North Beacon Hill is growing up. That’s right, every Seattle neighborhood is facing increased density, with estimates from the U.S. Census, there are 1,100 people moving here every week! So, we all have to think about what we can do, good steps we can take, to mitigate the impact.
To that, BHMA sent a representative to the August 3rd community forum presented by the folks at Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority (PHPDA) on the proposed Pacific Tower campus housing project (download PDF) and can report we strongly support PHPDA’s overarching goals behind this project on “increasing the stock of affordable housing in Seattle, creating a multigenerational, multieconomic, and multicultural environment, and on ensuring that the project is both functional and beautiful.”
We feel the 8/3 forum was an important opportunity for the Beacon Hill community to provide feedback and we’d like to share PHPDA’s Executive Director Jeff Natter’s quick email response to questions raised:
Graphic designs that don’t reflect views from key pedestrian points, such as the Rizal Bridge
- In future meetings, we will provide key vantage point graphics from downtown and several points on the bridge, including a fly-through experience traveling across the Rizal Bridge.
Concerns about obscuring the base of the Pacific Tower; preference for a design scheme which opens view to the base
- The top 11 floors of the tower will be visible, including the modulation and set-backs of the Tower, highlighting its distinctive architecture.
- The landmarked silhouette of the tower will be visible.
- The existing tree canopy, steep grade of the site, and modulation, setbacks, and terracing of the new development enhances the visual compatibility with the architecture of the Tower.
Public accessibility of open plaza
- Public access of the space will be similar to what it is now, with a better pathway from east to west between the Tower and the apartment buildings.
- The PDA is working to achieve a balance between daytime access to the space by all users and safety/security and privacy of the residents.
Availability of residential amenity spaces to the full Beacon Hill community, not just residents
- The Tower currently has several spaces that are available to the community, as well as wonderful grounds with picnic tables for public use. We’ve informed the Tower resident council of the interest expressed at the meeting in the programs and spaces in the building, and suggested they reach out to community groups to provide further information. Once the North Lot project is completed and the buildings are leased and fully operational, we can find ways to allow community use of the spaces if they are not reserved by residents.
Lack of commercial retail space (grocery store, coffee shop, etc.)
- FareStart operates a café in the Tower lobby which is open to the public. They also plan to open a cafeteria on the 2nd floor of the Tower in the upcoming year.
- There is over 9,000 square feet of new retail currently in development and planned projects in north Beacon Hill. All accessible commercial space in the North Lot project will be utilized by the child care center and the AiPACE program for elderly day care.
Increased traffic congestion on North Beacon Hill and potential bottle neck at peak times
- We have noted that the light at the south end of the bridge does create some congestion during peak afternoon hours, and most of the traffic goes south on Golf Drive. A small percentage goes up 12th, and we have planned to mitigate any impacts by having a one-way entry along 12th with no exiting. All exiting will occur off of 12th, which is a much less frequented street. The majority of residents will use the garage entry/exit located along the less travelled 12th, which will reduce impacts along 14th. We have completed a traffic and transportation study, including traffic volumes along 12th that identify ample capacity to handle the traffic caused by vehicles from the residents of this building.
- Additionally, both bike and electric vehicle parking and storage will be provided to support alternate modes of transportation. We have seen a large percent of residents with bikes over the past few years in similar properties, and we have planned for one-to-one bicycle storage and parking.-
Lack of transportation concurrency planning (bus, road quality, bike, traffic)
- We are willing to support and advocate for concurrency planning and better bus access with Metro. Additionally, dedicated bike routes are planned for 12th.
Request for more robust outreach about the project in Beacon Hill and International District (suggestions included posting information on Next Door, Facebook, paper flyers).
- These are great ideas, we will extend outreach further into Beacon Hill and the International District.
- We also plan to use neighborhood social media platforms to distribute news about the project, and will create a North Lot page on the PHPDA’s current website. We would welcome any other suggestions about how best to keep the community informed about the project.
If you wish to learn more about the project please note there will be another community forum in the fall, likely mid-October or soon thereafter. In the meantime feel free to contact Jeff Natter, PHPDA Executive Director (206) 325.1357, firstname.lastname@example.org