City Council Special Meeting: Uptown Rezone & Design Review at SIFF on Monday

The Seattle City Council is hosting a special public meeting tomorrow, Monday, September 11th at SIFF Uptown. The meeting will cover two major topics: the Uptown Rezone and changes to the Design Review process. The meeting is open to all, it begins at 5:30pm at SIFF (511 Queen Anne Ave N).

The Uptown Rezone seeks to increase building heights in Uptown/Lower Queen Anne. Per the agenda, the meeting will includes 90 minutes for a presentation and discussion of the Uptown Rezone.

The second part of the meeting includes 120 minutes for a briefing and public hearing on proposed changes to the Design Review Process.

The latest maps for the Uptown Rezone are below. You can also read the latest on the plan here, and bring your questions and concerns to tomorrow’s public meeting at SIFF:

Uptown Rezone recommendation announced by Mayor

This week, Mayor Ed Murray announced the Uptown Rezone recommendation. The plan allows building heights to increase across Uptown, with some buildings allowed to go up to 160 feet.

The plan also calls for 600 new affordable housing units near Seattle Center as part of the Mandatory Housing Affordability program –  it requires developers to include rent-restricted units or pay a fee to construct affordable housing somewhere else in the Seattle city limits.

Here’s the plan map – old heights are listed first, new heights are second:

The plan also includes development recommendations as follows:

– The ground level of buildings in pedestrian areas have restaurants, retail, theaters and other uses that drive pedestrian activity.

– Storefronts must be transparent at the street level. Windows and openings add visual interest to the pedestrian environment.

– Parking at the street level must be separated from the right of way with buildings and uses that hide the parking. At least half of all new parking must be underground.

– 15% of the lot area for large projects be usable open space.

– New development must include upper level setbacks to maintain pedestrian scale and provide light at the street level.

You can read the full plan here.

SPD: Man killed in stabbing on Lower Queen Anne/Uptown early this morning

There have been multiple reports of an incident in the early morning hours (around 2am) in the 500 block of Queen Anne Ave N. Some say it happened near Dick’s Drive-In, others say near Mecca Cafe.

Here’s the SPD Blotter report:

Man Killed In Overnight Stabbing In Lower Queen Anne, Suspect Arrested
Written by Detective Patrick Michaud on

Detectives are investigating after a man was stabbed in the chest outside a lower Queen Anne restaurant early Friday morning.

Officers responded to the 500 block of Queen Anne Avenue North just after 2 a.m. for a report of man who had been stabbed in the chest. Officers quickly arrived and found the 26-year-old victim with serious injuries and immediately began to perform first aid. Seattle Fire Department Medics arrived and took the man to Harborview Medical Center where he later died from his injuries.

Witnesses said the suspect, in an unprovoked attack, came across the street and plunged a large knife into the victim’s chest. The suspect then walked away from the scene. Officers were able to take the 38-year-old suspect into custody without further incident. Officers searched the suspect and were able to recover what they believe to be the weapon involved in the attack.

Detectives booked the suspect into King County Jail for investigation of murder. Police are asking anyone with information about this incident to contact the Seattle Police Homicide Unit at 206-684-5550 or call 206-233-TIPS.

Proposed high-rise at 225 Roy St back down to 8 stories

The former home of Teatro ZinZanni will transform one way or another, but it’s been a rollercoaster ride when it comes to the number of stories for the site. First it was two buildings: one 8-story and one 16-story. Then, most recently, the City of Seattle Land Use Bulletin had two buildings listed, each with a public meeting – and they were 16 and 17 stories.

Last week, the City released its Uptown rezone recommendations last week which limit new developments along the Mercer/Roy corridor to 85’ buildings. In response, the project at 225 Roy St will adhere to that limit and come in at only 8 stories.

According to the developer, the “high-quality, mixed-use project will feature approximately 250-275 apartments and ground-floor live-work units and approximately 9,000 sq. ft. of ground-level retail/restaurant space.”

The 8-story building will also address the City’s affordability programs with 20% of the building designated for affordable residences.

Uptown map that included part of Upper Queen Anne now revised!

When I posted on the preliminary proposal for Uptown last week, the Uptown map included in the City document was not only odd, it was wrong. It mapped out Uptown and the boundaries went all the way up to Galer Street and everything to the east of Kerry Park was considered Uptown:

Since then, the City has contacted me with a revised map that’s now in a new version of the preliminary proposal. Here’s the new map, which is more graphically pleasing as well:

Good catch on my part, good save on the City’s. All in a week’s work…

Preliminary proposal for Uptown includes part of Upper Queen Anne

The City of Seattle released a preliminary proposal for the rezoning (aka height increases) for the Uptown Urban Center. The full proposal is online, and weighs in at 47 pages. What’s notable? The map of the study area is smaller than the new “Uptown” boundaries as defined by the City.

