Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood may soon be able to expand its offering of multifamily options. In a meeting held in early February, Seattle’s Northwest Design Review Board gave a go-ahead to a 228-unit proposal located at 907 NW Market Street that will look to transform a quarter of a city block into a novel apartment community. The project will extend the multifamily density currently located further west along Market Street and will help bridge the density along 15th Ave NW with that along 8th Ave NW to the east, according to the proposal.
Developer Greenbank Holdings is working with Seattle-based Skidmore Janette Architecture Planning & Design to bring the vision of this opportunity to a predominantly single-family neighborhood. The proposed structure will be five stories high and deliver 197 bicycle stalls without any vehicle parking. Furthermore, it prioritizes engaging the corner at street level with high visibility uses that provide interaction with the area.
This recommendation meeting focused mostly on the guidance the Board gave to the developer and architect in the previous meetings, and it provided more refined details of the structure, including material and color choices.
One of the areas where the Board focused earlier was on the patios that engaged the ground-level units with the street. The revised design met the guidance suggested at the previous meetings by increasing the usability of this part of the building and interaction with the street while maintaining privacy for the units. The Board did encourage the design team to reconsider how to develop end-patios, particularly the ones next to the entry and ensure that the team improves their privacy and separation from the entrance.
A big portion of the property’s integration within the neighborhood incorporates thoughtful landscaping, which the Board agreed provides a buffer but still encourages street interaction and does not build a wall around the structure. It encouraged the design team to continue with its thinking as it was presented in the meeting.
The proposal also wanted to provide an artistic expression by the entires of the building, and the Board appreciated that goal. It encouraged the design team to work with local artists and create a mural that would fit the visual character of the area. Some of these artistic elements could also find a functional purpose in the form of wayfinding by applying graphics on panels of the building and extending dark paving at the entry into the right-of-way area.
A portion of the Board’s deliberation was spent on various design elements of the building, and this is also where most of the conditions were placed on the design team’s proposal. The Board found the fenestration patterning of brick and fiber-cement paneling somewhat inconsistent and placed a condition for this to be revised so that a better language could be found.
In addition, the proposal features a series of vents on the sides of windows that the Board particularly called out for its inconsistencies. The design team was encouraged to minimize the contrast and color between the vents and the panels and the windows, and the Board placed another condition on the approval here, as well.
The Board liked the color palette chosen for the property’s design, and it conditioned that the cold creek dark brick and grey tones and bright accents remained in the final proposal. It also conditioned that the color transitions be reduced and that the color tones be consistent on all the elevations of the design.
The property development team also requested four departures, which focused on the residential uses at street level, changes to the facade, as well as increasing the overall width of the structure. All were supported by the Board with unanimous approval to move the project into the next phase of development.