Eight-story mixed-use project proposed for site on West Roy

The Uptown/Lower Queen Anne neighborhood is heading toward a rezone, and a project proposed for 14 W. Roy St. is tailored to meet those new specs.

On two parcels owned by Raj and Akhil Shah — where their Shah Safari apparel company is based — Johnson Architects has designed an eight-story mixed-use building with 113 residential units, retail, office space and 125 parking units below grade.

The 29,000-square-foot site is presently zoned for buildings up to 40 feet in height. The developers are asking for a contract rezone to 85 feet for the project, which has been through two rounds of design review.

“It all depends on the contract rezone,” said Trent Mummery of The Metropolitan Companies, who is a development partner with the Shahs on 14 West Roy and the project manager. “We’re not asking for anything more than what the draft EIS has proposed.”

The city’s draft environmental impact statement issued in June proposes three alternatives for the Uptown Urban Center, with building heights up to a possible maximum of 160 feet. The 85-foot height is the middle of three possible scenarios.

A final draft rezone recommendation is expected early next year, with city council action to follow.

“Now the process has started and the clock is ticking,” said Mummery. “The MUP process is beginning.” But that master use permit will follow the contract rezone and community comment period.

Mummery acknowledges that taller buildings can be a tough sell in any neighborhood. “We’ve had our share of opposition from Bayview,” referring to the retirement community that is located just up the hill from his site. Some views from Bayview might be blocked by a taller structure below.

Pending rezone approval next year, and final permitting, Mummery hopes to start construction in mid 2018 and finish about 22 months later. No contractor has been selected. “It’s a ways out. We’ve already been working on it for a year.”

When construction begins, Mummery said the Shahs will move to another property in the neighborhood. Shah Safari is unlikely to return to the site, however. “They don’t need to move twice.”

Reached separately, Raj Shah said the company might open a new showroom in 14 West Roy. He and his partners won’t sell, he added: “We always retain ownerships of the projects we develop. We are long term players.”

The project site is now occupied by the Shah Safari building and some low-rise retail. To the north is the winding ribbon of West Queen Anne Driveway. To the east is a small crescent park and Queen Anne Avenue North. It’s also bounded by the dead end of First Avenue West.

About 11,000 of retail/commercial space (including a mezzanine level) would face West Roy. Mummery said the team hopes to get restaurants on both corners.

Almost 10,000 square feet of office space on the second floor would suit a single mid-sized tenant or a mix of small local tenants, he said.

The rest of the building would be housing, with eight live/work units on the sloping north side of the building. Underground parking would be accessed from the cobblestoned First Avenue West.

Immigrants from Kenya, the Shah brothers started their garment business in 1975, while students at Shoreline Community College. Over the years, their brands have included International News, Reactor, Road and Ably. Nordstrom was their first major client.

They have also operated Zebra Club, at 1901 First. Ave., for over three decades. The brothers were major benefactors in establishing Counterbalance Park at 700 Queen Anne Ave. N., which opened in 2008.

The 14 West Roy team also includes Swenson Say Faget (structural engineer), Karen Kiest (landscape architect), and LPD Engineering (civil). Raj Shah said no construction lender has been chosen.

IMAGE CREDITS

Johnson Architecture and Planning

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