In the proposal, the boundaries for Uptown go as far north as Galer Street. That means that Bhy Kracke Park and the southern part of Queen Anne Boulevard are considered “Uptown” – meanwhile, Kerry Park is the boundary to the west, it barely escapes the new map designation. Please note: this map does not align to the study area for Uptown, this increase to the north is new:

Of course, building heights are of keen interest to supporters and opponents alike. Here’s the current proposal for increasing building heights:

And, what about that portion of Upper Queen Anne that’s now considered “Uptown”? There are some areas with “protected views” – noted by the dark blue arrows in the map below:

You can read the full proposal here, and if you have questions, concerns, or comments, here’s the information you need:

Open House: The City of Seattle will host an open house at Seattle Center Pavilion, adjacent to the Seattle Center Skatepark, from 5pm to 7pm on Wednesday, March 29. The public will have an opportunity to learn more about the proposal and speak to City staff about housing, transportation, support for the arts, and other neighborhood priorities.

Written Public Comments: on the preliminary rezone recommendation can be submitted by writing to jim.holmes@seattle.gov – comments must be received by Saturday, April 22.

After the public comment period, OPCD will make a recommendation to the Mayor and Council about how to proceed to implement the community’s vision for the future of Uptown. Make your voice part of these recommendations!

Key Arena redevelopment: take the Uptown Alliance survey and attend a public meeting

If you have questions, concerns, opinions (or all three) on the redevelopment and/or possible replacement of Key Arena, the Seattle Uptown Alliance has two options for you.

First, take the Uptown Alliance’s survey on Key Arena plans. It’s a short 10 question survey with two key rating/ranking questions:

Potential community benefits: what you believe is most important, whether it’s community, transportation, or clean-up impacts.

Preferences for Key Arena: what you prefer for the future of Key Arena, from keeping the original structure as-is to completely demolishing it, and whether you want NBA/NHL teams playing at the Key.

The survey takes less than 3 minutes to complete, so take it today! Then, mark your calendars for a special community meeting to discuss the redevelopment of Key Arena and its surroundings. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 13th, at 7pm. The agenda is TBD, if you want updates on the meeting, RSVP here.

What could the future hold for Key Arena?

key-arena-seattle-times

Photo: Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times

Last week was a busy one for potential Seattle NBA/NHL arenas. After Chris Hansen stated that he’ll pay for a $500M+ new Sodo arena with private funding, Mayor Ed Murray told The Seattle Times that LA-based Oak View Group has expressed interest in Key Arena. In addition, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), an arena builder and manager for Key Arena marketing, appears open to a renovation of the Key.

Mayor Murray announced that the City will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) in January. The RFP process opens up Key Arena renovations to private parties.

He also acknowledged the impact to Uptown:

“We continue to listen to options to redevelop KeyArena as part of our revitalization of Seattle Center. There are many challenges to consider, including how to address traffic in the growing Uptown neighborhood, and any viable plan will include efforts to mitigate these concerns, while also bringing Seattle tremendous cultural and financial benefit. But, I remain committed to building a state-of-the-art arena in Seattle, and this effort means multiple entities could be working to make that a reality. I also remain committed to bringing the NBA back to Seattle.”

While traffic woes would certainly increase with a revamped arena, the positive impact to Queen Anne and Uptown businesses would be significant. When we lost the Sonics, local restaurants and bars lost business – and some had to close down.

You can read the latest on Hansen’s proposed Sodo arena and the possible renovation of Key Arena in this Seattle Times article.

5 story efficiency apartment building proposed for 215 1st Ave N

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-4-56-10-pm

UPDATE: No parking will be provided at the proposed building, due to its location in the Uptown Urban Center, per Seattle Municipal Code 23.54.015.

A tiny little building at 215 1st Ave N will make way for a 5 story apartment building that will house 71 “small efficiency dwelling units” and two live/work units at street level. The parcel includes the adjacent parking lot for a total of 7200 square feet of land.

The existing building will be demolished and one exceptional tree will be removed to make way for the new construction. No updated details on parking, but an earlier permit states 25 parking spaces, 14 of which will be underground.

And Early Design Guidance meeting is scheduled for 8pm Wednesday, November 16th at the Queen Anne Community Center (1901 1st Ave W). The meeting is open to the public for comments on site planning and design issues. You can also submit comments via email or snail mail to:

City of Seattle
Seattle DCI – PRC
700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA  98124-4019

The deadline for all comments related to site planning and design is November 16th.

Preserving Uptown at this Thursday’s Queen Anne Historical Society

You’ve likely seen our coverage on changes to Uptown, with the potential for some areas to see new developments soaring to 16 stories. The Uptown rezone brings up the issue of preservation – how can Uptown continue to grow while preserving its historic character?

Uptown EIS Rezone

That issue is at the center of this week’s Queen Anne Historical Society public meeting, this Thursday, October 27th. All are welcome to join QAHS members and four special guests to discuss what Preserving Uptown means.

The meeting starts at 7pm at Aegis Living at 2900 3rd Ave W, and it’s open to anyone with an interest in the proposed rezone and the character of Uptown/Lower Queen Anne.

Join the conversation with these guest speakers:

  • Jim Holmes, Seattle City Planner and Uptown planning lead
  • Debi Frausto, Uptown Alliance’s chair of the Uptown Urban Design Framework
  • Katherine Idzoriek, architect and President of the Uptown Alliance
  • Jill Crary, Seattle Center Redevelopment

Parking is available on 3rd Ave W in front of the building and in the garage, entrance off W. Florentia. For garage access, use the intercom, and please sign in upon arrival.