Last week the City of Seattle’s Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) issued the final recommendation of the Northeast Design Review Board (DRB) for University Village’s (U Village) application for a major phased development. The application covers the construction of many buildings over an extended period of time (up to 15 years). The first phase is constructing a seven-story parking garage fronting 25th Ave NE, which will contain approximately 350,000 square feet of parking. The Northeast DRB’s review recommendation pertains only to the first phase.
RBCA has been tracking this project and attended DRB meetings on December 19, 2016 and September 25, 2017 to provide public comment and submit letters highlighting concerns about connectivity to the surrounding neighborhood, retail on 25th Ave NE, pedestrian and bicycle safety, impacts to traffic, and need for coordination by developers in this general vicinity (see earlier posts with RBCA letters).
The Northeast DRB voted 4-0 to approve U Village’s design for the garage and to proceed with a Master Use Permit application for the project. The DRB noted that improvement have been made to the following areas of design:
- Micro-retail added on 25th Ave NE
- Pedestrian passageway from 25th Ave NE through the parking garage to the elevator lobby and interior of the Village had been improved
- Elimination of one additional lane of traffic into the garage from 25th Ave NE
- Better modulation of the north and south façades and more terraced plantings to improve the overall massing.
The Northeast DRB requested SDCI to approve two departures from the Land Use Code: 1) the width of curb cuts (decrease from existing 46 ft to proposed 37 ft) and 2) reduce the depth of ground floor commercial space from required 30 ft minimum to proposed 25 ft depth. The DRB conditioned these departures on U Village complying with the following two conditions:
- Installation of interpretive signage related to history of Ravenna Creek along the proposed bioswales along 25th Ave NE; and
- Incorporating two or more areas along the building side of 25th Ave NE to allow for wider sidewalks so pedestrians can pass in comfort.
The next step for U Village is to obtain a Master Use Permit for the project to proceed. We will continue to track and monitor the project.