On Saturday, March 26th, Steve Orser with Wood Partners presented their proposed project for the former JCC property to members of the Wedgwood Land Use Committee (WLUC) and Wedgwood Action Group (WAG). This gesture by Wood Partners to meet with our community groups to describe the project was very appreciated. The WLUC presented Mr. Orser with a Wedgwood t-shirt and welcomed Wood Partners to the community and both WLUC and WAG shared their desire that the project is a success for Wood Partners (their first in greater Seattle) and for Wedgwood.
The purpose of the meeting was to find out what Wood Partners has planned for the former JCC property, which they recently purchased from Murray Franklyn. Wood Partners shared their hope to incorporate Wedgwood art into the project and develop a project that has a strong sense of connection to the community. Mr. Orser also shared his excitement and support for Wedgwood’s park acquisition process at the Morningside Substation.
During his presentation, Mr. Orser explained that Wood Partners is fully aware of the legal agreement reached between WAG and Murray Franklyn and intended to meet the conditions in that agreement. In regards to this agreement and to the Morningside Substation, Mr. Orser shared that Murray Franklyn had reached out to SDOT about constructing a crosswalk at the intersection of 35th Ave NE and either NE 86th Street or NE 87th Street. This crosswalk is a condition of the agreement and has been identified as a valuable pedestrian improvement by the Parks department during conversations with them about the Morningside Substation park acquisition. However, according to Mr. Orser, Murray Franklyn had been told by SDOT that they did not approve of the cross walk due to the lighted crossing at NE 85th Street and NE 89th Street. Mr. Orser said that Wood Partners was not opposed to building a crosswalk at these locations though if SDOT was willing to change their mind.
These renderings have been prepared by the WLUC and are very rough. They are only intended to provide an approximate street-level view of the project’s exterior, as Murray Franklyn had proposed and had gone through design review. Wood Partners is largely proposing to keep the exterior of the project as depicted unchanged.
Mr. Orser also shared his familiarity with the contention with Murray Franklyn’s previous project and therefore Wood Partners wanted to honor the final design that went through design review (see images below). However, Wood Partners did share some changes to the project that they are proposing. These changes are summarized as follows:
- Due to the collapse of the condominium market, Wood Partners was proposing to change the project to accommodate apartments. The building would be built to Built Green and would feature Energy Star appliances.
- Since Murray Franklyn proposed the project, the Seattle code has changed requiring less on-site parking. Therefore, Wood Partners would reduce the available below-grade parking from a 1.25 stall to unit ratio (1.25:1) to a 1:1 ratio. This subsequently allows them to avoid building an added floor of below-grade parking and would also cut down on the duration and depth of grading. As a result, several of the trees along the property’s eastern boundary would not need to be removed.
- Wood Partners proposes six live/work units along 35th Ave NE instead of retail space.
UPDATE 1: The start of the project and its time line was unintentionally left out of the original post. Construction could begin by mid- to late-May 2011 and would take approximately 14 months to complete.
As mentioned above, the WLUC is very appreciative of Wood Partners’ willingness to meet with us and discuss the project. The WLUC and WCC are committed to making this project a success for Wedgwood and continuing to engage in productive conversations with the developer to make this a successful project them as well. The WLUC and WCC does not speak for the WAG.
UPDATE 2: Exxel Pacific General Contractors, who will manage construction of the project, posted their sign on the JCC property today (3/30/11).