Document reveals developer’s plans to reshape 11th at Pine

There is one important thing we haven’t been able to post about in regards to the mixed-use project being planned for the old Sun Electric building at the corner of Pine and 11th Ave.

No, not talking about No Guilt Boy.

Talking about the actual design proposal that will be discussed, debated and dissected at next week’s design guidance meeting. Up to now, the PDF of developer Pryde + Johnson early design proposal hasn’t been available. But after pestering the Department of Planning and Development for a week, they posted the document this afternoon. Here is a look at the four design proposals on the board.


You can review the entire document attached to this post. Three of the four designs include preserving “the character structure” while only Plan B (on the left) calls for the old brick factory building to be completely torn down. You’ll also note that the three preservation plans take advantage of the new zoning rules that will allow for a taller structure.



 Plan A
96 units (+1-) on 6 levels over 1 level of commercial space.
36 (+/-) structured parking spaces on 1 underground level.

  • -Preserves character structure.
  • -New construction to maximum height of 75 feet allowed by new Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District.
  • -Residential entry on 11th Avenue.
  • -Parking access from 11th Avenue (not desirable for pedestrian traffic).
  • -Private courtyard at Level 2, oriented to South interior lot line.
  • -No setbacks, reinforces street edge and corner of 11th & E Pine.
  • -Maximizes views to park.

Plan B
75 units (+/-) on 5 levels over 1 level of commercial space
36 (+1-) structured parking spaces on 1 underground level .

  • -Character structure to be demolished.
  • -New construction to maximum height of 69 feet with Directors approval.
  • -Resldential entry on 11th Avenue.
  • -Parking access from 11th Avenue (not desirable for pedestrian traffic).
  • -Private courtyard at Level 2, oriented to park .
  • -One story commercial at corner.
  • -Over half of the units face the private alley or interior lot line (resulting in compromised Views).

Plan C (PREFERRED)
96 units (+/-) on 6 levels over 1 level of commercial space
4 structured parking spaces at street level.
1 level of underground workspace in existing basement available for arts / cultural uses.

  • -Preferred option.
  • -Preserves character structure.
  • -New construction to maximum height of 75 feet allowed by new Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District.
  • -Residential entry on 11th Avenue.
  • -Parking/service access from private alley at rear (optimizes pedestrian environment).
  • -Private courtyard at Level 2 adjacent to alley (optimizes residential views and daylight)
  • -Massing holds street edge on both frontages (opportunity for comer emphasis)

Plan D
-74 units (+/-) on 6 levels over 1 level of commercial space
-4 structured parking spaces at street level.
-1 level of underground workspace in existing basement available for arts I cultural uses.

  • -Preserves character structure.
  • – New construction to maximum height of 75 feet allowed by new Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District.
  • -Residential entry on 11thAvenue.
  • -Parking/service access from private alley at rear (optimizes pedestrian environment).
  • -Private courtyard at Level 2 adjacent to alley (diminished in size) .
  • -Private terraces on Level 3 along frontages.
  • -Massing of new structure separated visually from existing facade

Here’s a diagram from the document that will give you some sense of what preservation will entail. In short, the plan is for a façade.

The plan also calls for sustainable development strategies outlined here:

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18 thoughts on “Document reveals developer’s plans to reshape 11th at Pine

  1. It always amazes me that devlopers build a multi-million dollar building with great attention to looks and then throw down a standard slab of cement for a sidewalk. So much can be done even with concrete– acid etched, colored etc. I have always admired the mosaic tiles along Broadway and wondered about the history of that. I hope this developer will considering using bricks or some design in sidewalk. Even stamping some interesting quotes or questions into sidewalk to add interest. And if there is room for some plants something better than Home Depot special on ivy. And don’t forget outdoor water spigots to make it easier to power wash sidewalks. And, finally, we need jobs so let’s get this project rolling and not mired down in planning process.

  2. If every developer did something different it wouldn’t look good.

    You probably admire Broadway because it ties all of Broadway together.

  3. That would be SDOT that gets in the way of creative sidewalk treatment not developers (although some I am sure could care less). The City is finally beginning to loosen up about this, but for a very long time, SDOT only wanted concrete and nothing in it, for fear that they would not know what to do with it when it needed repairs or was damaged in the future. Very frustrating!

