The architects set to bring plans for a new, five-story apartment building on the site of three antiquated office buildings on Martway in Mission heard a number of concerns from neighborhood residents at a community meeting Tuesday.
Clockwork Architecture principal Christian Arnold, a member of the group that purchased the properties last year, told a group of approximately 50 Mission residents and city leaders that their vision for the site would include demolishing the existing single-story office buildings at 6005, 6025 and 6045 Martway and replacing them with a 165-unit apartment complex. The building would have some office space for lease on the ground floor.
Because the site abuts Rock Creek and sits in the floodplain, the building would be elevated on stilts, with the apartment units themselves starting on the second floor.
Arnold told the group that a trend toward more maintenance-free housing options as well as a desire for greater walkability made the Martway site, which is a short stroll from the Johnson Drive business district, an attractive location for the project.
A number of homeowners whose properties sit to the south of the project site, however, pushed back on the proposal, suggesting that at an elevation of 60 feet and higher the building would dominate the views from their homes. Others said they did not like the aesthetics of the project, and that the building materials and style did not match other major projects in Mission, like the Sylvester Powell, Jr., Community Center.
Arnold responded that the economics of an apartment building at a smaller scale simply didn’t work, and that the kinds of units that would be included in the project — apartments would generally range between 700 and 1,100 square feet — were sought after.
“I cannot stand up here and guarantee you that it will lease out in six months,” Arnold said. “But these types of units are in very high demand.”
The project site sits in an existing tax increment financing district that was created to provide an incentive for developers to build in the flood plain, providing them with revenue to include flooding mitigation features in development projects.
Clockwork will bring its preliminary project plan before the Mission planning commission at its meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 25.
The full presentation Arnold delivered at Tuesday’s neighborhood meeting is embedded below: