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March 16, 2016

Old chocolate factory may become 55 passive-house-style apartments

Image by Weber Thompson [enlarge]

The site on Capitol Hill where Fran's Chocolates once made candy could become the first apartment building in Seattle constructed to meet “passive house” standards.

Passive houses minimize their energy use by installing high-performance windows, doors, insulation, ventilation systems and air seals.

Developers Maria Barrientos and Sloan Ritchie want to build a hyper-efficient, six-story structure at 1300 E. Pike St.

Early plans call for 55 apartments, 2,400 square feet of retail, three-live-work units and below-grade parking for 26 vehicles. Additional off-site parking is also proposed.

Weber Thompson is the architect.

A Seattle design review board will hold a meeting to discuss the project at 8 tonight in the Seattle University Admissions & Alumni Building, at 814 12th Ave.

Units would include a mix of studio, one-bedroom, open one-bedroom and two-bedroom floor plans. The rooftop would have a deck, garden and solar array.

Residents would use an exterior stairway, eliminating the need for air-conditioned circulation spaces.

Exterior shades would shield the south- and west-facing windows from sunlight.

A shared entry court for the housing units and retail space is planned for the corner of 13th Avenue and Pike as a way to help boost foot traffic on 13th, which is a quiet commercial street.

Live-work units would also face 13th.

Fran's 90-year-old, brick factory is considered a character structure, but not a city landmark.

The project would involve demolishing the 6,500-square-foot building and using some parts in the new structure, such as brick and ornamental pieces from the facade.

Fran's Chocolates opened a larger factory in Georgetown in 2014, but Fran and Peter Bigelow continue to own the Capitol Hill factory site.

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