By Jack Stubbs
A 140-unit multifamily project has been unanimously given the green light to continue to the next stage of the design process by the Northeast Design Review board.
On Monday September 25th, an Early Design Guidance Meeting was held for the Roosevelt Multi-Family project. Along with developer White/Peterman Properties Inc, the applicant team is comprised of B+H Architects, landscape architect Weisman Design Group, structural engineer SCA Consulting Engineers, civil engineer KPFF Consulting Engineers, and traffic engineer the Transpo Group. The 7-story property is White/Peterman Properties Inc.’s fifth project in the Seattle area and the second in Seattle proper, according to executive vice president Tim Connelly.
The board from the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection approved the applicant’s preferred third massing option. The board articulated several conditions and priorities for the applicant to incorporate into the project plans moving forward, such as concerns about the building materials, the building’s height, bulk and scale, as well as concerns around the project’s impact on the surrounding streetscape.
The development, which sits on roughly 19,050 square feet of land, also includes bicycle parking for thirty-five bicycles and ninety below-grade vehicle parking spots. The structure will be comprised of a variety of unit types, from studio to two-bedroom units. Notably, all of the units will provide access to an open rooftop amenity space.
The site is located at 6300 9th Ave NE in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood, situated in between the Green Lake and Ravenna neighborhoods. The site is currently occupied by The Seattle Healing Arts building, which would be demolished as part of the development plans. The property is currently surrounded by a surface parking lot to the west; single-story family homes to the south; and 3-story town homes immediately to the north.
Elaborating upon the opportunities and constraints of the project site, Eva Talbot of B+H architects noted that the project aims to “embrace and elevate the existing Roosevelt neighborhood’s architectural character,” which, according to its proposal, is comprised of “traditional forms and simple materiality.” Some of the neighborhood’s highlights are its “lush landscape, unique alley activation and eccentric architecture,” according to Talbot. One of the project’s opportunities is its proximity to transit options, with several bus lines and the light rail station (opening in 2021) connecting the Roosevelt neighborhood to downtown and neighborhoods to the north.
Talbot also articulated several design guidelines that the development plans aim to take into account, including the its urban pattern and form, its architectural concept, and an open space concept, street-level interaction and active transportation options. The open space concept was particularly important, with Talbot noting that each of the three massing options presented are oriented around a common courtyard, a feature that would encourage street-level interaction.
The applicant presented three massing options to the board, with the third preferred option ultimately being approved. Some of the opportunities of the third massing option include a quiet courtyard entry more appropriate for predominantly single-family units, street access for some of the ground-level units, and a private open space between the residential uses and street, which would further activate the streetscape, according to the project proposal.
With the preferred massing option, the applicant “embraced a more traditional layout that you find throughout the Roosevelt neighborhood,” according to Talbot. Nick Hagan, principal at Weisman Design Group, added how that project allowed for an activation of the alleyways with various landscaping options, an important element of the Roosevelt neighborhood that would allow the project to be more integrated.
No departures were requested for any of the three massing options.
Some of the board’s primary preoccupations expressed during their feedback session included concerns over how the project would be integrated into the neighborhoods to the north, and how there was a prominent lack of access to the residential units from 63rd Avenue.
In the public comment section of the meeting, one of the neighbors expressed a concern that the board had earlier articulated about the development’s potential to activate the streetscape. “The thing that really concerns me is the streetscape,” the neighbor said. “Having access to a street that can be occupied [is important] and gives neighbors a chance to interact…even if you have to lose one of the residential units on street level,” she added. However, she also voiced her approval for the preferred massing options saying that “the massing and modulation seems really interesting, the entry courtyard is lovely.” Another neighbor expressed his approval of the project, saying, “I am really excited about this building, the massing looks great.” However, he also added three general comments for consideration, including a focus on quality materials, avoiding white vinyl windows on the building’s exterior, and ensuring that exterior material colors remained consistent.
During the panel’s deliberation, member Eric Blank brought up the project’s respect for the adjacent properties, the importance of engaging the streetscape and the need for the applicant to use quality materials during construction, saying that they would need to be “durable, strong and used with care,” adding that “the neighborhood calls for this, regardless of expense.”
The board also gave feedback on the applicant’s preferred third massing concept, with board member Brian Bishop expressing his approval, saying, “I like what the preferred concept is doing.” Ivana Begley also voiced her support for the third massing option. “Far and away, it’s preferred, and is more respectful [than the other massing options] to the neighborhoods to the north,” she said.
However, Eric Blank also expressed concerns that none of the three massing concepts presented included any departures, adding that this was a “missed opportunity to get [the board’s] feedback on potential departures.”
The project was approved to proceed to the next stage in the design process, pending the applicant’s consideration of the various conditions set forth by the board.