Though 1650 East Olive Way will not be deemed a landmark anytime soon, one aspect of the property that will stay the same is that B &O plans to occupy a corner space in the proposed mixed-use development at the same location. Here is what Aaron Hilst, the PR manager for 1650 East Olive Way, told us:
As you may have noticed the famed B&O Espresso café has recently received a large development sign posted to the side of the building, piquing curiosity, comments, and potential concern from the community at large. It is a public notification of a Master Use Permit (MUP) application recently submitted to the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to demolish the existing buildings on site and construct a new mixed-use building late next year , at the earliest.
… the café is still open for business, will continue to be open until the start of construction late next year, and is planning to reoccupy the corner commercial space in the new building, maintaining its location on Belmont Ave and Olive Way in Capitol Hill
Regarding the Landmarks Preservation Board vote, David Peterson of Nicholson Kovalchick Architects (the firm working on design of the proposed mixed use development), wrote in to clarify that their nomination for landmark status was not strategic but rather required:
The application for nomination of this building was required as part of the application for getting a Land Use permit from the DPD. You need to have a land use permit before you can get a building permit. Whenever someone wants to get a land use permit (called in Seattle a Master Use Permit or MUP), you have to demonstrate compliance with the State Environmental Protection Act, or SEPA, part of which covers the identification and protection of historic landmarks. The DPD (which handles land use and building permits) works with the Dept. of Neighborhoods (DON, which handles historic landmarks) to identify landmarks through the process of nomination hearings, before the DPD will move forward on the land use permit process. So there is nothing “pre-emptive” about it–it is required by the DPD.
I will say however that in some cases an owner of property will nominate their own building in order to have the nomination hearing process clarify what they’ve got. They’ve either got a landmark or they don’t. That judgement by the Landmarks Board is good for 5 years. You might call that “preemptive” but to the property owner, what that does is it gives them clarity and certainty, By taking one element of uncertainty off the table for a while, which is worth a lot when you are trying to do a master plan. And property owners of all types do this–private homeowners, institutions, churches, schools, etc., as well as housing developers.