Here We Go Again! 5th & Stewart Altitude [#3018037]

Here We Go Again! 5th & Stewart Altitude [#3018037]

Here we go again! Nothing has really changed on the 5th & Stewart [Altitude] plans since our last post on this project on October 24, 2018. Below are our comments and questions on Altitude's 10th round of corrections. Can you believe it? 10 rounds of corrections, and they still don’t have a functional design.

The tower's loading and waste design will cause major back-ups in its alley and surrounding streets. None of its berths will fit the trucks for which they're intended.  There is no space on the alley for garbage collection.

Please make sure this project is not granted loading berth waivers and responds to site conditions. No Transportation or Dock Management Plan can overcome defective infrastructure.

If the current design is approved, Altitude's transportation impacts will become the public's problem, a major “choke point” for the alley and surrounding streets. It’s a disaster waiting to happen! If you agree, please express your concerns to

Below is a complete text of comments by Megan Kruse:

January 28, 2019

To: Shelley Bolser, PRC

Cc: Sara Zora, Angela Wallis, John Sosnowy Fr: Escala Condominium

Re: Response to Altitude Cycle 10 Updates

Fifty-two story Altitude will dominate a critical intersection at the nexus of Downtown and Belltown. After 10 correction cycles, its design still won’t handle its loading and waste storage demands and these functions will spill into the alley and surrounding streets. Its functional design completely undermines the city’s goal of keeping streets circulating for transit and right-of-ways safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

The MUP process is the last chance to get Altitude right. It’s too big to fail. Please hold it to every common sense and transportation-related standard and correct the issues raised in its latest plan:

1) Not enough loading berths

Altitude has restaurant, bar and retail space that exceeds 10,000sf. Code requires four 10’ x 35’ loading berths. Altitude seeks to avoid the 4th berth by:

--Not including the 50/F lobby lounge in its loading berth calculations. The lounge is over 1,000sf and contiguous with the restaurant and is the bar of the restaurant bar description.

--Undercounting the 51/F outdoor dining space by approx. 200 sf

2) Trucks can’t access or fit its loading berths

Altitude’s loading design is inaccessible and doesn’t fit common trucks. Trucks turning into its 18’ wide alley at Stewart St. can’t make the turn from the curb lane without cutting across the side walk or first cutting left over two lanes of traffic (into the proposed street car lane) before turning back into traffic to make the turn. (Exhibits 4, 5)

We ask the City team to please address:

--Whether 2’ alley setback is adequate for truck access

--The legitimacy of Altitude’s request to reduced length for two of its current three berths, claiming without proof and credibility that only trucks 25’ or less will serve the hotel during the day—even as all buildings around it are served by larger trucks.

--That all three of its loading berths are too short for the trucks they’re intended to hold and all trucks will extend into the alley right-of-way (Exhibit 2)

--That if one of its 25’ berths is occupied it blocks access to the adjacent 25’ berth (Exhibit 2)

--The reinstated plate glass Retail C space on Stewart St. at the alley is susceptible to the same damage seen at West Edge apartment’s retail space on the alley at Pike St. between 2nd and 3rd Aves. Unable to turn directly into the alley, trucks back in, hitting the retail corner and shattering the glass. West Edge has since removed the glass for a solid surface. (Exhibit 6)

3) No alley garbage/recycling alley niche

This means hotel, restaurant and residential garbage and recycling will line the alley along with bins from older buildings on the alley. Regular garbage collection won’t be guaranteed because the path from the garbage room to the alley is blocked if the main 10’ x 35’ loading berth is occupied. (Exhibit 1)

Given its site and high volume restaurant/bar usage, this project should not receive a reduction for waste storage.


Altitude is just one of three towers existing or planned for a dense block bound by vital arterials with bus lanes and designated future streetcar and bike lanes. Any new tower has to be designed to site conditions and Altitude is not.

Its functional design problems will be permanent and a Transportation Management Plan can’t make them go away.

Following are pages illustrating the problems described above. Please use your authority to make this building work.


Megan Kruse

On behalf of Escala