By Jack Stubbs
On Tuesday, August 28th, a 312-unit mixed-use project slated for downtown Seattle was unanimously approved at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting. At the meeting, Perkins+Will presented preliminary project plans to the downtown review board on behalf of developer Martin Selig Real Estate.
The 38-story project, called Third & Virginia and located at 1931 3rd Avenue in Belltown, will include 12 stories of office space, 26 levels of residential, street-level retail space, 104 parking stalls and rooftop amenity spaces. The .3-acre site is comprised of two parcels—bounded by 3rd Ave to the east and Virginia St. to the north—and an existing parking garage and office building will be demolished as part of the applicant’s project plans.
Beginning the applicant team’s presentation, Erik Mott of Perkins+Will discussed the neighborhood context around the project site and the primary development objectives, which are to create a tower that has an appropriate massing and facade in relation to the adjacent streetscape; improve the pedestrian experience through active street-level retail space; and create a development that successfully fits the current and historic Belltown neighborhood context.
The proposed tower located in close proximity to Seattle’s waterfront, Pike Place Market and Westlake Center. Additionally, the proposed tower is near several public parks and open spaces including Victor Steinbrueck Park, Regrade Park and Bell Street Park.
Mott also discussed its three proposed massing concepts for the tower and explained how the preferred option would provide the most effective transition from the streetscape to the building podium and build upon the character of existing buildings in Belltown. Mott emphasized how the preferred option would look to capitalize on transit-oriented opportunities along 3rd Ave and provide the most effective breakdown of commercial, residential and retail space, and also explained how the tower’s exterior facade and modulation would best fit with the adjacent streetscape.
There were a couple of public comments expressed during the meeting. A resident of the nearby Escala condominium expressed the importance of effective street-level uses and ground-level design and programming with the project, while another neighborhood resident echoed these concerns around street-level programming.
During its deliberation period, the board focused on how the applicant would program the residential, office and retail space in the mixed-use development and expressed its preliminary approval of the applicant’s preferred massing option. The board also recommended that the applicant work further on the tower’s street-level programming by adding landscaping elements.