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Pioneer Square Development Decision Overturned in Victory For Preservation

The building that one person said would create "Miami Beach on Elliott Bay" will not be built as approved after all.

Back in August, Seattle's Director of the Department of Neighborhoods Kathy Nyland ruffled a lot of local feathers when she gave the go-ahead to Gerding Elden's 12-story, 200-unit apartment building at 316 Alaskan Way South. The Pioneer Square Preservation Board had just voted 7-1 against the project, citing that the building was unpleasant and out of scale. Since then there's been a legal battle brewing between the developer and locals.

Wednesday, a city deputy hearing examiner overturned Nyland's approval of the building. Its a big win for preservationists of the historic neighnorhood but it also gives Gerding Elden two options. They can appeal the ruling to King County Superior Court or they can submit a modified design that appeals to those who felt like the original design was "Miami Beach on Elliott Bay."

In an excerpt from Deputy Hearing Examiner Anne Watanabe's decision, she makes it clear that the existing plan is not compatable with the neighborhood and that the decision to approve it was "capricious."

"The scale of the structure’s facade relative to these structures would appear so large as to be monumental at this location, dominating attention and drawing the focus away from surrounding and nearby historic buildings...(Nyland) chose not to apply the code’s requirement that a building facade’s scale be compatible with surrounding structures. Under these circumstances, the decision was arbitrary and capricious, and must be reversed."

No word yet from Gerdlin Elden on how they'll proceed.
· Seattle’s approval of 12-story Pioneer Square building overturned [ST]
· Progress vs. Preservation in Pioneer Square Development Fight [CS]
· Pioneer Square Mixed-User Gets Go-Ahead Despite Preservation Board Rejection [CS]