Weber Thompson architects say they are taking some design cues from Cal Anderson Park adjacent to the site.
Weber Thompson architects say they are taking some design cues from Cal Anderson Park adjacent to the site.

Update 10/17: The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the nomination of Bonney-Watson Funeral Home as a landmark building at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, in the Boards & Commissions Room L2-80 of Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave.

Weber Thompson architects checked their work on the upcoming Modera Broadway development with the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council on Monday.

The project is being developed by Mill Creek Residential, and includes two six-story mixed-use apartment buildings to be constructed on the Bonney-Watson Funeral Home site and adjacent surface parking lot on Broadway.

The two buildings combined will be 240,000 square feet, with 224 apartment units, and 137 parking stalls at most, said Mindy Black, project manager with Weber Thompson.

Modera Broadway is not within the Capitol Hill light rail station overlay, and is restricted to 65 feet in height. While the buildings are separated by East Howell Street, Black said they will be designed to match and constructed at the same time.

Filling the “dead zone” next to Cal Anderson Park, Black said Modera Broadway is taking cues from the park’s characteristics and Olmsted designs, such as the angles of path from the fountain feature.

East Howell will be upgraded as an inviting entryway into the park, Black said.

“The biggest gesture is really the alley of trees,” said Rachael Meyer, Weber Thompson principal, landscape architecture. “We really want Howell to be a unique pedestrian experience.”

The north building’s massing on Broadway and Howell will reflect angles inspired by those in Cal Anderson Park, said Weber Thompson principal Amanda Keating, with a central residential entry on Broadway and retail on both sides. Retail will be sited on the corner of Broadway and Howell in the south building.

While the face of Broadway is changing quickly, meeting attendees on Monday put a lot of focus on Nagle Place across from Cal Anderson Park, and encouraged the development team to do the same.

“I think this is a huge missed opportunity to better activate that side of Cal Anderson Park and put more eyes on the park,” said Alex Brennan.

Andrew Haas, who will weigh in on the project as a member of the East Design Review Board during early design guidance on Nov. 1, agreed with Brennan. He said it’s not uncommon in Europe or South America to have a coffee shop facing a park.

“Nagle’s not an alley, it’s a street,” he said. “It’s a really special street.”

Brie Gyncild, who worked on the Capitol Hill transit-oriented development through the Capitol Hill Champion and is also a member of Central Seattle Greenways, said the 10-foot setback on Nagle was a nice way to create a garden space, but she also worried there would be no activation on that part of the street.

The preferred design for Modera Broadway would have a landscaped courtyard on the second level of the north building on Nagle, plus several decks scattered around both buildings. Keating said the hope is that the area will be activated by the park and improvements on East Howell.

Erin Blakeney with the Cal Anderson Park Alliance also supported the idea of a coffee shop on Nagle, saying the sidewalk is heavily walked by people heading to the light rail station to the north. If the intention is to keep the backside of Modera Broadway solely residential, Blakeney suggested adding residential stoops.

McCaela Daffern said The Lyric up the street on Broadway used high-quality materials, but its retail frontage is “dead space.” She said the neighborhood is working to update Capitol Hill design guidelines to improve retail activation. The angling pattern of Modera Broadway is similar to Capitol Hill Housing’s 12th Avenue Arts building, she said, and she appreciated that design element.

Gyncild warned about going curbless along Broadway between the two buildings and past East Howell, saying texturing the pavement would help create the sense of a shared space.

“We don’t do curbless right in this city for our blind residents with the paving,” she said.

The East Design Review Board will weigh in on Modera Broadway at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, in Pigott 306, 901 12th Ave., at Seattle University.

Broadway Modera EDG Packet by branax2000 on Scribd