The Mercer Island Design Commission revisited the proposed Xing-hua Mixed-Use Development at its April 22 virtual meeting.
Currently listed on the city’s website at four stories above grade with 159 apartments and 13,306 square feet of ground level retail and restaurant space, the commission approved the design in February. At the beginning of April, however, the commission said that it spotted inconsistencies in the design exhibits and sought clarifications from the project applicant, Johnston Architects of Seattle.
The proposal also includes two levels of below-grade parking, landscaped public plazas and more in the Town Center location at 2570 77th Ave. SE and 2885 78th Ave. SE.
City senior planner Robin Proebsting explained that the previous proposed amount of parking spaces (reserved and flex residential and commercial) was 203 for 160 apartments. Based on a transporation impact analysis review that was confirmed by the city’s contracted third-party transportation planner, KPG, the changed number of 202 spaces will provide sufficient parking for the 159 units. Flex parking spots can be used by residents or customers of retail and dining establishments.
Megan McKay of Johnston Architects noted: “It is our full intention as a team to comply with all code requirements on this project, and in the spirit of compliance we’d like to offer one additional parking stall in our garage.”
The commission voted to include the additional parking stall — for commercial use — in its design approval. That brought the total back to 203 total stalls, including an extra commercial stall to make that number 44.
During the appearances segment of the meeting, several residents voiced concerns about nearly every aspect of the project, including a former dry cleaners that did business on the premises. A thorough review was requested regarding potential contamination of the site.
Jeff Thomas, interim Community Planning and Development director, addressed the latter issue later in the meeting.
“Prior to issuing that final written decision on the design approval, we are going to be bringing the dry cleaning and the contamination matter to a conclusion,” he said. “We do want to make sure that everything is in order and is appropriate and everything has been accounted for and is sound.”
City attorney Bio Park said they want to assure that the State Environmental Policy Act process is conducted properly before the next steps are taken.
Thomas added that the city’s final written decision on the project accompanies the commission’s approval of the permit. In addition, a building permit and other development permits are required before construction can begin.
To view the meeting, visit https://www.mercerisland.gov/bc-dc/page/design-commission-video-meeting, and for more information, visit https://letstalk.mercergov.org/xing-hua.