By Meghan Hall
More than two years and three Early Design Guidance meetings in the making, Stockholm-based Skanska is close to finalizing design plans for a 323-unit residential tower located in the heart of Belltown. The firm, along with VIA Architecture, GGLO and Grzywinski + Pons, presented finalized design schemes to the Downtown Design Review Board Tuesday night and received solid support from both the Board and greater community.
Located at 2208 4th Ave., plans for the development emerged in the fall of 2017, after Skanska purchased the two-parcel, 19,440 square foot property for $21.6 million. The development was most recently reviewed at an EDG meeting in August of 2018.
The most current iteration of the project is set to include 7,013 square feet of ground floor commercial space and 150 below-grade parking stalls in addition to the one- and two-bedroom residential units. A rooftop amenity space, complete with grass and seating, a great room and family play area are also planned.
The massing and design of the tower and podium will be interlocked with one another, but while the feel of the podium will be weighty and durable, the materials that compose the tower will be light and reflective. The development team maintained the simple, cohesive tower massing that the Board supported in the previous EDG meeting but provided additional detail as to how the windows would be articulated to further enhance the “interlocking” feel of the tower. Based on prior design guidance, the project team also further developed the ground-level façade by subdividing the building into smaller segments, utilizing various curtain wall treatments and incorporating exterior mezzanine and entrance vestibules.
The materiality of the building was also preserved from the previous EDG meeting, with selections made to create feelings of openness and tactility. A simple palette of metal and glass will be utilized on the exterior of the building, and the use of materials will transition from a highly divided tower typology at the base to an open topology at the top of the tower.
The project was unanimously approved by the Board, who believed the overall trajectory of the design was successful; the Board appreciated how the ground floor engaged the pedestrian realm and that the base of the building is historically compelling but also utilizes modern details to relate to the surrounding neighborhood. The Board liked the tower design and stated the development team broke down the massing of the project in an effective way. However, the decision to move forward with the design was predicated upon several conditions, including increasing the legibility of the northeast entry to the building through signage or other design strategies, reworking of the signage along Fourth Ave. and studying the use of the northwest entrance to make it more appealing.
The project will add to an array of towers currently planned for the Belltown neighborhood; according to City planning documents, there are four other towers located in the immediate vicinity of the Skanska project, including 2229 6th Ave., a eight-story data processing center, 303 Battery St., a 14-story residential building, and 2116 4th Ave., a 339-unit mixed-use tower called Arrivé. According to data provided by the development team, there are more than a dozen towers currently in the application and design review stages for development in Belltown, indicating that the neighborhood will continue its rapid densification over the next several years as projects are approved and delivered.