By Kate Snyder
A proposal to bring more than 200 apartments to Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood is in the process of making its way toward approval. The project’s most recent milestone was at an early design guidance meeting in October 2022, with the Downtown Design Review Board – city records show the board voted to move the plans forward to the master use application phase.
The project is a 14-story, approximately 226-unit apartment building with retail space and parking for 113 vehicles located at 2323-2333 3rd Ave. The project’s goal is to “create an environment that will bring high quality urban living to the center of the Belltown neighborhood,” plans state. The developer is Hot Rain, Inc., and the architect is ZO Architecture, LLC, both of which are based in Bellevue.
Plans detail an architectural concept that takes into account the geographic conditions and patterns of urban form found nearby or beyond the immediate context of the building site. Part of the proposal involves breaking up the larger building massing into smaller pieces at regular intervals that complement the context. The latest plans show four different massing options, with the developer’s preferred option including 166,743 square feet of residential space and 7,384 square feet of retail space out of 181,987 square feet total.
The developer’s preferred option – Option 2 – also includes a 145-foot building height with 221 residential units, 110 vehicle stalls and 106 bicycle stalls, according to the plans. Three other options were also outlined in the plans. Option 1 was for a 226-unit building with slightly less retail space than Option 2 but more vehicle stalls in the parking plan. Option 3 was the smallest by number of units – 200 – and also offers a 100-stall parking garage. An alternate Option 1 was also included with 224 units.
Plans also include proposals to enhance the building with landscaping, such as a sustainable green deck and roof areas that would create natural environments for upper level residential units with microclimate outdoor terrace spaces.
During its most recent meeting, the board favored both the developer’s preferred option as well as the alternate Option 1, according to city records. The post-meeting report stated that for Option 2, the board noted “the narrative clarity created with a base element scaled to the existing Belltown context, a unique and contemporary tower expression above, and the dramatic contrast this could create.”
For the alternate Option 1, the board stated that version “provided a different approach with a more unified expression from base to tower and that the unique H-shaped modulation strategy created a distinct expression that would help mitigate scale and fit in well with existing context.”
Project plans also emphasized the site’s location in the Belltown neighborhood and the goal to create a pedestrian-friendly streetscape for day and night that invites interaction with the neighborhood via retail spaces that help enrich the local culture. With a highlight on the views afforded to the building site and the surrounding historic areas as well as access to transportation, the applicant states that the project’s design will establish a sense of identity for the residents and will create a new landmark within the neighborhood.
The project is located at the geographic center of Belltown, and the surrounding area includes Bell Street – a pedestrian street park – as well as Belltown Inn, The Rendezvous and Jewelbox Theater, Antioch University Seattle and the Elliott Bay ocean front. A number of residential buildings are also in the area. The project is also at the midway of public transit light rail lines between downtown and uptown, West Seattle and Capitol Hill.