By Jack Stubbs
On Wednesday, July 11th, a 97-unit mixed-use project slated for Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood was unanimously approved at a Design Review Recommendation (DRR) meeting. At the meeting, applicant Johnston Architects presented updated plans to the west design review board on behalf of developer Hycroft Investment Inc. Karen Kiest Landscape Architects is also on the team for the project, which was last seen by the board at an Early Design Guidance meeting in August 2017.
The development, located at 417 2nd Ave W., calls for the construction of a 6-story building that will include 4,540 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 57 on-site parking spaces in an underground garage.
Beginning the applicant team’s presentation, Ray Johnston of Johnston Architects discussed the neighborhood context around the site and also explained how the project team is conforming with the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) for the Uptown neighborhood: seven of the units will be affordable and dedicated to local artists in the community. The hope is that the project will capitalize on the various cultural and artistic activities and events in the surrounding neighborhood.
Johnston also articulated that the various changes that had been made to the project plans since the previous EDG meeting. In response to the board’s feedback, the applicant refined the exterior facades of the building’s commercial space; set back the retail space from the streetscape to improve the pedestrian experience along 2nd Ave; and worked on the design of the residential entrance. The applicant also further refined its plans for the building’s exterior materials and integrated various signage and lighting elements along the street.
Most of the board’s clarifying questions focused on how the applicant planned to program various aspects of the building. Board member Brian Walters asked for more information about the orientation of the retail space and building entrances, and board member Homero Nishiwaki asked the applicant to elaborate on its plans for the landscaping along the streetscape and the exterior materials. The board also requested more detailed project plans about how the applicant planned to incorporated artwork elements into the building’s exterior. Board member Stephen Porter asked what tenants the applicant had considered for the proposed retail space in the building.
During its deliberation period, the board once again discussed the overall massing and programming of the project and discussed how the applicant’s project plans had progressed since the previous EDG meeting. The board agreed that more work would need to be done to incorporate neighborhood-specific artwork into the project’s exterior and incorporate appropriate materials into the building’s facade.