By Jack Stubbs
Changes are afoot in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, with a 170-foot, 249,000 square foot high-rise development recently approved for the next stage of the Design Review process.
On Thursday, October 17th, a Design Review Recommendation (DRR) meeting was held for a mixed-use project in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. This was the third meeting held for the project, with a first Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting held in March 2016 and a second EDG meeting held in January 2017.
The applicant, Las Vegas, Nevada-based Molasky Group of Companies, is co-developing the project with another entity to be decided in the coming months, according to a source at Molasky Group. Molasky was represented at the meeting by Charles Wallace, project manager at Caron Architecture.
The property, at 2121 and 2115 5th Ave., is located in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood and set on a 12,972 square-foot site, which is bounded by existing buildings to the north and south. Included in the project will be approximately 119 residential units, 207 hotel rooms and approximately 121 on-site parking spaces. There will also a 6,465 square foot lobby and residential amenity area on ground-level as well as a 3,240 square-foot restaurant and retail area planned to activate the streetscape on 5th Avenue.
The project site is currently occupied by single-story buildings—planned to be demolished as part of the proposal—and is adjacent to The Martin, a new residential tower. Several proposed and recently-completed developments are located in the immediate vicinity of the site, with the Pike Place Market Historic District located only a few blocks away. The monorail fronts the site along 5th Avenue.
The applicant addressed several design guideline concerns that were brought up at the previous EDG meeting in January, including the project’s streetscape, the location and articulation of the restaurant on the street level, canopies on the building as well as the transition between the building’s lower levels and the adjacent sidewalk and monorail. Other design concerns addressed by the applicant included the building’s structural and architectural massing.
When the Downtown Design Review Board asked clarifying questions about the project, central concerns focused on the materials used on the building’s exterior and entrances and the building elevation. One board member also emphasized the importance that the applicant consider the relationship between the proposed development and The Martin, citing potential privacy issues with the placement of the windows. The board also asked the applicant to conduct privacy studies around the sightline between the two projects. Additionally, one board member asked whether the hotel lobby area would be accessible and usable for the public.
There was no public comment at the meeting.
During the deliberation period, the board again highlighted the relationship between the ground-floor retail and amenity area and the surrounding streetscape on 5th Avenue. The board also encouraged the applicant to be mindful of congestion issues around the building entrances. The board approved of the building’s massing but asked the applicant to consider changing their the material choice for the building’s exterior.
The board voted unanimously to advance the project, and the applicant will now await a decision on their Master Use Permit application from the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection in the coming months.