Like the new Brix condominiums across the street, which will have people living above a floor of retail businesses, mixed-use construction is the trend in urban development.
Capitol Hill resident Bruce Clifton said that he would rather see a big community garden on the site instead.
He agrees with Mayor Nickels' plan to build taller. "I just wished it looked better," he said. He wondered why all of the new buildings couldn't have green roofs, with gardens that everyone in the neighborhood could use.
"Mixed-use has been the building craze in America for the last eight years," said John Dentel, superintendent for Exxel Pacific general contractors in charge of the project at 523 Broadway East.
It's going to be a massive building, taking up the entire block of Broadway and Harvard Avenue East between East Mercer and East Republican streets.
If you're worried that Capitol Hill will become the next Belltown, fear not, Driscoll Architects are on the job. The Belltown architects have built many mixed-use buildings around Seattle; they're not known for their design originality.
To offset the building's size, the architects plan to use a mix of brick, metal and stucco, as well as distinct color and design elements. At least that's what they said to the Seattle Design Review Board.
The company's Web site is unavailable and repeated attempts to contact Matt Driscoll were unsuccessful.
The building is also supposed to have a courtyard and a community walkway connecting Broadway with Harvard, at least during the day. The gates will be closed at night.
Dentel said that it was the review board that held up the estimated $55 million construction project for so long. He said if all goes well, the project should be finished in the summer of 2010.
The land is owned by Bob Burkheimer, whose father actually built the old QFC building in the 1940s, according to an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2005.
Burkheimer teamed up with Donnie Belk to form Essex Broadway LLC to fund this project.
Artist rendering of Broadway side of building.
Artist rendering of Harvard Avenue side of building.
City of Seattle Department of Planning Project Analysis
View Driscoll Architects Design Proposal