By Jack Stubbs
On Wednesday, August 15th, a 172-unit development planned for Lower Queen Anne in Seattle was denied approval to proceed at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting. At the meeting, project applicant Johnson Braund Inc. presented preliminary plans to the west review board on behalf of developer Continental Properties. Davido Consulting Group Inc. (civil engineer) and Thomas Rengstorf & Associates (landscape architect) are also on the project team.
The seven-story development, located at 100 Roy St., will include 172 residential units, indoor and outdoor residential amenity spaces, between 6,000 and 6,500 square feet of ground-level commercial space, a rooftop terrace and 130 below-grade parking stalls. A three-story apartment building built in 1949 that currently occupies the site will be demolished as part of the applicant’s project plans.
Beginning the the applicant’s presentation, Diana Keys of Johnson Braund discussed the neighborhood context and existing projects around the site. Keys presented the primary development objectives, which include activating the streetscape through appropriate pedestrian uses, successfully integrating open spaces into the project along 1st Avenue, and creating a massing that is appropriate for the Uptown neighborhood character.
The applicant also explained the pros and cons of the three proposed massing options and discussed how the preferred option (through courtyard open spaces, appropriate commercial frontages and a well-designed building entrance location) would best fit into the neighborhood context.
Most of the board’s clarifying questions during the meeting focused on how the applicant planned to program various elements of the development. Board member Patreese Martin asked for more detailed plans about the applicant’s requested Departures—specifically the orientation of the street-level amenity area and the open space along the street-facing building frontage—and the differences between the three proposed massing options.
Board member John Morefield requested more information about the programming of the street-level commercial space, and also asked the applicant to clarify the orientation of the street-level residential units in relation to the courtyard. The board also requested more in-depth information about the applicant’s plans for landscaping and commercial space along the adjacent streetscape.
There were several public comments voiced during the meeting expressing concerns with the applicant’s current project plans. One audience member encouraged the applicant team to work further on activating the streetscape and enhancing the pedestrian experience, while another neighborhood resident requested more information about the applicant’s plans for the street-level open spaces and landscaping. A representative from neighborhood group Uptown Alliance encouraged the project team to further refine the project plans in relation to the Uptown neighborhood design guidelines.
During its deliberation period, the board agreed that the applicant would need to reduce the overall massing of the development and work on revising the programming of the street-level commercial and retail space. Additionally, the board recommended that the applicant work on creating a clearer design concept for the building in relation to the surrounding Uptown neighborhood.