Sunday, October 7, 2012

Beacon Green Courtyard Townhomes

We just got the building permit approved for Beacon Green Courtyard Townhomes.  Beacon Green is an entirely new townhouse archetype that addresses two of the most difficult issues to resolve successfully in small scale multi-family housing:

1)  How to reasonably accommodate automobile parking while mitigating impacts on open space, livability, and overall project aesthetics?

2)  How to create housing that encourages community & provides a place for neighbors to meet, gather, and strengthen social ties?

The typical Seattle townhouse is designed around a central parking court that consumes the majority of the site area for automobile maneuvering and is devoid of human activity.  We used the flexibility of Seattle's new multi-family code and streamlined design review program to push the buildings to the perimeter of the site, put our parking in garages between the buildings, and then cover the parking areas with a courtyard lid.

It took a couple hundred hours of extra work to get through various bureaucratic roadblocks that come along with doing a first-of-its-kind project.  Once this goes to market and gets seen seen by the community at large, we believe that other developers will want to emulate it, and the city will make the necessarily accommodations to allow projects like this to proceed as smoothly as any other townhouse project.

Project features include:

  • The courtyard brings natural light into the center of the project, provides a large commons for all of the residents, and provides a gracious means of accessing the units in the rear of the site.
  • The visual impact of the automobile is greatly reduced, and the amount of open space is more than doubled compared to a conventional townhouse.
  • The project fits six units onto what is typically a 4 unit site, providing smaller, more affordable units than a conventional townhouse project.
  • Some garage levels are flexibly configured to allow the alternative of a full size garage, a Smart car garage with one bedroom, or no garage and two bedrooms.  The sales offering will market these units with a Smart car included.