Capitol Hill development | Land use extensions, 4-story 12th Ave, more First Hill highrises?

The future mass of 14th Ave’s La Bella Vita apartments

While we’ve already been busy covering a swarm of new developments being planned for the area so far this year, we’ve also collected a backlog of smaller news and notes from the Capitol Hill development front. Some of these we’ll try to visit in more depth in coming weeks. The rest? At least, the change is noted.

  • 10th Ave E apartments land use extension: Neighbors have been granted an extension to submit comments on the land use application for the 10th Ave apartment project planned to replace a church parking lot across from the tony Harvard & Highland condos. We’ve reported on some of the neighborhood issues raised with the density-friendly project. You now have until February 20th to have your say. Details on the application are here.
  •  14th Ave extension? An extension has also been requested for the land use application for the 14th Ave mixed-use apartment building planned to replace a stretch of storefronts just off Pine while preserving the facade of the building currently home to Porchlight Coffee. Here’s a note from Erica Chung looking for more support to extend the comment period which ended this weekend. She’s also looking for support in her opposition to the project. Chung’s note is, indeed, noted — but not all of it is accurate. The project, for example, isn’t currently planned as condominiums. You can read more about the early designs here.

A new 7 story condo development is undergoing a Design Review for the space on the west side of 14th Avenue, between Pine and Pike Streets.  The developer is seeking a waiver for an increase in the height of this development to 7-stories based upon the retention of the ‘historic’ façade of the Porchlight building (where Meza restaurant and Porchlight Coffee are currently located.  I am concerned that the developer will gain approval for an excessively tall building in this location, just for retaining a small chunk of façade on a small portion of the new building’s frontage.  Part of the charm of the Capitol Hill neighborhood is its funky low rise buildings. By building large/huge structures, the neighborhood will become like Belltown.  

 Right now the Developer is seeking a “Design Review Early Design Guidance” (Early Review) approval from the Department of Planning and Development.  I am asking you to submit your comments to the Department of Planning and Review before the deadline of Sunday, February 5, 2012.  Because of the urgency, we need to e-mail (lisa.rutzick@seattle.gov) or fax (206-233-7901) your comments.

HERE ARE THE ISSUES:

 Recommend/comment:

Ask for an extension of 14 days to seek additional input from the community.

Recommend/comment:

Do not approve the design proposal as submitted. The developers should not be approved for 7-storys–only 6-storys as permitted in the City Ordinance. Saving the Porchlight building only maintains part of the façade (not the full front of the building where the development will occur). So the developer should not be given a height waiver for saving part of the facade.

 Also, the width of the building does not keep up with the esthetics of the neighborhood.  It should be broken up into 2 buildings similar to the Braeburn Condominium or built with more open space in mind, in keeping with the charm of the neighborhood.

  • What’s a land use application? DPD has a fairly useful overview of the land use process here. CHS doesn’t tend to cover the proces which typically trails the design review process that gives us our first opportunity to discuss details of projects. With two Capitol Hill projects asking for extensions, maybe we need to reconsider that coverage strategy.
  • Design reviews this week: We’ll have deeper looks at two projects that come in front of the design review board this week. Both were pushed back from earlier scheduled review sessions by the recent big snow. Plans for a 4-story, 20-unit building will be discussed for 1823 18th Ave. Meanwhile, 1711 12th Ave is being sized up for a 4-story project with 37 units to replace this peculiar little office building on 12th Ave. No land use application, yet, so no need to ask for an extension!

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  • Pardo project: The architect behind the Po Dog/Auto Battery/Manhattan Drugs/Grim’s/the Social Capitol Hill food and drink empire also has a development project coming down the pipeline. Chris Pardo is the architect for a new 4-story project planned for 109 12th Ave E.
  • First Hill activity: With 12th Ave emerging as a 4-story hot spot, First Hill seems destined to be the land of giants. CHS wrote about this 300-foot tower project. The DJC reported on this purchase of highrise-zoned land giving a Swedish investment firm three such parcels on First Hill ready for development.
  • The Union Arms Manor apartment building has been purchased for $9.5 million.
  • Stream Belmont progress: The revived project to build a 6-story apartment building at the former location of the Belmont Biohazard house is moving forward with the approved removal of the structures on adjoining parcels.
  • Summit Avenue project: A development that didn’t really hit the CHS radar got some attention in this CHS community post way back in December. According to DPD records, the project is backed by Calhoun Properties, the people behind the “apodment” type mini studio buildings. We wrote a new apodment building being constructed on E John here.
  • SU chapel architect honored: Happened way back before Christmas but the man who designed Seattle U’s chapel received an award from the American Institute of Architects for his work. We wrote about Steven Holl’s project — and its place in the Capitol Hill community — here.
  • Seattle Prep parking project: The land use application for the smallest component of a planned set of projects for the Seattle Prep campus has been approved. The school can now move forward with constructing a new bus parking area down the hill from its campus.
  • 12th Ave Arts progress: The capital campaign for the project that will transform the East Precinct’s parking lot into housing and an arts facility (and space for SPD to park) made some big progress with funds from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. The tech billionaire gave $150,000 to Capitol Hill Housing. CHH’s Michael Seiwerath said recent grants from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the Joshua Green Foundation, the Children Count Foundation and 4Culture total more than $220,000. We reported in November on the up to $7.7 million the City of Seattle agreed to provide to help fund the project. The rest of the $38 million needed to complete the project will come from a mix of tax credits, levy dollars, state programs and some commercial bank loans. And donations from people like Paul Allen. And you. Also, East Precinct brass says there is no plan yet pulled together for where the officers and staff who work at 12th and Pine will park. A quick glance around the neighborhood shows no obvious candidate for a secure temporary parking lot.
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