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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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03/22/2012

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PIKE PINE URBAN NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL 21 March, 2012 To: Lisa Rutzick Planner, Seattle DPD Cc: Diane Sugimura, Director

Seattle DPD Dennis 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 Street Early Design Guidance March 21, 2012 Dear Ms. Rutzick, We the undersigned, members of Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council, have serious concerns about the Design Proposal for 1020 East Union Early Design Guidance (EDG) as indicated in the developer’s ‘preferred option’ in the EDG packet currently 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 this district 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 major precedent 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 a second EDG meeting with (three) alternative massing proposals addressing options for greater preservation of the character structures on the site. There is a nearby precedent 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. (This meeting 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 Conservation Overlay district. PPUNC, community stakeholders and City staff have invested many years of work into the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay and related legislation. We know the intent of the neighborhood in developing this legislation. We don’t find this proposed development to be consistent with the desired results of the legislation. We believe there are reasonable alternatives to advance some of these objectives, and we urge the Board to require the developer and design team to explore them. PPUNC is available and willing to discuss options with the development team prior to its submitting a revised EDG packet. First and foremost, we are concerned about the proposed demolition of three of four character structures on the site with only token retention of the façade of one building. Code sections 23.41.014.B.3.f and 23.41.014.B.4 relating to Design Review and the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District established in Section 23.73.004, require that… “…if a character structure is located on the same lot as a proposed project, the applicant shall provide at least one alternative development concept that maintains the character structure's key architectural and structural elements and the integrity of the character structure.” We would like to see a serious exploration of alternatives for conserving not only the proposed structure, but also the Pravda Building and the Madison Park Annex Building at a second EDG meeting.

Awarding a residential density bonus to the developer for the entire site, based on the current proposal, without a more in depth look at potentially conserving at least one entire building seems out of proportion to the scale of the neighborhood. The intent of the Conservation Overlay is to conserve as many of the character buildings in the district as possible and to retain preserve the Auto Row granularity of scale that exists in the neighborhood. Any pre-1940’s building in the district contributes to its character and is potentially worthy of retention. The Listed Character Buildings identified by the Department of Neighborhoods survey are buildings that have been deemed worthy of higher scrutiny. The list does not imply that the community has determined the rest of the character structures are not desirable for retention. With respect to the developers’ argument that retaining the existing buildings will work at cross-purposes with creating a pedestrian-friendly environment: The neighborhood is full of successfully rehabbed buildings with retail that isn’t level with the sidewalk, to wit Elliott Bay Books, Oddfellows Café, Trace Lofts with Rex and High Five, and Melrose Market, among others. The Madison Park Group Building called out for façade conservation has high windows along the Union St Façade, in fact higher than the Pravda windows, and a basement above grade just like the Pravda Building which is called out for demolition. These facades of these buildings could be altered – for example window openings enlarged and steps inserted in a way that both retains character and functions very well for restaurant and retail uses, and there potentially could be other active street level uses with community approval. The facades of the existing buildings running along E. Union from 10th to 11th, are part of the current neighborhood character, despite the designers implying in the EDG packet that this frontage would be ‘unforgiving”. At the same time, the developers propose a truly unforgiving blank façade, one-block wide (from 10th – 11th) and seven-stories high, on the North side of the project for the rest of the neighborhood to gaze out upon. The proposed massing overwhelms the retained character 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 is unprecedented in the Pike-Pine Neighborhood. The developers’ assumptions about potential future development to the north of this site are unrealistic, and the neighboring property owner to the North is willing to work with this developer to facilitate a different approach. There are no immediate plans to redevelop the property adjoining to the North, mid-block, and the properties facing Pike Street on the North frontage of the block have recently been conserved and will not be redeveloped in the near future. Please require the design team to relate their proposal drawings to existing conditions on and around the site, rather than to a hypothetical development envelope. 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 in attached image packet.. The required 40-foot spacing between towers above 35 feet is subject to departure with community support, particularly if it allows development which could conserve character structures. The project proponents should explore these alternatives,

pulling the development away from character structures with the goal of rehabbing more of them. Finally, with respect to pedestrian vitality under the design guidelines - the developers reference the desire for small boutique retail yet they propose 2000 square foot spaces. In an urban setting, small tends to be 500 – 1500 square feet allowing for tiny upstart businesses to flourish. The developer will have a much more successful project by taking the time to work with the neighborhood on design and preservation goals. This project feels fasttracked without due consideration to its setting. In summary, we urge you to ask the proponents back for a second Early Design Guidance meeting and encourage them to work with PPUNC – residents, property owners, business people and developers invested in the neighborhood – to develop a proposal which meets the goals of the Conservation Overlay. It is this community’s investment which makes the neighborhood such a desirable place to develop. Thank you for your consideration, Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council Contact – Catherine Hillenbrand, hhh@zipcon.net 206.325.3048 Chip Ragen, Ragen Associates LLC Catherine Hillenbrand, resident and property owner Bradford G. Augustine, CCIM, CPM®, Madrona Real Estate john feit | schemata workshop inc. Michael J. Malone, Hunter’s Capital Michael Oaksmith, Hunters Capital Jill Cronauer, Hunters Capital Liz Dunn, Dunn & Hobbes, LLC Rebecca Frestedt, Capitol Hill Resident Anne Michelson, Anne Michelson Properties, Crescent Down Works Michael Wells, Executive Director, Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce

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