By Jack Stubbs
Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood – a primarily residential neighborhood south of the city’s downtown core and just east of I-5 – has evolved significantly over the last several years, as in-progress and recently-completed projects continue to shape the area.
On June 28, a 204-unit residential project was unanimously approved to advance to the next stage of the city’s design review process at a Design Review Guidance meeting.
The project, named “The Fir” and located at 1906 20th Ave S., is being developed by Seattle-based KAMIAK, a firm that acquires, develops and operates niche multifamily and commercial assets throughout the Emerald City. Also on the project team are PUBLIC47 Architects and landscape architect HEWITT. The project will offer a mix of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, as well as 4,000 square feet of retail and 80 parking stalls.
Construction is anticipated to commence in the first quarter of 2023, according to the developer’s website.
Kicking off the applicant team’s presentation, a representative from PUBLIC47 discussed the primary goals of the project, some of which include improving the pedestrian experience along the streetscape, effectively taking advantage of nearby public transit options, and creating a development that effectively fits the neighborhood context, which is located in the Mt. Baker Hub Urban Village.
The applicant also relayed to the Southeast Design Review board the design changes that had been incorporated into the project plans since the initial Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting, particularly around landscaping elements, further considering ground-level uses and residential entries, and giving further thought to specific landscaping choices and the building’s exterior materiality along S. Plum Street.
The representative from HEWITT spoke briefly, explaining how the landscaping elements had been chosen specifically so as to conform with the surrounding neighborhood context, particularly with regards to the proposed rooftop amenity spaces.
The board appeared generally enthusiastic and supportive of the applicant’s proposed revised design proposal, with one board member noting that it was an “exceptionally clear packet and presentation.” The board also asked for some clarification regarding the relationship between the proposed retail space and the surrounding streetscape.
The board did not have any feedback regarding the updated design proposal relative to the initial EDG meeting, nor about the project’s architectural concept or composition. The board members emphasized their appreciation of the retail space design and the overall building massing and the project’s evolution since the beginning of the design review process.
In addition to The Fir, KAMIAK has several other projects in Seattle at various stages of the design review process. Some of these include Sound, a proposed 92-unit multifamily project in the First Hill/Yesler Terrace neighborhood; Belmont, a proposed 91-unit development in the Capitol Hill neighborhood; and Gilman Park Flats, a proposed 86-unit studio-only project in Ballard.