Polyclinic’s 7th and Madison deal likely means East Union property will sit empty — for a long time

First Hill’s gain is East Union’s loss. Any hopes of the Polyclinic building an expanded facility on the land it owns at East Union and Broadway took a serious hit last week when the medical giant announced it had agreed to enter a lease with HAL Real Estate Investments for the entirety of the new — but empty for all of 2010 — office building at 7th and Madison.

As the Complete Automotive business moved out, we reported in August that the Polyclinic was still eying the East Union property for a much needed expansion after acquiring it In 2008. That year, in need of space to build a new clinic in the area, the Polyclinic purchased the 16,000 square feet of land and the 1920 brick building for $6.25 million. The Polyclinic then successfully lobbied Seattle’s City Council to have their area of Union excluded from the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay and to have rules passed that would specifically allow development of a medical building at Union and Broadway.

The Madison decision shifts Polyclinic’s focus west from Broadway to a brand new, 9-story office tower where it can both expand and consolidate its services which are currently spread from Broadway across First Hill. Clinic spokesperson Tracy Corgiat reminded us that the Polyclinic’s lease is contingent on City Hall approving medical use of the building and the creation of some new parking lots in the area — they’ll need them, remember, as the First Hill streetcar will pass eight city blocks away on Broadway when it begins service in 2013 —  but also said she expects the approvals to be made. The zoning changes are all of the administrative variety which means no City Council committee or full council votes will be necessary for the approvals to move forward. Polyclinic expects to begin utilizing the new space starting in 2012.

The Seventh and Madison building dealings are worth a read for anybody interested in the state of commercial real estate in our area. Seattle Times sums up the wheeling and dealing here that had HAL Investments announcing its acquisition of the $30.8 million building on a Monday and rolling out the new Polyclinic deal last Tuesday.

As for the former home of Complete Automotive, Corgiat said the Polyclinic will continue to hold the property and could consider it for development in the future — or sell it. But given the state of real estate prices, that sale won’t likely happen soon, Corgiat said. So, the building will sit mostly empty as the automotive business that moved out earlier this year still uses it for storage. It could be empty for a long time, a brick and mortar version of Polyclinic’s odd-shaped and perpetually abandoned lot in the triangular nook between Broadway and Harvard.

Despite the likely pause, if not end in the Polyclinic’s East Union interest, new development activity on the street still looks likely. Up Union a few blocks toward 12th, the 1111 East Union project continues to rumble — slowly — forward. Earlier in November, the site passed an early inspection in the construction permitting process and some of the preliminary paperwork for demolition of the Undre Arms apartments has been filed.1111 East Union is not all great news. Another interesting piece of the Hill is probably soon to meet the wrecking ball demolition tractor of death. But when paired with the new likelihood of another long-term empty space on the Hill a few blocks away, it might make the change easier to accept.

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6 thoughts on “Polyclinic’s 7th and Madison deal likely means East Union property will sit empty — for a long time

  1. So the Polyclinic will now hold two big derelict sites at this important intersection. Does it feel no responsibility to the neighborhood?

  2. Responsible may be the wrong word here however The Polyclinic is communicating that they are bad neighbors by letting these two locations sit idle. They are a for profit business and medical service provider and as such have an obligation to the Physician Owners and any and all regulations their operation is subject to and nothing else. They could contribute to the neighborhood by activating these spaces in one way or another. They could be a good neighbor by contributing to the streetscape along Broadway instead of orienting the Business’ ass towards our neighborhoods most vital street. (“I shit on you!) They have no responsibility towards the neighborhood and they have accepted this absence of responsibility. Dear Polyclinic, “Thanks for nothing!”

  3. The auto-sales building is an odd sort of facility, I can’t picture what sort of business might like to lease that space for a while, but the Polyclinic should probably try to make that happen if only to get some income out of the long-term investment.

    Plus, as people say above, it would be the right thing to do, communitywise.

  4. Bring back the Timberline! Would work well in this space, like it did at the former garage space at Denny & Yale before that became the current incarnation of the Youth Services Center.