Another mothballed development underway: This time, First Hill and 16-stories tall

The mixed-use apartment building thaw is not limited to Capitol Hill and the explosion in development cannot be contained to East Madison. Fences went up — and questions came in — as First Hill’s 1200 Madison Street Apartment Tower project is finally underway. And, by the way, it puts Capitol Hill’s puny 6-story developments to shame.

Last week, neighbor Look Closely wrote:

Do you know why the old US Bank at Madison and Minor is all fenced off?  Are they tearing it down?  Any idea what is going on or going in there?


After CHS was slow to dig in on the problem, Look answered their own question by passing along a recent update from a First Hill community group and this picture of the work underway at the site:

“Holland Properties will be starting work imminently on the 1200 Madison Street Apartment Tower on the former site of US Bank, at Minor and Madison. Demolition on the old bank building should start in February, and construction on the new tower should start in March. Our historic First Hill clock will be put into storage, refurbished, and reinstalled in front of the 16-story tower when it is completed in 2012.”

The 1200 Madison Street project was born in another era. Back in 2007, the global real estate credit crunch hadn’t crunched yet:

Our project at 1200 Madison began as a medical office building with 50 residences. When neighbors expressed concern about increased traffic, Opus responded with a new plan that the neighbors embraced. The project design currently includes more than 225 apartments and live/work units, plus a fitness center and rooftop entertainment space. Construction is projected to begin next year.

You’ll note that essay also touts the M Street development where M Street Grocery  suddenly went out of business earlier this year.

Today’s demolition and, soon, construction is being executed by permits that will be three years old come May. Here’s how the $32 million project (2008 dollars) is described in the DPD permit filings:

Land Use Application to construct a 16-story building with 241 residential units over 6,000 sq. ft. of retail and customer service uses, two live-work units and three townhouse units located at grade. Project includes two levels of below-grade parking for 107 vehicles.

Holland Development acquired the project in January, the subscription-walled Daily Journal of Commerce reports. You might know the site as the old 1970s style bank, pictured here, courtesy King County.

We’ve embedded the final report from the project’s design review below.

DRReport3004404AgendaID920

9 thoughts on “Another mothballed development underway: This time, First Hill and 16-stories tall

  1. It still beats 90 percent of the uninspired office park style “development” projects that have gone up or will be going up on the hill…..

  2. This building’s going to kill my view… no more watching the sun rise over the Cascades from my living room, but I’m generally a fan of urban density and development. I’ve got some really mixed feelings about this.

    I just hope this brings some new life to the neighborhood. Losing the view won’t be so bad if we can get better dining options, cafes, etc…

  3. I will embrace this project more if the groundfloor retail provides the neighborhood with much-needed amenities: a nice cafe, sit-down restaurant, gym, etc.

  4. I think this is a solid building replacing an empty lot with density that’ll help sustain our neighbourhood.

    Two towers and a plinth would have been preferable to this block-long design, but given the current climate, I’m more than happy with the switch to greater residential use.

  5. Sounds great. I’m looking forward to more dense, mixed-use development. Can’t call yourself pro-density as long as it doesn’t kill your view – it’s always killing someone’s view. As a few others said, in the long run it’ll be great for the neighborhood and is inherently more sustainable than smaller buildings. Hopefully they relaxed the minimum parking regulations as well (although I doubt it), just to make it that much better.