In a follow-up memo, the Design Review Board provided the following guidance to University Village.
1. Theme: Enlivening and Enhancing 25th Avenue NE
a. Ground level retail uses and enhancement of the pedestrian experience along 25th Avenue NE are the primary issues concerning the proposal.
b. UVillage has a proven track record in creating pedestrian experiences within the village and should be able to successfully create a viable pedestrian edge experience along 25th Avenue NE as well.
c. Traditional retail along the entire length of the west façade would likely not be viable, but some kinds of micro-retail could be — and the Board would be supportive of granting departures (e.g. shortened required depth) to help make it work.
d. Landscaping alone does not seem to be enough to overcome a less than enlivening pedestrian experience along this stretch of sidewalk.
e. One, two or three strategically designed retail spaces (connected to the bus stop and pedestrian entry/exit, for instance) might do the job; landscaping would not appear to be enough to enliven this long stretch of sidewalk.
f. Although, if the ground level is amazing, a boring upper can be forgiven, the design team was encouraged to explore further architectural expression of the upper levels as they related to the modern form of the building.
2. Theme: An Inviting Pedestrian Walkway through the Garage
a. This was a critical element for a successful overall design.
b. As shown, the elevators at the end of the pedestrian entry from 25th appeared to provide a wall rather than an invitation through the space. There needs to be something more exciting (and maybe more light and transparency) at the end of the walkway.
c. Provide clear wayfaring directions at the end of the passage.
3. Theme: Don’t Ignore Treatments of the North and South Faces of Garage
a. The cantilever along the north face a “missed opportunity” as shown.
b. The northwest corner needs more attention due to its visibility.
c. The “terracing” of the south face, as an acknowledgement to the new RH building, needs to be more explicit and convincing.
RBCA will continue to monitor the project and provide additional feedback, if needed. A pedestrian-friendly and safe neighborhood is important especially as our community continues to grow.