Reminder: Architectural Design Board to hold public hearing Jan. 5 on 24-unit downtown apartment building

A rendering of the proposed project.

The City of Edmonds Architectural Design Board will hold a public hearing this week on a proposal for a new 24-unit apartment building at 6th and Main Street.

The meeting will be held via Zoom at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5

Architect Phillip Frisk, representing property owner GBH Holdings, submitted a design review application for the building, which would be located at 605/611 Main Street. The proposal includes 24 parking spaces provided below the building. The project site contains 9,889 square feet across two parcels and the current buildings on the parcels would be demolished to make room for the apartment building. A subsequent lot line adjustment would be necessary to combine the two parcels into a single lot for construction of the apartment building.

The Architectural Design Board (ADB) review and public hearing is the first phase of a two-phase public hearing process. The ADB provides design review guidance during Phase 1 of the process and will issue a decision following a public hearing in phase 2, which will be set at the Jan. 5 meeting.

You can access the Zoom meeting here.

Meeting ID: 9536 0544 929. Password: 818962

Call into the meeting by dialing: 253-215-8782.

The complete meeting agenda is here.


  1. Go look at downtown Kirkland and if that what you want for Edmonds then go ahead and vote for this apartment building.

    1. The Architectural Design Board (ADB) will not issue a decision on this project at the January 5th meeting. Design review projects within the BD zones downtown follow a two phase public hearing process. During the phase 1 hearing, the ADB will take public comment and provide design review guidance based on comments and the design guideline checklist which is included as Attachment 12 of the staff report that is available on the ADB agenda link above. The date for the second phase of the public hearing will be set at this meeting which most likely will be in March.

      Kernen Lien
      City of Edmonds Environmental Programs Manager (and planner for this project)

  2. I support urbanizing certain parts of Edmonds and the Greater Seattle area. However, this building is extremely ugly. Would it kill to design something a little nicer looking?

  3. If you want random, aesthetically unpleasing buildings such as those now prevalent throughout Shoreline, the by all means vote for this monstrosity.

  4. One parking spot per unit – really?

    Have to agree with Kashf Iqbal. The exterior design as presented in the picture above does nothing to enhance downtown Edmonds. Very nondescript.

    1. Do not turn Edmonds into Lynnwood or Kirkland. Poor design and bad location. Let’s save both our beaches and our downtown while we still can.

  5. That is one sad looking building…lacks any character or interest design wise and certainly does not add to our community. I understand that growth means more apartments, but why would we want to develop in this style. Please don’t tell me this is “Affordable Housing” because with the price of that land and building that would no doubt be a falsehood. So, City leaders, don’t betray our City. Development approval is a responsibility that should be carefully considered in order to maintain the character and feel of our community. This structure does not fit well here.
    It bears repeating…Edmonds doesn’t want to be another Kirkland or Ballard or Fremont or Lynnwood. Please do not approve this structure.

  6. Sadly, this block is easy to build and ugly to behold.
    We do need more housing, but do we need more buildings that maximize their footprint and occupancy without any aspirational sense of beauty or conformity to the community?

  7. Please stop the stop with the continuing and completely false equivalency tropes that new multi-family buildings in Edmonds are in anyway similar in bulk, height, scale, and quantity with most newer Kirkland multi-family structures. There is a vast difference. Most of these central Kirkland buildings are five and six stories high and take up entire city blocks, compared to the maximum three story heights permitted in old town Edmonds (and only two stories maximum for practical purposes) in many of the most central portions). Most of us single family residents will also need these new Edmonds multi-family buildings if we want to remain residents of this wonderful community when we are no longer able to stay in our our current homes.

    1. Ha Ha! The aesthetic is the same regardless of the height. Edmonds DOES NOT NEED MORE HOUSING DOWNTOWN (not “old town” BTW).
      There are tons of options further up around 99 for this kind of hideous ‘Ballard Box’ housing. Honestly, if you think ANYONE who lives in a single family dwelling around here could afford to live in one of these apartments after retirement, you are in for a rude awakening.

    2. Dennis Derickson I agree with you. Also to make these buildings affordable to rent they need to maximize the space.
      Like you have said, there is no comparison to Kirkland and Lynnwood.

  8. I have a family member looking for a new construction, 1 bedroom apartment, in downtown Edmonds for around $1,500 per month. Looking at the simplicity of the design and construction of this proposed design, looks like it will fit the bill.


    I am very curious to see what the rental rates will be for this generic box in a prime location. Not confident it will check the affordable housing box. And I doubt that is the intent anyway.

  9. I am very confident that this building will look considerably more pleasing to everyone by the time it has received ADB approval. My experience tells me that the ADB is not a “rubber stamp”.

    1. Just responding on yours Ron as you are the last here. I see issues however the only one I am going to talk about on this particular building and idea is this. There are 24 units I believe. 1 Bedroom and 2 bedrooms…don’t know about 3. But I do know that often 1 bedroom means 2 people. They probably both have cars…so where are the other 24 cars going to park?? I know I am like the parking police hahaha. Its a thing haha. But I have given up on ever seeing adequate and respectable parking or a flushing toilet in Edmonds…So yeah the parking and if they have guests and they will…Where do they go….They should in my opinion make it 20 units. in the design cut out 4 units and instead use that for the 2nd car in an open lot. This would work huh builders??

