It’s not every day that a $125 fee on a $14 million project makes news but couple a payment from the developer behind the on-ice development that was intended to someday fill the empty lot at Pine and Belmont with rumors of a December construction start and things start to heat up a bit. Here’s what we know for certain: The company behind the stalled development of the People’s Parking lot has filed a $125 renewal of their permit to construct a $14 million mixed-use development through November 23, 2013, the maximum time allowed for the extension. The permit was slated to expire in a public process that began way back in October, 2006.
Land Use Application to allow a six story, 108 unit apartment building with 12,602 sq. ft. of ground floor retail. Parking for 108 vehicles will be located in below grade garage. Review includes demolition of existing structures. Project includes 17,784 cu. yds. of grading.
The rest of the picture gets way more fuzzy. We’ve had a few variants of the same rumor sent our way. The basic theme? Eastside developer Murray Franklin is preparing to crank up the construction process and start building the project after years in limbo. You can read about how the project fell off the tracks in the middle of the financial meltdown and a legal assault from neighborhood activist Dennis Saxman in this Stranger article: How a Crusade to Save the Pike-Pine Neighborhood Is Turning an Active Block Into a Gravel Lot—For at Least a Year. It was posted more than two years ago, by the way. It’s also the only place to see the developer’s renderings of the project. The rest of the design review material is available only in hard copy down at the Department of Planning and Development. Buildings housing bars Cha Cha, Manray and the Kincora and retailer Winner’s Circle were razed to make way for planned development.
We have not yet confirmed that Murray Franklin is — or is not — ready to start digging. From our understanding of the situation, the project is clear to go from a permit standpoint. The construction permit was issued in May 2007.
In the years since, the lot has remained mostly empty though it was used for parking for a short time until it was determined that wasn’t permitted by zoning. CHS has worked with the People’s Parking Lot to organize events in the lot like our annual Capitol Hill Garage Sale days and Murray Franklin has been permissive if not entirely engaged with our efforts to “activate” the empty space. We’re of mixed thought about the mixed-use rumors. If they’re true, the space will definitely be activated but where will we hold Garage Sale Day?