Northwest Hub, an online news source for land use, environmental and real estate news, published an in-depth article today examining Fred Meyer’s proposed redevelopment of its 85th and Greenwood store.
Northwest Hub commends neighbors and the Fred Meyer development team for vastly improving the design from an unsightly big-box scheme, but faults the city’s land use codes for keeping the project from being as great as it could be.
Design review is intended to be a key tool in implementing the “Urban Villages Strategy” of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan, locating the majority of growth in compact, mixed-use, walkable urban hubs that serve as the focal point of community life. The redevelopment of the Fred Meyer site in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood is a crucial step in seeing that vision for the Greenwood-Phinney Ridge Urban Village come to fruition. But the project’s early design guidance—the first official step in the city’s design review process—failed to correct for an incoherent, prescriptive code and appeared to work at odds with realizing the urban village vision.