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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:
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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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Get a closer look at station block development plans

November 7th, 2012 at 7:01 am | 16 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

This artist’s rendition shows a view of the planned building from the southwest, including a view down the alley toward El Centro de la Raza.

More information is now available about the McClellan Apartments development proposed for the southeast part of the Beacon Hill Station block at 2721 17th Ave. S. The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has posted the Design Review compilation from the architects of the project which will be presented at the November 13 Design Review meeting.

The PDF contains a wealth of information about the project, including artists’ renditions of the building, floor plans, shadow studies, cross-sections, and more. The project will be a six-story building with residential units ranging from studios to two-bedroom units, including three units designated as “affordable housing.”

The Design Review Board will meet on Tuesday, November 13 at the Wellspring Services Community Room, 1900 Rainier Ave. S. to discuss the project and how well the design addresses the priorities established at the previous Early Design Guidance meeting. At this meeting, the public will be allowed to comment, but the comments are limited to design considerations.

Thanks to Matthew for the heads-up!


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Design Review meeting for station block apartment project 11/13

October 26th, 2012 at 6:42 am | 2 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

The currently-vacant site on the station block. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

Interested in the development of the Beacon Hill Station Block property at 17th Avenue South and South McClellan Street? Mark your calendar for Tuesday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m., when the Design Review Board will meet for the second phase of Design Review for this project, the recommendation meeting.

The proposed project is a six-story structure with 47 residential units and 2,046 square feet of retail space. There will be parking for 17 vehicles in a garage below grade.

Here’s what is on the schedule for the Design Review Board recommendation meeting, according to a notice posted by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD):

  • The applicant will present information about the proposed design and how it responds to the Design Guideline priorities established at the previous Early Design Guidance meeting(s).
  • The public may offer comments regarding the proposed design. Please note that public comment at the Recommendation meeting is limited to design considerations. If environmental review is triggered, comments related to environmental impacts (such as traffic, parking, noise, etc) may be sent to DPD following notice of that review.
  • The Design Review Board will offer their recommendations regarding the design to the Director of the DPD.

The meeting will be held at the Wellspring Services Community Room, 1900 Rainier Ave. S. For more information, see the DPD page, or our “station block development” archive of stories about the site.


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Master Use Permit application filed for station block site

September 17th, 2012 at 5:23 pm | 7 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

The currently-vacant site on the station block. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

A Master Use Permit Application was filed recently for a six-story structure on the property at 2721 17th Avenue South, the southeast corner of the “Beacon Hill Station Block.” The deadline for comments is this Wednesday, September 19. However, the comment period may be extended if a written request to do so is received by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) before the deadline.

The notice of application from the DPD says:

“Land Use Application to allow six-story structure containing 47 residential units and 2,046 sq. ft. of retail space. Parking for 17 vehicles to be provided below grade.”

The site is zoned Neighborhood Commercial 2 (NC2), 65′ tall, with pedestrian incentive, and it is in the light rail station area overlay district. NC2 is defined by the city as “A moderately-sized pedestrian-oriented shopping area that provides a full range of retail sales and services to the surrounding neighborhood.” Because the project is in the light rail station area overlay, no parking is required.

You can comment at this link, or by mail to:

Department of Planning and Development
ATTN: Public Resource Center or Assigned Planner
700 5th Ave Ste 2000
P.O. Box 34019
Seattle, WA 98124-4019

Comments may also be submitted by fax to 205-233-7901, or email to PRC@seattle.gov.


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Clubhouse, station block development both cause controversy

April 4th, 2012 at 10:16 am | 20 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Susanne Rockwell of Seattle Parks discusses the planned new Jefferson Park Golf Clubhouse to a skeptical audience at last night's NBHC meeting. Photo by Wendi Dunlap/Beacon Hill Blog.

The locals were a bit restless at last night’s North Beacon Hill Council meeting. The agenda included presentations about the new Jefferson Park Golf Clubhouse plan and about the development planned for the southeast corner of the Beacon Hill Station block, and both projects seemed to raise some hackles.

The Golf Clubhouse caused the most ruckus. Susanne Rockwell of Seattle Parks and Recreation was there to present the plan, and started off the evening on a defensive note, introducing the plan by saying Jefferson Park “is not an Olmsted park,” and emphasizing that the improved views from the clubhouse would provide “more eyes on the street” — as well as views to the golf course on the other side of Beacon Avenue. One neighbor asked if the new views of downtown would only be enjoyed by those at the driving range, and Rockwell answered that passers-by on Beacon Avenue would be able to enjoy them too.

The plan presented seemed to be the same as the one previously discussed here, where you can find a link to presentation materials. Rockwell answered some general questions about the project, and mentioned that the likelihood of an addition of new parking parallel to Beacon Avenue, though it is in the plan, is “slim.” This brought applause from one member of the audience.

After this the tone of the meeting grew tense. Several members of the audience challenged Rockwell’s assertion that Jefferson park is not an Olmsted park. Rockwell replied “There was not an Olmsted plan for the park.” There was disagreement and shaking of heads in the room. One neighbor commented that the planned building is not attractive: “If the clubhouse was being replaced by something really beautiful, it would be an enhancement… [those drawings] look pretty crummy to me.” Later in the meeting, after Rockwell left, neighbor Roger Pence called the planned structure “a strip mall turned on its side.”
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NBHC starts 2012 with station block discussion

January 2nd, 2012 at 6:01 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

The North Beacon Hill Council is wasting no time getting started with 2012 business. The council’s first meeting of the year is Tuesday, January 3 at 7 p.m., at the Beacon Hill Library, and tentatively includes a presentation by the designer/architect of the proposed development on the Beacon Hill Station block.

