Home AEC 134-Unit Multifamily Project in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood Pushes Past Design Review...

134-Unit Multifamily Project in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood Pushes Past Design Review Board

Seattle, Capitol Hill, Mack Real Estate Development, Runberg Architecture Group

By Catherine Sweeney 

Plans for a 134-unit apartment building in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood could soon be coming to fruition, following a third and final design review meeting. During the meeting, plans by Seattle-based developer Mack Real Estate were moved forward based on a number of conditions.

Located at 1710 12th Street, plans for the project include an eight-story apartment building with ground floor retail space and parking for up to 83 vehicles. Should the project continue to move forward, three existing commercial structures on site would be demolished.  

According to staff reports from the meeting, the site is near a variety of mixed-use, multifamily and single-family residences, with more recent development trends in the area seeing “monolithic patterns, metal panel facades with accent colors, and natural material detailing.” 

During the meeting, Mack Real Estate, along with Runberg Architecture Group – which has been tasked with designing the project – laid out plans for how the proposed development would incorporate elements of the existing Capitol Hill neighborhood while still providing a new asset to the surrounding area. 

Although unusual to present multiple ideas during this stage of the design review process, the development team proposed two schemes that they believed would fit in best with the architecture of the neighborhood. The first, which was ultimately selected by the design review committee, proposed an angled facade, while the second proposed a traditional building reflecting the scale and massing of neighboring buildings. In choosing the first option, the committee cited a more dynamic composition of the upper-level massing as well as its overall contemporary feel.

As well as the two design options, the development team also had the chance to present changes made to the design scheme since the previous review meeting in December of 2020. At that time, the board had provided guidance that included changes to height, bulk, and scale of the project as well as the building’s setbacks and upper level modulation.

During the most recent meeting, the team addressed the changes and how they had implemented them into the new design. In addressing these concerns, the development team proposed a single gasket to be continued throughout the building so as to improve the use of materials and overall add to the design concept. This option would get rid of a previous proposed horizontal wood gasket and instead add secondary vertical gaskets as a means to break up the building’s mass and reduce width.  

The design concept would further be strengthened and made more cohesive through its sharp angled design and the use of high quality materials, detailing and deeper setbacks. According to project designs the deeper setbacks and overhang of the building’s upper portion would provide a unique quality to the overall design while adding space between the base of the building and neighboring properties. 

In addition, the development team proposed changes to the building at the corner of 12th and Olive Streets. The new design aims to aid in the building’s expression by proposing a brick facade spanning four stories at differing bay levels. According to the architecture firm, the prominent corner provides a more direct response to the board’s previous guidance while also breaking up the design scheme and adding more visual interest. 

In wanting to promote activity in the area, the board asked for more specifications on landscaping and public amenities, such as additional seating to promote active use of the space. To further activity, the board also recommended more entry points along Olive Street. Additional doors and windows were also suggested along the 12th Street streetscape.  

Regardless of the stipulations, the project was moved forward and will soon return for the final review process.