Just what Aurora (doesn't) need. A fresh bright "auto brokerage."

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Douglas MacDonald

Sep 8, 2021, 6:45:37 PMSep 8
to Lee Bruch >, Greenwood-Phinney Greenways Google Group, ARC Google Group
I’m not sure I know exactly what an “auto brokerage” is, if it isn’t just another used car lot. This (Aurora and about 73rd) may be  garish re-make of what has long been there by another name.

Anyway, seeing it yesterday led me to stumble upon this interesting article severals years back in the Urbanist.  

In this article, Stephen Fesler wrote (below)

 Calling on Lee Bruch, our font of background and local knowledge, and anyone else who can contribute, what ever happened to this proposed designation? If it was made, does it make any difference? If it wasn’t made, is there a backstory? And finally, are there other areas of interest either on the Aurora Corridor or elsewhere in the Greenwood-Phinnwy or nearby areas that were/are designated Pedestrian Retail Areas, and in them are there today any specially Pedestrian Designated Streets?

Per Fesler:

One of my favorite proposals for a new Pedestrian Retail Area is Aurora Ave N between N 72nd St and N 80th St. The area has changed a lot over the past few years:

  • Many new businesses have opened and existing property owners have invested in their buildings;
  • The RapidRide E Line provides more frequent and reliable transit service;
  • Traffic calming has reduced the speed of traffic; and
  • Many new mixed-used developments have been proposed, such as the recent project Aurora 77 at the intersection of Aurora Ave N and N 77th St.
  • If any area of Aurora has a real chance as a pedestrian-oriented street, this is it. Designating this corridor as a Pedestrian Retail Area will build upon the recent success of the area, reconnect both sides of Aurora, and further tame the street.

Tom D

Sep 8, 2021, 8:32:15 PMSep 8
to Douglas MacDonald, Lee Bruch >, Greenwood-Phinney Greenways Google Group, ARC Google Group
Well I think your prayers are answered as a 65 ft tall 41 unit apartment building is going onto that site with maybe 15 parking spaces to accommodate both the residents and commercial units in the building. You will no longer have to worry about a mom & pop business being in there.  The car lot was preceded by a vape shop, nail salon, something else I cannot remember,  and a small store which went away when 7-11 was put in. 

Since I have heard the comment often that "all density increase is good", this building should fit the bill.   The kids that play in the alley will be just fine avoiding the cars going up and down the alley to access the building as well as the additional traffic and parking on Keen Way N. which is essentially a single lane two way residential street.

The building will be right up against the Right of Way on Aurora and Keen Way so as to commercially utilize the property for it's maximum profit.  It will impinge on any Aurora reimagining that would consider widening sidewalks or installing other amenities to the Aurora corridor however. 



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Bruce Sherman

Sep 9, 2021, 2:53:36 AMSep 9
to 'Bruce Sherman' via Greenwood-Phinney Greenways
Tom, I appreciate your concern, but Apartment building has been slowing down in Seattle. We do need more apartments to house people.

If this site isn’t appropriate, where would you like to see large apartments being built?


Tyra Sorensen

Sep 10, 2021, 12:12:29 PMSep 10
to Greenwood-Phinney Greenways
Hello ~

Some information:
You can see what was submitted for Design Review  7216 AURORA AVE N – Seattle in Progress

The designer in me wishes they left a bit more space at the street edge and am wishing the parking access were off Keen rather than the alley. More space on Aurora would allow them to put in landscaping to soften the edge and increase the pedestrian friendliness and create more of a buffer and "front yard" for the ground floor residential units in Option 3.

The kid in me sees that last 100' of alley as low quality play area and a great place for your ball to come to an untimely demise as it shoots out onto Aurora after a missed goal, so best to keep the active play out of the last 100' and use the yard waste bins to keep the ball safe.... or the little siblings.

