A proposed development project about two blocks away from KeyArena on Queen Anne Avenue was cautiously advanced by the West Design Review Board during its April 3 meeting.

The proposed project is a seven-story, 114-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail and commercial space. The project was presented to the board during an early design guidance meeting, and will return for at least one more review.

The board voted 3-1 to move the project to the next phase, but with some recommendations.

The 7,500-square-foot building is proposed for 412 Queen Anne Avenue North, on the corner of Queen Anne Avenue North and Harrison Street, near the KeyArena and Seattle Center.  Bellevue-based Continental Properties is the developer.

GroupArchitect architect Emily Hennigs McNichols focused on how the building will benefit pedestrians, especially during events at the arena. The group held three public meetings, two of which included the Queen Anne Community Council.

A QACC member was the only person to give public comment during the meeting. He told the board QACC was worried about the "massiveness" of the project, especially since it would be near such a busy area in Queen Anne. The council submitted a letter with a list of concerns and recommendations, which was not included in the meeting packet.

One of the QACC recommendations was to have a building that showed off the city's "artistic flair." Instead, the group sees the building's design as a "manufactured geometric" tower.

There are also two buildings on the site that will be torn down if the project goes through.

The applicant provided three options for the board to consider.

Option A splits the mass into two sections with the main portion of the building running from east to west along Harrison Street. The second portion would be set back into the lot and create a large, open pedestrian area along Queen Anne Avenue.

Option B splits the building into two sections with the main mass running north to south on Queen Anne Avenue and the secondary mass set back on Harrison Street to provide a large pedestrian open area along that street front.

The applicant's preferred design, Option C, would create one large “L” shaped building, with the longest side of the building butting up against Queen Anne Avenue and the shortest butting against Harrison Street, with a corner lot adjacent to the alleyway for residents.

The building will include some inset and protruding outdoor patios, rooftop space, views of Seattle Center and the Space Needle, a resident courtyard, tree-lined streets for pedestrians and small retail spaces against Queen Anne Avenue.

The Design Review Board had a lot of questions, and was hesitant to approve the project to move forward.

"Is this too massive? Can this be successful?" asked WDRB member Stephen Porter.

"I think it can be, with some moderations," said board member Brian Walters.

Board member John Morefield expressed concerns about the lack of studies done on vehicle and pedestrian traffic during events and the arena, as well as parking availability. He also preferred Option B over C, because it gave open space to pedestrians on Queen Anne Avenue.

The board spent 30 minutes weighing Options B and C against each other, and eventually approved moving the project forward, but with strong recommendations regarding the building's masses and the ground plain. Morefield voted against the project advancing.

"We can't pin down what each of us supports," he said. "Let's get the applicant to come back with some changes. I see this as a high-risk recommendation."

The next step is for the applicant to apply for a masters-use permit with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections.

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