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Opinion: Beacon Ave development needs viable commercial space

August 22nd, 2013 at 6:57 pm | 10 Comments | Posted by admin


View Larger Map. This Google Street View shows the building currently at 3227 Beacon Ave. S.

by Robert Hinrix

Neighbors:

A developer is proposing a project at 3227 Beacon Ave. S., three doors south of Victrola Coffee. (Ed. note: see the the permit activity for this project on the DPD website.) The property has been occupied by a derelict and vacant apartment building, so in the most general sense nearly anything built there will be an improvement. However, the project as proposed does very little to improve the commercial district of Beacon Hill, in spite of the supposed requirements of the property’s NC1-40 zoning (meaning commercial property, to a 40-foot height).

While the developer could in fact be building a commercial/residential building that would nearly fill the lot, the proposal as it stands is for five townhomes and parking. The one townhome facing the street will be designated a “live-work” space; this fulfills the legal requirement to make a commercial space. It also means that there will be no actual design review and very little opportunity to influence the nature of this project. For Beacon Hill’s commercial district, this is most unfortunate. Instead of a possible restaurant space, or several decent shop spaces, we are likely to get a barely viable space that’s part of someone’s home, facing the street.

But it is not too late to influence the course of this project. If you are interested in making a comment, it can be sent to prc@seattle.gov, cc’ing holly.godard@seattle.gov; she is the designated planner. You absolutely must include the project number in the subject line: it is 3014661.

Because DPD has allowed the developer a “streamlined design review,” it appears that, for a key commercial property development here on Beacon Avenue, the city’s (two week) comment period is already over, but that is not the case. If enough people respond to this proposal, it can still be changed and improved, as permits have not been issued and review is happening right now. It is recommended that comments focus on the lack of commercial space, the fact that the zoning is NC1-40, and that there is only one proposed commercial entry on Beacon Avenue, our principal arterial. For a 5000-square-foot commercial lot in nearly any other area of the city, multiple commercial entries would be required.

By skirting design review the developer will be able to sell his five townhomes and never think about it again — but we on Beacon Hill will have to live with this development forever. Please send in your comments!

Robert Hinrix has been involved in many neighborhood projects and groups, including the North Beacon Hill Council.

Do you have something to say? Send us your own opinion pieces on this or other Beacon Hill-related topics.


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Plaza Roberto Maestas project moving forward

May 13th, 2013 at 2:33 am | 13 Comments | Posted by admin
A proposed design for the plaza and stage at the Plaza Roberto Maestas project.

A proposed design for the plaza and stage at the Plaza Roberto Maestas project.

To the community from El Centro de la Raza:

In late February El Centro de la Raza presented to the community its latest designs for Plaza Roberto Maestas (PRM). We have been delayed in getting this post out to the wider community by the significant fight for State housing resources for this project in Olympia right now. PRM is the mixed-use community-inspired transit oriented development project that will be built on El Centro’s currently vacant south parking lot, next to the Beacon Hill Light Rail Station. It will be 113 units of affordable housing over 30,000 square feet of daycare, multi-cultural community center, retail/restaurant and office space. The latest design renderings incorporate feedback gathered from over ten community meetings and focus groups that took place in 2012. ECDLR just scheduled its first City of Seattle Early Design Guidance meeting for June 25th at 6:30pm at Wellspring Family Services on Rainier Avenue. This meeting will kick off our permitting process and is open to the public.

A rendering of a design for the 17th Avenue South side of the project.

A rendering of a design for the 17th Avenue South side of the project.

Plaza Roberto Maestas will be built in the spirit of Dr. King’s “Beloved Community.” It will be a physical place that honors the history and culture of El Centro de la Raza, while serving as a “town center” gathering place for the larger Beacon Hill community to utilize and enjoy.

For those that have not been able to attend community meetings to date, we have compiled this post and the following Frequently Asked Questions to maximize information sharing and community awareness of the project. In the near future, El Centro de la Raza hopes to co-host a meeting with the North Beacon Hill Council, Beacon BIKES and SDOT to talk about parking, traffic and pedestrian safety in the Beacon Hill neighborhood around this project. We will announce a date for this meeting soon.

