In an 11-1 decision yesterday, the City of Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board voted against the nomination of 1650 East Olive Way for landmark status. The Board’s vote terminates the current nomination process (initiated by Nicholson Kovalchick Architects, the firm working on the plans for the new development at the location), and this building cannot be considered for nomination for another five years, except at the request of the owner (B & O Development LLC).
From the brief board discussion, a key factor appeared to be that the building’s character was created by its current tenant, B & O Espresso, who has been at the location for 34 years. The Board found that on a stand alone basis, the 1650 East Olive building was not architecturally distinctive. Jack McCollough, the owner’s attorney, reminded the Board that there is no guarantee that B & O will remain a tenant at this location. B & O only has 15 months remaining on their current lease. Mr. McCollough then offered that the owners had attempted to negotiate in good faith with B & O (even offering them rent reductions) to tempt them to stay.
As linder seattle mused in comments a couple of days ago, it looks as if the landmark nomination was a preemptive (now succesful) measure by the owner/developer to ward off community opposition. Now that the mixed-use 7-story 83-unit proposed for the site has one less obstacle, we have attached the DPD Early Design Guidance as well as the Landmark Nomination document (fascinating stuff) for your review.