ACTION ITEM: (1) File DSR0007-002
APPLICANT: Mr. Woon T. (W.T.) Cheung, WT Americ Development, Inc.
SUBJECT: Review of Revised Plans for a 25-unit and one Retail Mixed Use Proposal on a Long and Narrow Site
LOCATION: 2836 78th Avenue
Architect, Tony D’Ambrosio; Owner/Developer, W.T. Cheung; Landscape Architect, Maryann Kirby
D’Ambrosio summarized the proposed architectural elements and materials. The retail space on the ground floor is for a small teashop with parking behind it. Kirby explained the landscape plans. Trees are proposed in the five-foot strip area along the north side, near the street; the five-foot strip would merge with QFC’S existing five-foot strip; large planters are proposed on the roof top along the street front, accessed solely by the unit below; additional planters are located along the south façade on the first floor. D’Ambrosio clarified the main living areas are along the north, and the bedrooms are oriented to the south for the condo units. Several Commissioners commented that the south facade needs some kind of vertical massing, articulation and/or landscape treatment (it has the appearance of a hotel); whereas, the north facade appears more successful. Commissioner Sandler added, the northwest corner on the south elevation is a good example of vertical massing; shadowing is needed elsewhere. Chairman McDonald stated the roof for the stairwell that goes to the rooftop could possibly be different than the other roofs; and, larger scaled windows could be used for the stairwell. McDonald also stated the base of the building needs attention to appear more substantial (regardless of being located next to the wall of QFC); possibly a change in material; clarification is needed on where and what type of material enclosures are proposed for the base level; building code question of the size of parking garage openings located near QFC’s loading area needs to be answered. The street façade of the building does not necessarily need to be 18 feet tall; McDonald and others concurred that it should be dropped some. McDonald asked if the stair to the egress walk could be moved forward toward the street; Mr. Cheung concurred. McDonald indicated, a larger lobby needs to be provided; there is no room for mail and a welcoming foyer space; possibly the trash room could be reduced in size. He indicated the retail space is too small; it needs to maximize the area along the street; the walkway proposed along the north of the retail space could be used as part of the retail space. Setback along the street frontage was discussed. Harbert clarified that 12 feet of sidewalk is required between any part of the structure and the street curb; it is not clear if 12 feet is provided. All Commissioners concurred a more prominent lobby is needed, in addition to a larger retail space. Commissioner Sandler added that future plans need to include surrounding building footprints and uses; as well as, the location of the street’s edge along 78th Avenue SE.
ACTION ITEM: (2) File #DSR0010-004
APPLICANT: One Island Square, LLC (Paul Armitstead, SECO Development)
SUBJECT: Conceptual Review of a 5-story, Mixed Use Project, Island Market Square
LOCATION: 7801 SE 27th Street
APPLICANT REPRESENTATION: Architect, Jim Bodoia/Mithun; Developer, Paul Armitstead/SECO Development, Inc.; Landscape Architect, Larry Smart/Atelier
Jim Bodoia, architect, summarized the site location and presented vicinity and site photos. He continued to explain the conceptual plan: all three street frontages are prime frontages for pedestrian activity; the primary vehicular access is off of SE 27th and SE 28th Street SE and located in the mid-block range, leaving 78th as a pedestrian route with no vehicular curb cuts; a secondary access is being considered along SE 27th closer to 78th. Pedestrian links across the site are recognized; a north-south link is provided and an additional link from the west. The links create plaza areas for the retail street level and step up to plazas at the residential level above. Parking garages are provided at the street level, behind the retail, and one level below.
Commissioner Dawson asked if he had given any thought to the existing pedestrian use at the adjacent bank. Bodoia concluded SE 28th Street would be used to access the front door of the bank; the bank has a strong vehicular use given the drive-up window. Commissioner Laszlo asked if city staff had reviewed the proposed vehicular access points, including the secondary one; Harbert replied, City Transportation Planner, Nancy Fairchild, sat in on the pre-application meeting and agreed with the two primary access locations and that the traffic study will need to include analysis of access, including the proposed secondary access. Commissioner Bryant asked about service entrances. Bodoia responded that the retail uses are proposed to be approximately 3,000 sq. ft. and serviced from the garage behind them, excluding the need for loading docks. Bryant asked, what about service to the residential uses above. Bodoia stated that each building will have an elevator. Commissioner Glick asked if the pedestrian links rise up to the second level from the street; Bodoia answered yes, it is a public access up through a series of courtyards and plazas, while giving privacy and security to residents.
Bodoia continued with architectural plan review. The northeast corner of the project offers commercial on the street level with office above. In addition to community plazas on the street, pedestrian links exist to the residential buildings from the street; they provide direct access to lobbies for each building and provide access from the garage to the street. Chairman McDonald asked if the parking was free to the public; Paul Armitstead answered yes, the parking is for the uses provided. The lower level parking is exclusively for residents and possibly for employees of the office structure. McDonald pointed out the park-and-ride issue for the city, making the applicant aware there is a public parking problem. Bodoia indicated at the plaza level (second level) pedestrians will come into courtyards; the office building shares the community plaza. He presented three color perspectives of a conceptual design of each street frontage; the concept presents the idea of bringing two levels of commercial to the street. The project is large enough to provide a variety of architecture and style. There is a 20-foot buffer between the residential units and the neighboring Hancock building and parking garage, located to the east.
Larry Smart, landscape architect, presented the landscape plans. The pedestrian links step up and broaden out to create courtyard spaces, which include a variety of landscaping. A water element is incorporated into the pedestrian north-south axis; security issues will need to be dealt with for after hours; and, private spaces are proposed on the plaza level with balconies above. He stated that the detailed plant material will come later, as this is a conceptual design overview.
The meeting was then opened up for questions from the Commissioners. Commissioner Laszlo asked about lighting. Bodoia replied they have only given brief thought to it, and details will be coming. Commissioner Dawson asked if the intent is to gate the plaza level at night; Armitstead answered, it is not the intent to gate it off, but it is a possibility; Dawson would like to see it remain open, providing an urban garden. Commissioner Glick asked if retail had been considered on the interior level of the plaza. Armitstead replied, retail is the biggest challenge; it has to work for the retailers – exposure from the street is needed. Commissioner Bryant added that he feels the retail should stay on the street level. Commissioner Wittman commended their work, but the architecture appears timid; fun is encouraged and suggested they experiment with some different building types, styles and textures. Chairman McDonald concurred; significant/fundamental differences in architecture from building to building are needed. Commissioner Sandler encouraged use of more than just change of colors; scale of the design needs to be watched. Commissioner Dawson added that the plant material works well; it is diverse yet appropriate. Commissioners concurred the elements in questions are not regarding density, but instead are character and massing. Commissioner Bryant asked if art work is to be included. Bodoia replied yes, the intent is to have the artist work with the architect. Bryant requested that the architect contact the Mercer Island Arts Council. Bodoia agreed.
Bodoia asked for concurrence that it appears the project is going in the right direction; the Commissioners responded in agreement. Commissioner Sandler requested that attention be given to the size of the garage entrance off of SE 28th Street based on the existing traffic conflicts. Commissioner Glick countered that the pedestrian viewpoint regarding the garage also needs to be considered. All agreed traffic queuing on SE 28th is a major concern and should be handled within the site.
Council Liaison Report:
[Important Note: The proceedings of the Design Commission meeting
were recorded on tape and are on file with the Development Services Group.
agenda and official minutes of this meeting are also available from the
Development Services Group.]