By Jack Stubbs
A new seven-story development on the edge of Lake Union was recently given the green light to proceed to the next stage of the city’s design review process.
On Wednesday, February 28th, a 65-unit project in Westlake was approved at an Early Design Guidance meeting. At the meeting, architect d/Arch LLC presented preliminary project plans on behalf of Wang Brothers Investments, the developer of the project. The project team for the proposed development also includes landscape architect Fazio Associates and Terrane, the land surveyor.
The proposed development, located at 1601 Dexter Ave. N., is a 7-story mixed-use residential building that will also include rooftop amenity areas for residents (totaling roughly 4,500 gross square feet), approximately 3,700 square feet of commercial space along Dexter Ave. N., a courtyard on the third floor and 35 below-grade parking stalls. The project site is currently comprised of two parcels under single ownership which include an athletic club and an office building, both of which would be demolished as part of the project plans.
Along with the undertaking in the works, there are a number of other recently-completed developments located in close proximity, including One Lakefront, a 317-unit project; the 329-unit Westlake Steps; and Dexter Hayes, a 65-unit development located on the edge of Lake Union. There are also several other residential developments in the pipeline around the lake, including the 86-unit 1600 Dexter project; 1402 Aurora Ave. N., a 10-story 34-unit project; and 1405 Dexter, a 98-unit project underway.
Kicking off the applicant team’s presentation, Matt Driscoll of d/Arch LLC articulated the applicant team’s priority design guidelines for the proposed development, which include encouraging street-level interaction with the development and Dexter Ave.; successfully activating and programming the proposed commercial space along the streetscape; and integrating the open space elements into the building, specifically the rooftop amenity areas and the courtyard.
Most of the board’s clarifying questions focused on how the applicant team planned to program the building and how the development would relate to the surrounding neighborhood context. The board asked the applicant team to provide more clarification about the location of the garage entrance, also requesting more detailed plans about the proposed courtyard area and lobby area. Additionally, the board expressed that the building’s exterior facade needed to be refined, suggesting that the applicant team should work on further activating the adjacent streetscape.
During its deliberation period, the board ultimately decided to advance the project to the next stage of the design process—the applicant will now submit a Master Use permit to the city for review—also highlighting several design elements that would need to be further explored. The board emphasized how the applicant needed to work on clarifying the relationship between the building and the adjacent streetscape and the public versus private realm, also recommending that the overall massing of the building be reduced. Additionally, the board asked for more detailed project plans about the overall design of the building, also suggesting that the applicant further refine the building’s exterior facades.