By Jack Stubbs
Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood is often considered as one of the city’s outdoor gems, synonymous the lake itself and other nearby vibrant green spaces. Green Lake is an increasingly desirable place for Seattle residents to settle down—and the northeast Design Review Board recently approved a 133-unit residential development at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting on Monday October 30th.
The developer for the project is Bellevue-based Wallace Properties, Inc., who was represented at the EDG meeting by architect CollinsWoerman and landscape design architect Brumbaugh and Associates. The submitted proposal is for a 6-story mixed-use building. There will be a 19,175 square foot commercial area on the first floor, with the 133 dwelling units comprising 98,425 square feet on levels two through six. Additionally, there will be approximately 180 parking stalls across two below-grade levels and bicycle storage.
Located at 420 NE 72nd St., the proposed development will be less than half a mile from Green Lake Park. The applicant emphasized the project’s proximity to the park, the neighborhood’s main pedestrian hub, and the Community Center. In their preferred Massing Option—which the board approved—the applicant emphasized how its design would conform to the surrounding buildings and the overall neighborhood character of Green Lake.
The primary city and Green Lake neighborhood-specific design guidelines that the applicant emphasized were the natural landscape and site features of the project and the building’s architectural context and character. The applicant also highlighted the connectivity of the development, and the interaction between the development’s proposed commercial space—which will potentially be used as a clinic—and the surrounding streetscape.
When the board asked clarifying questions about the applicant’s design proposal, board member Brian Bishop wanted more elaboration on the proposed purpose of the entry courtyard, and how accessible it would be to residents versus members of the public. Board member Anita Jeerage also asked the applicant to clarify the architectural design of the entrances to the residential units versus the commercial clinic, and also potential issues associated with the lack of additional parking space for the clinic.
Public comments focused on the proposed relationship between the alleyway running through the project and the adjacent street. One neighbor cited potential safety concerns with the angle and elevation of the parking ramp exiting the parking lot, noting that it did not allow for enough visibility of surrounding pedestrians in the street. Other public comments concerned the proposed construction timeline for the project, and whether any other developments were planned for the rest of the block.
During its deliberation period, the northeast Design Review board identified the main priorities for the upcoming Design Review meeting, which included concerns over the building’s height, bulk and scale, the entrances to the residential units, the slope of the garage exit onto the street, and the building’s relationship to adjacent developments across the street. Regarding the building’s proposed entry plaza, the board cited wayfinding issues in relation to the respective entrances to the commercial space and residential units, urging the applicant to focus on this design element moving forward in the process. The board also recommended that the applicant team implement safety measures around the garage exit, such as mirrors and signage for residents of the development.
Following the various conditions, the board voted unanimously to advance the project forward. The applicant will now submit a Master Use Permit to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection for review.