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69-Unit Project in Seattle Development to Bring Increased Density to Single Family Neighborhood

Maple Leaf, Roosevelt, Seattle, Design Review Board, Emerald Bay Equity, Department of Construction and Inspections, South Lake Union, Green Lake, Roosevelt Light Rail, Maple, Snappy Dragon, Cloud City Coffee, Skidmore Janette Architecture Planning Design,
Image Credit: Skidmore Janette Architecture Planning Design

By Meghan Hall

A new project located on the border between the Maple Leaf and Roosevelt neighborhoods at 8829 Roosevelt Way Northeast could signal the beginning of additional change in Seattle districts where single family homes and commercial businesses have long been dominant. On Monday, September 17, the Design Review Board gave developer Emerald Bay Equity, LLC approval to move ahead with the 69-unit mixed-use project, which will accommodate the neighborhoods’ future growth.

“The project site is located on the northern edge of Roosevelt and Maple Leaf’s boundary and holds a unique opportunity to blend density on a small pocket of commercial that transitions to single family rather abruptly,” explained Wendy Shark, the senior public relations specialist for Seattle’s Department of Construction and Inspections. “It sets an example of how density can be sensitive to less dense residential zones and still achieve development goals.”

The proposed project would construct a five-story mixed-use building on the 15,118 square foot lot. Two floors of below-grade parking containing 63 vehicle stalls are planned for the development, as well. The ground floor of the development will house the residential lobby, five of the proposed dwelling units, a fitness center and three commercial spaces, of which one will be a designated art studio. The remaining floors will be purely residential. A public urban garden and rooftop deck, complete with a green roof, round out the plans.

City officials have approved up-zoning for more than two dozen Seattle neighborhoods as part of Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability policy. The Roosevelt and Maple Leaf neighborhoods have not seen the same amount of population growth as those closer to downtown, such as South Lake Union or nearby Green Lake, but will likely in the future with the anticipated addition of the Roosevelt Light Rail station in 2021. Legislation to increase the density of many parcels along Roosevelt Way Northeast is under consideration by the City Council.

The site is almost equidistant between Interstate 5 and Route 522, and several eateries, including The Maple, Snappy Dragon and Cloud City Coffee are all located within walking distance of the site.

A neutral, warm color palette has been proposed by Skidmore Janette Architecture Planning Design, the Seattle-based firm hired to design the project. A dark red brick façade on the lower levels of the development is proposed along Roosevelt Way NE and 89th Street, while the upper floors will be clad with light-colored cement fiber panels.

“The board was receptive to our approach and applauded our implementation of the early guidance,” said Shark. “Community outreach and support was key to making this a better project.”

The design board did have a couple of concerns according to Shark, primarily concerning architectural details such as the dynamism of the façade and height of the brickwork. However, conditional approval of the project was given pending the implementation of the requested changes.

Now that the project has successfully navigated the design review portion of the planning process, the application will undergo a SEPA environmental review analysis. Shark said it was unclear whether or not any environmental impact issues would arise in the evaluation of the project. The application must also go through a Contract Rezone and Building Permit Review prior to breaking ground.

The project is expected to cost approximately $20 million, and its completion is anticipated by the spring of 2020.