As light rail trains ran under Capitol Hill Tuesday night, several blocks away residents were getting the most comprehensive look to date at what four developments above the new transit station will look like.

The Capitol Hill Station transit-oriented development open house, hosted by Gerding Edlen Development (GED) and Capitol Hill Housing, preceded a Dec. 14 presentation to the East Design Review Board, which will weigh in on the massive undertaking as part of the approval process.

The city of Seattle began its Urban Design Framework process for the Capitol Hill Station block in 2010. The city and Sound Transit signed a development agreement in 2013, with the transit agency issuing a Request for Proposals in June 2014. Gerding Edlen was the highest scored proposal out of four, and negotiations were initiated in April 2015. Capitol Hill Housing was signed on to develop one of the four seven-story buildings to be all affordable housing units.

Sound Transit approved ground leases for the project this fall.

“Definitely the proposal has evolved, the design has evolved, but most of the RFP response has remained,” said GED partner Jill Sherman.

Site A: 118 Broadway E.

Located along Broadway East near the corner of East John Street and the north entry to the Capitol Hill Station, Site A will include 152 apartments in a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, of which 20 percent will be at affordable levels based on standards set by the average median income.

There is about 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail planned for Site A, which will be the site for a large anchor retail tenant.

In the RFP, Gerding Edlen had planned for that role to be filled by a grocery store. Portland-based New Seasons had expressed interest in the space, which elicited a competitive campaign by the Central Co-op that has been supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers 21 union.

Sherman said a lot of time has passed since then and more grocery stores have opened — or are readying to open — in the area, so Gerding Edlen is considering if its anchor space would be better suited for another retail use. The developer has also received interest from a number of retailers that are not grocers, she said, so Gerding Edlen is keeping its options open.

“Sound Transit would have to be on board, (Capitol Hill) Champion would have to be on board,” Sherman said should Gerding Edlen decide against its original proposal outlined in the RFP to Sound Transit.

Because there needs to be time to design the retail space to a future tenant’s needs, Sherman said a decision will likely be reached by the first quarter of 2017.

Gerding Edlen’s preferred alternative for Site A includes a resident fitness center/ yoga barre studio on the east side, a rooftop deck and green roof, a top-floor amenity space surrounded on the southeast side to be “eyes-to-the-plaza” and 167 underground parking spaces.

Site B-North: 923 E. John

Located at the corner of 10th Avenue East and East John Street, this 100-percent affordable Capitol Hill Housing development is proposed to include 110 apartments — a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, as well as studios — and a large community room.

Capitol Hill Housing CEO Chris Persons said he envisions the community room serving the same function as the Pike/Pine Room CHH manages inside the 12th Avenue Arts building, only much larger (transit-oriented development meeting large).

While Site B-North will be seven stories like the other three building sites, the CHH development is being proposed at 70 feet instead of 85 feet like the other developments.

There are 34parking stalls proposed within two underground levels at Site B-North, which would not be for residential use.

Site B-South: 123 10th Ave. E.

Located at the corner of 10th Avenue East and East Denny Way, Site B-South is proposed to have 73 residences — a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units — with 20 percent at affordable levels.

While the development agreement calls for Site B-South to not include retail, Gerding Edlen proposes what will likely be a restaurant facing the central plaza on the ground floor. Sherman said Site B-South retail is seen as a good way to draw people across the plaza. Brie Gyncild with Capitol Hill Champion — a group formed by the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and community council to represent the public’s interest in the project — agreed retail at Site B-South would help activate the plaza.

Site B-South would also have wide passage to the plaza from 10th Avenue, near the residential lobby entry.

Common terraces are designed for views into the central plaza and Cal Anderson Park to the south. A library amenity above the restaurant/retail space at the tree canopy level is also proposed, with a terrace for views of the plaza.

The building’s bulk is designed to be alleviated by glass elevator lobbies running up Site B-South and facing the plaza.

Site C: 1830 Broadway E.

Located west of Cal Anderson park, between Nagle Place and Broadway East, wrapping around the south station entry, Site C is taking on a child-ish change, providing space for a daycare center that was originally intended for Capitol Hill Housing’s site.

Sherman said there’s a lot of retail being provided along Broadway and, with Site B-South taking on restaurant/retail, the large ground-floor daycare center seemed a better fit in Site C.

“It was a decision that we were certainly involved with,” Persons said, “but Gerding Edlen, as the master developer, drove.”

Sherman said Gerding Edlen is in discussions with several companies that could potentially manage the daycare facility.

“I think the daycare moving to Site C is really exciting,” Gyncild said, “especially with the outside play center built in.”

Next to the daycare center there is 3,500 square feet of retail designed.

Site C would have 92 apartments — one-, two- and three-bedrooms and studios — as well as 32 parking stalls in a single-level underground parking garage.

Plaza

Described in the design proposal as the “heart of the project,” the central plaza is expected to provide a permanent home for the Broadway Farmers Market, operating twice a week year round, and also serve as a community and resident gathering space.

Sherman said there will likely be a need for a program manager for the plaza, a role that could be attached to an active Capitol Hill nonprofit and funded through revenue from the development’s market-rate apartments.

Festival Street

The transit-oriented development site is currently asphalt and a ventilation structure. Sherman said Champion is interested in activating the space until construction starts.

Designs in the package for the East Design Review Board anticipate a portion of East Denny Way — between Broadway East and 10th Avenue East — will be designated as a festival street. Gyncild said Sound Transit, neighboring Bonney-Watson Funeral Home and pretty every other stakeholder group that would be affected has voiced support for the Champion proposal, and the designation is pending final approval by the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Landscaping

With the Broadway Farmers Market coming in, and a general focus on green roofs for the transit-oriented development, urban agriculture will be a strong focus, said Brad McGuirt with landscape firm Berger Partnership, adding the development team is seeking a farming partner for the project.

Berger Partnership performed the redesign of Cal Anderson Park south of the project more than a decade ago. Connectivity through landscaping will be important for the TOD project, McGuirt said.

“The more that those two can interact and relate, I think that’s critical to the success of the plaza,” he said.

The transit-oriented development design will go before the East Design Review Board 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14, in the Stuart T. Rolfe Room in the Admissions and Alumni Comm Building at Seattle University, 8234 12th Ave. 

 

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