South Lake Union Rezone Approved by Council Committee

A Seattle City Council committee took a step forward Tuesday in rezoning South Lake Union, Lower Queen Anne, and Downtown neighborhoods.

The Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning committee voted 3-0 to forward the legislation, which would allow taller building heights in exchange for affordable housing.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold expressed her concerns on the equation used to determine the heights and suggested she could provide amendments in the future.

As crafted, the legislation would allow buildings up to 40 feet taller than the current code, depending on the amount of affordable market units within the building.

Councilmember Rob Johnson, who chairs the committee and presided over multiple amendments, acknowledged there will likely be changes to the legislation before a full Council vote on April 10.

Syndicated from King5 News.

Mayor Ed Murray Proposes Taller Buildings in SLU in Exchange for More Affordable Housing

Downtown Seattle and South Lake Union are the next neighborhoods where Mayor Ed Murray wants to allow taller buildings in exchange for help with affordable housing.

Under the proposed upzone, new projects would be allowed to climb one or several stories higher, depending on location. In some cases, projects would be allowed more floor area.

Photo source: Wikipedia Commons

But the Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square historic districts would be exempted from the changes, which the council’s land-use committee will take up Tuesday.

The upzone would trigger the city’s new Mandatory Housing Affordability program, which requires developers to include rent-controlled units in their projects or pay fees to help create such units elsewhere.

That program already is coming to the University District because the council voted to upzone that neighborhood last month.

Murray will ask the council to upzone more than two dozen additional neighborhoods later this year and next year.

He says the program’s goal is to create 6,000 rent-controlled units over 10 years.

In downtown and South Lake Union, housing developers would need to make about 2 to 5 percent of their units rent-controlled or pay fees of $5.50 to $13 per square foot.

Commercial developers would need to devote about 5 to 11 percent of their gross floor area to rent-controlled units or pay fees of $8 to $16 per square foot.

The affordable-housing requirements proposed for downtown and South Lake Union are lower than those proposed for other neighborhoods.

That’s because high-rise buildings are particularly expensive to construct and because the zoning changes would be more incremental there than in other neighborhoods, Murray administration officials say.

It’s also because some downtown and South Lake Union zones already require developers to provide benefits such as public open space and street improvements, officials say.

Despite the lower affordable-housing requirements, Murray administration officials say downtown and South Lake Union would generate as many as 2,100 rent-controlled units.

Where those would be located is another story. Most developers in downtown and South Lake Union would likely choose to pay fees rather than include units in their buildings.

The city would use the fees to help nonprofit developers build rent-controlled housing. Those projects could be in downtown and South Lake Union or could be in other neighborhoods.

Officials say fees are valuable because they can be combined with other financing to create more affordable housing.

If the council approves the upzone, the developer of a 44-story apartment building might be required to include 25 rent-controlled units or pay $5 million in fees.

The developer of a 35-story commercial building might be required to include 74 rent-controlled units or pay $7.8 million in fees.

Since 2001, the city has operated an incentive-zoning program in parts of downtown and South Lake Union. Under that program, developers can choose to build affordable housing or pay fees in exchange for more floor area.

If the council approves the upzone, Murray’s new, mandatory program would replace the existing, voluntary program.

The downtown and South Lake Union upzone may prove less controversial than those proposed for neighborhoods such as Wallingford, Othello and South Park, which would allow larger apartment buildings and convert some blocks now zoned exclusively for single-family, detached homes.

Syndicated from The Seattle Times.

The Allen Institute

Central atrium inside Allen Institute.  Photo: Anthony Bolante/Puget Sound Business Journal

Science, art, and efficiency integrate seamlessly, not unlike our own left and right brains, in the architecture and structure of The Allen Institute building, located near the southwest bank of Lake Union. The large, LED-driven installation on the exterior façade, which is based upon neural brain activity and perception, transitions between colors and layered images. And among other unique building features is the engineering marvel of corralling existing mineral springs so a building could reliably stand on the site. The Allen Institute at 615 Westlake Ave. N. encompasses three entities: the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Allen Institute for Cell Science and Paul G. Allen Frontiers.

Allen Institute exterior. Photo: Lara Swimmer Photography

According to Puget Sound Business Journal, philanthropist Paul Allen’s 270,000 square foot, 7-story building has now won two awards from Engineering News-Record: ENR Northwest’s “Project of the Year” and Best “Higher Education/Research” project. Only 20 real estate developments were given commendations this year for any “Best of the Best” category. The two awards mentioned were given to the Allen Institute, in ENR’s words, “for achieving the promise of a collaborative concept, overcoming dewatering and structural challenges, and preserving a historical site.”

Dewatering? Structural challenges? What historical site? Well, “dewatering” refers to the mineral springs mentioned earlier; they bubbled up during initial excavation, which had to be addressed so the structure of the building wouldn’t buckle. Especially since the P4 parking garage is 34 feet below water level. Through a series of dewatering wells built during construction and careful monitoring over time of water pressure on shoring walls (more than 100 of them), the team was able to determine that the structure would hold. Because of a clever treatment system that filters the ground water so efficiently that it is released into Lake Union cleaner than the actual lake water, the WA Department of Ecology approved it.

Looking east toward Lake Union.

