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Designs for Midtown Center—and its public plaza—go to review

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The 23rd and Union project is in early design guidance

A rendering of the building viewed from Union Street shows the entrance to the public plaza.
Weinstein A+U, courtesy of Lake Union Partners

Lake Union Partners (LUP), Africatown, and Capitol Hill Housing are getting ready to develop the Midtown Center block at 23rd Avenue and East Union Street. The LUP portion of the block, designed by local architecture firm Weinstein A+U, is heading into early design guidance, giving us some idea of the developer’s plans for the block, including a large public square.

This part of the project, which takes up about 80 percent of the block, will be a mixed-use development containing around 400 apartments. The preferred vision wraps three buildings around the outdoor square, connected by outdoor walkways to create “portals” into the public space.

A diagram of preferred design for the Midtown Center block.

That public square features greenery and seating, plus some of the project’s retail space facing the plaza. (Other retail fronting, under the current plan, would face both 23rd Avenue and Union Street on the west and north sides of the project.)

Two videos give a better sense of the public walkways in the project, moving the viewer around the block and through the plaza.

A smaller public plaza on 24th and Union will include the historic “Fountain of Triumph” installation by artist James Washington, which is currently being restored.

LUP is still taking suggestions on the project’s public spaces.

Out of the 400 apartments in the LUP portion of the project, 125 of those will be affordable to those earning 60 to 85 percent of area median income through the multifamily tax exemption (MFTE) and mandatory housing affordability (MHA) programs.

LUP’s plans are being presented before the East Design Review Board on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m.

The Africatown and Capitol Hill Housing portion of the block, which isn’t included in this guidance, will be home to up to 130 units of housing affordable to families making 30 to 60 percent of area median income, plus community spaces, including a rooftop deck.