Plans for a 250-unit apartment building with a whopping 12,000 square feet of retail space on the backside of Pike/Pine will be revealed to the public next week as the 1020 E Union project begins its path through the city’s design process. Beyond height, bulk and scale, there are some big questions to ask. As the largest site to ever be developed in Pike-Pine — a half block with frontage on three streets — does the project do enough to preserve the character of the neighborhood it is planned to be part of?
Developers of the project that will fill a 44,000 square-foot half-block at 10th and Union say they plan to take advantage of the neighborhood’s programs that reward preservation of character structures with the right to build taller, thicker and bigger.
“We’re excited about the Madison Park building at the corner,” a rep for Alliance Realty Partners tells CHS. “It really can be quite spectacular. They want to go beyond restaurants. We will be sitting down Friday with retailers to brainstorm.”
Project: 1020 E Union St map
Plans for the development call for a six-story apartment building with 250 units, 12,000 square feet of ground floor retail along Union and 10th and 11th Ave and underground parking for 180 vehicles. The project is directly across the street from this 10th/Union project where demolition is just being completed and just across Union from the development planned to take the place of the Undre Arms apartment building (that we’re told is still happening, by the way). Additionally, Alliance tells us that they are planning the 1020 E Union project’s north wall as if there will soon be yet another project built in the Hunters Capital-owned parking lot behind the recently-sold Winston apartment building.
Project Goals (from design packet, below)
1. ENHANCE CONNECTION BETWEEN NEIGHBORHOODS — Currently the 12th Ave Urban Center and the Pike/Pine Urban Center are connected via 12th Avenue,which has emerged as a lively street with a varietyof shops, restaurants, and bars. Our project’s streetlevel character will create more reasons to go a littlefurther on 10th, 11th, and Union, enhancing the connectionbetween these two neighborhoods.
2. REINFORCE CAPITOL HILL CHARACTER — Capitol Hill is a diverse and lively community, withextensive street life both in the daytime and the evening. Boutique shops, arts venues, bars, and some ofthe best restaurants in the city fill the street level. Amixture of historic brick residences, industrial “autorow”style buildings, and contemporary mixed-usedevelopments frame these street level activities. Ourproject will respond to and enhance both the historicand contemporary aspects of the neighborhood.
3. CREATE HIGH-QUALITY URBAN HOUSING — This project will be a long-term investment in theCapitol Hill neighborhood. Therefore, the materialsand design are intended to have a lasting and positiveimpact on the stock of contemporary urban living in Seattle and inspire other builders and designers to do the same.
Set for a major windfall in all of this is the Jacobsen family. Judi Jacobsen started the Madison Park Greetings company in 1977 and she and late husband Conrad acquired the various parcels on their half-block over the years including the purchase of the 1406 10th Ave E building in 1997 for $850,000, according to King County Records. Alliance won’t say what they are paying for the land but we’re told the sale will close in the next year. For what it’s worth, the parcels had a combined “appraised land value” in 2011 of just under $6 million.
While the masonry 1920 Madison Park Greetings building is currently planned to be preserved as a commercial facade on the southeast corner of the new building, other character structures on the seven parcels that will be combined for the project are most likely doomed — including the 1915 building that has been home to Capitol Hill Housing and the Pravda event space.
“The Pravda building is the most difficult,” the Alliance rep said. “Its basement comes up above street level. It’s a very complicated site zoning wise.”
The developers say requirements around making the building’s street level comply to pedestrian requirements make it impossible to incude the 1406 10th Ave E building in their plans.
From the design review document, here’s a look at the buildings that will make way for the new development:
Other developers and land owners in the area who have been briefed on the project said they would like to see Alliance do more to address the spirit of the Pike/Pine Historical Overlay District.
“At the end of the day, the overlay is an incentive not a mandate, and developers like Alliance will still prefer to do the kind of project they’ve done on other large sites around the country,” developer Liz Dunn said. “I think it is hard for them to see that a more granular approach to the site might give them a more successful/valuable piece of real estate in the long run, especially given the institutional nature of the money that drives this kind of development.”
At next week’s Early Design Guidance meeting, the discussion will be, as usual, limited to issues of height, bulk and scale. The preferred option put forth by the developer shows a segmented block designed to create breaks along 10th and 11th Ave and present a friendlier front than the block-long walls running east to west. The architect on the project is Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects.Their work will also become part of the Hill at the project destined to fill the space where the Marion Apartments were just knocked down. You can see other Ankrom Moisan projects in the project design packet, below, on page 28.
The packet also provides some details on the planned preservation of the Madison Park building:
From the beginning of the design on this project, we have wanted to conserve the architectural character of the neighborhood by saving the best elements of our site. We believe in preserving in a way that maximizes the benefit to the neighborhood in general, meets the city’s development goals, and the serves future residents of our site.In addition to conservation, other development goals of the Capitol Hill Pike/Pine Urban Village are to build on the network of vibrant street level activities, and create more urban housing. Our response is to conserve the Madison Park building, which meets these criteria:
1. Has significant architectural appeal
2. Has retained original architectural character for preservation
3. Is compatible with future vibrant street uses
4. Is compatible with urban housing density goals
These criteria weigh the desires of preservationists, the city, the neighborhood, and future residents who want to live in Capitol Hill. By these measures, we believe only the Madison Park Group Building on the SE corner of the site is desireable and feasible for conservation. The development bonuses recived makes the conservation feasible.The other brick buildings on the site have undergone significant modification, lack the finer detailing and architectural character of the corner building, and are not compatible with creating vibrant and active street level uses which would extend the pedestrian network in the neighborhood.Saving the Madison Park Group Building’s facade is viable and desireable architectural solution for meeting the neighborhood’s architectural conservation goals.
Alliance also says that it is planning to include smaller retail spaces in the development averaging 2,000 square-feet or less in size.
The Alliance representative tells us if all goes as planned, demolition could begin by this time next year.
Correction: When first posted, this article included a quote from an unnamed Pike/Pine landowner. That landowner was talking about the other 10th/Union project. We have removed the quote.