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1020 E_unionppunc Edg Letter

1020 E_unionppunc Edg Letter

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Published by: Chs Blog on Mar 22, 2012
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21 March, 2012To: Lisa RutzickPlanner, Seattle DPDCc: Diane Sugimura, Director Seattle DPDDennis Meier DPD staff, Rebecca Herzfeld Council Central Staff,Seattle City Councilmembers Rasmussen, Conlin, Clark, Burgess, Bagshaw, Godden,Harrell, Licata, O’Brien,Re: Project No. 3013040, 1020 East Union StreetEarly Design Guidance March 21, 2012 Dear Ms. Rutzick,We the undersigned, members of Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council, haveserious concerns about the Design Proposal for 1020 East Union Early DesignGuidance (EDG) as indicated in the developer’s ‘preferred option’ in the EDG packetcurrently available on the City of Seattle web site. The one-acre site, comprised of seven parcels fronting on three streets, presents a significant opportunity in thisdistrict to explore the combination of preservation with the substantial addition of new density on the same site in a profitable way. This project sets a majorprecedent for interpretation and application of the conservation overlay in Pike/Pine.We urge the Design Review Board to require the Development Team to return for asecond EDG meeting with (three) alternative massing proposals addressing optionsfor greater preservation of the character structures on the site. There is a nearbyprecedent for requiring a second EDG: 1406 East Republican, Project No. 3012837,is returning for its second EDG review regarding massing and scale at its site. (Thismeeting will in fact take place immediately after tonight’s review of 1020 E. Union.)1020 East Union is a much larger project, and it is sited within a ConservationOverlay district.PPUNC, community stakeholders and City staff have invested many years of workinto the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay and related legislation. We know the intentof the neighborhood in developing this legislation. We don’t find this proposeddevelopment to be consistent with the desired results of the legislation. We believethere are reasonable alternatives to advance some of these objectives, and we urgethe Board to require the developer and design team to explore them. PPUNC isavailable and willing to discuss options with the development team prior to itssubmitting a revised EDG packet.First and foremost, we are concerned about the proposed demolition of three of fourcharacter structures on the site with only token retention of the façade of onebuilding. Code sections 23.41.014.B.3.f and 23.41.014.B.4 relating to DesignReview and the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District established in Section23.73.004, require that… “…if a character structure is located on the same lot as a proposed project, theapplicant shall provide at least one alternative development concept that maintainsthe character structure's key architectural and structural elements and the integrityof the character structure.” We would like to see a serious exploration of alternatives for conserving not only the proposed structure, but also the PravdaBuilding and the Madison Park Annex Building at a second EDG meeting.
 Awarding a residential density bonus to the developer for the entire site, based onthe current proposal, without a more in depth look at potentially conserving at leastone entire building seems out of proportion to the scale of the neighborhood. Theintent of the Conservation Overlay is to conserve as many of the character buildingsin the district as possible and to retain preserve the Auto Row granularity of scalethat exists in the neighborhood. Any pre-1940’s building in the district contributes toits character and is potentially worthy of retention. The Listed Character Buildingsidentified by the Department of Neighborhoods survey are buildings that have beendeemed worthy of higher scrutiny. The list does not imply that the community hasdetermined the rest of the character structures are not desirable for retention.With respect to the developers’ argument that retaining the existing buildings willwork at cross-purposes with creating a pedestrian-friendly environment: Theneighborhood is full of successfully rehabbed buildings with retail that isn’t level withthe sidewalk, to wit Elliott Bay Books, Oddfellows Café, Trace Lofts with Rex andHigh Five, and Melrose Market, among others. The Madison Park Group Buildingcalled out for façade conservation has high windows along the Union St Façade, infact higher than the Pravda windows, and a basement above grade just like thePravda Building which is called out for demolition. These facades of these buildingscould be altered – for example window openings enlarged and steps inserted in away that both retains character and functions very well for restaurant and retailuses, and there potentially could be other active street level uses with communityapproval.The facades of the existing buildings running along E. Union from 10
to 11
, arepart of the current neighborhood character, despite the designers implying in theEDG packet that this frontage would be ‘unforgiving”. At the same time, thedevelopers propose a truly unforgiving blank façade, one-block wide (from 10
) and seven-stories high, on the North side of the project for the rest of theneighborhood to gaze out upon. The proposed massing overwhelms the retainedcharacter façade of the Madison Park Group building, in spite of the proponents’ stated desire not to do so.The full-block blank wall proposed for the north façade of the development isunprecedented in the Pike-Pine Neighborhood. The developers’ assumptions aboutpotential future development to the north of this site are unrealistic, and theneighboring property owner to the North is willing to work with this developer tofacilitate a different approach. There are no immediate plans to redevelop theproperty adjoining to the North, mid-block, and the properties facing Pike Street onthe North frontage of the block have recently been conserved and will not be re-developed in the near future.Please require the design team to relate their proposal drawings to existingconditions on and around the site, rather than to a hypothetical developmentenvelope. A better example for the North Façade would be the South elevations of the buildings along the South Side of the 1100 block of East Pike – see photos inattached image packet..The required 40-foot spacing between towers above 35 feet is subject to departurewith community support, particularly if it allows development which could conservecharacter structures. The project proponents should explore these alternatives,

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