The long winter’s hibernation for Capitol Hill development is ended. Another sleepy project awakes. A recent filing with the city indicates the developers behind the Braeburn condo don’t intend to let its never-built twin project the Cameo fade away when its construction permit is scheduled to expire later this year. And, while he can’t say much about what happens next, the head of HAL Real Estate Investments said we should see the eventual completion of the twin Cameo at 15th and Pine begin sooner rather than later.
Here’s what’s happening now. According to the filing with the Department of Planning and Development, the developers have submitted a new application for the project that already went through design and State Environmental Protection Act reviews years ago:
Land Use Application to allow a six-story, 56 unit residential building with two live-work units and 2,100 sq. ft. of retail at ground level. Parking for 61 vehicles will be located within the structure. Early Design Guidance and SEPA was reviewed and approved under
The application notes one change from the originally approved plan that would create an access to the new Cameo building from Pine. There are a few more days to submit comments on the application. They’re due to Bruce.Rips@seattle.gov by February 9th.
Dana Behar, president of HAL Real Estate Investments — the Braeburn developer and owner of the parking lot where the Cameo is planned, tells CHS the effort to renew the application with DPD isn’t just a developer keeping a prospective opportunity warm. The Cameo, Behar said, is going to be built. Behar said there are discussions under way but could not elaborate further at the time.
“The way the Cameo was designed was to be very complimentary to the Braeburn. Coming down Pine from up there will be kind of like an entry to Capitol Hill,” said Behar, a longtime Hill resident.
Design specifics for the Cameo aren’t available from DPD in digital format as the building went through design review along with the Braeburn in the era just prior to the emergence of the Web as a standard element in the city’s processes. Here’s how Behar’s company describes the project:
The Cameo is a to-be-developed 61 unit mixed use project with one commercial and 60 residential units. The 14,180 square foot site is located across the street from HAL’s Braeburn condominium project on Seattle’s Capitol Hill l, on the southwest corner of 15th and Pine. Designed in tandem with the Braeburn, Cameo will include many of the same features and designer finishes with the addition of gas ranges for cooking and gas fireplaces. Cameo will also boast exceptional views of the downtown Seattle skyline, Puget Sound, and Olympic Mountains from every floor.
When its units hit the market in 2004, the Cameo’s sister Braeburn project generated buzz and rapid sales of its units through a mix of awesome location, forward looking design and savvy marketing. But Behar said even as exciting as it was to create such a successful project in strong economic times, he said couldn’t justify taking an even bigger leap by going forward with the Cameo.
“By the time that the Braeburn had fully sold out, the market had begun to turn and it no longer made sense to develop the Cameo,” Behar told us via e-mail. Later he said, “In 2002, people thought we were crazy to try that. We thought we were taking a big risk with 154 units [in the Braeburn.]“
Long ago, the intersection was home to a Red Apple Grocery that was shuttered and derelict by the time it was razed in the early 2000s to make way for the Braeburn. Today the parking lot across the street at 15th and Pine stands empty — except for the few cars, dumpsters and abandoned futon frames parked on it. With the stirrings down at DPD, it sounds like we might have found a better answer to where the next Capitol Hill redevelopment will start. And the transformation of Capitol Hill will continue.
“When you’re selling a condo, you’re creating a vision,” Behar said. “We created a vision for the area that didn’t really exist.”
Behar said he’s surprised to see that vision — a little bit marketing, a little bit his love for his home neighborhood — become reality so quickly.
“I thought it would take 20 years,” Behar said. “It’s surprised even me.”