Action on Jackson

18th and Jackson is less than a mile from some of the most expensive real estate in Pacific Northwest, so the curious thing isn’t why redevelopment is happening now, but rather, what the heck took so long?

The photo above is looking NW across the site of the development known as “Legacy at Pratt Park,” a six-story mixed-use residential building that will cover the entire block between 18th and 19th, north of Jackson. The building, designed by Sienna Architecture, looks to be standard issue Seattle-style “5 over 1”, see below. The red sign atop the building was salvaged from the Wonder Bread factory that was previously on the site.

Next door to the west on Jackson is a second, similar project under construction, covering half of the block between 18th and 17th. Designed by Streeter Architects, it appears to range between 4 and 5 stories, see rendering below.

It’s great to finally see infill development along Jackson, but not so fast: why aren’t these buildings taller? This section of Jackson is a wide commercial artery that does not abut any single family zones. Furthermore, within half a block of each of these two projects is a 10-story apartment building, see below. Current zoning along Jackson allows a 65-foot building between 18th and 19th, and only a 40-foot building between 17th and 18th. Huh? Note to Seattle: if you really want to densify, four to six stories ain’t gonna cut it.

8 Responses to “Action on Jackson”

  1. Phil McCrackin

    “Even a little dog can piss on a big building.”

  2. michael

    Just a question to put out there, but why does every building have to be taller everywhere? Yes, yes, the whole density arguement-if I had to guess I would say the project between 18th and 19th weighs in somewhere around 150-170 units per acre – is that not dense? One should also consider affordability (1 over 5 construction is cheaper to construct, and thus should be cheaper on the market -maybe not always), and visual impacts. I like cities like DC and Paris where building heights are limited -there is something more human about it. We don’t need tall buildings to achieve the densities that are realistic for Seattle. I’m no real estate expert, but my humble assessment would be that the Seattle market is many years away from having the economics to support tall buildings outside of the downtown area. It is not a hugeasscity at all.

  3. dan bertolet

    The question of the appropriate level of density for Seattle is worthy of its own post (or several). Paris achieves high densities with 5 to 7 stories because most of city is covered with these buildings. In Seattle, something like 75% (I think) of the land is zoned single family. We also have wider ROWs, wider sidewalks, and (I’m guessing) more open space. More to come in a dedicated post one of these days…

  4. kkurmudgeon

    My God, that last building looks like mini-Cabrini Green. Surprised? I’m not.

  5. Phil McCrakin

    “Self – complacency is pleasure accompanied by the idea of oneself as cause”

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  7. Vance Cornella

    Hey, I understand this is probably quite unexpected to read, but it is posts like these that inspires me to get through the day, when my wife is complaining to me constantly A few of my friends told me about it but I didn’t find it for some time, so a few days ago you can imagine how pleased I was to finally find it! Myself, I don’t do much blogging due to time constraints however I do love to look at other people’s work. I just had to comment to show my gratitude for your entries and I also wanted to say that many bloggers do not get any credit for their work, credit that is, surely well deserved. Given the subject matter you might not believe me and perhaps doubt that any person could like it so much, but I genuinely wish for you to carry on with this. It’s fantastic!

  8. Chiropractor in Florida

    Urban sprawl is horrible! I agree 100% that just because the comp plan allows the density, people should rethink what it ACTUALLY is going to look like and the impact on parking….

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