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Mixed-Use Complexes Get Mixed Reviews in Seattle

by Mike Meisenbach    
Denny Tower
Denny Triangle mixed use development, Seattle, WA

Like many major cities in the US, Seattle is seeing an increase in the development of mixed-use “villages.” These combinations of living space, businesses, entertainment, and sometimes transportation are very popular all over the country for many different reasons. High fuel costs make working and living within walking distance very attractive to professionals. Some municipalities are using such complexes to revitalize their downtown areas. And cities with limited space find this an excellent way to pack all the components of a robust town in a small area.

In Seattle, mixed-use projects abound, and their designs are as varied as their locations. Some are a office-building design, like the proposed Ninth & Lenora and Tilt49. Some are typical quirky Seattle, such as the proposed Denny Triangle tower and the Stencil building. Completed projects are just as varied, ranging from the outdoorsy Thornton Place, which also includes a senior-living community, to the boxy Capitol Hill additions.

The Capitol Hill developments have drawn more criticism than the other projects. The Viva Capitol Hill project was even delayed because of protests over the facades. A Capitol Hill Seattle blogger reports that the designers are hobbled by public policy enacted many years ago, and further constrained by materials cost, zoning, and a competitive market.

Whatever the problems in Capitol Hill, the other developers/designers should take note for future projects. Future residents would likely appreciate it!


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