By Meghan Hall
Plans are taking shape to transform an underutilized vehicle service center in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood into a sleek, ultra skinny high-rise. In a preliminary design presentation at the end of last year, the project team behind 2033 4th Ave. presented their plans for the project to the Downtown Design Review Board. The 45-story tower is a collaboration between Third Place Design Co-Operative and Noya Hill Real Estate Development Company, and is intended to be an ultra-modern addition to the city’s changing skyline.
With a lot size of just 6,000 square feet, the development team stated it was looking to pack a punch–not just in design, but also in size. Rising approximately 415 feet in height, the ground level of the building will contain bar space and an “inviting” hotel lobby. Levels two and three will provide amenity spaces such as gyms, kitchens, gathering spots and work hubs, while levels four through 11 will be designated for hotel use. Levels 13 through 44 will house apartment units. The units will be a mix of SEDUs and studios. The 45th floor will host a “spectacular” rooftop pool deck, spa and meditation space for residents, according to design documents.
In all, there will be about 99 hotel rooms and 224 residential units. 232 bike stalls are designated in the plans. No vehicle parking will be provided.
“What we’re looking to do is provide a contemporary tower that celebrates this tiny site,” explained the design team’s Heather Hargesheimer.
The project site is surrounded by a variety of uses and building sizes; nearby assets range from single-story retail spaces to multi-story office and residential to new construction high-rise. 2033 4th Avenue’s design will serve to enliven and enhance the neighborhood through its massing and materials selection.
“With the use of glazing and light, the contemporary design seeks to create harmony between the existing historical buildings, the more creative existing buildings, such as the Cinerama and the upcoming designs proposed around this changing neighborhood,” project documents state.
The design team presented several different massing schemes to the Review Board, but it was the preferred alternative that stuck. Dubbed “Big Wave,” the scheme will employ a modulated facade design, with various levels shifted “in” and “out” to break up the bulk and scale of the building. The tower itself will be “razor” thin, a contrast to the “forest of thicker buildings” in the surrounding neighborhood, state the project’s plans. The tower will be clad in a window wall and fixed glazing to create transparency. Fritted glazing–which can add color to the facade–will also be considered.
In its deliberations, the Board backed the design team’s preferred option and noted that if the current design remained largely unchanged, the tower would be the first ultra skinny highrise in the city of Seattle. The Board also stated in its deliberations that it appreciated the design and the efforts made to create a useful development on a very narrow and slender project site.
However, there were concerns raised by SDOT about site circulation, traffic through the alley, valet parking and vehicle loading. The Board also asked for further clarification on the tectonics of the articulation, and how the project’s facade will prevent glare and solar reflection. The Board also noted that while the entrance was well-highlighted, there was little differentiation between the base of the building and the tower.
At the end of the meeting, the Board recommended moving the project forward, allowing the development team to pursue a Master Use Permit. The team will return in the coming months to present more finalized plans to the Seattle community.