This story has been updated after a recent email interview with a representative of the developer, Douglaston Development:
According to the PSBJ, a new ruling by Seattle's hearing examiner will further delay construction on the 48 story tower planned just east of Escala Condominiums, where Icon Grill was located, at 5th Avenue and Virginia Street.
The residents of Escala have appealed the construction of the tower as it is currently planned, specifically taking aim at the tower being as close as 22 feet away across the alley, which would devastatingly affect their natural light and privacy. The city's examiner agreed with the Escala residents on that point pushing the issue to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections to research, but ruled in the Developer, Douglaston Development's, favor on almost all of the other issues at the hearing.
Douglaston is now working on what options they have with regards to modifying the tower to address the issues raised by the Escala residents.
According to Douglaston CEO Michael Kaye, “During the design review process, we made major modifications to the design of the project to address the issues raised by Escala.”
Escala residents do have the option to appeal the city examiner's rulings against them to King County's Superior Court but they have not yet decided if they will proceed with any appeals.
It seems as if this ruling will delay the construction but not put a stop to it, so hopefully Escala's concerns can convince the Developer to redesign the new apartment and hotel tower to be set back farther from the alley and Escala preserving as much natural light and privacy as they can.
However, according to the developer speaking on the ruling , they indicate " the remand is actually on the procedural issue – not substantive", according to Kaye. "There is no reference in the remand regarding the distance between the two buildings."
Kaye would like to “reiterate Douglaston’s gratification that the Hearing Examiner ruled in our favor on almost every issue. Escala’s appeal was rejected on 22 out of the 23 claims made. Lastly, we’re committed to the project and we’ll keep working on it until it is built — we will continue to work through the process.”
It will be interesting to see the outcome here as many condominium buildings in Seattle face this same or similar problem of loosing light and privacy due to a new larger and taller tower being constructed around them.
Updated 5/15/2018 By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.
Rendering courtesy of Perkins+Will