  4. So while we are talking about preservation, does anyone not see the folly of plopping a residential building right on a street that is full of bars, late-night restaurants and clubs?

    I’m not NIMBY, it’s just one of the things that makes Pike/Pine a great neighborhood is the nightlife. And infilling with really dense residential developments such as this, plus the one that is being built right above the Cuff’s outdoor patio, plus the new condo across from the Satellite Lounge, the new building abutting the Elysian’s outdoor patio, etc. etc. to me does not make much sense. It would be better to have a 1/2 block buffer or so, before putting in a ton of residential. Residents will inevitably complain about the noise, the city will simply take it out on the bars.

    Maybe I worry to much. Who knows. This just bothers me.

  5. I second Danny’s comment. There are some really neat indy sidewalk treatments around the neighborhood that developers should take a cue from. Doing a good job on landscaping and sidewalks really brings up the quality of the pedestrian environment around a building, and that’s a good thing, right?

  6. You are not worrying too much. It happened at Manray….outdoor patio + new residents + noise complaints = early shutting of patio. Not sure what people expect when they move next to a bar with a patio but all of a sudden they are shocked, SHOCKED, at the noise.

  7. You don’t worry too much. It’s already happened in Belltown. Whether the complaining cycle will happen for sure in this building is up in the air, but there’s a good chance of it. This is one of those weird little zonining things we don’t have any tools to deal with at the moment, and I’m honestly not sure what to do about it. Maybe require new res. within a block of nightclub area to have better soundproofing…but that’s expensive…but I don’t want new dev. killing established neighborhood businesses.

  8. i don’t really feel like reading, are these gonna be apt’s or condo’s? can someone get me a beer? whats LEED? I think they should put an ice cream shop and three coffee places in the bottom with a water balloon launcher on the roof. man I’m hungry typing all this jargon

  9. I think this would be a very pertinent and good discussion to raise in the review process. I plan to ask about it. You should too.

  10. …not the ownership structure.

    the developer doesn’t have to know or tell if they will be for rent or for sale.

  11. I did concrete, mostly sidewalks and curb & gutter, for five years or so. It’s possible to do some kind of independent sidewalk design but especially when the construction is in an established area, it requires a TON of cooperation from whatever body is governing the area.

    A couple years ago the city of Olympia made a big PR event out of one of our projects, it was really cool. They hired us to put in a new compact permeable concrete, it retains most of the natural drainage by allowing rain water to pass through rather than direct it to a storm drain, and hired an artist to work with us while we placed the concrete. She was charged with directing all the aesthetic aspects while we did the actual work. It worked out really well for us because we were relieved of all responsibility if anyone complained about the art.

    I think Seattle is a different story. Their standards are constantly changing and if you don’t meet whatever that standard happens to be at the time, your company has to pay to remove and redo the work. Why do you think the city has it’s own concrete crew… companies charge the city more because they’re so nutty. The company I worked for started the sidewalks in Fremont and just cut our losses and gave the concrete work to the general contractor rather than messing with the city trying to do art.

    A little long, I know

  12. You notice that in one place they talk about preserving the character structure, and then in another place (the drawings), they describe it as “existing character facade shown in foreground to remain.”

    The ordinance, on its face, allows development “to a scale that is compatible with the established development pattern.” That language is not found in either the Neighborhood Plan or the Design Guidelines.

    One of the goals of Phase Two of neighborhood planning for the Pike/Pine was to “preserve, to the extent possible, the neighborhood’s built environment of auto-row architecture.” One of the Visions of the Plan for 2014 was ” “The historic ‘auto-row’ architecture and other historic buildings … that give the neighborhood character and preserve important parts of Seattle’s twentieth century history.” One of the key strategies was ” To sustain the character of the Pike/Pine neighborhood by development of Design Guidelines and Design Review process to preserve ‘character’ buildings ….” As part of this strategy, one item listed was to establish a Community Heritage District that would provide preservation incentives and design review for the rehabilitation and remodeling of existing structures.” It also proposed to establish an inclusive Community Heritage Design Review Board.

