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June 23, 2016

SolTerra's next project would overlook I-5 at Pine St. with ‘living wall terraces'

Image by SolTerra [enlarge]

SolTerra, a green builder-developer with offices in Seattle and Portland, wants to build an eight-story, mixed-use complex on a site overlooking Interstate 5 at Pine Street on Capitol Hill.

The address is 1208 Pine St. A surface parking lot operates there today, next door to a three-story office building. Melrose Market is across Pine Street to the south.

The project is called Esker and it would have about 70 apartments and a rooftop restaurant. Street-level retail and underground parking for 35 vehicles is also planned.

Preliminary designs show the building would have a series of cascading “living wall terraces” facing the interstate. The corner of the structure would be recessed at street level, allowing space for outdoor dining.

Several green features are planned including a green roof, a solar panel array, rainwater collection cistern and a rooftop garden. The garden would be designed as part of a “pollinator pathway” that connects fragmented landscapes.

Esker would also have storage for up to 24 bicycles.

The city is tentatively scheduled to hold an early design guidance meeting on July 20.

SolTerra designs and develops projects in-house, which the firm says makes green building more efficient and affordable. SolTerra broke ground last December on its first Seattle project: a 60-unit apartment building at 601 E. Pike St.

SolTerra's communications director, Melissa Milburn, told the DJC in 2015 that the firm's goal is to build 1,500 apartments in Seattle and Portland by 2018. All will be LEED platinum.

Brian Heather is president and co-founder. The company started several years ago installing solar systems, green roofs and living walls. Now it is stepping up to design, build and manage mixed-use projects.

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