Last week, Fremont witnessed the opening of another new development. Velo Apartments, which has 171 residential units, including live-work residences, lofts, and 1-2 bedroom apartments, was developed by Mack Urban Communities. The building was created taking note of both Fremont's historically quirky character and its ever-growing demographic of young, tech savvy, biking professionals.
The unifying theme of the building, as the name of the building implies (Velo means ''bike' in French), is the commuting bicyclist. From the bike ramps found in the entry way, to bike lockers and a bike washing and maintenance station - Velo is designed to attract 'active' young professionals. Other bike-themed features include art made from recycled inner tubes found throughout the building and a large statue of a bicycle wheel greeting passersby at the front entrance. The building is also just a few blocks from Seattle's Burke Gilman Trail.
Mack Urban made several intentional design choices to best integrate the building into the Fremont neighborhood. For example, there is no retail integrated into the space in order to avoid drawing business away from the smaller businesses in downtown Fremont. The building also fits with Fremont's quirky artsy character, described by the developer as having "multiple personalities" depending on which side you face. While one side has a more residential feel with courtyards, the other is clearly marked as being a building for hip-young professionals.
Many of Mack Urban Community's past projects were developed to fit in with the local neighborhood surrounding it and designed around a central theme. All of their residential buildings, including Velo, have pea-patches and potting containers. Velo's rooftop deck allows residents to garden while offering a view of Lake Union and downtown Seattle. Other building amenities include a fitness center, conference room and social lounge with controls that allow residents to personalize the music and TV on display.
While Velo obviously attracts Fremont's newer residents - with many of those who have already signed leases employed by nearby companies such as Tableau, Adobe and Google, one can't help but wonder about the effects the starting rent of $1,200 for a studio will have for other renters in the area who may not be able to financially keep up with Fremont's rapid change.
In the meantime, from Velo's rooftop deck, cranes can be seen busy at work constructing Fremont's ever-new developments.