By Jack Stubbs
Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood has experienced no shortage of changes over the last several months, and a new two-part development is officially on the way to the up-and-coming neighborhood.
On Tuesday, May 1st, a two-building development—which in total will contain 135 units—was approved by the southeast review board at an Early Design Guidance (EDG) meeting. At the meeting, the applicant, architect Bumgardner, presented preliminary project plans to the board on behalf of the developer, Pacific Housing NW. Karen Kiest Landscape Architects is also on the project team.
The in-the-works development includes two projects that are envisioned to be developed simultaneously. “Colina East,” located at 2709 17th Ave S., calls for the construction of a 6-story structure that will include 95 units, 1,500 square feet of ground-level commercial space and 39 parking stalls. The adjacent “Colina West,” located at 2710 Beacon Ave S., proposed a 6-story structure that will include 40 residential units and 4,560 square feet of ground-level retail space.
Both undertakings are next to the Denning Apartments (a project previously developed by Pacific Housing NW) and hope to capitalize on their proximity to the adjacent light rail station.
The overarching goal with the two-part development is to “connect the dots” between the three buildings and enhance the pedestrian experience along the adjacent streetscape, particularly along Beacon Avenue South, a prominent thoroughfare in the neighborhood.
The board expressed its overall approval of the projects, according to Bryan Stevens, customer service manger and media relations with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. The board supported the overall massing of the two-building project, which includes a courtyard area adjacent to the entrance to the Beacon Hill Light Rail Station. In preparation for the EDG meeting, the applicant team collaborated on the project plans with Sound Transit and various neighborhood groups, which resulted in the inclusion of commercial space and green space at the northern end of the site adjacent to the Roberto Maestas Plaza.
In terms of feedback for the project plans, the board recommended that the applicant work carefully on the development of the south end of Colina West due to the site’s location at the corner of Beacon Ave. S. and S. McClellan St. The board expressed concerns about safety issues associated with the alleyway between the two projects, and recommended that the applicant work on successfully activating this area of the project site, which will house the leasing office for the two buildings.
During the public comment period of the meeting, community members and representatives from Sound Transit commended the community outreach that the applicant team had conducted throughout the design process. Comments also requested that the applicant pay special attention to the treatment of the blank walls and that the applicant be mindful of light pollution along 17th Avenue South, which is adjacent to a single-family property.