Home AEC Two-Building, 175-Unit Development in Seattle’s North Rainier Neighborhood Approved at Early Design...

Two-Building, 175-Unit Development in Seattle’s North Rainier Neighborhood Approved at Early Design Guidance Meeting

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Seattle, Runberg Architecture Group, Downtown Emergency Service Center, Lotus Development Partners, Nakano Associates, Early Design Guidance
Rendering courtesy of Runberg Architecture Group

By Jack Stubbs

A development that will provide supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals was recently given the green light in the city’s design review process.

On Tuesday, April 24th, a project that consists of two 6-story apartment buildings—which combined will provide 175 units of housing—in Seattle’s north Rainier neighborhood was approved at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting. At the meeting, project applicant Runberg Architecture Group presented preliminary plans to the southeast review board on behalf of the owner and developer of the project. The Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), an organization that provides integrated services including housing, emergency shelter, crisis intervention and healthcare to the homeless population, is the owner of the project, and Lotus Development Partners is the developer. Landscape architect Nakano Associates is also on the project team.

The two-building development, located at 1911-1923 22nd Ave. S., will consist of approximately 175 units of permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals, along with 29 below-grade parking stalls roughly 30,000 square feet dedicated to clinic use. The project site consists of two adjacent parcels, and the development will be constructed in two phases: the north portion will provide 85 units of housing and ground-floor amenities and the south portion will provide 90 units of housing and clinic space. The project also includes a courtyard area that will connect the two sites. The site is currently occupied by a two-story retail/warehouse structure and a two-story residential building, both of which would be demolished as part of the applicant’s project plans.

At the meeting, Runberg Architecture reviewed the neighborhood context around the site, discussed the city design guidelines that the project hopes to meet and also discussed the three different massing options for the two buildings.

The board ultimately approved the project to proceed to the next stage of the design review process, but also highlighted several design elements for the applicant team to consider moving forward, according to Bryan Stevens, customer service manager with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. Specifically, the board had concerns with the overall massing of the structure and recommended that the applicant work on breaking down the scale by refining the exterior facade.

Additionally, the board approved both of the applicant’s departure requests concerning the specifications around the attached clinic space and amenity area. The applicant also informed the board of their intentions to opt into HALA/MHA, which would allow them to take advantage of the additional floor area in the development and quality for Administrative Design Review.