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November 28, 2016

CHH shows city latest design for 115 apartments and retail on East Union

Image by Mithun [enlarge]

Architects will present updated plans Wednesday for a six-story apartment building at 2320 E. Union St., on the former Liberty Bank site.

The black-owned bank, which operated from 1968 to 1988, catered to African Americans and was said to be one of the few multiracial banks to exist west of the Mississippi River.

The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board denied the former bank building landmark status in 2014, and it was demolished the following year.

The new project, called the Liberty Bank Building, is designed to reflect the site's history.

Mithun's plans call for 115 apartments, street-level four retail spaces totaling 3,400 square feet, and indoor parking for 18 vehicles. Residents would enter through a landscaped courtyard along 24th Avenue.

Salvaged brick from the original building would be incorporated along the street-facing facades and courtyard. Inside, bank vault and safe-deposit box doors would be used to compose an art piece for the common area.

A outdoor plaque would also commemorate the bank's historic role.

Capitol Hill Housing is developing the project for lower-income tenants. Units will include a mix of studios and one- and two-bedroom floor plans.

Rents are expected to range from around $470 to $1,210, depending on income.

Other project partners are Centerstone, Black Community Impact Alliance, and Africatown Preservation and Development Association.

One goal is to address the displacement the historic black community in the Central District, which has seen rapid growth and escalating rents in recent years.

Walsh Construction is the general contractor.

A city design review board will hold a design recommendation meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Seattle University's Admissions & Alumni Building at 824 12th Ave.

The project is expected to break ground next year. One obstacle is that the city will need to grant a contract rezone to allow 65-foot building heights. The site is currently zoned to allow 40-foot-tall buildings.

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