By Meghan Hall
Seattle’s growing Fremont neighborhood is known for its quirky style, bustling weekend farmers’ market and the imposing Fremont Troll that lurks under the Aurora Bridge. As a number of major technology companies including the likes of Google and Adobe Systems call the area home, the need for housing has increased. A newly proposed mid-sized mixed-use project located at 909 North 39th St. right in the heart of Fremont would provide a welcome 139 apartments and 8 live-work units to the neighborhood. Proposed by HYBRID Architecture on behalf of the developer, the project was given the green light by the Northeast Design Review Board to move beyond the design review phase and submit an application for a Master Use Permit.
The project plans call for 81 studio, 56 one-bedroom and 5 two-bedroom apartments. A commercial retail space totaling 1,904 square feet and 4,088 square feet of residential amenity space — which includes a rooftop deck — are also part of the plans. No parking is required for the site, but the project team has provided for 57 vehicular and 36 bike parking spaces in the design, understanding that such an amenity will help the project sell itself. In all, the building is planned for four stories and a total 107,329 square feet.
“The board saw a lot of good though to [the] edge activation and felt that HYBRID had done a good job providing a project identity, where a similar language and details could adapt to be both successful at the commercial and the pedestrian spaces around the site,” said Barrett Eastwood, a partner at HYBRID, of the board’s commentary.
The design board evaluated three proposed massing options, and felt that the application team had done a good job responding to earlier comments given during the Early Design Guidance process to make the team’s third preferred option more pedestrian-friendly. Originally, the review board commentary centered around creating enough walkable space and a buffer between the building and the traffic on Aurora Blvd. The board also requested the application team make the adjacent alleyway safer and more pedestrian friendly.
The “Stepped Blocks” proposed massing alternative would break the building into three segments connected by a long internal corridor. The setbacks allow for larger courtyards than the other two options, and the design team proposed repaving the alleyway to delineate where pedestrians should walk, all updated details the board supported.
The exterior building would feature random patterns of large windows and modern gray siding, details that the board supported in the early design guidance meeting, as well.
“The board was in strong acceptance of the materials selected and imparted conditions on the project to make sure that the project would maintain a high level of architectural finish,” said Eastwood.
At the end of the meeting, the board unanimously recommended the project to move forward.