Home AEC Pryde Development Co. Moves Forward with Efforts to Build 18-Story Mass Timber...

Pryde Development Co. Moves Forward with Efforts to Build 18-Story Mass Timber High-Rise in Seattle’s First Hill Neighborhood

Pryde Development Company, Clark Barnes Architecture, 1422 Seneca, Seattle
Rendering Courtesy of Clark Barnes Architecture

By Meghan Hall

A multifamily development proposal set forth by Pryde Development Company and Seattle-based Clark Barnes Architecture has not just moved forward in the entitlements process, but grown in scale. Nearly a year after Pryde and Clark Barnes revealed designs for 1422 Seneca Street, a mass timber multifamily project, the development team returned again at the end of July to present plans to the design review board. Updated project documents now show that the development has increased in size from 12 to 18 stories and from 108 to 135 apartments, making it one of the tallest mass timber structures proposed in Seattle.

The project will replace an existing one-story dental office and associate parking lot with 68 small efficiency dwelling units (SEDUs) and 67 residential dwelling units. No commercial retail, no live-work units and no parking will be included in the project. Directly to the east, a 4,200 square foot property will be developed into a pocket park and public amenity space affiliated with the project.

The massing of the project is heavily influenced by the small 0.16-acre development site, as well as the development team’s goals of supporting existing mass transit infrastructure and public spaces. The property sits at the intersection of Seneca St., E. Union St. and Harvard Ave. in Seattle’s eclectic First Hill neighborhood. First Hill is home to a wide array of buildings including the Knights of Columbus building, the First Baptist Church and Seattle University. Just several blocks north sits the Pike/Pine neighborhoods and its main commercial corridor, filled with eateries like Salt & Straw, Redhook Brewlab and Harvard Market. Multiple transit stations, such as the Broadway and E. Pike Street Station, are within walking distance.

The triangular-shaped property allows for the building to step back from the adjacent streets. The building itself will rise 224 feet to the top of the penthouse and will be presented as a slender massing form with a simple articulation system, intended to further emphasize the slender and vertical nature of the tower.

1422 Seneca will be a Type IV-A mass timber structure, which requires a modular, gridded structural system. The building typology, which has been gaining traction in the Puget Sound, a building typology in which the main load-bearing structure of a project is solid or engineered wood. Seattle, with its proximity to the timber industry and the engineering talent needed to pursue this building type, is seen as an emerging leader in mass timber buildings. Recent changes to building codes in the state of Washington now allow for mass timber and cross-laminated buildings up to 18 stories, such as 1422 Seneca. If approved, the structure will also be one of the first mass timber projects to complete entitlements in the region.

“The team has selected mass timber as the structural system because it is a renewable material, reducing carbon footprint, and it is prefabricated,” explained Clark Barnes’ Associate Lauren Garkel at the development’s previous design meeting. “It lends itself to small, urban restricted sites, and it creates beautiful interiors.”

The mass timber will be visible throughout the development. The wood structure will be clad in a CLT wood veneer for interior expressions and exposed throughout the ground floor amenity space. A wood textured metal panel will be used on the exterior of the building in an effort to represent the mass timber structural system underneath. The grid will be recessed into large expanses of glazing at the ground floor, and the horizontal datum is thickened after the first level to provide a transition between lower and upper level uses.

“The current design is consistent with the preferred scheme at EDG that was supported by the board,” states project documents. “…All facades are being designed with high quality materiality, since this will be a prominent, iconic building in the neighborhood.” 

The 1422 Seneca St. project will continue through Seattle’s restructured design review process in the coming months and is awaiting the City’s written decision on its design schematics. The project team will continue to refine the design based on recommendations from the City as it prepares for groundbreaking and construction.