By Kate Snyder
A proposal that would bring more residential space to Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood cleared another milestone in the city’s design process. The Northwest Design Review Board agreed to move the 178-unit residential project forward during a recommendation meeting on Monday.
The developer is Deal Investments, a family-owned multifamily real estate investment company. Urbal Architecture is the project designer.
Located at 2401 NW Market St., the property site consists of about half an acre. Deal Investments purchased the site last year for $13 million, or approximately $632 per square foot, according to The Registry’s previous reporting. The sellers were entities affiliated with 2409 Holdings, LLC and Market Street Holdings, LLC. The site’s existing four-story office building was built in 1960 and will be demolished prior to construction.
The project would include the construction of an eight-story apartment building with 4,000 square feet of commercial retail space at the ground floor level. While situated along NW Market Street, the project site also maintains frontage along 54th Street and 24th Street, where a mix of commercial, industrial and residential spaces in Ballard come together.
Chad Lorentz, principal at Urbal Architecture, presented details on the design to the board. He highlighted the project team’s goal to provide high-quality residential and commercial spaces as well as bring employment and transportation amenities to the area.
“It’s a very key site in the Ballard neighborhood, down at the corner of 24th and Market Street,” Lorentz said. “We want to foster community, embrace heritage and create a vibrant, inclusive environment.”
During a previous early design guidance meeting, the design team presented several massing scheme options for the proposed project, all of which would include a five-foot setback with retail spill out and engagement at the pedestrian level. Each massing scheme also includes a central courtyard, which would be overlooked by residential units.
The preferred massing scheme, which ultimately received approval from the board, was dubbed “The Marshmallow.” It offers a prominent corner with recessed retail and plenty of public open space. According to the design team, it also offers a strong relationship to the future Burke Gilman trail that is proposed adjacent to the site. This massing scheme also would offer the strongest connection at the pedestrian level and is the most similar to neighboring buildings.
At the previous meeting, the board suggested that the project team reexamine the entryways of the building and find ways to set them apart, particularly the residential entryway and how it can be made easily identifiable for future building tenants. Another suggestion from the board was to split the massing along 24th Avenue into three modules to further define the space and the building’s corner. The design team presented an updated massing during the most recent meeting, showing the split modulation, as well as a slightly different design for the residential entryway.
Overall, the board was pleased with the proposal. Specifically, board members liked the decision to split the massing into three modules along 24th, which the board believes strengthened the design. Board members also thought the landscaping well done and elegant and appreciated the planned material palette. They also took note of the choices from the design team to push out the residential entry along 24th and shift the project’s southeast corner from residential to commercial. Board member Brian Johnson said the southeast corner will be livened by commercial space and he believes that space will be more successful under that designation rather than residential.
“We believe that the applicant responded to the board’s guidance and evolved the design in a great way,” Johnson said. “We feel that social and market evolution has produced a gateway vision that we pushed for at EDG.”