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After two Early Design Guidance meetings ended with the Southwest Design Review Board basically saying “try again,” the developer of the former Charlestown Café site at 3824 California SW has hired a new architect going into its third round of EDG (scheduled for 8 pm July 10th, as previously noted). A spokesperson for developer Intracorp tell WSB that Johnston Architects is the firm now on the project, replacing Caron Architecture: “Their designs are quintessentially Northwest with an organic nature and human scale that Intracorp is seeking to capture for the 3824 California Ave. community. Intracorp has also added a new landscape architect, Karen Kiest, to the team. This team brings an immense amount of experience and creativity to the process of creating great places.” The proposal is now for 28 townhouse and live/work units instead of 30, and the list ahead was provided as a summary of major changes:
1. Intracorp is staying with the alley-parked design as their preferred scheme but with significant changes made to the parking configuration based on DRB feedback.
a. Parking on both ends of the alley has been turned 90 degrees and the perimeter of these parking areas has been fully landscaped.
b. The number of parking stalls in the alley has been reduced by eliminating 4 stalls bringing the total from 30 down to 26.
c. Additional landscaping has been added between parking stalls and against the sides of the buildings facing the alley.
2. Units along both side streets are now slated as townhomes. However, this change from Live-Work units is subject to city approval. Both the DRB and the neighbors have sought this as a positive change creating a better transition from the commercial uses on California to the residential neighborhood to the east but it will be up to the City to approve the departure being requested by the applicant.
3. Units along both side streets are set back from the streets further, improving the transition to the single family neighborhood to the east.
4. By setting back the units on the side streets, some of the existing trees can now be saved.
5. To make room for these changes, the unit count was reduced from 30 to 28.
6. A significant amount of variation and modulation along the street façade has been added to the design.
7. A central Piazza near the middle of the site along California Ave. has been added to the design and is envisioned as an intimate gathering spot, with café tables and urban landscape features. The piazza will be flanked by two of the ground floor commercial spaces along California Ave. which will have large doors opening onto the piazza and awnings providing weather protection.
8. The size of trash enclosures has been reduced, the access has been rearranged to minimize the impact on the sidewalk, and an arbor is planned for the top of the trash collection areas.
We’ll link the official “design packet” when it appears on the city site – possibly by the end of today, so check back. Our reports on the previous EDG meetings for this project are here: April and January. It’s been 13 months since we first reported this proposal for the closed-since-2011 cafe site.