Carmel Partners is one step closer to developing a 293-unit apartment building in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. During a recent Early Design Review Guidance meeting with the Seattle East Design Review Board, the San Francisco-based development company presented plans for the project, which ultimately received approval from the board to move onto a recommendation hearing.
With designs from Neiman Taber, the project – at 112 10th Ave E – would reach eight stories and total approximately 204,702 square feet. Should the project receive approval, the development would take shape along 10th Avenue E, bordered by 11th Avenue E to the East and Denny Way to the South.
“In our case, we’ve identified three key objectives. The first is to provide abundant high quality housing, and I emphasize abundance because building out the site to its full potential is needed for the project’s economic viability, but also, it serves a really important public interest by helping to address Seattle’s chronic housing shortage and it respects the huge public investment we’ve all made in the light rail by providing abundant housing close to the station,” said David Neiman of Neiman Taber Architects.
During the meeting, Neiman Taber shared early design concepts, which included three massing schemes. The preferred option – which was approved by the Design Review Board – is a refinement of the other two options and includes large setbacks at property lines for added privacy, according to the design proposal. The building would also feature a centrally located lobby with an entry courtyard and exterior amenity spaces, providing added open space elements.
The preferred option also requires a removal of an exceptional tree as well as several departures from code that would change the depth of the structure and provide a driveway to the proposed below grade parking garage.
“Without the constraint of the tree and with the ability to request departures this scheme really focuses on consolidating the ground level open space, where it can have the greatest impact for both residents and for passersby,” Neiman said.
The other options – referred to in the meeting as “Option A” and “Option B” – were not selected due to several challenges presented by the design team.
The first of the two options would have included additional units with a total count of 298. It also would retain the exceptional tree onsite. However, the added features result in a compromised architecture and less open space than offered in the preferred scheme.
“Option B,” on the other hand, is designed as two buildings with a total of 276 residential units. The two buildings would feature upper level setbacks along the street and no departures from code are required. However, this option was not selected due to the decreased unit count, redundant features across two buildings and functional challenges with trash and amenities between both buildings.
Overall, the board approved the project, moving it along in the permitting process. However, the board also made several suggestions as well as conditions for the design team to consider when coming back for a recommendation hearing.
The board noted its appreciation for the design team’s consideration for added residential units and open space plans that the preferred design scheme offers. Despite this, the board also noted that it would like to see that massing look a bit more like “Option B” with three massing volumes rather than one.
While the board ultimately approved of the removal of the tree, it asked that the design team consider ways to add a large tree canopy elsewhere on the site.
At the street level, the board supported plans for three entries into the building, but did not approve of the main entryway being located along 11th and asked to see the entry on Denny Way as the main entrance with added public space as well.