Fremont Infill – Top Floor Homes

47th and Linden has been under transformation. There was a beautiful and relatively well-kept house on a corner in Fremont with a large (for urban Seattle) lot. These conditions are prime for transformation in developer’s eyes. Especially the existing large lot in a city that currently favors row homes and density, this lot contains 4 units for 4 families, rather than (1) single-family home. Moreover it is position would be considered ‘on the fringe’ of the neighborhood, ripe for sneaking in greater density and low rise zoning into the existing single-family zoned neighborhood to start the change.

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Fremont Avenue has already primed itself for redevelopment by being a large thoroughfare with an already established car and foot traffic base. Further south near downtown Fremont, there is the BF Day School and the start of commercial properties. In the last few years numerous standout restaurants have developed along the ave: Roux, Rockcreek and Uneeda burger for example. The location is excellent and Aurora is a few blocks away. The result is a 3-story project w/ giant roof deck and a bit of corten-steel cladding, which isn’t seen very often because it is costlier than the hardie panels that wrap the rest of the building. It is nice someone forked up some money to do something right. The touch of yellow is also not off-putting, but done in a restrained and sophisticated way.

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Workshop I.P.B. is responsible for the design and Top Floor Homes LLC is listed as the owner. The project gets kudos for the tiered landscaping in the front, but those succulents are looking a little sad now that the project is over a year old. The other thing that is a bit of a disconnect is the green factor points required for projects. This is a formula the City of Seattle puts together that includes a matrix of options to incorporate ‘green’ into your project (green being plants and such, not sustainability). Trees are given many more points than shrubs, logically.

Part of this project’s green factor was supposed to be a west facing trellis network that looks great in the elevation on the plans, but is not happening in real life nor does it look like it will ever happen. Is there a way to create some sort of accountability for this so green things get checked on? My vote is to have a crowd sourced web-based solution that is objective so neighbors can let the city know these requirements aren’t being fulfilled or didn’t work out and it should be the designers job to upload a clear diagram of what these elements are so the criteria is out in the open for those neighbors to follow-up on later and there can be a closed feed back loop. The developer should have to go and maintain it for up to a year to establish these gardens or concepts and then it gets passed on to the property owners to manage. This would target new developments that are denser, not the existing single-family homes, which have plenty of green on them already.

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