Players in the fantasy league of Seattle development have coveted the 1920s building running between the 700 block of Pike and Pine for so long that they were talking redevelopment plans before BMW had even left the space.
It’s been a long wait.
But this fall, it looks like the redevelopment of the auto row-era building is finally in motion. Developer Pryde Johnson has yet to confirm their plans with CHS but a small but important filing with the city indicates a project is in its earliest stages to bring a huge new development to the street. In the October filing, a Seattle architect has started a construction application process for 720 E Pike that calls for a “300-unit, 4500 sf retail mixed use building” with “168 stalls of parking in this block.”
Pryde Johnson has not responded to our requests for more information.
It’s extremely early in the process — if it goes forward at all. The $160 fee on a multi-million project shows only that a developer is starting the process and weighing options. Given the normal course of city process, design review and financing, the building could continue in its current state for years still.
We wrote about that “current state” way back in fall 2009 as the hunt began for temporary tenants to fill the space left behind by BMW’s exit from the Hill. Soccer-focused energy drink maker Golazo moved its headquarters into the old showroom in 2010, putting the large area to good use by installing an indoor playfield in the space. Some parts of the Pryde Johnson owned portion of the block are still looking for a tenant.
BMW left Pike/Pine in 2009 to move to a new, much larger facility in SoDo.
In total, Pryde Johnson has amassed about 50,000 square feet of land in the block owning a little-t shaped section of seven parcels. At least three of those are currently parking lots. In addition to the BMW building, the building currently home to Pho Le’s would also be part of the planned development.
Pryde + Johnson paid nearly $9 million for the property in 2006 according to King County records.
A spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Ecology told CHS in 2009 that the contaminated material from the building’s history in the automobile industry has been contained but not removed from the site. The land is subject to ongoing reviews to check for any change in condition and the property is subject to a covenant that requires the department to be notified in the event of any transfer or development plans. No work can begin on the land without a full review of the contamination issues, a department rep told us.
The property also represents an opportunity to put Pike/Pine’s conservation opportunities into play that allow developers to apply for exceptions to zoning rules in exchange for preserving the “historical character” of the neighborhood.
Seattle City Council member Tom Rasmussen who helped to create a series of rules forming a conservation district in the Pike/Pine area talked to CHS about the potential for an important development at the location two years ago when the preservation legislation effort had just begun. ”It really is an icon to the community,” Rasmussen said of the old building. “It’s important that the site be used and restored and developed in a way consistent with that.”
And, just in case anybody is getting any ideas like the last time we wrote about a building about to be re-developed, most of the BMW building currently remains in use.
Design Review Reminder
Two Capitol Hill projects go in front of the Capitol Hill Design Review Board Wednesday night including the latest project from People’s Parking Lot developer Murray Franklyn. Details here.