By Meghan Hall
A new, seven-story apartment building could soon be making its mark on Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood. Proposed by High Street Northwest Development, the project would total about 240,000 square feet and include 241 apartment units. Designs for the project were presented recently to the Northeast Design Review Board, who unanimously voted to allow the project team to apply for its Master User Permit.
The project’s design is being spearheaded by Weinstein A+U. Design documents indicate that overall, the goal of the development is to provide a high-quality living environment that adds to the existing neighborhood in a cohesive manner.
“Our objective for this project is to create a community of high quality apartments in a building that will take full advantage of its transit-oriented location in this established but dynamic Roosevelt neighborhood,” explained Emily Auni of Weinstein A+U. “Our ambition is to create a building that enhances the architectural fabric of the neighborhood using integral building modulation that is informed by the site’s circumstances to reduce the apparent mass of the building while also creating a comfortable and interesting pedestrian experience on all frontages.”
The apartments will likely be a mix of studios, open-one, one- and two-bedroom units. In addition to residential uses, the project will also feature 750 square feet of street-level coworking space, a mezzanine level with additional work space, more than 1,300 square feet of retail and a fitness center. A roof deck for building residents and 150 parking spaces will also be available, as will entry-porches for at-grade units.
During the project’s Early Design Guidance Meeting, or EDG, the project team presented three options. The preferred massing concept, however, was called “Stoops and Bays” and utilizes “fine grain” massing modulation to break down the size of the project. Documents indicate that this allows the massing to be respectful of its smaller neighbors while providing a facade full of interest and variation.
Massing elements will be anchored by a 20-foot-wide module. Various inlets, bays and stoops will shift in response to the project site’s grade changes in a meaningful way. Setbacks surround the building to give pedestrians additional breathing room and to provide ground-floor residential units an important buffer from the street.
“…The proposed design shifts these elements around in meaningful ways to relate to site circumstances and to reduce the apparent bulk and mass of the building as perceived from the pedestrian viewpoint,” project documents state.
Generally, the review board was supportive of the project’s massing, but it did provide the development team with several notes. The board strongly supported the first-level stoops on the north side of the building, and acknowledged that the project successfully navigated the property’s difficult topography. The board did ask the project team to further study the blank wall at the southwest corner and its relationship to the neighborhood apartment building. The board also noted that overall, the project documents didn’t fully evaluate the neighborhood context, stating that major landmarks, such as Roosevelt High School, had been left out.
Additionally, the board asked for additional study on what materials will be used for the project, and how such selection will relate to the massing moves. These considerations were not enough to delay the project’s progress, however, and at the end of the meeting the board voted 4-0 in favor of moving the development forward. The project team will come back to the board in the coming months for a more formal recommendation meeting, at which time designs for the project will be more finalized.