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131-Unit Residential Development in West Seattle Asked to Return for Second EDG Meeting

Seattle, Seattle Design Review Board, LDG Architecture, Clearview, West Seattle

By Jack Stubbs

On Feb. 2, a proposed development in West Seattle was asked to return for a second Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting, meaning that the applicant team – which includes Seattle-based LDG Architecture and owner Ilia Kirtsman – will have to update their proposal before again presenting it to the Design Review Board in the coming weeks.

Located at 7617 35th Ave. SW, the proposal calls for the development of a six-story, 131-unit mixed-use building that will provide street-level, pedestrian-oriented retail space. During the meeting, the applicant team described how it had conducted extensive community outreach, which primarily focused on the request for the project design to not include street parking.

The applicant team also discussed the neighborhood context around the proposed development, which includes a mix of single-family, apartments, and public uses. Specifically, the applicant detailed how the building’s materiality – similar to other building materials in the nearby vicinity – would help it to further integrate into the surrounding neighborhood. The applicant discussed how it would plan to incorporate brick at the retail level, and cementitious panels at the upper levels. 

The neighborhood character is mostly apartment structures built in the early 70s to mid 80s, states the project proposal, as well as a gas station and church with a brick facade. There are a couple of contemporary buildings as well, such as the fire station and the Clearview office building. 

The applicant discussed three different massing schemes, the third option being the applicant’s preferred massing scheme, which along with 131 residential units includes a 4,000 square foot outdoor amenity area and 5,236 square feet of commercial/live-work space. Specifically, the proposal also calls for a retail plaza located at 35th Ave. SW, a residential lobby, and a 10-foot landscape buffer along the street.

A couple of noteworthy features differentiated the applicant’s preferred massing option from the other two design schemes. The first massing option entailed a two-building scheme – rather than a singular building, as detailed in the third (preferred) massing option – with an above-podium deck which would reduce the overall scale of the project. The second scheme also included a retail area size that would provide maximum flexibility for tenant leases, as well as the absence of any blank facades.

Following the applicant team’s presentation the board deliberated about whether or not to advance the proposal to the next stage of the Design Review process – a Design Review Guidance meeting – and ultimately decided that the current proposal was not sufficiently detailed to be approved in its current form. Specifically, the board requested that the applicant provide more detailed project plans about the streetscape, materiality, design of the residential entries, and the overall massing of the building. 

Ultimately, the board’s feedback predominantly centered around the need for the project to more adequately conform to the character of West Seattle. The board asked the team to more fully incorporate “references to the neighborhood” and local context of West Seattle into the design plans prior to returning for a second EDG meeting, the date for which has not yet been confirmed.