By Joe Veyera
A proposal to build an eight-story apartment complex with nearly 100 units just north of the Interbay Golf Center was well received in its return to the West Design Review Board on Wednesday night.
The plan for 3008 16th Ave. W. had gotten favorable feedback during an early design guidance meeting in February, but faced three new board members as architects sought final approval.
Urbal Architecture principal Chad Lorentz said the project was driven by three points, unchanged from the last meeting; enhancing the dead end that separates the alley on the back end of the property from 15th Avenue West to make it safer and improve the pedestrian experience, taking advantage of the site’s “peninsula,” which allows for unobstructed views on three sides, and creating a “jewel box,” through the development’s massing and building materials to float above the solid, recessed base.
The plan calls for the lobby and four loft units at ground level along 16th Avenue West, with a fitness center on the second floor, and studio, one, and two-bedroom units on floors three through eight. That top level also includes a common lounge and patio space, with a deck and patio on the roof as well. Parking for up to 45 vehicles is included in a garage on the first two levels; 30 on the first with the use of a stacking system, and another 15 on the next floor, with separate entries for both.
The presence of the Interbay Athletic Complex directly to the west of the site — and how the field lights would affect the units at night — was also a factor in the design. It was something planners noticed after one visit, arriving after dark only to see those lights switched on minutes later.
“You watched everyone [at a nearby apartment complex] pull their shades down, and it became a blank façade, so we really took that to heart,” Lorentz said.
In turn, the layout of the units and the placement of their windows are meant to shade the apartments from that direct glare. Those windows are also mirrored from one another, and combine with minor recesses and the choice of building materials to activate the façade.
Those elements all earned positive feedback from the board, while much of the deliberation Wednesday regarded a detail that had also drawn attention during early design guidance. Concerned remained from members about the building’s north side, a blank wall for those approaching the site along 16th Avenue West.
Lorentz explained the choice, saying both the apartment signage and a vertical art piece that would tie into that branding will serve as an effective way finding feature.
“We actually think that the blank façade is a real important feature of this building,” he said.
The board, however, wanted more specifics for what that would look like.
“Right now, they’re kind of asking for an open license to do whatever, once they resolve their brand, and this is a major component of this project,” said board member Stephen Porter.
Though a living wall was found to be ultimately unviable by the planners, the board asked that the art element be based on the wilderness concept that informed the site’s landscape approach. The planting design emphasizes Northwest native species — many of which attract birds, butterflies, and bees — in response to feedback provided in February.
The board also okayed a trio of zoning departures, including one that allows for the two parking garage access points — one off of the alley, one off West Barrett Street — and another regarding the eighth floor lounge and patio. With the size of the patio smaller than the minimum to be considered an “amenity area,” the board was in favor of plans for an articulated, transparent wall that would connect the space to the lounge, allowing for the flexibility of both indoor and outdoor uses.
After Wednesday’s meeting, the plan now awaits final corrections by project architects, after which the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections will publish its final decision and issue a master use permit.
Syndicated from The Queen Anne News.