By Meghan Hall
Seattle’s Yesler Terrace neighborhood has been transforming for decades. Ever since the 1940s when the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) began redeveloping the 30-acre neighborhood to address a shortage of housing in the city, the area has been undergoing change. A project that is looking to bring 215 additional units to the neighborhood was approved last week by the East Design Review Board to proceed to the next stage of the approvals process.
The development proposed for 1020 S. Main St. is part of a larger Yesler Terrace Master Planned Community, and it sits in an area called Block 5. The Main St. development is referred to as Building B, and it is the smaller of two projects proposed for the block. Building B, owned by an entity called Seattle Tenth, LLC, which is associated with another entity called Daedalus USA Investment LLC, seeks to provide 215 new market rate and affordable housing units.
The Ankrom Moisan-designed project mimics in design the development called Building A, which is a 335-unit apartment complex on the same block and located at at 209 12th Ave. South, also designed by Ankrom Moisan but owned by Lowe Enterprises.
Along with the proposed apartments, the project plans include 110 below-grade parking spaces, as well as a residential courtyard, lobby with seating and a community room.
Since the previous EDG meeting, the project team has conducted three community outreach sessions, and with the board’s and the public’s feedback in mind, the team updated the plans to include a mural on the west wall of Building A. The development team plans to work closely with Urban Artworks to create the mural, which will use vibrant colors and dynamic geometric patterns. The remaining portion of the design is for the most part in line with the design presented by Building B in order to create a uniform visual cohesion of the block.
While several design features of the building have remained the same, the board had supported the use of deep balconies to create shadows and depth as well as the use of dark material treatments to emphasize the main entrance. At the previous meeting, the board also supported the three-story massing with setbacks on the west façade to break down the massing of the structure.
The board had some concerns regarding the design of the development, but was appreciative of the responses the design team had made following the they had guidance received during Building A’s recommendation meeting. The board generally supported the design team’s choice of materials, but felt the wood used on the tower structure was better suited for a smaller development. The design team was also asked to further break up the massing of the structure and improve upon building access. The review board did support the decision to break up the large massing on the South façade since the project’s early design review and approved the project to move forward with a condition to review the tower’s design on the North façade.
Yesler Terrace will be a neighborhood that will once again look to shape the city. Sitting just east of Interstate 5 and the International District, the area is about a 20-minute walk from Pioneer Square, and numerous attractions and restaurants such as the Seattle Pinball Museum and Dong Thap Noodles are located nearby.
Most importantly, Yesler Terrace was Seattle’s first public housing community and is known as the first racially-integrated public housing development in the United States. The Seattle Housing Authority began an effort to redevelop Yesler Terrace in 2006 in an effort to create one-for-one replacement housing and increase social equity and economic opportunity in the area. The Block 5 project will attempt to fulfil that goal.