked the project team to strongly consider its approach to the pedestrian realm by encouraging the use of setbacks to provide more walkable area. The Board also encouraged the use of a high-quality, detailed materials palette for the ground plane, while also requesting that the development team to conduct a study on traffic, to see how game day events would impact the project, located on a prominent corner in the neighborhood. Other aspects of the project, such as the modulation provided by the development’s balconies and the upper level setback along Harrison St., the Board supported.
The project site is located in a quickly changing part of Lower Queen Anne; its location blocks from the Key Arena and close proximity to Seattle Center make it a well-traversed part of the city. Currently, the predominate architectural themes are dictated by the four to seven story mid-rise apartment, institutional and office buildings built in the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the buildings are wood frame and clad in masonry and concrete. With design approval in hand, Continental Properties and Grouparchitect can move forward with refining their modern addition to the neighborhood.