By Jack Stubbs
“This decision is not a reflection on the applicant, but more so a reflection on the significance of the site,” said board chair Anjali Grant, as the applicant for a 14-story hotel project near Pike Place Market was asked to return for a second Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting.
On Tuesday October 3rd, the project applicant was asked to return to present updated project plans at a second EDG meeting once they have taken into consideration various priorities and conditions highlighted by the Downtown Review Board.
The applicant team consists of architect Ankrom Moisan, landscape architect Hewitt and developer Marketview Place, LLC, a partnership of Stellar Holdings, Inc. and Seattle Properties. Spectrum Development Solutions will be representing Marketview Place during the design and application phase.
The proposed project, located at 103 Pike St., is 14-story 121-unit hotel, with an additional 5 residential units, roughly 3,600 square feet of commercial space at street level and 3,600 square feet of commercial space on the second floor of the development. The three project goals highlighted by the applicant were to connect with the Pike Place Market, create a quality hotel experience, and integrate an indoor/outdoor rooftop amenity terrace, according to the project plans.
The project is set in a prominent location, sitting adjacent to the iconic Pike Place Market on 1st venue, a prominent thoroughfare that connects Belltown, Pike Place, Pioneer Square and the Stadium District. The applicant presented several priority design guidelines, including how the project would respond to the surrounding physical environment and neighborhood context, promote pedestrian interaction on street level, and integrate a successful height, bulk and scale in relation to surrounding buildings.
The applicant presented three massing options, with the third option, “The Pivot,” comprising 84,600 square foot, 121-hotel room project, with a requested departure to allow a 15- rather than 65-foot setback from the prominent 1st Avenue. Their preferred scheme called for the first two floors to be retail, the next 11 floors to be hotel units, and the top floor to be residential, with an additional amenity area on the terrace. The applicant emphasized how their departure would allow better engagement with the surrounding neighborhood.
The board did not support the applicant’s requested departure.
The board’s clarifying questions focused on potential concerns with the building’s proposed height in relation to surrounding buildings, and whether the base of the building would provide an adequate transition to the street-level and pedestrian experience in the surrounding neighborhood.
During the public comment section of the meeting, several members of the surrounding neighborhood—some of them residents of the adjacent residential Newmark Tower—expressed concerns and reservations about the proposed development. Some of the direct reservations expressed by residents included how the rooftop amenity area would disturb nearby residents, how the construction of a hotel would limit the privacy of those living at Newmark Tower, and how the development would increase traffic and congestion along 1st Avenue. Additionally, several members expressed how the building’s design would not conform to the context of the neighborhood, especially the historic Pike Place Market, with one resident adding that the development was “a beautiful building, but in the wrong spot.” Other residents emphasized how the height, bulk, and scale of the building was entirely out of proportion to the proportions of the rest of the buildings in the surrounding neighborhood, and that the 14-story hotel would obscure and significantly change the skyline of the historic neighborhood.
Some of the board members’ primary concerns during the deliberation period included the development’s neighborhood context—especially in relation to the proximate historical Pike Place Market—issues with all three of the massing options presented, and the potentially incongruous rooftop amenity area. As priorities for the next meeting, the board highlighted in particular how the development responded to the surrounding neighborhood context, the pedestrian experience on street-level, and a consideration of the historical location that the proposed project would occupy.
The board did not allow the project to proceed to the next phase of the design process, adding that “we would like to see much more context at the next EDG meeting.” The board also highlighted community engagement as a pressing concern moving forward, urging the applicant to reach out to agencies and non-profits in the neighborhood to ascertain their views about the potential development. The board added that they would like to see further studies exploring the relationship between the proposed development and the adjacent Newmark Tower, adding that the hotel should respect both the neighborhood context and the Pike Place Market.
The board members voted unanimously to have the applicant return with updated project plans for a second EDG meeting before they are able to apply for a Master Use Permit for the development.