In an online meeting that just concluded, the Southwest Design Review Board gave unanimous approval to the design proposal for 3201 SW Avalon Way, a mixed-use building planned to replace the Golden Tee Apartments, while keeping the name. Here’s the design packet for the meeting:
Board chair Scott Rosenstock and members John Cheng, Patrick Cobb, and Johanna Lirman were present. Tonight’s review came three years, and one architect change, after the previous one.
ARCHITECT’S PRESENTATION: Scot Carr from Public47 Architects explained the property’s been in the same family’s hands for generations. They hope the 8-story project – with ~144 apartments, 3,500 square feet of commercial space, and 70 to 80 parking spaces – will interface well with the future nearby light-rail station. Carr also noted that his firm took over the project after its previous Design Review Board consideration, but incorporated feedback from that review phase as they developed the design further. The massing (size, shape, placement on site) has had to deal with a variety of factors, including transition to nearby neighborhoods’ scale and power lines that require setback, The site has “dramatic topography changes,” he also noted. Mike Laurencelle said the parking would be accessed from 31st SW, and there would be an area for commercial vehicles to access. Laurencelle said the building would have units of various sizes – lofts, 1 bedrooms, 2 bedrooms, even some 3 bedrooms, He detailed some of the materials they plan to use. He also showed how the corner “plaza” is meant to interface with passersby. And he said they’re seeking two “departures” – zoning exceptions – including structure width and setbacks,
Landscape architect Karen Kiest – who continued on the project through the change of designers – said there’ll be “a lot of small trees” because of the overhead power lines. She listed other landscape features, including an area to play bocce, and “a killer roof” with “an extensive green roof.”
BOARD QUESTIONS: These included Cobb asking about the thought process that went into the facade. ‘Since it’s so visible, it really doesn’t have a front or back,” Carr said, while saying they’re trying not to have such an overwhelming mass, Lirman followed up on the “semi-private courtyard space” that was mentioned, wondering who has access to that. The area could facilitate more outdoor dining for the envisioned restaurant, some bocce playing, people who grab a sandwich from the envisioned “general store.” Rosenstock asked if the height has increased from the Early Design Guidance phase since the site was upzoned; the architects said it’s the same number of stories, maybe “a few feet taller.”
PUBLIC COMMENT: First, previously received written comments were read, including a concern about building height, reduced privacy for the neighboring condo building, and comments both for/against the planned 31st SW vehicle access. Six people signed up to speak during the meeting. Non-design-related comments that were received will be sent to staffers involved with those respective areas. Commenter Joel said he’s a former Avalon resident and believes mixed-use development will greatly benefit the area. Commenter Mike asked for his comment to be read; he said it was an “amazing design.” Commenter David also asked for his comment to be read; the question was “why is this project being considered” because of the light-rail route? (No answer was provided) Another commenter who said they had recently moved into an Avalon townhouse said commercial development will be a boon and is interested in outdoor-dining space.
BOARD DELIBERATIONS: Cobb still had some concern about the sizable facade. Rosenstock noted that concern dated back to the Early Design review. Cheng thought the “stepping of the massing is responding to the topography quite well.” Lirman said she was especially impressed by the “ground-floor pedestrian experience.” Rosenstock noted that was a major change from the first-phase design. Cheng also had praise for the improved design elements along 31st. Moving on to materials, Cheng said it’s important to ensure consistency. No one had any significant critiques. Moving on to the public spaces, Lirman wondered about security. Cheng wanted to ensure the “public” spaces truly would be open to the public. Rosenstock observed that if the commercial spaces really do host businesses, this will liven up the middle of Avalon, which currently is only bookended by business districts. Regarding the landscape design, Rosenstock said he hopes it will emulate the golf theme, playing off everything from the property’s name to the golf course’s proximity. A few more recommendations: Noise buffer from the roof; sign subtlety, so no illuminated signage is a “shining beacon.”
They also agreed to recommend approval of the departures. Finally, they voted 4-0 to recommend final design approval of the project.
GOT COMMENTS? You can still send yours, whether for design or other aspects of the project – email the assigned planner, email@example.com, who will be writing the final report.