Following this summer’s groundbreaking of a 265-unit student housing project next to The Burke Gilman Trail north of University of Washington, developer Phoenix Property Co. has begun its design approval process for the second phase of the project, bringing another 185 apartment units, parking and retail to the growing area east of the University Village shopping mall.
Located in the heart of the U District’s mixed-use neighborhood at 4907 25th Ave. NE, the multifamily project – called Trailside Phase II – was reviewed and approved by the Northeast Design Review Board at an Early Design Guidance meeting in July. The seven-story E-shaped apartment building would feature parking for up to 150 vehicles, 4500 square feet of retail space, as well as 6,000 square feet of amenities including a spacious lobby, sun terrace, study court and a dog run for residents. The project is being designed by Weber Thompson, with landscape architecture by Seattle-based Site Workshop.
Currently, the site is occupied by a single-story office building built in 1953, currently housing a Chase Bank branch and a two-story building housing the Seattle Children’s Autism Center. There are also 33 trees on the property, none of which have been deemed “exceptional” and some of which would remain on the property. The project site is bound by the Burke Gilman Trail and Seattle Public Utility property to the west, Trailside Phase I and the 235-unit Arista Apartments planned by Greystar to the south, a commercial development to the north and 25th Ave NE to the east.
The proposed massing along 25th Ave NE, where retail would be located, is modulated to ‘step-up’ from the lower buildings north of the site toward the taller building to the south. The entire building would be held back from 25th Ave. NE in order to accommodate a wider sidewalk. The lobby, flanked by a large open courtyard, would be located at the end of 24th Ave NE at NE 49th St, offering a visible entry point and anchoring the project.
As a sibling project, Trailside Phase II is meant to share amenity spaces with Trailside Phase I, which is replacing the old Trailside Apartments built back in 1959 in a partnership between Dallas-based Phoenix Property Co. and Seattle-based owner Trinity Partnership. The proposed design of Trailside Phase II echoes the massing and design language of its sister building.
However, the Board still felt that more could be done to create a connection between the two sites. They indicated that the preferred massing option could accommodate a better connection to the Trailside Phase I project, creating an inner corridor rather than a dead-end at the end of 24th Ave NE. In its discussion of the stylistic features of the proposed development, particularly the “lantern” lighting elements, the Board suggested that the design team play off, but not repeat exactly the lantern features, of Trailside Phase I.
Although the Board was supportive of the project vision overall, they requested to see more building modulation along the northern building edge as well as a refinement of the courtyard spaces, especially in how they could become an extension of the street. They also asked for additional details on bike access as well as the flow through the proposed entry plaza. Additionally, the Board urged the developer to create a solid waste room in order to avoid putting the trash outside. No public comments were offered at the meeting.
The driveway, located at NE 49th St, doesn’t have a clear line of site because of existing trees along 49th St NE, so the only departure requested was a multi-sensory approach warning pedestrians of cars exiting the driveway. The Board indicated its initial support of the departure request, but said they would like a better understanding of how it would work.
At the conclusion of the Early Design Guidance meeting, the Board recommended moving forward to the Master Use Permit application.