With more news like this, perhaps there really is nothing to worry about regarding the future of E Pine between Bellevue and Melrose. A representative for developer Madison Development Group tells CHS that the Melrose Building and Pinevue Apartments building “will be kept” and integrated into the planned seven-story, 115,000 square-foot mixed-use development:
The Melrose Building (which houses Bauhaus) and the Timken Roller Bearing Company Building (which is the apartment building) will be kept. New construction will take place behind the Melrose and Timken buildings, and the new building will extend over a portion of the existing structures. Madison Development Group has an agreement with Bauhaus Coffee to be a tenant in the new building and they hope to retain some of the other existing tenants as well. The development team is taking the time to understand what’s most important to stakeholders and they intend to fully comply with the city’s provisions for the Cultural Overlay District.
Last week, CHS reported that the Bauhaus coffee shop has a deal in place to return to its nearly 20-year home at Melrose and Pine when the construction project is complete. Now comes this word that not just the facade of a single building will be preserved as in other projects but that the two old buildings will be retained.
There is no date scheduled yet for the first design review of the project.
A group has organized a petition to show support for preserving the buildings as part of the process to apply for landmark status for the structures — as of Tuesday night, it had more than 1,200 signatures. If the buildings are preserved, the project could be a boost for Pike/Pine’s small retail community and the architectural history of the neighborhood.
CHS has asked Madison for more details on their plans since our first report of the acquisition of the E Pine block in early April. The plan to retain the structures has apparently not been widely discussed. At a town hall meeting on Capitol Hill Tuesday night, Mayor Mike McGinn was seemingly unaware of the decision as he addressed the situation around the Melrose & Pine development.
The Melrose & Pine development is one of a handful of projects in motion that have thrown Pike/Pine’s preservation plans into question. With developers eligible to collect significant additional height and other incentives in return for preserving the facade of a “character” structure, there is concern that the rules make it too easy to demolish some of the remaining old buildings of the neighborhood.
One of the rulesets around the incentive program may be at play in the Melrose & Pine situation. CHS has learned that both the Melrose and Timken/Pinevue building appear on a roster of properties that cannot be demolished in conjunction with use of the Conservation Overlay’s incentives. A Department of Planning and Development “director’s rule” ratified the roster just before the Madison Group’s project was first brought to public light. The rule has been on the books since March but the developer and city officials that CHS talked with did not cite the condition. The director’s rule also was not discussed at the April appearance by McGinn at a community meeting held at Terra Plata where he was mostly grilled by attendees on why the city wasn’t doing more to shape the Melrose & Pine project. We’ll follow up with the DPD to better understand the rule and what it means for development in he area.
Included in the Melrose & Pine project parcels are the 1916 masonry Timken Roller Bearing Company Building/Pinevue Apartments currently home to Mud Bay, Edie’s, Le Frock, Vutique, Scout, Wall of Sound, and Spine and Crown as well as residents of the upper floor apartments, a mound house, the 1917 Dirty Jane’s building home to Warren Knapp Gallery, the 1915 Melrose Building that houses Bauhaus, the Emerald City Inn apartments and a Bellevue Ave parking lot.