Is a large mixed-use apartment building really moving forward during the down economy? We’ll all have an opportunity to ask that question and take a peek at how it might look at a design review scheduled for next Wednesday.
Plans call for 95 apartments to be placed in a six-story building with underground parking and ground-floor retail. The project documents mention the need for a contract rezone on the site, but the reason for that is not entirely clear since the property is zoned NC3-65, which should already allow for a six-story mixed use building.
The project site is currently home to a very large, very deep hole that will presumedly become the underground garage of the new structure. It was previously home to an old brick auto shop on the corner and a single-family home and apartment building on the parcels to the south along Broadway. Those were demolished earlier this year and contaminated soils under the old garage were dug up and removed.
Here’s some shots of what-was from Google Streetview that we’ll try to preserve for posterity:
Demolished Auto Shop at Broadway & Jefferson
Demolished home & apartments from 400 block of Broadway
The developer, Lorig Associates, states that a rezone is sought in order to permit a building a little taller than the current zoning allows (Part of the site is zoned to allow 65 feet.) In brief, the reason stated for the need for more height is to allow ground-floor design that is more friendly to the streets — Jefferson and Broadway.
A site like this with significant elevation changes presents challenges. In fact, this site, several years ago with a different developer, went through early design guidance. One of the issues presented then was the extent to which Jefferson would have pedestrian-related entrances and uses as opposed to blank walls and/or parking garage entrances. The July 15 Early Design Guidance meeting will be a good place to see how the current developer plans to treat Jefferson — and a good place for neighbors to state what they think is important about the building’s design.
“Is a large mixed-use apartment building really moving forward during the down economy?”
With the cost of renting an apartment here in Seattle, I should hope so. Apartment buildings are like a license to print money! I think the slowdown in new construction is a sign of how dependent on credit the developers were/are to get these projects going.
Whether they can find retail to fill the street-level spaces is an entirely different question. But I always get excited about new apartment buildings, because more rental units in the area mean my rent won’t go up so much.
The 500 block of Broadway is a mess. The removal of the old buildings was a blessing; the abandoned houses that used to sit along the 400 block were a haven for squatters and drug users. Unfortunately, the apartment complex on top of The Imperial Grocery at 502 Broadway is still one of the large crack cocaine hotspots for the area, and the landlord does nothing to help abate the continuous flow of narcotics foot traffic in and out of the area. An influx of pro-social people and business might help push some of the nastier elements out.
I think it’ll help. At the very least by tying together the new apartments and condos which have been built east of Broadway, with the older apartments and offices west of Broadway. The block between Broadway and 10th has been a pretty big dead zone, in what is otherwise a rapidly awakening area. This should help fill that hole, and put more citizen eyes on the street.
I mean, this is one of the few places in Seattle where you can’t even buy a mocha without walking several blocks. New street-level retail should solve that problem quickly.
Does four blocks count as ‘several’? If so, I’m in another rare part of Seattle with no convenient mocha.
Had a certain charm to it. That said, great to see that block come alive again.