Please feel free to contact Kate Gill de la Garza, Project Manager, with any questions about PRM. She can be reached at 206-860-2491 ext. 202 or at kated@beacondevgroup.com.

Read on for the FAQs about the Plaza Roberto Maestas project:
More »


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Station block project completes design review

March 5th, 2013 at 5:25 pm | 6 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

This artist's rendition of the southwest corner of the proposed project at 2721 17th Ave. S. was included in the November Design Review presentation.

This artist’s rendition of the southwest corner of the proposed project at 2721 17th Ave. S. was included in the November Design Review presentation.

The Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) director has issued a decision on the project at 2721 17th Avenue South (the southeast corner of the Beacon Hill Station block), approving the project’s design as based on the final recommendation of the Southeast Design Review Board, with certain conditions. The conditions include designing additional lighting for the sidewalk along South McClellan Street, improved treatment of the ground-level residential units to increase privacy and reduce light pollution, and specifications for the artwork along the alley façade.

Previous conditions already met include designing the top floor along 17th to be set back 10 feet from the property line, and a revised lighting plan for additional lighting.

The complete report and analysis may be read here. The architects’ presentation from the November 2012 Design Review meeting may be read here, and the Design Review Board’s report after the November meeting is here.


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Opinions wanted on Plaza Roberto Maestas project

February 12th, 2013 at 2:51 pm | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

This preliminary view from an earlier version of the Plaza Roberto Maestas design is seen from the corner of 17th and Roberto Maestas Festival Street on the southeast side of the site.

This preliminary view from an earlier version of the project is seen from the corner of 17th and Roberto Maestas Festival Street on the southeast side of the project.

El Centro de la Raza and the Plaza Roberto Maestas design team are hosting a community meeting on Thursday, February 21 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at El Centro’s room 309.

This is the next in a series of community meetings to discuss the redevelopment project on El Centro de la Raza’s south parking lot located on Roberto Maestas Festival Street next to the Link station. Plans for this meeting are to review the feedback so far and to present the latest design for additional community feedback. The intent is for the project to enter the city’s Design Review process this spring.

Childcare and translation will be available upon request, and refreshments and light snacks will be served. El Centro de la Raza is located at 2524 16th Ave. S.


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Community invited to give input on new plaza

December 7th, 2012 at 12:24 am | 3 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

On Monday, December 10, at 6:30 p.m. El Centro de la Raza is hosting a community meeting about the public gathering spaces in the planned Plaza Roberto Maestas (PRM) development, to be built in El Centro’s south parking lot, just north of Beacon Hill Station.

Representatives of El Centro and Beacon Development group will present and discuss ideas for 10,000+ square feet plaza and the adjacent community center, including how the two spaces will work together on the site and with the surrounding community.

Monday’s meeting is the latest in a series of community meetings about the PRM development project. Community opinions and concerns stated at a meeting last June are viewable here.

The meeting is at El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Ave. S. There will be refreshments available, and translation will be offered. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to execasst@elcentrodelaraza.org to confirm attendance for planning purposes.

This preliminary design shows a possible plaza in the PRM development project.


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Presentation on Plaza Roberto Maestas project planned for Saturday

July 19th, 2012 at 6:23 am | 16 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

This preliminary design shows a possible plaza in the PRM development project.

After the Beacon Hill Merchants Association annual meeting this Saturday, July 21, there will be a presentation about the Plaza Roberto Maestas – Beloved Community (PRM) development being planned for the south lot at El Centro de la Raza. The presentation will include time to give feedback and ask questions about the project, as well as to discuss the retail spaces and business opportunities that the project will provide. The meeting is at Kusina Filipina (3201 Beacon Ave. S.), and the presentation, which is open to the public, is expected to start about 1 p.m.

El Centro de la Raza and the North Beacon Hill Council co-hosted a public meeting on June 19 to discuss preliminary designs for the project. Over 60 people came out to the meeting to ask questions and give feedback about the early design ideas (see photos of the meeting here). You can read notes from the meeting here (PDF) and see a PowerPoint presentation about the project here.

