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Proposed 162-Residence Building in Seattle’s South Lake Union Neighborhood to Return for Further Design Review

South Lake Union, Seattle, Amazon, Tarragon, Weinstein A+U, Museum of History and Industry, West Design Review Board, 701 Valley St.
Image Credit: Weinsten A+U

By Meghan Hall

The South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle is by far one of the City’s most popular districts for both work and play; the Museum of History and Industry, numerous bars and restaurants, and major employers like Amazon call South Lake Union home. Infill development is becoming increasingly common as space is eagerly snapped up. For Tarragon LLC and Weinstein A+U, progress on their proposed 15-story multi-family residential building at 701 Valley St. will come slowly, as the development team was asked to return for an additional design review by the West Design Review Board at the end of 2018.

The proposed development would be approximately 145,000 square feet and contain around 162 residential units, including on-site building management and leasing offices. Amenities include a residential lobby, fitness area and dog run on the first floor, along with a private outdoor terrace on the second floor. Additional amenity spaces on the roof, including an indoor/outdoor garden with operable glass walls and kitchen, are also hashed out in the plans. The development team also plans to include 64 underground parking spaces as part of the project. Currently, the site is developed with a two-story office building, which was constructed in 1937.

In response to previous design guidance, the development team created a more slender tower to minimize the profile of the building as seen from Aurora Ave. N. and Queen Anne Hill. A step in the building’s massing at the rooftop also creates an east-oriented roof terrace and the entirety of the building itself is divided into masses which shift in response to the site’s topography. The design team sought to differentiate individual residential by utilizing opaque panels and large windows. The common areas, such as the corridors, the residential lobby and rooftop amenities are all recessed and contrasted with a slightly different materials palette of glass and aluminum.

Image Credit: Weinsten A+U

During November’s meeting, the Board was supportive of the overall changes that had been made since the development’s last design meeting, including the glazing of the vertical gasket above the roof terrace, and the fenestration in the design. However, the Board had several concerns regarding the materiality of the building. While they supported the integral color of the building in the fiber cement panels and the use of white and grey, the Board found the use of cement product on a tower unusual. The Board asked the design team to provide documentation on how well the cement fiber will maintain its white color over time, as well as additional details on how the materials terminate and relate to its street-level environment.

The Board also expressed concern regarding the tower’s residential entry and lack of transparency, stating that the development “needs a better resolution at the ground plane,” according to City documents.

No public comments were offered at the meeting, and at the end of the Initial Recommendation Meeting, the Board asked the development team to return for further design review in the coming months.