The first time through, the East Design Board said the plan didn’t do enough to “maximize preservation.”
This time, despite hopes from some in the community that they might be coming back to the table with a plan to preserve all of the character structures on the development’s parcels, the developers behind the 1020 E Union project say they can’t find a financially feasible way to include the 10th and Union Davis & Hoffman building in their plans for a seven-story, 250-unit, mixed-use apartment building on the southern edge of Pike/Pine’s core.
CHS has been told to expect a “coordinated response” from Capitol Hill community groups as the new plan comes before the design review board Wednesday night in a special double session that follows the project’s failed first run though the design process in March.
The weeks since the project was kicked back by the East board have been busy and changeful for Pike/Pine. First, the Melrose & Pine project drew wide attention as the developer’s plans for the Bauhaus building and a stretch of E Pine increased concerns that more of the neighborhood’s oldest buildings might soon be demolished. Meanwhile, a new development team bought into Pike/Pine by acquiring two key properties. With Pike/Pine facing this “unprecedented wave” of development, City Council president Sally Clark and Tom Rasmussen, who helped drive creation of a preservation district protecting the area, released a letter directing the East Design Board to “make the retention of existing character and structures a strong priority.”
In the wake of these developments in the world of Pike/Pine development, developers Alliance Realty Partners and Moisan Associated Architects took the unusual step of booking both of this week’s East Design Board slots as they plan to present the results of requested studies showing the feasibility of preserving the structures their first proposal would have demolished.
As part of their three-hour tour, the developers and architects will not, however, be presenting a proposed scheme that includes preservation of each of the existing structures on the half-block of Pike/Pine land — the 10th/Union Davis & Hoffman building (#03 in the proposal) currently home to Capitol Hill Housing and the Pravda events space, the Engler Car Repair building at 11th and Union (#02 and #04) currently home to Madison Park Group offices and the Union Garage on 10th (#01).
Project: 1020 E Union St mapDesign Proposal available at review meeting
Alliance’s new plan
In a Friday sit-down with CHS, Alliance reps walked through their latest proposal and highlighted changes made to increase the preservation component of the project, solve issues with what was to be a large, northern blank wall and improve the pedestrian experience related to the future project.
For Wednesday night’s double design review sessions, Alliance representatives said they plan to bring only one proposal to the table.
The new plan calls for the project to incorporate an expanded facade as the garage and storage section of the Engler building along 11th would also be incorporated into the design along with the facade of the main structure at 11th and Union that was originally proposed to be retained. An Alliance representative said the expanded length of facade along 11th would help turn the street into a stronger pedestrian connection between Seattle University to the south and Cal Anderson to the north as well as help activate what she said is mostly an empty stretch of Pike/Pine.
The preservation of an additional length of facade along 11th Ave would also allow Alliance to claim an extra section of bonus height from the Pike/Pine Conservation District’s incentive program, an outcome that was left up in the air following uncertainty about how the new preservation rules work at the previous design review session.
While the preferred — and only — scheme to be presented doesn’t include the 10th and Union Davis & Hoffman building, Alliance does present its case for why the building needs to be torn down if the 1020 E Union project is to happen and will spend significant time, they say, Wednesday night showing the high degree of “facade modifications” that would be required to create an economically feasible building above the historical structure.
#03 – 1406 10th ave
This two story building was built in 1915 and is currently offices and event space. The building has had extensive changes to the windows and cladding sinceit’s original construction. The buildings architectural characteristics are not ascompatible with contemporary retail or residential uses. High ground floor above the sidewalk make street level entry infeasible without significant façade modifications. A conservation strategy study conducted by the city in 2006 did not mark this building as being desireable for retention.
While they don’t plan to keep the 10th and Union structure, to further “maximize preservation,” the developers now plan to extend the character facade on 11th. Thanks to “architectural characteristics that compliment contemporary retail uses,” the 11th Ave extension of facade pencils out, the developers contend:
The Board encouraged maximizing the preservation of the character structures.
a. Additional analysis of how the project supports the intent of the Pike Pine Conservation Overlay and discussion of character structures should be explored and presented at the next meeting.
b. Further exploration of the adaptive re-use of the “Pravda Building” (1406 10th Avenue) should occur as part of the site redevelopment.
You can review the complete Department of Planning and Development report from that session here (PDF).
Beyond preservation, there are significant overhauls of the plan first presented in March. Architects have re-aligned the site to re-work what the board called “a relentless, massive interior view” presented in the first session. The preservation of an extended facade furthers goals of creating a more active streetscape along 11th. And the northern big, blank, “Costco” wall issue is solved with a proposed articulation and addition of “texture” to break up the potentially monotonous appearance:
The current shape of the new plan isn’t enough for at least one neighborhood group. Members of the Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council plans to meet with the developers again Monday but the council’s take after its initial review of the plan is that Alliance hasn’t done enough.
“One of the reasons the Pike Pine neighborhood is beloved is because of the aggregate value that our many historic buildings create; to lose any of them weakens that fabric and dilutes the atmosphere that is essential to the character of our district,” one PPUNC member tells CHS.
It appears that, as far as PPUNC is concerned at this point in the history of redeveloping Pike/Pine’s historical buildings, any plan that doesn’t preserve each of the existing structures is a failure.
“The Pike Pine Conservation Overlay contains incentives to reward developers for preserving vintage buildings. We cannot support a plan that asks for rewards but does not give something back to the community in the way of conservation in exchange for those rewards.”
Apparently, at this point, even the little, easily overlooked Union Garage is worthy of preservation.
Below is the draft version of the Early Design Guidance packet to be presented at this week’s meeting. The final should be posted to the DPD site prior to Wednesday’s session.