The integrity of the former Ford and Pacific McKay car showrooms on-site, designated as a historic landmark, needed to be considered. Pioneer Masonry catalogued, disassembled, and stored any protected components from the buildings, especially the terra-cotta façade which was later reassembled using a virtual 3D model made previously. The new building was built to wrap around the older ones.

The new Allen Institute building wraps around historic car showrooms.

The interior of the facility has interesting features as well. Studio SC built the external public artwork called “Pathways” that adorns the exterior, but also provided wayfinding graphics/ signage within the building. The central atrium of the building is built to promote easy access between labs and offices, between co-workers in different departments. The excess heat produced by the data center, which stores a huge amount of information, is effectively re-routed to provide heating and cooling for the building. Besides the data center, the institute also has wet and dry labs, an electron microscopy area, auditorium, and a center for education.

Studio SC’s public art installation “Pathways”, exterior.  Photo: Lara Swimmer Photography

Paul Allen, who initially made his fortune as co-founder of Microsoft, began this non-profit in 2003 to study the workings of the brain in an “open science” model (greatly simplified, meaning easier access to scientific knowledge and research). An interesting link to explore, the Allen Brain Atlas, gives a peek into the depth of what is studied here.

 

Owner/Developer: Vulcan Inc.
General Contractor: GLY
Lead Design/Architect Firm: Perkins+Will
Subcontractors: BOLA Architecture + Planning; Candela; Sparling; Coughlin Porter Lundeen; McKinstry; Affiliated Engineers NW; Valley Electric; GeoEngineers; Pioneer Masonry

Head to These SLU Restaurants for Dine Around Seattle in March!

Dine Around Seattle returned for 2017 on Sunday, March 5th, and a couple of SLU restaurants are participating! Dine Around Seattle is a little bit more fun than Seattle Restaurant Week, in that the restaurant isn’t limited to the three-course prix-fixe format of appetizer, entree, and dessert. Instead, Dine Around Seattle allows a little bit more flexibility, so that the restaurants can show off the things that they specialize in. After all, Dine Around Seattle is intended to support local businesses and what better way to do that than by letting the restaurants show off their best?

According to the program’s website, “For fifteen years, Dine Around Seattle has connected tens of thousands of residents with the best of Seattle’s restaurants, contributing millions to our local economy and strengthening our community.”

Dinner at participating restaurants ranges from $22 or $33, to $44 depending on the restaurant and their offering. Chandler’s Crabhouse, Vestal and Flying Fish are all participating,

Dine Around Seattle continues Sunday to Thursday each week through March 23rd, so visit these SLU restaurants and enjoy a discounted meal, while supporting local businesses. Enjoy!

Lake Union Events: Things to Do in March

From museum happenings to food and drink events, there’s lots to do next month around the neighborhood…

March 2: First Free Thursday at MOHAI
10am – 8pm | Museum of History and Industry
On the first Thursday of the month, March 2nd, the Museum of History and Industry offers free general admission for the museum’s permanent exhibits – all day long! The free admission includes: True Northwest: the Seattle Journey, and the Bezos Center for Innovation.

March 3: Salish Sea Expeditions, 20 Years of Discovery Seafood Bash
6:30pm – 10pm | Museum of History and Industry
Celebrate 20 years of learning expeditions with Salish Sea Expeditions in a seafood bash on March 3rd. Food is provided by Herban Feast, with libations from local bars, crab races, dessert dash and FUNdraiser in support of 2017 programs. Tickets are $150/person.

March 4: Form Over Function – Ceramic Sculptures Opening Reception
4pm – 7pm | Winston Wachter
Winston Wächter Fine Art Seattle is proud to announce Form Over Function: Ceramic Sculptures by Andrew Casto, Steve Young Lee, Jeffry Mitchell, Zemer Peled, Kim Simonsson and Dirk Staschke. The opening reception is on Saturday, March 4th, 4 – 7 pm. Artists Jeffry Mitchell and Dirk Staschke will be in attendance.

March 7: Taste of Place at MOHAI
7pm – 8:30pm | Museum of History and Industry
With some of the most productive growing regions in the whole world, Washington is one of the best spots for artisanal food and drink. Visit MOHAI on March 7th for a panel discussion, called Taste of Place, to explore the ways that natural phenomena contribute to some of the most specific aromas and flavors from our state. Tickets are $20 for the public, and $15 for MOHAI members. There’s a members-only pre-event happy hour at 5:30 p.m. with door prizes, light hors d’oeuvres, and a no-host bar for an additional fee.

March 17: REI Pinnacle and Pints
6:30pm | South Lake Union REI
Spend an evening of climbing, followed by a pint of beer for REI Pinnacle and Pints night! Start at the Climbing Pinnacle, gear-up (provided), and get some coaching from an REI host/belayer. Close the evening with a short walk to a local bar and REI will pay for the first round of pints and shared appetizers.

March 25: Maker Day – Upcycled Engineering
11am – 2pm | Museum of History and Industry
Bring the family to MOHAI on March 25th for Maker Day: Upcycled Engineering to learn how to use recycled goods to make fun, creative toys with Seattle ReCreative. Ballard Reuse has also made a giant interactive maze from reclaimed building materials to enjoy.