By Jack Stubbs
“Overall, I think it’s a really complete package, the clarity and development [of the plan] was really helpful,” said Chris Colley, chair of the Southeast Design review board, which recently granted unanimous approval in support of advancing a 131-unit affordable housing project to the next phase of the city’s Design Review process.
The 5-story mixed-use affordable housing project — located at 3803 South Warsaw Street, just north of New Holly and south of Hillman City — includes 131 residential units, 112 bike storage stalls, and 1,400 square feet of ground-floor retail space, according to the project plans submitted to the city. The development, which is comprised of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, does not include any on-site parking. The Southeast Design Review Board last deliberated on the project at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) Meeting on February 17th, 2021.
The board granted its approval of the project plans submitted by the applicant team – comprised of Snohomish, WA-based Kōz Development LLC and Seattle-based architect and civil engineering firm AHBL Inc. – so long as the applicant incorporated certain revisions to the project related to its overall massing relative to the adjacent streets, its design of the proposed “green screen” and the design of the residential portion’s façade.
The applicant team discussed various changes it had made to the design proposal since the first EDG meeting, highlighting the neighborhood context around the project, its plans for the massing of the building, and the exterior features of the development. Specifically, the applicant discussed how it would look to refine the massing and scale to better fit with the adjacent streetscapes and how it would provide more refined plans and alterations for the proposed landscaping elements.
“As we started the [project]…the interplay between the commercial and the residential…really started to drive where the design went,” said Joshua Scott, co-founder, VP, Design and Construction at Kōz Development, said. Scott also discussed how the applicant team had revised its project plans to reflect a more defined “community expression” and a more “urban approach” to the design. Scott also relayed to the board how the exterior of the building and its facades would help to create more engagement at street-level, more in keeping with the surrounding residential character of the neighborhood. “It was important to us that it wasn’t just a change of materials’ that made the project work…the interaction at the sidewalk level was very important,” he added.
There were no public comments during the meeting.
Although the Design Review board granted unanimous approval in advancing the project – the applicant team will now apply for a Master Use Permit (MUP), it also related several conditions to the applicant team. The board requested that the applicant consider the overall design of the greenscreen by collaborating with a local artist.
The board members’ feedback centered around how the public/private features of the building would impact the nearby, under-development Sound Transit parcel, how the design and location of the residential units would be integrated into the project, and how the applicant team would successfully redesign the façade and landscaping features of the project to conform with the adjacent streetscapes.