By Meghan Hall
Seattle’s Denny Triangle has seen a world of change over the past five years as large-scale development proposals have come to fruition. The neighborhood’s evolution is expected to continue with the addition of a 456-unit residential tower proposed by Vancouver, B.C.-based developer Arbutus Properties at 1370 Stewart St. The glossy residential tower underwent its second design review meeting at the beginning of May and received support from the Northeast Design Review Board to move forward with the next phase of the design review process.
Upon its completion, the tower will include roughly 442,000 square feet of residential space, 134 underground parking stalls and around 9,100 square feet of retail. A green roof with plantings, an activity lawn, sun deck and residential amenities are also denoted in the project plans. The goal of the project, according to original design documents presented by architecture firm Perkins+Will in February, was to create a “compelling pedestrian environment,” that will act as a gateway site, easing the transition between the dense commercial development typical of the Denny Triangle with the more residential feel of Capitol Hill.
In response to previous EDG guidance, Perkins+Will and Arbutus more formally explained their proposed site plan, which includes active frontages and seating pockets along Yale Ave. The residential lobby will be located at the intersection of Stewart and John Streets, with development’s active uses situated along Yale Ave. N.
The Board had originally expressed concerned that the original east facing façade and two west-facing facades were too strong, and therefore somewhat disconnected. In an effort to create a more unified design, the project team chose to undulate the building’s projections and offsets and group floors together to create what appears to be a more intermediate scale. The facades will be further linked together through contemporary geometry and materials.
Arbutus Properties and Perkins + Will also updated the building’s podium, and how the overall development interacted with the pedestrian realm. The Board had originally commented that the northwest corner of the site will be the main focal point for pedestrian activity and was concerned that the relationship between the tower and podium levels were weakest at the northwest corner of the site. However, design documents indicated that the bulk of the tower was still focused at this corner of the site.
While the Board was appreciative of the progress made, there were several points that it asked the development team to revisit, including the massing of the tower and the design of the podium. Meeting documents indicate that the Board overall liked the form of the proposed tower, calling it “elegant and dynamic,” but was still concerned by the lack of intermediate massing of the tower. In addition, the Board continued to express concern regarding the podium design, stating that the pedestrian environment was critical because of the site’s proximity to both the Denny Triangle and Capitol Hill neighborhoods. The Board recommended setting the podium back further from Yale Ave. and asked for further details as to what human-scaled elements will be incorporated into the podium’s design.
Overall, the Board stated that, “The Design should express a logical scheme for human-scaled elements in the pedestrian zones.”
However, despite its feedback, the Board recommended the project move forward in the design review process and begin applying for a Master User Permit. In the coming months, Arbutus Properties and Perkins+Will will return to face the Northeast Design Review board at a formal Design Recommendation Meeting (DRM), where it will present more finalized schemes to the community.