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New CVS design accommodates community, becomes more than just a one-story, one-use box

August 16th, 2014 by Laura

The proposed CVS at the corner of Mercer and Queen Anne Ave N has been through several changes. Originally planned as a one-story pharmacy-only building replicated in other locations, the new design takes into account the unique location in Lower Queen Anne/Uptown, and the urban village concept.

CVS Proposed Design

Single-use CVS design from July 2013 by Norr Architects

It was a close call. Wallingford residents fought against a CVS in their neighborhood. The single-box concept, the CVS had no housing above it and was a clone of generic CVS stores across the country. In the end, not much changed. The Wallingford CVS remained stuck at one-story and single-use.

However, we’ve been lucky on Queen Anne. Thanks to active residents and community groups like the Uptown Alliance and Queen Anne Community Council, the plans for the Queen Anne CVS were sent back to the drawing board. In addition to general design principles, the Uptown Framework provided additional guidance to ultimately create a building that fits into the neighborhood – and is more than just a one-story, one-use building.

CVS Final Plan

New multi-use CVS design by Schemata Workshop

The current design by Schemata Workshop is a big departure from the first, standard cookie-cutter CVS Pharmacy design. Instead, the Queen Anne CVS building is proposed as a three-story structure with 16,200 square feet of commercial use at street-level and 31 residential units above the first floor. A 62 stall below-grade parking will be accessed from an alley on the west side of the building.

The design guidelines incorporate the specific Uptown considerations. Among the many points in a 33-page pdf, key Uptown considerations that helped guide the new design address elements such as:

  • site characteristics
  • streetscape compatibility
  • entrance visibility
  • respect for adjacent sites
  • parking/vehicle access
  • corner lot considerations
  • height, bulk, and scale
  • architectural context
  • exterior finish
  • pedestrian open spaces and entrances

All of the above, plus more, help guide the design of Uptown buildings and ensure they are in keeping with the character of the neighborhood. One overriding principle that carries across all of the considerations is how people interact with and live with the buildings.

In the case of the Queen Anne CVS, the guidelines and feedback from the community have impacted a significant change. Whether you want a CVS in the neighborhood or not, the final building structure goes beyond just a pharmacy. It adds new living space to a key corner, and the street space will be much more pedestrian friendly – not a bad outcome for what was once a plain suburban box. If you’ve ever been pessimistic about the impact Queen Anne and Uptown residents and community groups can have, think again!

Tags: Community Group · Planning & Construction · Queen Anne Business