    2. Hope this looks better then the restaurant street shanties that the planning board, and city approved. I don’t trust anything anymore that Edmonds does. I bet they will be trying to raise height limits in the near future. None of this surprises me as Edmonds signed on many years ago to be an “Agenda 21” town. “Agenda 21” is now “Agenda 2030” and there are rules that must be followed by cities that signed on. One rule is shove as many people into a small area as you can.

  10. This building is grossly over sized and out of character with Edmonds and needs to be scaled back and made more residential to blend into the neighborhood. The plan is to funnel all traffic through a tight 15 foot alley with zero lot line provisions. This will adversely affect all residents that currently share use of the ally behind this monstrosity. Another consideration is lack of privacy for both current residents and future tenants due to placement of windows so close to nearby buildings.

    This project should not be built as proposed! I agree that we need more affordable housing but this is not the appropriate place for a 24 unit complex.

    1. Well articulated Dale, I totally agree. This is a poorly designed building for this prominent downtown location and should definitely be scaled back or not built as proposed.

  11. Why would the city planners allow:
    1) a zero lot line structure to be built with no off street parking for overflow/additional cars usurping the already limited public parking in and around downtown.
    2) a huge, square concrete structure with very little esthetic value, no green space, no decks to speak of, and tries little to blend into the neighborhood. Drive down Aurora to see more boxes like this one.
    3) 24 units squished into 2 small lots, filled with the possibility of rents/leases, who may or may not care about their neighborhood.

    The answer could be … money.

  12. I am thoroughly dismayed at the prospect of a building that size built on 6th and Main. It is outsized for that location. It can be compared to Perrinville, Ballard and Kirkland and other locations that have lost the character as to what these locations were intended. The structure will impact other businesses and homes on that street. There is no parking and heavy traffic at all times. The encroachment on the alley side is very detrimental to the homes on the other side of the proposed building. In fact it will impact all the residences as it will do on Main Street. I strongly recommend that this apartment building not be put at that location.

  13. Since the alternative to this building would probably be one or two huge houses on the same amount of space with only four to eight or so people living there, I guess I really don’t have much objection to this building. At least more people are going to get the opportunity to live here and will be able to walk to many of the better amenities of our town from that location. This could be very good for our older population (me) that wants to stay here in town.

    Parking impacts in the immediate area will be substantial with this land use and I suspect the large homes just up the street will lose a good deal of their street parking to second cars and such. Just be thankful for good folks like Mr. Wambolt on City Councils past for not allowing multi story buildings down there. Things could be much worse for many of us.

    Looks like our own view will soon include another large living facility seen from the rear located on Main Street. Main Street Wall will be complete from 8th. down to 6th. so to speak. This is just change and not particularly objectionable or troubling to me. I used to see little buildings and big trees, but now I see big buildings and essentially no trees to speak of. That’s just how it is in modern day Edmonds. For better or worse, this is just what we have created by design and we will have to accept it or move somewhere else.

  14. So this will be an apartment lodged in between two houses. At least that’s what it looks like on the google map. I’m not sure this is a good idea. Not on Main Street.

  15. I reiterate Janis’s points. Zero lot line, and an institutional-looking building does not fit in downtown Edmonds. Adding more cars (probably 2 per unit) and not providing sufficient parking is irresponsible. Let’s not allow Main Street to be tuned into a cavern. How would we know if we are having an Edmonds Kind of Day when eventually we won’t even be able to see the sky? Don’t Ballardize Edmonds!

    1. Stupidity is not a virtue! Think what will be happening to our fair city. I never had any thoughts about moving from our wonderful city, but more undesirable buildings such as this terrible rendition will get my thought processes underway for sure! Please don’t do this!

  16. We’ve been building condos, apt.s and giant houses all over Edmonds for at least 50 years now and suddenly this proposed one is inappropriate and out of place for some reason? Come on. This is the town we have carefully plotted and planned (supposedly) and it’s not going to suddenly change course for anyone now. I see another essentially useless fight on the horizon. The apartment will win the day in the end, as will Streateries and walkable Main. Better to just accept it and move on with your life, controlling only what you can and ignoring what you can’t. My one and only New Year’s resolution. I give it a week, tops.

    1. I think the zero lot line zoning along arterials and in multi family zones should be re-imagined throughout Edmonds. If new developments have a setback from the street and neighbors they will fit in better, trees can be preserved, there is room for surface parking or stormwater controls, etc. Probably too late for this project but hopefully future development in Edmonds can have fewer zero lot line multi family projects. The developers and real estate speculators will hate that idea but I’d like to see it seriously considered by our planners.

