By Meghan Hall
A new residential project pitched for Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood intends to add some spunk to an area already known for its off-beat, eclectic character. At a design review meeting in mid-June, Liv Communities, in conjunction with Ankrom Moisan Architects, presented updated plans for 2224 2nd Avenue: an eight-story, 180-unit apartment building with retail. The project, according to public documents, will strive not just to add density to Belltown, but add to the neighborhood’s eclectic character and vibrancy through design.
“The project provides much needed housing and thoughtfully scaled density that supports a pedestrian oriented lifestyle and fosters experiences at the scale of the Belltown urban village,” the project team explains in design documents. “Generously sized amenity spaces, many with sweeping views of Elliot Bay and the adjacent skyline, provide residents with places to congregate, socialize, and entertain.”
The ground level commercial area will total 9,000 square feet and will be divided to accommodate an array of shops, bars and restaurants. A lounge and double-height coworking space will overlook an adjacent park at the ground level, as well. The project will also include a roof deck and event space on the eighth level and 92 below-grade parking stalls.
Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood is known for its artsy vibe, trendy shops and eateries, nightclub scene and array of music venues. Olympic Sculpture Park, with outdoor art, and the Crocodile, a well-known rock venue, are staples in the district, which is one of the most densely populated in Seattle.
The design scheme presented at the June design review was a further evolved rendition of the project team’s “Funky Base” concept that was initially revealed to the public several months prior at an early design guidance meeting. Since the project’s previous design review, 2224 2nd Ave.’s massing scheme has been refined. At its core, the building’s design will feature a more classic tripartite façade with a clear base, middle and top. A one-story masonry base will act as an ode to the neighborhood’s original development patterns, while the second story will be set back, providing a visual break between the ground floor retail and apartments on the remaining levels. An additional setback at the eight level will work to further reduce the perceived bulk and scale of the building, while balconies arranged across the 2nd Ave. frontage will provide additional visual interest.
The materiality of the building is inspired by outfits seen around the Belltown neighborhood. Materials chosen are meant to represent layered garments, with a rougher overcoat revealing more playful and colorful layers underneath. Materials for the ground level and retail facades will include masonry materials while window bays will feature a dark brick. Customizable metal canopies and paintable storefront surrounds will provide variety. Signage would be inspired by other neighborhood shops and eateries, such as Yard Dog, Enjoy Co. and Neon Boots. Upper level materials will feature vertically oriented metal panels and ceramic coated panels of varying colors.
“At the ground level, materials selections for the retail podium convey a sense of heft, honor the spirit of the neighborhood, and provide opportunities for flexibility and customization by future commercial tenants,” design documents state. “At the upper levels, material selections follow a similar two bay organization and have been selected to accentuate the layered massing strategy recalling an outer garment and underlayer.”
Additionally, alley-facing retail spaces will step inwards to create alcoves and opportunities for outdoor seating. Steel concrete panels will also be included on the alley façade, as will a smooth concrete wall painted with themed graphics by local artists.
Liv Communities filed its initial plans with the City of Seattle back in March 2019. According to previous industry reporting, the project is one of Liv Communities’’ first projects in the Pacific Northwest. Timing for the construction and delivery of 2224 Second Ave. is unclear but will depend on the project team’s ability to procure remaining entitlements moving forward.