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Vulcan’s Central District Mixed-Use Project Receives Approval From Seattle’s Design Board To Move Forward

Vulcan 2309 South Jackson Street Central District Seattle Runberg Architecture Group Central Area Youth Association Hewitt Architects
Rendering Courtesy of Runberg Architecture Group

By Kristin Bentley

Vulcan Inc. and Seattle-based Runberg Architecture Group received a motion by Seattle’s design board to move forward in the review process on its large multi-use project in the city’s Central District neighborhood. Following the second early design guidance meeting, held Tuesday, will be an upcoming recommendation meeting, where the team will present its final design to the board and public.

The site is on the southeast intersection of South Jackson Street and 23rd Avenue South, located at 2309 South Jackson Street. The proposed five to seven-story project will provide 570 residential units, of which 113 will be affordable, above approximately 40,000 square feet of retail space along South Jackson Street and 23rd Avenue South. Other amenities include a three block walk-through connection, courtyard, shared community room and garden space.

Vulcan seems to be on the right track, but we have to work with them and give our input

“The gateway on Jackson and 23rd is a great ample opportunity for retail, to have an open space and a hub of its own,” said Brian Runberg of Runberg Architecture Group. “The mid-block plaza can also become one of the focal points to the project and its residents to spill out and to engage the community at large.”

Kris Snider, a senior principal for Hewitt Architects, Inc. and landscape architect on the project, added that equally important to the project is the landscaping, or connective tissue, that ties the different areas together. “There’s a lot going on, with all of the commercial and residential entries into the building, but tying it all together is the open spaces,” said Snider.

According to Runberg, the cost for the proposed project is in the mid six figures, which has allowed for a budget to incorporate local artists’ cultural artwork throughout the project, as well as infuse quality materials that will provide color, pattern and texture. Providing jobs and infiltrating a greater sense of community were some key factors the board had asked the team to address during the first early design meeting. The ground level grocery store and mid-size to micro retail spaces and will help to provide these needed jobs to the neighborhood.

Also in adherence with the design board’s recommendations at the first early design guidance meeting, the team redesigned the architecture to soften the lines of the buildings in order to prevent the development from overwhelming the neighborhood with tall straight exterior walls. Instead, the walls will now taper back, creating a more open and airy feel that provides more sunlight. Changes were also made to the sidewalks and the open public spaces, which were enlarged to create more streetscape interaction and engagement with the public.

Beginning in 2013, Vulcan has engaged with the Central District community and local organizations in order to receive feedback, address concerns and to answer questions regarding the project. Several members of these organizations, such as the Central Area Youth Association (CAYA), which hosted Tuesday’s meeting, voiced their appreciation to the board that evening. “This is our 53rd year of being in existence here in Seattle, and we’re very proud of what we do,” said Joseph Staton, the executive director of CAYA. “I think we should put ourselves into this project as a community. My organization needs this partnership in our community, helping our youth, in order to stay here. Vulcan seems to be on the right track, but we have to work with them and give our input. Change is happening and there is nothing we can do about it. We can either fight it, or we can become a part of it.”