Comparing the proposed 23rd & Union project to Safeway on 23rd and Madison

[Rendering of proposed 6-story mixed-use building at 23rd and Union]

I sent this email to the Central Neighborhood Association Group email list. Reposting here as I think the comments are very relevant. (Go here and here for info on the proposed development at 2203 East Union. Design Review is scheduled for March 5, 8:00pm at Seattle Central Community College.)

The Safeway building is anti-life and anti-community. It’s essentially a big underground parking lot with a car centric grocery store. There is no commercial business on either arterial (On 23rd there is a big brick wall. I guess Madison does have the Starbucks). The Safeway building is hideous looking and its not surprising that it did nothing to help the issues on 22nd and Madison.

Contrast this with the building the Jim Mueller is proposing. The overall designs that he has shown in the design reviews I’ve attended appear to be attractive. His preferred design features small/medium sized retail on both union and 23rd which will do much to increase desirable foot traffic in the neighborhood. He has also expressed interest in actively courting local business to fill the retail space.

I think we’d be fools to discourage this development. We live 20 minutes by foot from downtown Seattle, a major US city, six stories is just not that tall. Lets be happy that this developer is putting effort into a well designed building. If this project gets killed I’m sure we’ll just get stuck with another four story grocery store.

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