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Pioneer Square Mixed-User Gets Go-Ahead Despite Preservation Board Rejection

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Gerding Elden has had plans to build an 11-story mixed-use tower at 316 Alaskan Way South for some time now after paying $12M for the site. Those plans were seemingly dashed in July when the Pioneer Square Preservation Board voted 7-1 against the project, citing that the building was unpleasant and out of scale with the neighborhood. That would have been that. Except, according to Seattle Weekly, a couple weeks later Seattle's Director of the Department of Neighborhoods Kathy Nyland overturned that recommendation and gave Gerding Elden the go-ahead. According to a DPD spokesperson, Nyland based her decision on her own consultation of meeting minutes, architectural renderings and city code. She then gave approval to the 120-foot project so long as it included certain aesthetic conditions. The building is set to include 200 apartments, 5,000 square feet of retail space and 79 parking spaces. Whether or not this decision was based on partisan merit or a strong lobbying effort on behalf of a developer with a vested interest, well, you'll have to read the article to decide for yourself. But it does make you wonder what the point of a preservation board is if you're not going to follow their near-unanimous recommendation.
· Developer's Pioneer Square Project Shot Down, Then Saved by the City [SW]
· Add an 11-Story Mixed-Use Tower to the Waterfront Skyline [CS]
· Gerding Edlen wants to start Alaskan Way project this year [DJC]