Nearly 75 people crammed into a Ballard High School classroom July 13 to listen to designers and developers of the new Greenwood Fred Meyer project present their designs to the Northwest Design Review Board. CLICK IMAGE FOR PLAN C DESIGNS COURTESY OF GGLO.
New Fred Meyer stalls at early design meeting
The planned replacement development for the Greenwood Fred Meyer was sent back to the drawing board after the Northwest Design Review Board didn't see enough options at the July 13 early design guidance meeting.
The board is requiring that the $77 million project be submitted to a second early design guidance meeting because they felt the designers presented only one viable plan for the project, not three, as is required.
Project architects GGLO presented three design options, though little time was spent on the first two options, which were rejected as not viable by both the design review board and the public.
Plan A was a 40-foot-high, 170,000-square-foot big box store with surface parking along Northwest 85th Street and some extra retail space.
Plan B was a big box store of the same size along 85th with a parking garage to the north. Morrow Lane would be lined with retail, and housing would be placed on top of the garage.
The preferred Plan C was presented to the community last week. It is a sunken Fred Meyer along 85th with surface parking and a garden store on top. 85th would be lined with extra retail space and two-story housing, which would also line Third Avenue Northwest.
A three-story parking garage with three stories of housing topping it and townhouses along its side would be at the northeast corner of the property.
The board said the first two plans were not as well-developed as Plan C and were not viable because they don't meet the Phinney/Greenwood neighborhood design guidelines. The public said the first two plans were already thrown out by a neighborhood process.
"I don't think we are truly seeing three concepts," said one board member.
The board instructed the designers and developers to come back for a second early design meeting with a Plan C that takes the board's and public's comments into account and also a plan for a two-story, instead of single-story, Fred Meyer building.
Tom Gibbons, Fred Meyer director of real estate, said a two-story building would not likely happen because it hurts sales.
"There won't be a two-story store," developer Bruce Lorig said. "The economics don't work."
The board said it would like to see a two-story plan even if Fred Meyer will never build it to see what is possible with the site and in the long-shot that Fred Meyer would like the plan so much they would consent to build it.
One of the changes the board and the public would like to see in Plan C is a re-establishment of the natural street grid – either an east-west Northwest 86th Street through street or a north-south Second Avenue Northwest through street.
The board is also interested in seeing a better and more thought-out public spaces included in the design and more work on moving the bulk of the project's massing – the 60-foot-high garage/housing combination – away from the northeast corner and the neighboring single-family homes.
The board also wants to see each plan comment on the soil ecology of the site, which sits on a peat bog.
According to Fred Meyer, construction on the project is set to start in fall 2011 and be completed in 2013.
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