    The Design Guidelines listed, as a high priority, “[preservation] of the physical and social character of the corridor.” While they expressed a preference for adaptive re-use of existing buildings, they also encouraged new structures that reflect the architectural heritage of the neighborhood. Throughout the guidelines is an emphasis on buildings that are compatible and consistent with the existing architectural character.

    Unfortunately, these goals have come to naught. Chiefly because a handful of powerful individuals in the neighborhood who prefer the individualistic, vain buildings built according to the futuristic fantasies of Le Corbusier and his imitators – fantasies that have been discredited for decades.

    The National Historic Preservation Act defines preservation as including: “identification, evaluation, recordation,documentation, curation,acquisition,protection,management,rehabilitation,restoration,
    stabilization, maintenance, research, interpretation, conservation, and education and training regarding the foregoing activities, or any combination of the foregoing activities. At least one definition of conservation in most dictionaries is “the act of preserving, guarding, or protecting; the keeping (of a thing) in a safe or entire state.”

    As I have stated before, I do not believe the new ordinance will accomplish any of these things.

    For anyone who wants to amend the design guidelines or a neighborhood plan, there are established procedures for doing so. I don’t see that any of them were followed. This is just plain wrong.

  13. Mr. Saxman should be reminded that the National Historic Preservation Act, in practice and intention, has absolutely nothing to do with local land use actions. It simply creates a review process for historic projects involving federal funding, and even in those cases there is no obligation to act for the sake of preservation. The Act simply requires consideration and evaluation.

  14. response to max:

    I live at 11th and Pike specifically because I like being able to walk from my front door to a bar and stumble back home. I feel safer living on streets full of a diverse crowd of people who are merrymakers, restaurant-goers, and so on.

    Mixed residential and commercial neighborhoods are more vibrant. The idea of specialized zones for commercial vs. residential is an old way of thinking about cities and one that Jane Jacobs effectively discredited almost 50 years ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Death_and_Life_of_Great_Ame

    So fie on your idea of “buffer” zones between bars and homes. Fie on creating residential-only areas and commercial-only areas. And fie on the suggestion that people are going to move out because a neighborhood has an active nightlife. I moved *in* as a result of this area’s active nightlife!

    I do like Comrade Bunny’s suggestion of better soundproofing mandates in neighborhoods that are well mixed. The sort of low-end soundproofing that is standard for quiet (read: boring!) suburban neighborhoods just doesn’t protect the sanity of people who want to live in more happening ‘hoods. The cost burden of better soundproofing will have to get paid for somehow (lower margins for developers or higher prices for renters/purchasers, or a little of both). It could also be achieved through simple disclosures. For example, an ambient decibel reading disclosure as part of the listing process.

  15. @ vlad.

    Nowhere in my post did I oppose mix-used neighborhoods. I also live on 11th, and very much appreciate the vibrancy of the neighborhood. So fie on that bit of misrepresentation of what I wrote…I’m not even sure a buffer is the best solutions…was more thinking out loud, so to speak.

    What I am concerned about is the city’s terrible track record in resolving conflicts between residents and bars/nightclubs in neighborhoods such as Pike/Pine, Belltown, etc. I agree with you that these restaurants and bars and the residential units do create a more vibrant, and safer neighborhood. But when the two mix and complaints arise, the city ALWAYS takes it out on the bars, even if they were there years before the residential was built.

    So, until there is some sort of use protections that Johnny-come-lately residents can’t shut down the very businesses that make Pike/Pine and CapHill a great neighborhood to live in, we should be very, very careful where we allow such development to occur.

    I appreciate the fact that you like the vibrant neighborhood. So do I. We can agree on that. What I am trying to avoid, is illustrated perfectly in a post from today (8/25) from someone who chose to move to the Hill and is now complaining about noise from the bars and nightlife. Instead of harassing the bars, the city needs to tell these complainers to STFU. Again, however, until the city changes its stance, we should be wary of some of these developments planned next to bars.

    Sorry for the tome…

  16. who in the hell do they think are going to move into these places? 80% of these condos/apts on the hill are still empty because even vapid hispters spending mommy and daddy’s money know that they are FAR too expensive for the size and amenity.