By Meghan Hall
As are many assets throughout Seattle, the site of an aging apartment complex close to downtown in Seattle’s Uptown Neighborhood is getting a new lease on life, one that will transform not only the property itself, but the surrounding district. At an early March Design Recommendation Meeting, the West Design Review Board granted Bellevue, Wash.-based developer Continental Properties and architecture firm Johnson Braund, Inc. the green light to move forward with designs for a 167-unit residential project at 100 Roy Street.
The project, dubbed the Roy Street Apartments, will rise seven stories in height and will consist of approximately 30,732 square feet of site area. Residential amenity spaces, as well as 6,372 square feet of ground floor commercial space, and about 158 parking stalls are included in the plans. Continental and Johnson Braund also note in documents that outdoor amenity spaces will include public open space equal to 15 percent of the site area.
Ultimately, the development team described the overarching design concept as “pedestrian urbanism,” the goal of which is to complete the urban fabric by redeveloping an underutilized property in the heart of uptown. Continental and Johnson Braund hope to bring a contemporary, lively and pedestrian project to the neighborhood that would fit the transitional design context of the neighborhood.
Currently, the project site is currently developed with a four-story brick apartment complex originally constructed in 1948, and a surface parking lot. The building was reviewed by the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, which determined the existing structure was not historically significant. Thus, the building will be razed in order to make way for Continental Properties’ proposed development.
“The centrally located site is an ideal location for making its presence known,” states design documents. “The proposed design will respond by creating a building form of simple, well-detailed massing of contemporary urban presence…The project goals are to enhance the Uptown neighborhood with a prominent building design and open space opportunities. A lively and unique pedestrian retail experience and public open space will be a positive contribution to the activity and vibrancy of the Heart of Uptown.”
Roy Street itself is known as a many thoroughfare in the neighborhood, and generally is home to a multitude of mixed-use buildings ranging from a single story to four stories in height. To the north of the project, the properties are more typically smaller multi-family development and single-family homes.
The preferred project design includes a three-part massing scheme with a central plaza, undulating storefronts, fully modulated sides and back, as well as retail focal points and roof terrace.
The north façade will have varied modulation in an effort to break up the long façade, which will include a second floor terrace and residential balconies. The east and west facades will be setback from the property line, and the east and west corners will be further modulated to transition to surrounding low-rise zones. Building overhangs and canopies will add pedestrian-scale elements along the storefronts, as well.
Proposed materials include concrete board, white aluminum composite panels, metal trellises and fir wood accents. Glass balconies framed with bronze railings are also part of project schemes.
Overall, the Board commented that Continental Properties and Johnson Braund were successful in breaking down the scale of the building and mitigating the transitioning scale of the neighborhood through the modulation of the north façade, building setbacks and textural materials.
However, the Board also cautioned against the use of faux materials at the pedestrian level. The Board, in turn, decided to recommend a condition stating that faux materials may not be used and that the venting systems of the building must be integrated with the overall façade composition. The Board also asked that the project team use glass that limited the reflectivity of the storefronts, and lower storefront sill heights. Lastly, they asked they maintain the appropriate processes in place to select public art for the project. With these recommendations, the Review Board recommended approval of the project.