At left is design option D for 5020 California, aka Spring Hill (not the restaurant), which got the best reviews from the Southwest Design Review Board tonight at Denny Middle School during a semi-rare second round of “early design guidance,” mandated because the first round didn’t go well (WSB coverage here). One of the main concerns that architect David Hewitt was asked to address with this 6-story, 90-unit apartments-and-retail building was the fear it would leave the single-family neighborhood behind it with their alley-facing back yards staring at a big hulking wall. Board members’ consensus tonight was that the revised proposals removed that concern, and also moved more of the building’s “mass” onto the California SW street front, as they also had asked. The dozen or so neighbors who attended tonight’s meeting voiced fewer concerns than the larger group who showed up last month; one outspoken neighbor, Nancy Woodland, noted that reps from the developer, BlueStar (which is also handling Fauntleroy Place, aka the Whole Foods project), had even come to her house for a first-hand survey. Next step for Spring Hill will be the “recommendations” Design Review meeting. Before re-reviewing Spring Hill tonight, the SWDRB got its first look at 9030 35th SW, smaller but not without controversy:
As first reported here a month ago, 9030 35th is slated to replace those two 85-year-old homes about a block north of Barton. Its architect told board members tonight that they want 4 stories, about 30 apartments, some ground-floor retail – though it’s apparently not mandatory in that zone – and 38 parking stalls.
The parking situation is where the controversy came in. Nearby residents and business owners complained that it’s already impossible to find parking along 35th in that area, particularly since the Southwest Library renovation project, which one attendee said has dramatically increased library use, but without adding parking.
Parking capacity, however, is not in the scope of a Design Review hearing. Parking placement in the project is, however, and that was one concern for board members — a plan for all the parking to be at the rear of the building’s ground floor, on the alley. Board chair Deb Barker didn’t like the looks of that, saying, “It makes me not want to use it in any way, shape or form.” Board member Christie Coxley said, “There’s no way any (retail) customers are going to use that alley parking.”
Their other major concern was that the building not come to them for the next round with a “cookie-cutter design’ — the tentative “early design” shown tonight seemed somewhat boxy, though with a little hint of a T-shape — if it does, Barker warned, they’d send the architect back to the drawing board for yet another round of design review.
WHAT’S NEXT: City planners will continue taking comments on both proposals as they work their way through Design Review. Malli Anderson is handling 9030 35th SW, with its official project page here; Mike Reid is handling 5020 California SW (Spring Hill), with its official project page here.