Wedgwood Center Redevelopment – Early Design Guidance Meeting No. 1 Scheduled for March 25th (virtual)

UPDATE: CLICK THIS LINK (click here) TO REGISTER FOR THE EDG #1 MEETING AT 5PM ON MARCH 25TH.  You’ll get an email with a link to sign up to give or leave public comment, if you would like.

Security Properties has received confirmation that their first Early Design Guidance (EDG-1) meeting with the Northeast Design Review Board will be held on Monday, March 25th, 5PM via WebEx (virtual platform similar to Zoom).  Click this link to visit the City’s calendar notifications, details, and virtual login.  This EDG-1 meeting will allow Security Properties to present their 3 alternative “massing concepts” to the Northeast Design Review Board and make their case for their preferred alternative.  These 3 “massing concepts” can be reviewed in Security Properties EDG-1 design plans (LINK).

PLEASE NOTE: This is a really important meeting and we encourage anyone who has an opinion on Security Properties’ design presented so far to sign up and provide comment (detailed instructions below). Since it’s such an important meeting, I wanted answer some questions I can hear (rhetorically) some folks ask.

What’s a massing concept?  
A massing concept is just a site plan showing how the redeveloped building(s) will sit on the site and shows where important features (e.g., retail, access, parking, trees, etc) are planned for onsite. It shows enough detail to get a feel for the building’s “mass” (how big) it is.  The 3 massing concepts (Concepts A, B, and C) lock in access and certain design parameters that the developer (Security Properties) is requesting, which are very important to the developer, our community, and the potential for a future grocer.

What’s the EDG-1 meeting and why is it so important?
The EDG-1 meeting is a public meeting to a board of citizens generally with some planning and architecture experience/interest who help screen projects against the City’s code and who can make recommendations to the City’s planner on departures the developer (Security Properties) has from the code.  Security Properties has 4 departures from the code that they will be requested approval for.  The Wedgwood Community Council strongly supports Security Properties’ preferred massing concept (Concept C), including all 4 of the requested departures.  You can read our reasons for our position in our letter of support (PDF, Google Doc).

A summary of the 4 departures is as follows:

  • Small Commercial Uses – Security Properties is seeking relief from a small retail space requirement in order to accommodate a retail space the size a grocer would require. Without this departure, a grocery store could not return at this location. The WCC believes returning an anchor grocery store at this location is vital to our community.
  • Surface Parking Abutting Principal Pedestrian Street – Security Properties is seeking up to 20 surface parking stalls midblock, off of 35th Ave NE.  These limited surface parking stalls would be in addition to the structured (e.g., below ground) parking that would be provided onsite as well.  We understand that those grocers who Security Properties has spoken to have identified this limited surface parking to be necessary for a grocery store to return to Wedgwood.  The WCC believes that in addition to the needs that a grocery store has, the midblock parking would provide improved access for disabled and mobility-limited patrons and provide more organization for curbside services, such as short-term deliveries, grab-n-go food pick-up, and rideshare services which would otherwise occur informally along 35th Ave NE.
  • Curbcut off of Principal Pedestrian Street – The preferred massing concept includes a curbcut (e.g., access for cars) off of 35th Ave NE across from NE 84th Street.  The limited surface parking noted above would be accessed via this curbcut.  The City’s code would result in shared alley behind the future building and abutting the backyards of numerous residences, extending from NE 85th Street to NE 82nd Street.  This would mean that grocery store patrons driving to the site would encounter residents in cars, garbage/recycling trucks, and freight vehicles all jostling for access in a back alley.  The WCC believes that the curbcut requested by the departure results in a better site plan and reduces impacts to our neighbors by better organizing vehicles and circulation patterns around the site.  Under this preferred concept and with this departure, grocery and retail patrons would access the building off of 35th Ave NE, freight would access the site where it previously did off of NE 85th Street, and residents would access the site off of NE 82nd Steet.
  • Additional 10 feet in Building Height – With the curbcut, Security Properties could avoid removal of a significant tree which would otherwise have had to be removed to accommodate the turning radii of freight trucks onto NE 82nd Street.  Since freight would be located off of NE 85th Street under the preferred plan, Security Properties could avoid removal of any significant tree.  The WCC believes that preserving those trees which, in part, give Wedgwood its unique character is important.  Avoiding trees while maximizing housing units makes sense to the WCC, although we are encouraging Security Properties to further mitigate the additional height.

How Does One Sign Up to Given Testimony at the EDG-1?
Great question!  There’s really 2 ways:

  1. You can provide written feedback via the City’s Public Comment Tool where you’ll need to navigate on a map to the site or use the following Record No. 3040032-EG.
  2. Most effective though is attending the EDG-1 Meeting and providing comment during the meeting. As the meeting time approaches, you can sign up through the link provided on the City’s calendar event invitation.

It is very important that the Northeast Design Review Board and City hear from you if you, regardless of what opinion you have.  As we mentioned, we’re strongly in support of Security Properties’ Preferred Concept for the reasons you can read about in our letter of support (PDF, Google Doc).  It’s especially important if you want to have a grocery store back on this site that you make your voice heard.

2 Replies to “Wedgwood Center Redevelopment – Early Design Guidance Meeting No. 1 Scheduled for March 25th (virtual)”

  1. Hi – I wanted to express my full agreement with the recommendation from the Wedgwood Community Council regarding massing concept C, including all 4 of the requested departures. Thank you so much for your work on this!

  2. Hello, the 87th block has 3 levels of residential levels above 1 level of commercial stores. Why is the 82nd block should be different???

    At the minimum, Concept A is the best. This plan provides bigger space for each level and people too.

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