By Jack Stubbs
Seattle’s Yesler Terrace neighborhood—which is east of downtown Seattle and Pioneer Square—has been in a state of transformation ever since the early 1940s when the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) began its redevelopment of the 30-acre area as the city’s first publicly-subsidized housing community.
And the SHA recently received a boost in its efforts to transform Yesler Terrace. On Wednesday, August 29th, a 127-unit development slated for the neighborhood was approved at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting. At the meeting, the applicant team presented preliminary project plans to the design review board on behalf of the Seattle Housing Authority. HEWITT is the architect/landscape architect on the project and Oakland, California-based Pyatok is the associate architect.
The project, called “Hinoki” and located at 110 10th Ave S., is comprised of three separate structures (ranging from five to seven stories) that will include 127 residential units and 67 parking stalls. The development will also include approximately 2,600 square feet of resident services, a 10,000 square foot courtyard and a 3,000 square foot P-Patch community garden. The project will include a variety of management offices, community rooms and bike parking.
Hinoki is the fourth phase of SHA’s redevelopment of Yesler Terrace and follows three other projects which include the under-construction Red Cedar project, which will include 119 units, and the existing Raven Terrace and 111-unit Hoa Mai Gardens building. According to the applicant’s submitted project plans, the main project goals of Hinoki are the establishment of the core values of the Yesler Terrace revitalization, which include social equity, economic opportunity, environmental stewardship and sustainability and one-for-one replacement housing.
Additionally, some of the programmatic objectives of the project include increasing residential density in the surrounding Yesler Terrace neighborhood, encouraging street-level interaction, providing units that allow residents access to light and air and creating a positive relationship to open spaces.
The applicant team’s preferred massing option reduces the development into three separate “blocks” to form a central residential courtyard and pocket park to the south of the site, and also incorporates a highly-visible residential entry along 10th Ave. The preferred option also provides a positive relationship to the existing Hoa Mai Gardens and the adjacent streetscape.
According to the Hinoki project lead at HEWITT, the board approved the applicant’s plans to move forward and also approved the the project team’s preferred massing option. The board also gave the applicant team feedback to consider in terms of improving the relationship between the three buildings and the various proposed open spaces.
The approval of SHA’s 127-unit development marks the latest chapter for Yesler Terrace, which has been evolving over the last several years. In 2006, SHA began a dialogue with community residents, surrounding neighbors and city officials to create a vision to transform Yesler Terrace into a model community, according to SHA’s web site, and the revitalization process officially began in 2013. When complete, Yesler Terrace will feature nearly 5,000 apartments in various individually-designed buildings, including 1,100 low-income units.
Along with Hinoki, there have been a number of other residential projects at Yesler Terrace approved in recent months. In mid-August, a 78-unit project located at 157-159 12th Ave. and designed by Workshop AD was approved at an EDG meeting. In late April 2018, a 6-story project located at 104 12th Ave. E—designed by NK Architects and developed by Centric LLC—that will include between 282 and 298 residential units and 12,400 square feet of retail was approved at an EDG meeting. And on August 8th, a 335-unit development designed by Ankrom Moisan and developed by Lowe Enterprises was approved at a Design Review Recommendation meeting. The nine-story project, called Block 5/Building A and located at at 209 12th Ave. South, comprises half of a larger two-part, 510-unit development undergoing design review.