By Jack Stubbs
On Tuesday, April 10th, a 321-unit development slated for Seattle’s Chinatown/International District was given the green light at a Design Review Recommendation (DRR) meeting.
At the meeting, Tiscareno Associates, the project applicant, presented updated project plans to the southeast review board on behalf of Intracorp, the developer of the mixed-use project. Landscape architect Nakano Associates is also on the team for the project, which was last seen by the review board at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting held in July 2017.
Located at 1029 S. Jackson St. in the International District’s Little Saigon neighborhood, the 6-story mixed-use retail/residential building will include approximately 63,600 square feet of non-residential space, 177 below-ground parking spaces and 108 bicycle stalls, according to the submitted project plans. The development will also include a pedestrian pass-through “market passage” that connects S. Jackson and S. King St. The site is currently occupied by a ACME Poultry complex, which would be demolished as part of the applicant team’s redevelopment plans.
Some of the development objectives include contributing to the economic vitality of Chinatown/International District by providing a diverse mixture of unit types; providing culturally-conscious, place-making retail for small local businesses; activating the streetscape as a pedestrian-friendly environment through landscaping and signage elements; and promoting public safety along the street, according to the project plans.
Since the project is located within the boundary of the International Special Review District (ISRD), the applicant team will need to get a Certificate of Approval from the ISRD (which is anticipated for September 2018) for the project’s design as well as a Master Use Permit from the city’s Design Review Board.
Kicking off the applicant team’s presentation, Bill Barton of Tiscareno Associates discussed how the project would fit into the neighborhood context of Little Saigon and explained the changes the applicant team had made to the design plans since the EDG meeting in July 2017 and the ISRD meeting held in February 2018. Following the initial EDG meeting, the project team hosted a community outreach meeting with members of Little Saigon and got the public’s input and feedback about the design of the project.
Specifically, the applicant team also explored the architectural expression of the building in relation to the pedestrian pass-through and provided studies about the relationship between the street-level units and the commercial space to mitigate privacy and security concerns of building residents. In response to feedback from the ISRD meeting, the applicant team worked on enhancing the pedestrian experience along the streetscape with new retail uses; changed the location of the market passage in relation to King St.; and added landscaping and artwork elements to reflect the history and heritage of the Little Saigon neighborhood.
Most of the board’s clarifying questions focused on how the applicant team had integrated the public’s feedback—especially from the ISRD meeting and from community group Friends of Little Saigon—into the updated project plans. Board member Carey Dagliano Holmes asked the applicant to elaborate on how, specifically, the applicant had integrated feedback from the ISRD regarding the history and heritage of the Little Saigon neighborhood, also asking the applicant to clarify its plans for the market passage. Board member Chris Colley asked what specific community outreach efforts the project team had conducted with Friends of Little Saigon during the planning process. The board also requested more detailed information about how the applicant planned to program the market passage in relation to the street-level retail space and asked whether the applicant team had yet reached out to community artwork groups about enhancing the building’s exterior facade.
There were no public comments expressed during the meeting.
During its deliberation period, the board mainly focused on the relationship between the building and the adjacent market passage and how the project would conform with the character and history of the Little Saigon neighborhood. The board agreed that the applicant would need to chose an appropriate retail tenant for the development and also recommended that the applicant continue to coordinate with Friends of Little Saigon and the ISRD on the design plans moving forward, especially regarding exterior programming elements and the market passage.