A residential building planned for Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood is moving along in the Design Review process following an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting held Monday evening. With support from the City’s Northwest Design Review Board, Deal Investments will move its 179-unit mixed-use project forward to a future recommendation hearing.
Located at 2401 NW Market Street, the project would include the construction of an eight-story 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. According to the design team – which consists of Urbal Architecture and Karen Kiest Landscape Architects – the goal of the project is to serve as a place where influences of these property types meet while also paying close attention to the area’s strong European roots.
“As you know, it is a very evolving neighborhood with a lot of good things going on. We’re recognizing just the great retail core that they have there. We still have the maritime history and Nordic Heritage there… and that’s something that is very important to us,” Chad Lorentz, principal architect at Urbal Architecture said.
During the meeting on Monday, the design team gave 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, has been dubbed “The Marshmallow.” It would include 179 residential units and offer a prominent corner with recessed retail and plenty of public open space. According to Urbal Architecture, 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.
Other massing schemes that were proposed were named “The Burger” and “The Wedding Cake.” The first option would include just 175 units as well as a setback with an average depth of 10 feet. This option, however, was not selected due to it being primarily vertical in nature, lacking scale at the human level.
The “Wedding Cake” scheme would provide even less units as well as a street-level setback to create space for commercial and public use. The stacked design – similar to that of a tiered cake – also creates more residential patios at the upper levels. However, this scheme also limits any amenity options at the rooftop level and, overall, creates a non-cohesive composition, according to the proposal.
“We felt like this balance that we struck with option two [the preferred option], between what we saw in one and three, was the right kind of landing spot and had the best pedestrian experience from all sides,” Lorentz said. “…The modulation, really kind of the stepping down of the grade, works with the site and the site constraints. It also ties in really well with the historic character of the buildings around Ballard with the width and heights.”
Overall, the board shows its support for the project and moved it forward to the next stage in the design review process, which will be to apply for a Master Use Permit. According to the board, the team showed strong attention to detail, noting how the site relates to its surroundings. Board members also agreed that the preferred massing scheme was a solid option between the other two proposed massing schemes.
However, the board also suggested the design team reconsider the proposed 50 foot modulation and how it can be best continued around the corner to enhance the flow of the overall design. Further, 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.