Home AEC T Property Investments’ Proposal for 391-Unit Apartment Building in Seattle to Return...

T Property Investments’ Proposal for 391-Unit Apartment Building in Seattle to Return for Second EDG Meeting

Seattle, Puget Sound, Squire Park, T Property Investments LLC, MG2 Design, Medium, Portland, Washington Hall, Mt. Rainier

By Kate Snyder

A project that would bring hundreds of apartments to Seattle’s Squire Park neighborhood will take a little longer to move through the design process. During an early design guidance meeting on Thursday, the Central Area Design Review Board voted to have a proposal for a nine-story, 391-unit multifamily complex come back for a second EDG meeting.

The project developer is T Property Investments, LLC, project plans show. The architect is Seattle-based MG2 Design, and the landscape architect is Medium, which is based in Portland.

The site is located at 1203 E Spruce St. 12th Avenue is directly west of the site and E Spruce Street sits to the north, providing the longest frontage of the proposed project, plans show. To the east lies residential neighborhoods, community gardens and immediate adjacencies to historic Washington Hall. E Fir Street is located south of the site along with new mid-rise construction and distant views to Mt. Rainier.

“Our objective for the site and kind of our theme for the site is all about transitions,” said Eli Hardi, project Manager at MG2 Design.

The proposed design of the project is focused on integrating itself within the surrounding context as well as improving the pedestrian experience by responding with the appropriate scale, design and cultural history of the neighborhood, plans show. Design goals for the project include establishing massing that supports the transition of zones and neighborhoods as well as using a blend of traditional and modern materials to address the area’s historic presence and acknowledge the evolving neighborhood. The design team is also attempting to use appropriate facade modulation, textural changes and patterning to reduce the enormity of the building mass and create an appropriate pedestrian-friendly scale.

Hardi told board members that one of the major challenges was the changes in the grade of the property.

“I want to highlight the major physical feature of the site being the grade,” he said. “When we go from northwest to northeast, we lose about 15 feet. Northeast to southeast, we lose another 11 feet. Going all the way across the site, we lose nearly 25 feet. So when you start on one end of the block, you’re not always going to see the same thing when you get to the end, and that is a challenge we had to confront in the size and the scope of this site.”

The design team presented three massing concepts to the board. The first, Scheme A, features massing that steps down to meet the scale of the lower intensity zone and the adjacent residential neighborhood as well as an upper floor setback along E Spruce Street and 12th Avenue that creates an additional layer of engagement from residential units along the retail zone. However, that option’s massing on the east side also extends the full heights allowed by zoning, which creates an imposing east frontage adjacent to the lower intensity zones. Scheme B breaks up the enormity of the frontage along E Spruce by creating distinct massings, and a taller podium presence along E Spruce Street assists in minimizing pinch points due to grade. But Scheme B’s dual massings minimize the opportunity for smaller and more varied modulations encouraged by Central Area Neighborhood Guidelines.

The preferred option, Scheme C, has a frontage on the east side of the building that is carved to allow for light and green space and features an open courtyard through a breezeway, providing opportunities for greater amenities and public interaction.

All board members were in favor of the applicant’s preferred massing. However, when the board took an initial vote, the result was a tie – two board members were in favor of moving the project forward to a recommendation meeting and two wanted it to return for another EDG meeting. The board’s biggest concern with the design was the need for a further breakdown of the massing related to connectivity between the building portions and the greater surrounding area. Particularly the board wanted more details on how the building would interact with the adjacent Washington Hall. The board also wanted to see further refinement of the preferred massing concept. Board members discussed for a time whether the project should move forward or return before eventually deciding that it should come back for a second EDG meeting.