Here’s the scheduled agenda:

  • 7:00 Welcomes and introductions
  • 7:05 (tentatively scheduled) The designer/architect of the proposed four-story commercial/residential structure at 2721 17th Avenue South, the southeast corner of the Beacon Hill Station block, will be present to discuss the project. (See previous posts about this project here and here.)
  • 7:35 Q & A
  • 7:50 Community concerns, reports from committees, announcements
  • 8:15 Executive board meeting as needed

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More information about station block apartment project available

October 27th, 2011 at 8:02 am | 2 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

This was one of the slides with design alternatives discussed at Tuesday's Early Design Guidance meeting. The designs are preliminary and not very detailed yet; this is only a rough indication of what might end up on the site. Click the image to access the PDF with the entire presentation.

The packet of information presented at Tuesday’s Early Design Guidance meeting for the McClellan Apartments development on the Beacon Hill Station block has now been posted on the Department of Planning and Development website. Download the PDF here. It’s well-worth reading, containing a lot of information about the project and the versions that are being considered.

Other local publications posted about the EDG meeting yesterday:


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Neighbors get first look at planned station block development

October 26th, 2011 at 8:01 am | 1 Comment | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Clayton Smith shows an example of a courtyard from another Pacific Housing NW project. Photo by Wendi.

A couple dozen community members attended the Early Design Guidance meeting held last night to discuss the proposed development on part of the Beacon Hill Station block. Representatives from Pacific Housing NW (who, previously, were involved in the Beacon Hill Central Park proposal) presented preliminary ideas for the building to the Southeast Design Review Board as well as to the community members in attendance.

It is very early in the process, so all the designs shown were nowhere close to a final form. (The designs are currently not available online, but should appear on the DPD website soon. I’ll post a link then.) Several options were presented, including 40′ buildings and 65′ buildings, depending on whether the rezone currently in process goes through or not. All the options had a few things in common: an entrance to a 14-17 space parking garage via the alley, a courtyard to the north of the building, and some commercial space on the southwest corner of the building. The options varied in height, the presence of live-work space, and the configuration of entrances and setbacks. A 40′ building would probably have 30 units, and a 65′ building would have 45.

Pacific stated that their goal is “sustainable principles”; they hope to include solar cells and possibly even wind power generators on the roof. They intend to plant large trees in the planting strips around the building.

Materials Pacific said they may use for the building include “some lap siding,” masonry, concrete, and some paneling for upper levels. (Several community members expressed a strong dislike for panel-type siding during the public commentary period.) “Green walls” would probably be included as well.

Parking would be below-grade, with a small 14-17 space garage. Parking is not required at all within the station overlay area, so there is no requirement to have spaces for each unit.

The amount of commercial space in the building, as presented by Pacific last night, is very small—one small unit in the southwest corner. This was the most frequent concern mentioned by commenters during the public comment period. Neighbors who spoke up about it were unanimous in wanting more retail/commercial space in the building, preferably along the entire McClellan frontage. The current proposal “is not lively,” said neighbor Judith Edwards.

Some commenters also expressed concern about setbacks. The designs showed setbacks above the fourth floor. Judith Edwards commented that, according to neighborhood design guidelines, setbacks are supposed to start above the second floor. She concluded, “We are going to hold firm on this.” However, this was not a unanimously-held opinion. Another neighbor commented that setbacks are unnecessary for this building because it will have plenty of visual interest already.

Another major concern mentioned by the neighbors in attendance was the alley. In the proposed designs, the alley side of the building contains a driveway into the parking garage, but seemingly nothing else. Commenters wanted to see the alley as an “active alley,” with shops and cafe tables, preserving the view toward El Centro de la Raza. (See this illustration by Joel Lee for the basic idea.)

In general, however, the commenters seemed fairly supportive of the development.

After discussion, the Design Review Board members recommended “significant modulation” and an increase in commercial space. Setbacks will be required if the building is 65′ tall. The designers should draw on existing structures in the neighborhood for materials influence. They must enhance the alley, activating it for pedestrian use.

There will be another meeting in the future, after new designs have been created to address these issues. Stay tuned for the rest of the process.

(Thanks to Melissa Jonas for some additional information.)


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Tonight: Early Design Guidance meeting for station block project

October 25th, 2011 at 8:05 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

As alluded to in this space yesterday, this evening is the Early Design Guidance meeting for the proposed four-story commercial/residential structure at 2721 17th Ave. S., the southeast corner of the Beacon Hill Station block.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Wellspring Family Services community room, 1900 Rainier Ave. S.

The property was previously used for staging during the construction of Beacon Hill Station, and before that, contained single-family homes. Since the station opened in July 2009, the lot has been bare and surrounded by chain-link fence.

This proposed building would only cover part of the station block property. The triangular lot at the southwest corner would not be developed, nor would part of the rest of the block, as those properties have different owners. The development firm involved in the project is Pacific Housing NW.

Neighbor Carol Sanders posted to the Beacon Hill mailing list yesterday, encouraging interested Beacon Hill residents to attend the meeting:

“This is the best chance for the public to offer comments about design and the siting of the development. We’re going to have a lot of density coming our way with developers building up housing around the light rail area. It would be really great to have the neighborhood involved in making sure that these buildings will contribute to the look and feel of Beacon Hill and not just become big sterile boxes for folks to live in. We can really impact things like how the sidewalk areas interact with the building, possible public spaces, greenery, etc. if people get involved early in the design process and speak up at these meetings.”


View Larger Map. This is the location of the proposed apartment building at the Beacon Hill Station block.


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