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October 31, 2017

Here's Bosa's Civic Square design, with 520 condos, retail and plazas

Journal staff reporter

Renderings by Gene Radvenis/James K.M. Cheng Architects [enlarge]
Vancouver-based James K.M. Cheng Architects is designing the 57-story condominium tower: 3rd & Cherry.

Bosa Development took over the long-stalled Civic Square project at 601 Fourth Ave. a year ago, and now the Vancouver, B.C.-based developer is ready to show its initial plans.

The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 7 at City Hall, 600 Fifth Ave., Room L2-80.

The Vancouver-based firm James K.M. Cheng Architects is designing the proposed 57-story condominium tower, now called 3rd & Cherry.

The project will fill the full block between Third and Fourth avenues and Cherry and James streets. The 1.3-acre pit has been vacant since the Public Safety Building was demolished in 2005.

Bosa finalized an agreement in August to pay the city about $21.7 million for the site, including affordable housing fees. The agreement also includes creating 25,000 square feet of public space, which Bosa will build and maintain.

The Bosa plan replaces an earlier mixed-use proposal by Triad Development and architects GGLO and Foster + Partners, which stalled after the recession.

Bonus area from the Housing Affordability Living Agenda (HALA) and the public space would allow the Bosa tower to rise 572 feet above Third. Rooftop amenity areas would add another two floors and 57 feet, for an absolute height of 629 feet.

Bosa's preferred design is for a crescent-shaped tower on the east side of the block, closer to City Hall. Its curved facade would be oriented in a northwest direction, toward Third and Cherry. The 520 condo units would be on levels three through 55. Most units would have balconies or decks. Condos would range from one- to three-bedrooms, but sizes aren't indicated. Tenants would enter mid-block on James, from the driveway.

Three retail units, indicated as cafes or restaurants and totaling 9,963 square feet, would face the public plazas and terraces. One of the retail units would have a green roof.

The public space would be divided into upper and lower plazas, with a cascading water feature on the south side of the block, continuing the City Hall water feature design by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol.

Three retail units, with cafes or restaurants, would face the public plazas and terraces.

Bosa says the new design would acknowledge the 1999 three-block Civic Square plan, and the 2005 plan by GGN and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, which designed Seattle City Hall. Under the 2005 plan, Triad's tower would've been placed more to the north, with open space directly in front of City Hall.

In the new plan, Bosa says, “The same radial geometry that influenced the building also influences the landscape design. A series of terraces are introduced relating to the different retail spaces spread throughout the building, animating the sidewalks, the plazas, and providing an inviting, sunny, and open space for the public to enjoy.

“The plaza will be a lively, sunny area lined with coffee shops and restaurants. These services and their patios will spill out onto the plaza, promoting pedestrian activity and friendly interactions. Informal seating and a water feature will also attract people to the plaza, thus encouraging activities throughout the day.”

Movable chairs and tables, amphitheater-type steps and groves of London plane trees are also mentioned.

Bosa also says that the “view from City Hall's plaza and steps [would be] respected by lifting the eastern portion of the building off the ground.”

PFS Studio, also of Vancouver, is the landscape architect.

Parking for 640 vehicles on four underground levels would be accessed from James, with no other curb cuts.

Of the transit tunnel entrances facing the site from Third, Bosa writes, “We do plan to work with Sound Transit to cosmetically improve the entrances to the stations.”

On the west side of Third are the Lyon Building, operated by the Downtown Emergency Service Center, and the St. Charles Apartments, operated by Plymouth Housing Group. And kitty-corner to the site is the DESC's Morrison Hotel.

A prolific builder of condos in Vancouver, Bosa recently developed the Insignia in Belltown and is now working on One88 in Bellevue. Bosa generally acts as its own general contractor.

Cheng is also designing a 46-story residential tower at 2000 Third Ave. for Canadian developer Westbank.


Brian Miller can be reached by email at brian.miller@djc.com or by phone at (206) 219-6517.

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