Capitol Hill police department parking lot to become 80-unit mixed-use development

Mixed-use development on Capitol Hill is so hot, even the Seattle Police Department is getting in on the game. In a plan years in the making, the City of Seattle and Capitol Hill Housing will Wednesday afternoon announce a partnership that will transform the East Precinct parking lot on 12th Ave near E Pine into a mixed-use development with more than 80 units of housing, community meeting space, retail, arts space, and underground parking for SPD.


We first reported on the 12th Ave Arts version of the plan back in January but efforts to re-make the space had started — and stopped — repeatedly over the past decade. We first reported on CHH’s push for the project in 2008.


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One major sticking point had been the parking infrastructure and concerns over the cost and the number of spaces the project would need to provide. The East Precinct currently parks 70 cars on the 12th Ave lot and another 30 on a private lot at 14th and Pine, according to Norma Jean Straw of the Capitol Hill Community Council who has helped represent the Hill in the push to make the 12th Ave project happen. According to Straw, the project has been delayed for two years due to debate over the number of parking spaces that are financially feasible in the development. SPD has said it will need around 150 spaces in any development. We have questions out to the department and the City for more information on how this issue worked out.

More details on the project will be announced at a Wednesday afternoon press conference scheduled to take place at the East Precinct parking lot at 1:30 PM. The goal had been to achieve the development without City funds. Mayor Mike McGinn — who reportedly first agreed to meet on the project during a Capitol Hill walking tour last year — will speak as will Capitol Hill Housing head Chris Persons.

13 thoughts on “Capitol Hill police department parking lot to become 80-unit mixed-use development

  1. As I barely recall, the announcement of a CHHIP project at this site was the grand finale of a large neighborhood housing summit at Seattle Center. The summit was very early in the tenure of one of our Mayors (who made the announcement), but it was so long ago that I can’t recall which!

    After Norm Rice, and pre 911, so must have been Paul Schell, which would make it late 1997 or early 1998!

  2. Market rate rental housing in a prime location …good work.
    The site is across the street from our offices in the Richmark Bldg.

  3. The community space and art loft aspect is great! This building will really be an asset to the community – great job all players involved.
    Dance Hall? Shared art gallery – lets hope.

  4. That really is an ugly parking lot. It will be nice to see something new and positive here instead of razor wire and cop cars. :-) Something better to stare at while we’re eating sushi across the street.

  5. The issue isn’t over private vehicles owned by police officers. It’s about city owned police cruisers. So your comment, snarky as it is, is sort of misplaced.

    What makes me wonder though it why they need 150 spaces for 100 cars and if they do get those spaces, hopefully that lot on 14th turns into something as well. Considering they will have ample room for cars that are occupying these two lots currently, that would make some sense.

  6. I think this is for all types of police parking, personal and cruisers. And think about it, do you want your cop (who yes drives in from Snohomish) circling the block looking for a space before he or she can hit the beat? It makes sense for cops to have parking available on demand at all times. It makes our City safer in my opinion.

  7. The majority of the cars in that lot are personal cars for officers and employees.

    Also, it should be noted that cops don’t have to circle and look for parking. They are exempt from the rules. You can find examples of this anywhere around the west precinct where they take up all sorts of non-parking spaces and just leave their business card on the dash.

  8. I can’t figure out how this works, honestly.

    Seattle is in a fiscal crisis — we can’t pay for so much of the City’s services. The libraries are furloughed, City staff sent home for unpaid “vacations,” basic road work is being suspended. Schools aren’t being properly funded… The list goes on.

    I get that the City would *like* to provide affordable housing and affordable art spaces. That’s super! But, this is a prime location for housing that could command above-average buy prices. It would provide a very nice source of taxable revenue to the City. It needs to be marketed to higher-end property buyers who can afford to pay market rate prices (and taxes!) and not to those who we continually have to subsidize.

    I’m not saying we need to nix affordable housing and art spaces. It just doesn’t need to be in prime neighborhoods where market prices are high. That’s like saying we’re going to set down affordable housing in the middle of Madison Park. That’d just be stupid. Why not use the underdeveloped areas in Sodo for this type of development?

    We have a great city, but we’re not going to be able to afford to keep it great it if we continue to subsidize folks who can’t truly afford to live here.

  9. I agree. Get rid of the folks who have been priced out of their own neighborhoods. They aren’t as important as you and I.

  10. It’s all about the value of the land and what a lender will lend you. I would be surprised if the city had to put a dollar into this – the land is probably work 10 million which would qualify the project for a 30million dollar loan… rent the thing out and it cash flows for the city for 30 years. This is not something our city is putting millions into – they don’t have it, trust me. This will be a great project for the city, the community and the police. Wins all around.