Thursday, August 10, 2017

Laurelhurst Community Club Comments On Proposed Aegis Assisted Living At Five Corners

Aegis Living, an assisted living and memory care provider, has submitted permits (3025007, 3025056) to build  a facility at at "Five Corners, where the former Baskin Robbins site, which closed September 2015 was located.

The demolition permit includes "two existing one level buildings" the building to the north of Baskin-Robbins up to Bakker Dry Cleaning. The addresses are 3200-3212 NE 45th Street and 3201-3209 NE 45th Place.  

The new facility would have 116 units and would be five levels over a parking garage with 2500 square feet of retail on the first floor which would house a salon and cafe, according to the design proposal submitted in July 2016.

Bryon Ziegler, Director of Development and Entitlements for Áegis Senior Communities, told the Blog Staff in March, that "other possibilities include an ice cream bar, community room, outdoor plaza and salon."

Bryon said that they are anticipating permits in late 2019 and the construction period is likely 20-24 months with the first resident move-in’s the fall of 2021. Aegis anticipates approximately 80% of the residents will come from the local neighborhoods.

Bryon told the Laurelhurst Blog staff that the new site is somewhat confusing (see attached graphic above) saying: 

The assemblage of parcels includes 3200 and 3232 NE 45th Street and 3215 NE 45th Place. There are two buildings, but three parcels.  
There is also a billboard that will be eliminated. The historic clock will remain. 
The 30’ city right of way between the curb and the property line will be landscape and enhanced for public use, including the little pedestrian bulb at the intersections of 45th and 45th. This Aegis Senior Community will be designed to either the City’s Living Building Challenge or Mandatory Housing Affordability standards.

He said that the businesses currently in the buildings that will be demolished will have all their leases honored, until they end in 2019.   These businesses included  Diane’s Alterations, Lakeview Vision Clinic, Edward Jones, Farmers Insurance, Uncle Lee’s, University Tutoring, Felipa’s Consignment and Rules Salon.

The café at Aegis, would be open to the public and would be the
Queen Bee Café, a non profit business. Others are currently located at the Madison and Queen Anne Aegis facilities and specialize in traditional English crumpets.

Bryon said that Aegis has engaged Transpo traffic engineers to conduct a traffic study of the very busy Five Corners area where the facility will be located.

He added:

We are an assisted living and memory care provider, which is a very low traffic generator especially at peak hours. It is very rare that we have a resident who drives. We do have staff and visitor parking, as well as deliveries which we will provide for in an underground parking garage and loading area.

    For more information about the project, go to the City permits website and reference permits 3025007, 3025056, 6520824, 6537047, 3025007, 6552104, 3025056, 6557274, 6082637.
    Another retirement home is also under review for 4020 NE 55th Street, where the Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital is currently located, across the street from Metropolitan Market. The proposal, Permit #3025827, includes 3 stories of approximately 74 units with 3,100 square feet of commercial space and parking for approximately 28 vehicles located below grade. The existing structure would be demolished.  The architect has proposed 3 different alternatives which can be seen here.

    Here are Laurelhurst Community Club's (LCC) condensed comments on the Aegis development: project submitted to the City:

    Architectural Design characteristics
    A. Design

    The samples shown in the proposal by the architects for this Aegis location, appears to borrow features from both the historic Tudor and Craftsman's styles found in the adjacent Bryant and Laurelhurst neighborhoods. The location of the proposed facility at the Five Corners is truly a "gateway" building that should reflect some of the architectural features. 
    LCC strongly encourages this type of quality in the overarching style of the new facility, similar to the Aegis in Queen Anne at Rogers Park be used as a prototype. Conversely, the Aegis on Madison Street, is not as appealing with too much tall massing-wedged into its triangular lot. The Bellevue Aegis facility is also lacking much design character at all, and falls short of a "gateway" style and quality.  LCC requests that SDCI require an actual sample of type of materials that will be used, and provide a more fully developed design from Aegis Senior Communities LLC before permit approval. This can include exterior facades, window types, paint colors and lighting as key design components.

    B Parking Requirements

    Because the senior living facilities are very labor intensive, the underground parking in all of the alternatives is essential. The Five Corners location has professional offices across the street, and NE 45th Place in the residential streets behind it in the Bryant neighborhood are already impacted by parking from the staff and patients "spill over" parking every day. In addition, there will be facility visitors, patient support and delivery vehicles at that congested triangle. Aegis must provide at least 65-70 of its own dedicated parking stalls to enable the facility to operate, and allow for some overlap at the "shift change". The main employee shifts operate at 6:00am-2:00pm, and then 2:00-10:00pm so that employees must arrive in the dark by 5:50 am. It is unrealistic to project that many of the staff will be riding their bikes in the dark at 5:15-5:45 am (especially since many employees are statistically noted as female), or, would ride home on their bike in the dark when the second shift ends at 10:00pm.
    Transit options are also very limited at the early morning, and late evening hours, and Aegis has not offered any shuttle service. Thus, many workers will be SOV users, and it needs to provide parking for them in all alternatives. Aegis may want to partner with Seattle Children's Hospital to pay to share their shuttles at least to the Light Rail facility.
    Visitors to patients will also need some transient parking places which should be allocated in the Aegis parking stall plans, based upon their historical projections. (see below concerns about the parking stalls submitted)
    The commercial stores offered at the facility will likely need a few parking places in addition to being available for pedestrians, and bikers although it is most likely used by visitors, residents and staff.

    C. Traffic and Circulation

    While SDOT  will have its own regulations and recommendations about the proposed new facility, LCC offers its comments: 

    • The Five Corners intersection is one of the busiest in Seattle, and THE busiest in NE Seattle. In fact when the "red light" cameras were operative at that intersection for several years, the City of Seattle reported that it had the highest number of infractions recorded and fined.
    • When the driveway is located along NE 45th Place, it is critical that it is far enough away from the center of that intersection to avoid backups and potential collisions.
    • In addition, trees and vegetation along both NE 45th St and NE 45th Place should be set back to maintain safe sight lines for oncoming traffic, and pedestrian crossings.
    • Circulation for vehicles and underground parking stalls should be open, and without barriers  to smooth entry. Aegis should work with SDOT and SDCI to be certain that curb cuts to the drop off circle, delivery driveway and into the underground parking  lot are wide enough, to prevent backups which could occur as vehicles enter their primary driveway off NE 45th Place.

    D. Community Outreach

    The Laurelhurst Community Club appreciates the outreach stated in the Aegis plan to host community use of their facility.  Because Aegis will likely have some former residents of the adjacent neighborhoods, it would be a positive and inclusive use of the facility to keep its residents involved with their friends and family.
    Thank you for considering the comments of the Laurelhurst Community Club, and we know that the City of Seattle will consider the impacts of the development of such a large institution in such a small footprint. LCC is supportive of this type of facility, and wants to contribute as a party of record to make it a good fit and a successful facility in the neighborhood.

    For more information go here

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