By Meghan Hall
A proposed new development located at 4727 12th Ave. NE in Seattle’s University District was asked by the Northeast Design Review Board to return for a second review at the end of its Early Design Guidance meeting on the first of October. The project, proposed by Seattle-based architecture firm Citizen Design on behalf of developer David Sadis, would construct a seven story, 67-unit apartment building. The proposal is just one of many mixed-use developments that have sprung up over the years as the neighborhood has transitioned from primarily single-family residential homes to mid- and high-rise mixed use structures. The change has been driven by the neighborhood’s proximity to the University of Washington, where housing is needed, as students and young professionals quickly snap up available rental units.
60 of the units would be small efficiency dwelling units, classified by the city of Seattle as residences of at least 150 square feet that include a kitchen or kitchenette. A rooftop deck and green roof were also included in the plans.
Preliminary renderings of the development showed a modern apartment dwelling that utilized composite wood and slate gray metal siding. White metal canopies and small balconies for units near the elevator tower are also part of the plans for the building’s exterior. The building’s design was described by the team
The project site is located in the heart of the University District and is about a 15 minute walk from the University of Washington. Interstate 5 runs by the site a few blocks to the west, and numerous retailers and restaurants such as Trader Joe’s and Portage Bay Café are also located nearby. Due to its proximity to the university, the dominant land uses in the district are multifamily residential and commercial. Currently, the site is developed with a single-family residence built in 1907.
“The board struggled, as they were not sure if the design team had made strides in creating an understandable design rhythm or composition,” said Bryan Stevens, the customer service manager and media relations representative for Seattle’s Construction and Inspections Department.
According to Stevens, while the board appreciated the team’s creative approach to the development’s design, many of the board’s concerns revolved around the building’s proposed façade. The design team was asked to create a more cohesive design, one in which more detail was added to the blank façade of the building’s elevator tower and the main street-facing façade was simplified.
Citizen Design will need to return for a second design review meeting in the coming months before the City can approve the team to apply for a Master Use Permit. Citizen Design declined to comment on the project.