The images shown on this page give an idea of the type of development that is being considered, but the project is very early in the design process and still subject to much potential change. Community feedback is vital at this stage to shape the future of the development.

This preliminary view is from Beacon Avenue on the southwest side of the project.

This preliminary view is from the corner of 17th and Roberto Maestas Festival Street on the southeast side of the project.


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Further community input wanted for El Centro south lot

June 13th, 2012 at 5:41 am | 2 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

The community is invited to discuss plans for the future redevelopment of this parking lot. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

El Centro de la Raza and the North Beacon Hill Council have announced another community engagement event about the planned redevelopment in El Centro’s south lot. The event is next Tuesday, June 19 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at El Centro’s room 307.

At the event, El Centro will report on the current status of the project, and present more design ideas for community feedback. There will be round table discussions to examine various aspects of the project such as amenities, housing, sustainability, and more.

All are welcome; childcare, translation, and snacks will be provided. El Centro de la Raza is located at 2524 16th Ave. S.


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El Centro selects team for south lot development project

May 7th, 2012 at 6:11 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

El Centro de la Raza has chosen the team of SMR Architects/Glenn and Glenn Architects/DKA Architecture to work on the redevelopment of their south parking lot to mixed-use transit-oriented development with affordable housing.

According to a press release from El Centro, “SMR Architects/Glenn & Glenn Architects/DKA Architecture was selected because of their deep level of experience in multi-family mixed-use affordable housing development, work with non-profit cultural organizations and skill in community-based design and outreach. Their ideas for the site were well received at the community open house attended by more than 50 neighbors on April 28.”

The organization plans to build about 100 units of housing, with childcare, retail, office space, and “flexible multi-cultural performance/community space” on the ground floor. They also promise public open space and pedestrian amenities, as well as underground parking for both residents and light rail commuters to use.

Neighbors look at site possibilities while attending El Centro's open house on April 28. Photo by Ashley Haugen, courtesy of El Centro de la Raza.


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El Centro to present redevelopment concepts at open house

April 19th, 2012 at 4:20 am | 3 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

This lot south of the main El Centro building is planned to become mixed-use transit-oriented development. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

On Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to noon, El Centro de la Raza will hold a community open house to present the finalist design teams for the redevelopment of El Centro’s south parking lot into a mixed-use, “transit-oriented development” project. The finalist teams will present their site redevelopment ideas and concepts based on feedback from last year’s community meeting, and also on El Centro’s program needs and desires.

The two finalist teams, SMR Architects/Glenn and Glenn Architects/DKA Architecture and Weinstein A|U/Jones and Jones, were selected from an initial group of five teams. According to El Centro de la Raza, this was due to their “extensive experience in multi-family design, childcare and community facilities, and prior work with diverse organizations and communities.”

All interested neighbors are invited to the open house. Lunch, translation services and childcare will be provided. If you will be eating lunch, RSVP by noon on April 27 to 206-957-4605 or execasst@elcentrodelaraza.org. El Centro de la Raza is located at 2524 16th Ave. S.


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Application filed to build 5-story building at 12th and Holgate; appeals filed on South Beacon grading projects

April 12th, 2012 at 9:39 pm | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has announced a land use application to allow a 5-story, 22-unit residential building at 1814 12th Ave. S. Parking for 12 cars would be included below grade in the building. The existing 1922-built house on the 7,405 square-foot lot would be demolished.

The project will be required to go through the design review process, as well as a SEPA environmental determination. Comments on the project may be submitted to the DPD through April 15. You can submit your comments online via this link.


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On the far south end of the hill, appeals have been filed against the DPD’s recent Determination of Non-Significance with conditions (no environmental impact statement required), for a grading and vegetation removal project at three properties, as discussed on the Beacon Hill Blog recently. The appeal hearings for all three sites will be held on Wednesday, June 6 at 9:00 a.m.

The first is 8839 36th Ave. S. See the decision page here for more information. Here is the page about the appeal hearing.

The second project is nearby at 3400 Edward Dr. S. See the decision page here. Here is the page about the appeal hearing.

The third site is at 9025 Cecil Ave. S. See the decision page here. Here is the page about the appeal hearing.


View Grading projects on South Beacon Hill in a larger map


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