15 cars won't make for a great deal of traffic.  This close to transit options and with bicycle parking, it should minimize the impact of cars on the neighborhood.
The height will actually provide a acoustic barrier from the noise of Aurora down the street.  I know how effective (the monstrosity that is) the Everspring Inn is in buffering noise up my block.

I always miss seeing the apartment layouts, in these proposals.  I understand they don't want to give up all their secrets, but also know from experience that a well laid out small apartment can be lovely and make the difference between a real home and a landing pad. 

The architect of the proposal has a fair bit of experience in this sort of housing. d/Arch Llc | Home (darchllc.com) 
The owner is Lee And Associates and they have experience and a number of properties in Seattle, mostly near the U. Lee & Associates (leeandassociatespm.com) I interpret that as an honest desire to building housing for the long term, not to just flip the building.  If many of their tenants are college age and young professionals, the location is pretty good, and the need for cars is light.
The contractor appears to be Prime Core Contracting  PrimeCore Contracting    I haven't heard of them, and their website makes it appear that they've done more infrastructure work than housing, but contractors are as concerned about pretty pictures on their websites as Architects are.

Change will always be controversial and finding good places for housing is really tough. So, if not here, where?
I would be happy if Lee and Associates tore down the Everspring and replaced it with this apartment building.  We need housing, we need affordable housing.  We need livable communities with diversity and flexibility, so my kids don't have to move out east to the middle of the country to find something affordable and safe, and I can afford to live into my creaky old age within a community that knows me and keeps an eye out.  Thoughtful discussion is needed, with facts, and long term views, and compassion.

The project could be better, but we as a (broad generalization) don't value or incentivize thoughtful design, so developers build to the maximum allowable rather than building to create lovely/livable spaces and places.

Thank you
~~ Tyra

Lee Bruch

Sep 10, 2021, 8:43:56 PMSep 10
to Greenwood-Phinney Greenways, ARC Google Group
To add to the conversation re density and apartments along Aurora:

According to the demographers of the Puget Sound Regional Council of Governments, the population of the Central Puget Sound region (Snohomish, King, Pierce, & Kitsap counties) is predicted to be 5.8 million people in 2050.  Using their raw data from https://www.psrc.org/sites/default/files/2018psrc-macroeconomicforecast.xlsx.  I modified their visual chart, attached.

The population of the region is predicted to * DOUBLE * what its population was in 1993.
Where will all those people go?
Unless Seattle allows itself to get much more dense, those people will fill the Puget Sound lowlands with sprawl, necessitating more driving, wider roads, and more freeways, destroying forests and farmland ... it will destroy the PNW ecosystem with all its features that we love.

Seattle's urban villages were created in the late 1990's, relegating most new density to them.
Since then, Seattle has allowed only a minimal amount of additional density, mainly in the existing urban villages and along major arterials like Aurora - that is a drop in the bucket compared to the need.

As a result, the economics of supply and demand take over ... the increasing demand and limited supply is driving housing costs through the roof.  It is destroying the dreams of many ... and is forcing more people to the suburbs and exburbs, forcing the needs for auto transportation, creating additional pollution, and preventing the density needed to sustain good mass transportation systems.

I welcome apartment buildings like this and advocate for more ..  both in urban villages, along arterials, and more importantly, throughout all the exclusionary residential zoned areas of the city.

The end design of this project may or may not be questionable, but at least it's supplying housing. 

The biggest problem in my eyes is that our current paradigms don't provide for enough planting and green space. Dense buildings can be designed with more planting; our streets like Aurora could be designed with wider sidewalks and more trees (yup, that means giving less space to traffic);  more parks, plazas, and public spaces can be created.

Lee Bruch

    206-355-4282 cell & text


From: greenwood-phi...@googlegroups.com <greenwood-phi...@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Tyra Sorensen <twos...@gmail.com>
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Subject: Re: Just what Aurora (doesn't) need. A fresh bright "auto brokerage."
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PSRC Graph redo 2 w attribution.png
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