Preliminary designs for a pair of mixed-use developments with more than 150 apartments combined just blocks from each other in Uptown were cleared in back-to-back early design review meetings on Wednesday night.

The projects — located at 413 3rd Ave. W. and 631 Queen Anne Ave. N. — will now move forward to the recommendation phase after both had failed to receive approval in their initial appearances before the West Design Review Board. 

413 3rd Ave. W.

The current site of a two-story office building housing Westward Fishing Co., all three schemes presented Wednesday called for a seven-story replacement, with just shy of 60 residential units, and approximately 1,700 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. The site was also included in the recent Uptown rezone, with the maximum building height raised from 65 to 85 feet.  

The preferred concept for the development is referred to in project documents as “intersecting-form,” with an angled façade to orient views toward the southeast instead of directly facing the adjacent office building.

“The idea was to create a stronger corner,” said Matt Driscoll, of architecture firm d/Arch LLC.

Along the Third Avenue West side is a three-story podium, with a set-back for the floors above it, dictated by the presence of power lines on the street.

Driscoll said there’s a lot of variety in the design of existing neighborhood buildings, and that this project takes a deliberately simple approach to better fit into the surrounding area.

“We like the simplicity of the building,” he said. 

But one of the biggest questions from the board surrounded not the development itself, but how it could be affected by future construction to the south, now a parking lot for the neighboring Church of Scientology of Washington State.

“I have concern about the relationship with the adjacent parcel to the south, and of the encroachment upon a lot line condition,” said board president Stephen Porter.

That said, project architects didn’t have the same level of apprehension. 

“We don’t see them building on it for a while,” Driscoll said.

However, the board still wanted to see a study of the lot line condition by the time the project again comes before them, including what the impacts to air and light exposure would be if another development is built.

Board member John Morefield said he liked the evolution of the residential mass, but called it a “tough situation,” to design without certainty regarding the adjacent site.

As one of two members on hand for the project’s first early design meeting last October, Brian Walters said he would commend the architects’ response to the southern property.

Ultimately, the board gave the preferred massing concept and the podium expression its blessing, and unanimously supported its progression to the recommendation phase. However, board members still wanted to see further development of the corner design, and resolution of blank walls on the site as the design evolves. 

631 Queen Anne Ave. N.

Located kitty-corner from Counterbalance Park, concepts for the planned “Roystone Apartments,” included nearly 100 units in addition to around 5,000 square feet of first-floor retail.

Robin Murphy of Jackson | Main Architecture reiterated several of the points made during the project’s first EDG meeting, noting that the mix of traffic and infrastructure make for a “kind of chaotic” intersection, while the aim of the development was to, “calm the intersection down with this building, and respond to what’s there.” The plans also take advantage of the neighborhood rezone with the site — which was home to the now-closed Manhattan Express deli — included in a small area north of Seattle Center that saw building heights more than double from 40 to 85 feet.

Alongside the three initial proposals, Murphy presented a new preferred option, meant to better respond contextually to the building’s immediate neighbors to the south and west by incorporating massing and ground-floor plans from two of the original schemes.

The plans also include a community deck on the seventh floor, which Murphy said would provide views not only back toward Queen Anne, but of downtown and the water as well.

Though Murphy said the color palate for the development is intended to be “very subdued,” the project also attempts to respond to community feedback in favor of brick like many buildings in the area.

“We’re trying to do a modern expression of that masonry material,” he said.

However, the board struggled somewhat with the overall architectural expression, and how all of the elements would co-exist.

“I have not heard how these things come together,” Porter said.

While the board was ultimately supportive of the overall evolution, architectural concept, and massing plan, it strongly encouraged project architects to further evaluate and refine several elements of the design, including a tower component at the corner of the development, and the podium expression along the Queen Anne Avenue side.

The board also okayed a pair of requested departures, one that allows for the residential entrance to be located along Roy Street instead of Queen Anne Avenue, and a second reducing the amount of required ground-floor commercial use along the facade on Roy.

To view the design review packets for both projects, scroll down. To comment on this story, write to 

Early Design Guidance Presentation — 413 3rd Ave. W. (May 2, 2018) by QueenAnneMagnoliaNews on Scribd

Early Design Guidance Presentation (REVISED) — 631 Queen Anne Ave. N. (May 2, 2018) by QueenAnneMagnoliaNews on Scribd