The preliminary design for an eye-catching, distinctly modern apartment high-rise in historic Pioneer Square got a mostly positive reaction...

The preliminary design for an eye-catching, distinctly modern apartment high-rise in historic Pioneer Square got a mostly positive reaction Wednesday from the city board that must approve it.

The 25-story, glass South Tower, part of an ambitious plan to redevelop part of CenturyLink Field’s north parking lot, would consist of two- to four-story “boxes” stacked atop one another — but not directly.

Some would overhang others. Some would be positioned at different angles.

“The offsets do help bring down the bigness of the building,” said Lorne McConachie, an architect who chairs the Pioneer Square Preservation Board.

Architect Erin Doherty, the board’s vice-chair, agreed, but said the tower still strikes her as “heavy. … Right now it feels like there’s just a little too much going on.”

The developers’ challenge, McConachie said, is “how to ‘lighten’ this building as much as possible.”

Other board members offered generally complimentary comments.

The board must find that the high-rise tower is compatible with low-rise Pioneer Square’s historic character. Wednesday’s meeting was the panel’s first look at the proposed design. Several more sessions are likely.

In addition to the South Tower, the first phase of the North Lot project — called Stadium Place — includes a full-block, four-story “podium” with apartments, retail and a parking garage. The South Tower would rise from it, as would another 10-story apartment tower.

Construction began this week. Future phases include condo, office and hotel towers. The developer is a partnership of Daniels Real Estate and R.D. Merrill.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com