By Meghan Hall
An affordable housing development in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood is making progress after presenting updated designs to the Southeast Design Review Board this week. Presented by Bode, an Edmonds, Wash.-based investment and development firm, the 100,024 square foot project received preliminary design approval at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting.
Called “Bode Rainier Beach” the project site is located at 2367 Rainier Ave. S. The multifamily building will rise six levels and include 181 residential units plus 10 live/work units. Ultimately, the project team is hoping to provide a range of affordable living options that can cater to Rainier Beach’s diverse community.
“Our project objectives remain the same; we are developing affordable living for the Rainier Beach neighborhood,” explained Bode’s Andrew Nguyen.” We aim to bring a positive change to the experience of the streetscape on Rainier Ave. and complement the evolving neighborhood.”
While the proposal contains no parking, a 7,500 square feet of private residential terraces at levels one, two and four are included in the plans. Another 2,350 square feet will be allocated towards a residential roof area, while 1,482 square feet will be an interior residential lounge area.
The surrounding neighborhood mostly consists of single-story commercial restaurants, banking and auto repair businesses. Throughout the Rainier Beach neighborhood, Bode notes, many properties are underdeveloped or are being evaluated for future development. Currently, the Bode project site is developed with 1950s office buildings which will be demolished in order to make way for the new project.
In order to align the neighborhood context, the project team intends to use a number of different architectural features, such as cornice lines at roof-level, building massing modulation, vertical intervals, punched window patterns and canopies and overhangs to drive the design of the project.
Building on guidance from its last early design guidance meeting, the development team pursued an “S”-shaped massing form. The massing was reformed by reducing one floor level at the east of the building, while also lowering the massing break at the entry lobby. The entry was also recessed to create additional visual interest. The project team also worked to further define stronger corners at both ends of Rainier Ave. S., and shifted the massing to reduce the number of units oriented towards an adjacent single-family neighborhood.
“Previously what we had was these cascading volumes that defined this lower massing. But we simplified that and gave more attention to the pedestrian realm,” said Nguyen.
For materials, the project team has proposed using brick where possible and economical, as well as fiber cement accents and cornices.
Overall, the Design Review Board was pleased with the progress made since the first EDG meeting. The Board noted that the fourth floor setback was good and helped to support the “stark” zone transition that occurs around the surrounding area. It also ultimately concurred that the proposed cantilever at the third floor was effective in adding modulation, and that the design team took several steps in order to fix the building’s “monolithic” street level presence. With little else to add, the Board voted unanimously to move the project out of the early design guidance phase. Bode will return in the coming months to present more finalized designs to the Board as part of a formal Design Review Meeting (DRM).