By Jack Stubbs
Seattle’s Yesler Terrace neighborhood—east of downtown Seattle and Pioneer Square—has been in a state of transformation ever since the 1940s when the Seattle Housing Authority began its large-scale redevelopment of the area to address the affordable housing crisis in the city.
And on Thursday, August 16th, a 78-unit development planned for the neighborhood was given the green light at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting. At the meeting, project applicant Workshop AD presented preliminary plans to the Central Area design review board on behalf of developer 157SEA12WA LLC. Landscape architect Karen Kiest is also on the project team.
The development, called Sound Flats and located at 157-159 12th Ave. calls for the construction of a 7-story building that will include 78 residential units, 1,700 square feet of street level commercial space, a central courtyard area and vehicle parking. The project also includes a residential entry lobby area and outdoor amenity areas on the roof and court levels.
According to the submitted project plans, some of the main development objectives are to enhance the pedestrian experience and urban fabric through street-level activation; open the center of the project to increase daylight and ventilation; create an integrated project through open balconies and exterior stairs; provide diverse unit sizes to meet the meets of the surrounding community; and provide a cohesive articulation of massing and materials on all sides of the building.
At the meeting, the project applicant presented its three proposed massing options to the board and discussed the neighborhood context around the project. The board ultimately approved the applicant’s preferred massing option, according to Wendy Shark, public relations specialist with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. Additionally, the board also requested more detailed information about the plans for the central courtyard area, and requested more secondary elements and building details for the building’s alley facade. The board also thought that the preliminary design for the development’s street-level treatment was going in the right direction, according to Shark.
Along with the project on 12th Avenue, there have been a number of other residential developments approved nearby in the Yesler Terrace neighborhood over the last few months. On April 25th, a 6-story project located at 104 12th Ave. E——designed by NK Architects and developed by Centric LLC—that will include between 282 and 298 residential units and 12,400 square feet of retail was approved at an EDG meeting. More recently on August 8th, a 335-unit development designed by Ankrom Moisan and developed by Lowe Enterprises was approved at a Design Review Recommendation meeting. The nine-story project, called Block 5/Building A and located at at 209 12th Ave. South, comprises half of a larger two-part, 510-unit development.
In other news, on May 11th, Vulcan Real Estate and members of the surrounding community celebrated the opening of Batik, a 194-unit project in the heart of Yesler Terrace designed by Runberg Architecture Group. Located at 123 Broadway St. across from Yesler Park, Batik is Vulcan’s first apartment project in the neighborhood, and represents the initial chapter of the real estate developer’s longer-term investment in Yesler Terrace. Vulcan purchased three adjacent parcels totaling 3.7 acres from Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) in January 2017 for $15.5 million—finalizing an agreement that the developer made with SHA in 2014—and has subsequently invested $200 million in three residential projects. The company is also the developer of Cyprus Apartments, a 167-unit property across from Batik (which is under construction and set for completion in second quarter 2019) and the 237-unit Block 3 project, which is currently in the initial stages of pre-development.