The Southwest Design Review Board gave its approval Thursday night to the project that now carries the address 9208 20th SW [map], formerly 9201 Delridge Way SW. No public comments were offered, and board recommendations were few; most of the changes proposed at the previous meeting in October (WSB coverage here) had already been incorporated into the design presented during the online meeting.
Four SWDRB members were present – chair Scott Rosenstock, newly appointed members Patrick Cobb and Johanna Lirman, and member Alan Grainger. The city was represented by planner Tami Garrett, who’s handling the project, and Design Review program manager Lisa Rutzick.
Toward the start of the meeting, architects Atelier Drome‘s Michelle Linden explained that the owner/developer (not identified by name at the meeting, but documents show it’s Craig Haveson of STS Construction Services [WSB sponsor]) “is going to be expanding his office into this building.” STS’s offices are currently in a nearby building recently expanded and branded as the Livingstone Apartments. Linden noted that the main goal of the new project is “to provide dense housing in a frequent-transit zone,” she said. It’s planned for five stories – 77 apartments over the ground-floor office space – with no offstreet parking.
Among the changes made since the previous meeting – moving the residential entry north, and expanding the lobby. A coffee bar and community space would be part of it; seating for the coffee bar could be a community space for residents during the evenings. The commercial and residential entries will be marked by different exterior colors.
Linden said the previous suggestion to move the commercial entry to SW Barton would not work, though. They’ve worked to link the curving streetscape more closely to the development. Having a drop zone on 20th rather than Barton will address safety concerns, Linden said. She also showed the proposed material palette and floor plans. (You can see them in the design packet.) Lighting outside the building “will be subdued.”
After the architect’s presentation (20 minutes max), the meeting format allows board members to ask up to 10 minutes worth of questions. Cobb, whose board term started after the project’s first meeting, wondered about some of the original massing (size/shape) decisions. Linden explained that some of the building’s orientation westward – rather than eastward toward Delridge – is partly because of the same development/ownership team’s other two buildings nearby, Livingstone and BlueStone (renderings show this new one carrying the name Keystone). Grainger wondered about “wayfinding” if people approached the building looking for street parking, for example, and wondered if the building’s address numbers were planned in the best place. Linden said they had reviewed the likely “decision points” for people approaching the building, but she agreed that there might be a better place for the buiding numbers. Lirman, who also joined after the project’s previous meeting, wanted some clarification on the landscape design; Linden explained why the landscaping plan had changed more to relate to the building than to relate to the possible future park across Delridge. Chair Rosenstock wondered about the plaza paving and if the building’s name would be on a lighted sign. Probably backlit for the main sign, Linden said. He also wondered about the building color choices; the blue, for one, relates to nearby buildings, Linden replied.
When board deliberations began, Cobb had words of appreciation for the “punched windows’ on part of the building. Rosenstock suggested that the color scheme and site security were points worth discussing. Cobb said, “There’s a whole lot of gray … and not a lot to break it up.” Much discussion ensued on how to fix that. The prevalence of the dark gray on the south side particularly concerned Lirman. Overall exterior-color/materials recommendation: Have the gasket, particularly on the south side, be a little more differentiating, at least in its color. Lirman suggested more continuity between the entries. Frainger thought the north side needed a little more of the orange that’s featured on the canopy. The board’s overall final recommendations included looking at commercial spaces and how they tie together, stronger “pops of color” to differentiate them from rest of the building. They also wanted to ensure the “plaza” had some street access. And they reiterated that signage/addressing needs to be clear regarding residential and commercial areas, “so it’s clear in the wayfinding for both driving and walking.”
With that, they voted unanimously to advance the project out of Design Review. That’s just one step in the permit process, though, so construction isn’t imminent. If you have comments about design or any other aspect of the project, you can email the planner at firstname.lastname@example.org.