  17. A lot of this just comes down to supply and demand. Edmonds is an attractive town so of course there’s going to be demand for more housing. One way to keep the costs down, and so more affordable, is to build aesthetically mediocre buildings lacking reasonable amenities like parking. Those were trying to keep housing costs down have no problem with degrading the surrounding neighborhoods. If you build quality buildings that compliment the area and the community of course they’re just going to cost more. Alternatively many affordable housing schemes often include some kind of subsidy or having someone else pay for their lifestyle. Happy New Year.

  18. I give the Architectural Design Board presenters one New York minute to use the Growth Management Act to justify this kind of building in the heart of Edmonds.

    Before the meeting, I suggest everyone read RCW 36.70A.011.

    This is how it begins: “The legislature finds that this chapter is intended to recognize the importance of rural lands and rural character to Washington’s economy, its people, and its environment…”

    The purpose of the Growth Management Act is to protect the culture and character of rural areas and make urban areas higher in density. The GMA does not consider the importance of urban economies, their character, their people, and their environment. Our representatives should be made aware of this.

    The citizen involvement that we have on important issues like affordable housing, the marsh and trees shows that we want to preserve and protect the character and environment of our city.

    We see neighborhoods like Ballard and cities like Kirkland and Lynnwood changing through increased density. The characters and environments of those communities have already paid the price – to protect rural lands.

    Can we afford the changes seen in Ballard, Kirkland or Lynnwood? Is this the legacy we want to leave? Can we protect the character and environment of Edmonds – for our people?

  19. I found this usage of “excrescence” in to be quite appropriate:
    “Local residents regard the hulking apartment building as a hideous excrescence on their once-lovely street.”

  20. My previous Reader’s View stated that “the proposed development is 14 ft from lot line to lot line and 23.5 feet from our condo to a straight up 3-storey concrete wall, blocking all light, privacy and view”. I was mistaken.

    As of new information written in the agenda, seen below, it is a straight up 40ft or 4-story concrete wall directly againsts the lot line.

    P 27, ADB Agenda
    Topography: The project site gently slopes to the northwest with about a 10-foot change in
    elevation from the southeast corner of 611 Main Street to the northwest corner of 605 Main

  21. Gee, a square box with holes…oh and lets add a useless balcony on one window….where is the architects creativity?
    I’m not an architect, and respect the profession…but think this is so unattractive.

  22. Please kindly remember that the ADB is an advisory board comprising volunteers working on design matters. My understanding is that they don’t control WHETHER something gets built; rather, they have the chance to influence the form of projects. They also have some openings for interested parties.

  23. The design element of this building is not in keeping with the charm or artistic feel of downtown Edmonds. It needs to be up-scaled to fit the neighborhood. This looks institutional and doesn’t even provide residents to the spectacular view available from this location. (See link for visual example) Parking of 24 spaces for 24 units is also inadequate. 2 person households with two vehicles are the norm. Tandem parking spaces for each unit should be made available. This is at the boarder of downtown so 24 cars will be left parked on Main and 6th Ave by residents and guests, not used for shopping or dining in downtown core. We should address parking restrictions and payment if this if not accommodated by developer.

  24. Very unattractive building with no character or attempt at blending into the surrounding neighborhood. What a shame to add this building to Edmonds .

  25. Will all 24 parking spaces be charging stations? Today, some regulations require charging stations. If there are 24 units and say 3 charging stations that need to be open and available by tenants, there will really only be 21 parking spaces for 24 units.

  26. Yes, denser housing is needed, though I’m sorry to see the older homes on those lots demolished. Other recent buildings, like those on main and 2nd, are quite attractive and architecturally interesting. Can’t we have both — denser housing while aesthetically pleasing? Don’t let the developer maximize profit at the cost of ugliness. Edmonds did that a generation ago by allowing Condo Alley on 3rd Avenue. Do something that will enhance the Bowl, not degrade it, while allowing newcomers to enjoy living in a walkable village.

  27. I am so incredibly disappointed to think yet another big, boxy, and ugly condominium is being considered anywhere in Edmonds, but especially in the bowl, and on Main Street? Really?? Wake me up from this nightmare..
    Once a charming structure is removed for big construction, it is gone forever. It’s one more gem forever removed from the crown of our unique downtown area.
    Think about that. From what I’ve read, the charm of Edmonds is supposed to be important.

  28. My office is just a block away from this new unattractive structure with minimal parking. Parking is already impossible on most days. My clients spend a lot of time trying to find a parking place and then walk blocks to get to their appointments. Downtown Edmonds already has a very very significant parking problem because in the past buildings were approved and constructed with no parking or only one parking space. I can’t even imagine the extent of the parking problem should this building with minimal parking be allowed to be built. The phrase It’s an Edmonds Kind of Day would need to be changed to Edmonds is another Challenging Day of trying to find a parking place. In addition, the building is very unattractive and definitely puts Edmonds in the class of ugly no-lot line building currently seen in Ballard, Kirkland, and now Lynnwood. I hope this building will be not be approved. Why not encourage increasing the density nearer highway 99 where there is now minimal buildings with higher density?

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