An 11-story hotel is being planned for Seattle’s Yesler Terrace neighborhood. In an early design guidance (EDG) meeting last week with the City’s East Design Review Board, Orange, Calif.-based developer Prospera Hotels shared its plans to develop the 244-room hotel at 718 Yesler Way. The project, which is being designed by Seattle-based architecture firm Johnson Braund, ultimately received support from the Design Review Board during the meeting.
“We want to fit into and enhance the neighborhood character and recognize the importance of the streetscape, and provide a variety of well-designed, human-scale spaces and appropriate landscaping. The high points of our neighborhood in context with the site are very prominent and familiar to anyone who has ever driven up I-5 into Seattle or immediately adjacent to the freeway at the gateway to the Yesler Terrace neighborhood,” Jeff Williams, of Johnson Braund, said.
Located along Yesler Way, the hotel lobby would open up to the street, with a grand arcade and a sheltered entryway providing a transition for visitors into the hotel. At the top level, a rooftop amenity space will also be provided for guests. Additionally, the hotel would be an extended-stay property, with each guestroom offering a small kitchen.
During the meeting, the design team gave three massing scheme options. The first option, the “Keystone,” would serve as a background for other surrounding properties. According to the project proposal, the Keystone would be the most horizontal of all three massing schemes, providing more opportunities to blend in with its surroundings.
The second massing option is called the “Good Neighbor,” and would play a slightly more significant role than the first massing option. With equal portions vertical and horizontal, the project serves as a good neighbor to its surrounding environment, standing out while also fitting in.
The preferred option, which ultimately received support from the Design Review Board, is called the “Landmark.” As its name implies, the preferred option is the most vertical massing scheme and would stand out the most among the three options. The building would serve as a gateway building for the Yesler Terrace neighborhood, with the primary facade along Yesler Way and facing downtown. The Landmark massing scheme reinforces the building, marking it with a tower and laying out a clear symmetric design.
“After careful consideration of the site and understanding what is being asked of this hotel, we feel the landmark massing option is the best as much good reasoning there is to the Keystone massing. We feel an opportunity would be lost compared to what can be provided. The role of a good neighbor cannot be fully realized with limited access on the west facade and the partial obscurity of the east of the building. Everything seemed to align in choosing the landmark massing. Providing a clear gateway building for the Yesler Terrace neighborhood, a building sitting anchored and proud for the neighborhood,” Williams said.
Overall, the Board showed support for the preferred massing concept and made a recommendation to continue the project forward in the design review process.
However, they also suggested the project team consider how the massing along Interstate-5 and how the symmetry would play out on that side of the building. Further, the project team was asked to consider the street level moving forward as there are no proposed sidewalks. Additionally, the Board proposed the project team reexamine the materiality, noting they would particularly like to see a minimal material palette, with texture and detail throughout.