Kiss Hill’s Undre Arms goodbye: Stalled East Union development project in motion again

The Undre Arms Apartments
Originally uploaded by lopolis

Posted only last week, the Seattle Weekly’s rather nostalgic write-up of Capitol Hill’s Undre Arms Apartments is, it turns out, a requiem. CHS has learned that the development slated to fill the triangular lot stretching from 12th to 11th Ave between Madison and Union is moving forward again and, judging by the paperwork, picking up steam. The writing has been on the wall for the Undre Arms for a long time. Now it appears the change is finally gonna come.

Runberg Architects has begun the filing process for a construction permit to demolish the existing structures including the currently empty drive-up coffee stand, the old paint store that now houses the Cobra Lounge and the Undre Arms — and then begin work on the 1111 East Union project, described in the preliminary filing as a “6-story mixed use building, including 90-100 units of housig, common amenities, retail & underground parking for 18 vehicles.”

We have been told by people familiar with the project that they expect demolition to begin in spring 2011 if the permit process does not drag out.

CHS has followed the public design process of the 1111 East Union Project since the first meetings in spring 2009. Here is our most recent coverage from the final design review meetings last fall. You can find more details about the planned development in the design document attached to that post.

In the go-go past, this kind of paperwork wouldn’t have been notable but with the downturn in the economy and developments moving onto the slow-or-maybe-not-at-all track around the city, the re-start of the development process at 1111 East Union is news on Capitol Hill.

Bryan Stevens, spokesperson for the Department of Planning and Development, confirmed for CHS that the 1111 East Union developers had permits in hand to move forward with the construction process long ago but that nothing has been done to move the project forward until now. Stevens said the construction phase of developments, unlike the design phase, is a much less public affair. Stevens said DPD staff will work with the developers and architects to make sure codes are being applied and that all the paperwork is in order for East Union’s next phase.

As for the Weekly piece, give it a read and learn about the people who live in the apartments. It’s a good enough article even if it inspired only one paltry comment:

Capitol hill is such a shithole.

True, Weekly reader, true — please stay away. Though, come this winter, it now looks like we’ll be a little less shitty.

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21 thoughts on “Kiss Hill’s Undre Arms goodbye: Stalled East Union development project in motion again

  1. I know! Who would need to park a car in that neighborhood!? There’s like 20 bus routes and a soon to be street car line within a few blocks! Some people just need the security of autonomous, insulated, solitary transportation I guess. Weird world indeed!

  2. For many people with jobs in Seattle a car is basically required.
    It doesn’t automatically make us evil.

    18 parking spaces doesn’t seem like enough for such a large number of units. This is the kind of thing that puts so much stress on street parking availability.

  3. towards cap hill?

    “Capitol hill is such a shithole.”

    I guess I think that about other people’s neighborhoods…but then again, I don’t go posting that all over the internet.


  4. I admit it. There are things I miss about Cap Hill. Walking everywhere. The fabulous ongoing street fashion shows. My Cap Hill ex-neighbors. But each time I see one of these funky weird intersections go all shiny high rise, I realize that the Cap Hill I miss isn’t the current Cap Hill. And every time I’m up there, I think, “That block USED TO BE [fill in the blank for former favorite haunt.”

    So, yeah, the Undre Arms. Of COURSE it’s being replace with businesses down, apartments/condos up. Yeah. But I still feel a little sweet nostalgia for the dumpy little blocks gone shiny, for the Cap Hill I knew that doesn’t exist any more.

  5. Double oops. cue the zealots who think everyone can live in Seattle without a car because they haven’t left their neighborhood in 10 years.

  6. I drive a bus… #10 and you know providing a parking stall for units in a building can generate money for those who live there. I rent my space out in the condo I am living in, 100 bucks a month! Does seem like 18 stalls is a low number for that many units but the lot may have it’s challenges, who knows what utilities run through there, and there are 7 bus routes in a three block radius.

  7. Ihope the developer keeps the moving and touching memorial to a police officer that was killed on that site – I believe in 1979. Currently there is a picture of the officer, news article, little stone bench, etc., at the site. It would be tragic to have that destroyed as well. Check it out – it’s close to Madison on the site and urge the developer to maintain this memorial in its current state.

  8. It’s awesome to see the free market dictating the number of spots to include in a project. This is exactly why Seattle removed parking minimums from the denser neighborhoods. This developer decided the high cost of including any more parking was not worth the payoff. If you’re worried about stress on street parking, let’s use market-rate pricing there, too, to ensure there’s always open spots for those willing to pay their true cost.

  9. Ha, that depiction of the proposed building looked like it was completely missing a wall, but then I realized it is built in the shape of a triangle.

    Anyone else see that?

  10. How often will you get a chance to live in a triangle building?

    Great location, little off the beaten track, everything close, tons of transportation.

  11. I believe that this kind of triangle shaped construction has the potential to be an iconic structure for this location. The design, while nothing mind-blowing, is a lot better than when they started, and I think they are approaching the retail right (i.e. a lot of smaller spaces for neighborhood retail). This part of 12th needs strengthening, and this project, along with the someday to be developed SU storage place, could really transform Madison from the highway it currently is to a much more ped-friendly place.