By Jack Stubbs
Changes are in the works in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood as a 141-unit development was recently given the green light to proceed to the next stage of the city’s design review process at a Design Review Recommendation (DRR) meeting held on March 5th.
At the meeting, applicant Baylis Architects presented updated project plans to the Northwest review board on behalf of developer Gary Brunt of Greenwood Shopping Center Inc., which is owned and managed by the Brunt family. Landscape architect Brumbaugh & Associates is also on the project team.
The development, located at 8612 Palatine Ave. N., calls for the construction of a 7-story project that will include between 4,000 and 4,400 square feet of street-level commercial space and 85 to 90 parking stalls, according to the submitted project plans. The development will also include a rooftop amenity area and interior resident courtyard.
The mixed-use project marks the latest chapter in a larger development in the works in Greenwood: the apartment complex is the third phase of the Greenwood Piper Village Development, an adjacent mixed-use retail and residential complex—which opened in 2009—that includes the 46-unit Sedges at Piper Village Apartments and 37,000 square feet of new and renovated retail space.
The project was previously reviewed at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting held in April 2017. At the prior meeting, the board had recommended that the applicant team reduce the scale and massing of the building; work on the programming of the commercial space and ground-level uses along Palatine Ave.; and provide more information about how the proposed development would conform with the surrounding neighborhood context.
Kicking off the applicant team’s presentation, principal at Baylis Architects Kevin Cleary articulated the primary changes that the applicant had made to the project plans since the last EDG meeting.
In response to the board’s feedback and recommendations, the project team set the development slightly back from the adjacent street, worked on refining the building’s massing and exterior materials and changed the location of the building entrances and garage entrance. Additionally, the applicant refined the design of the exterior facades to enhance the pedestrian experience along Palatine Ave. by adding various landscaping elements and worked on improving vehicular access to the development via a new alleyway. Finally, Kristen Lundquist of Brumbaugh & Associates also explained how the new landscaping elements would emphasize various green spaces throughout the development, in particular the resident courtyard area.
Most of the board’s discussion focused on how the new alleyway would potentially impact vehicular and pedestrian circulation and access to the development, with all of the board members highlighting potential safety issues for pedestrians. Board member Keith Walzac asked the applicant team to elaborate on the uses for the proposed rooftop and courtyard areas, suggesting that the applicant team might want to consider different programming options for the spaces. Additionally, board member Emily McNichols asked the applicant to clarify its plans for the building’s exterior materials.
There were two public comments expressed during the meeting. Both comments expressed general approval for the development, but also highlighted the importance of pedestrian safety with the alleyway.
During its deliberation period, the board’s concerns once again focused on potential issues with vehicular access to the development and pedestrian safety with regards to the planned alleyway. The board also suggested that the applicant reconsider the proposed location of the garage entrance and recommended that it work further on breaking down the development’s scale and massing. Additionally, the board articulated its desire to see different materials on the exterior of the building.
Ultimately, the board decided to advance the project forward, also conditioning that the applicant team coordinate with SDOT on the design of the alleyway and building entrances to mitigate potential pedestrian safety issues.