Home AEC Holland Partner Group Proposes 455-Unit Project Near Seattle’s South Lake Union Neighborhood

Holland Partner Group Proposes 455-Unit Project Near Seattle’s South Lake Union Neighborhood

Holland Partner Group, South Lake Union, Weber Thompson, Denny Park

By Catherine Sweeney 

Holland Partner Group is planning to bring additional housing to a location near Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. On June 7, the development company met with the City’s Downtown Design Review Board to share plans for a a proposed 45-story residential tower, which ultimately received support from the board. 

In total, the project – located at 616 Battery Street – would add 455 residential units and between 1,755 square feet and  2,150 square feet of retail space. Project plans also call for up to 263 parking spaces in an above- and below-grade parking structure. 

Designs for the project come from architecture firm Weber Thompson. During the meeting, the design team shared plans for the proposed project and how they plan to utilize the space at the uniquely shaped site. Located at a major junction where Denny, Dexter, 7th and Borealis Avenue intersect, the current site is an architectural challenge as it remains disconnected from the pedestrian realm and other projects surrounding it. The site is surrounded by one-way streets and 7th dead-ends at the site as well. 

According to John Stout, a senior associate with Weber Thompson, the design hopes to change the awkwardly structured site through its massing and articulation, creating a building that is cohesive but also sets itself apart as a unique anchor at the end of the block. 

“There’s two real factors that drove all of the design and massing options that we’re going to present tonight. One of those is the unique kind of trapezoidal shape…the other that really informs that and creates this unique shift in the Seattle grid between South Lake Union and the rest of downtown and how that’s created these folded and fractured geometries that we studied throughout the process,” Stout said during the meeting. . 

The design proposal included three options that provide solutions for the angled geometry of the site. The first option, “Step,” proposes a stacked approach that steps back the tower and breaks down the massing. 

The second option is called “Bend,” as it responds to the curved site through its angular form. In this design option, the podium would be slightly bent to create added dimension to the tower while also blending into the shape of the site. 

However, the preferred option, which eventually received approval from the Board, creates angular massing that is both similar to the neighboring developments while also setting itself apart. The massing is also carried throughout the building creating a unified development. 

“These really derived from our three solutions that we study and how to accommodate this angular form of the site, on the first actually stepping that form to accommodate the angled property line. The second option is bending at those facades and then playing off of those curves and all the facades in the architecture. And then our best, we believe, is the most responsive and accurate in actually portraying the unique conditions of a folded geometry that breaks down the tower vertically.”

Overall, the board showed support for the development, moving it onto the next stages in the permitting process. The board expressed appreciation for the work done to the challenging site  and creating a cohesive building that is representative of its location. They also expressed approval at the use of open space utilized throughout the project and noted their excitement to see the project’s design develop further.  

However, in allowing the project to move forward, the board also provided guidance for the design team to consider. In particular, the board needed more information about how the podium portion of the building would connect to the rest of the tower. The board also encouraged the team to consider the entryways at the ground floor level and how they an set apart a main entry versus bike storage or parking.