As the Melrose Market put down its early Capitol Hill roots and thrived, another ambitious project has been growing across the street. CHS can now report that the Melrose Square green re-development of its auto row-era building is moving forward with a compelling new restaurant project at its center.
Backed by Wassef and Racha Haroun, the restaurant Mamnoon will stand as the centerpiece of a planned low-energy overhaul of the building that will create a “green lab” showcasing a range of sustainable technology that could include solar panels and urban wind turbines as well as a green roof that produces fruits and vegetables.
Wassef is a local tech entrepreneur who served as chief technology officer in creating Odd Fellows building-headquartered King of the Web.
We have no details of their plans for Mamnoon yet but do know the construction project for the effort lists an ambitious $185,000 budget in city records. According to an ancient Seattle Times feature on the couple from 2000, the Harouns worked at Microsoft at the time and were leaving Seattle for Paris. One might translate Mamnoon, then, to mean merci. Or, thank you.
CHS first reported on the Melrose Square project in spring 2010. Developer Bruno Lambert told us about his plans for a full renovation of the 1928 automotive garage at 1510 Melrose Ave, into what he called “a bit of a green lab.” The Graham Baba-designed overhaul was planned to include ground floor retail topped by 2,800 square feet of office space and a 1,800 square foot residential component. At the time, Lambert said he was frustrated by the city’s energy code as he attempted to pull together plans for an innovative low-energy overhaul. He has not responded to CHS inquiries about the new restaurant project and how any of his plans for the Square may have shifted since 2010.
In the meantime, the most ambitious green commercial project in Seattle history is underway at Madison and 15th as the Bullitt Center comes together. Its progress has also been marked by occasional run-ins with codes and regulations designed around standard energy construction.
This summer, a Melrose Square case study included in a Preservation Green Lab, National Trust for Historic Preservation report (PDF) on green building in Seattle documented some of the eco-friendly progress for the building:
Timing for the project is a mixed prognostication There is a significant build-out to achieve that is still in only the paperwork phases. But Mamnoon already has its state liquor application processed and submitted. We’ll keep you posted.