Cap Hill development after the downturn: How two projects changed

As we all know, the economy is in the pits. While many developers have sat on the sidelines waiting for things to pick up, recent economic data, suggests that it might be a long wait. Well, some developers have decided to go ahead with their projects but have made a few changes to accommodate the realities of the market. Let’s take a look at a few 6-story projects planned for the neighborhood and see how they’ve changed.

First up, 401 E. Pike St.


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Pre-Collapse: 51 residential units, 2600 sf retail, 59 parking spaces

Post-Collapse: 54 residential units, 5,500 st retail, 31 parking spaces

Next, 1222 E Madison St.


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Pre-Collapse: 120 residential units, 5,200 sf retail, 59 parking spaces

Post-Collapse: 104 residential units, 6,100 sf retail, 51 parking spaces

So it looks like more retail space is one way to make extra cash. Although with all the space opening up on the hill, I can’t exactly see how this will work. You might also notice the reduction in parking. And like me, at first glance, you might be pretty happy about this. But the unfortunate reason for this is that instead of building underground parking garages, as most projects do, these developers have opted to go with above grade parking. Essentially, this means that after the ground floor retail, we will have two walls of steel bars and concrete before any windows or balconies.

While these buildings may have fewer parking spaces  I think this revert back to above-ground parking is an absolutely horrible idea. There is simply no way to make parking garage walls look attractive and  they will undoubtedly be black holes of space in the otherwise pretty streetscape. Its an utter lack of context and I suggest that if a developer is too cheap to put parking underground, then they should just due away with it altogether.

401 E Pike, Pre-Collapse

401 E Pike, Post-Collapse (dramatization)

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4 thoughts on “Cap Hill development after the downturn: How two projects changed

  1. Interesting, the above grade parking idea does seem odd! But, I don’t see how they could sacrifice a floor for parking and still have the same number of residential units and more retail space at 401 Pike.

    Regarding the residential units, it seems the biggest change is how rental units have become more common than condo units in new construction. The difference is not always mentioned in the plans but I’m curious many how developments have switched strategies, including these two.

  2. If the neighborhood plan had teeth the above ground parking would be a non-starter, people know better.
    I am curious to see if more retail just means BIGGER. This could have a really ugly effect.

  3. I heard through the grapevine and then in last weeks Seattle Weekly that MurrayFranklyn is out of cash and won’t be developing the block that was formerly the home of Bimbo’s, Kincora, and Manray any time soon. Has anyone else heard about this? Are there any more confirmations of the rumor?