With new buyer, Capitol Hill’s Undre Arms development is back on

The future Undre Arms

Despite fervent customer bases drawn from the surrounding neighborhoods and across Seattle, two E Madison businesses have been waiting out the clock as the captains of Capitol Hill’s real estate industry make their moves. By the end of July, Thai Curry Simple’s walk-up window and hookah-joint Cobra Lounge will shutter in the peculiar triangle of retail space at the intersection of E Union and Madison. The parcel has been reportedly sold and the development slated to create a six-story apartment building at the site is once again underway.


CHS has yet to confirm the buyer of the parcels with the attached approved mix-use development project but has learned that one developer already active in the area has been working with the Department of Planning and Development to learn more about the development potential of the property. According to DPD filings, Alliance Realty scheduled a land use meeting with the city department about the 1111 E Union property in May. Alliance is already actively developing the massive project across the street — in June, its 1020 E Union project cleared its first design review hurdle despite continued criticism of the development’s missed preservation opportunities.

Sad news for Thai Curry Simple 2 lovers (Image: CHS)

No timetable for demolition of the homes for Thai Curry SImple, the Cobra and the legendarily dilapidated Undre Arms apartments is yet available but the work is approved and ready to begin once the property is cleared. We reported in spring 2011 that the delayed project was moving forward. The Undre Arms was cleared and some interesting treasures were revealed. But the development stalled as word spread that the project’s owners, Patrick Berschauer and Jerrold Bailet, were seeking a buyer.

Though King County records don’t yet reflect a new sale of the parcels acquired in 2007 and 2008 for nearly $4 million, we’re told that an agreement has been reached and that the triangle across union from Seattle Maserrati and Ferrari will soon transition into construction mode and join the wave of Pike/Pine development.

Thai Curry Simple is looking for a new home on the Hill but admittedly it could be tough to find the kind of low overhead space they need in the area. You can keep track of anything new on the walk-up’s Facebook pageErin Cobb said he has looked for a new location but has decided to close shop in Seattle. “Business has been great, the community has supported us and we’ve made a lot of great friends on the hill,” Cobb wrote.

While the original plans for 1111 E Union did not seek to take advantage of the Pike/Pine Conservation District’s incentives for preservation of character structures, we’re hoping to check in on the possibility that might change with new owners. A development that finds a way to preserve the facade of the Undre Arms would be a Capitol Hill original, indeed.

25 thoughts on “With new buyer, Capitol Hill’s Undre Arms development is back on

  1. That new development looks simply enormous. I hope the drawing exaggerates the proportions. And is there now a law or something that demands that all new buildings have to look alike? Although they probably said that when the second pharaoh had his pyramid built… still, the monotony and lack of imagination are bothersome.

  2. I’m curious how they would take advantage of the Conservation District incentives for preservation of character structures… would that be the Undre Arms? I wouldn’t think any of the building are really worth preserving from a historic standpoint. Although as the commenter above noted, this building looks about as generic as they come. Maybe there’s some sort of kit that architects use for these buildings? Select the shape and color, and the computer spits out a building design?

  3. crikey almighty – always the same response to new buildings (this one actually looks unique and imposing). Here are the facts: modern architecture is constrained by modern materials, modern labor safety and costs and modern ecological regulations. So once and for all, stop dreaming about the bloody glorious architecture of the past, unless you’re gonna personally come up with billions of dollars for little or no return.

  4. So by your glorious chain of logic, unless we are billionaires, we should just shut our traps and not participate in our own democracy? guess we should just be grateful that our social betters even permit us to walk down the street for free in our own neighborhood.

  5. being young (Cap Hill is riddled with young), urban (Cap Hill is urban) and professional (career-focused people putting in strong efforts to make better lives for themselves) is a bad thing?

    Let me guess, you live on the streets, shoot up heroin and are 65 years old? Your comment makes no sense.

  6. The point is that it’s not a democracy. Private developers own the land, not “the community”, and if they want to put something butt-ugly on it, as long as they fit the code, they can. Yes, it sucks when they seem to have no taste or originality.

  7. Thai Curry Simple 3 is on a block that is currently slated for redevelopment as a giant new apartment building. Their days may be numbered as well. I hope Mark and Priya find new spots to keep serving their tasty Thai food.

  8. Really, Bax? why the F— (notice the censorship there) do YOU think you’re arrogant enough to decide that because you’re some pseudo hipster wannabe that YOU get to decide to walk in here and change a neighborhood that was happier and better off with out you?

    take your lousy ideas back to Belltown. You and your ilk already ruined that hood and leave ours the hell alone!

  9. All the “anti-yuppie” moaning is getting old and just sounds kind of desperate. Change is happening to Capitol Hill and it’s a good thing.

  10. rob has a point tho. I’m young and career focused…when i’m at work?? But i moved here years ago because it was a great neighborhood with diverse people… they’re now fleeing (and were doing so before i got here) Cap Hill needs to focus on preserving and not progress for progress sake because it’s chasing out everything interesting and filling it with pristine ridiculousness.

    Keep bulldozing and you will never have a history.

  11. Agreed, it is not a democracy. I personally wish that all developers or their family members had to live in the smallest unit with the worst view of any building they build but I know that’s not going to happen.

    That said, we, as a community, should be attending design reviews, picketing City Council, voting, and any all all the other things that citizens can and should to do hold our government accountable to serving the people, including developing higher standards for buildings.

    I’m all for contemporary architecture and contemporary building materials well-used. Unfortunately the architects, landscape architects, and related professions, if they have the talent and creative skill, are sometimes constrained by the money people (aka developers) who are going to, like any business person, try to squeeze the maximum profit out of the project.

    This building might not be so bad in the end, given its isolated location, but I have not studied the plans in detail. But it sure looks a lot better than the two oversize abominations on Broadway, one on the north and the other still under construction. If either could “pop up overnight” there would be lynchings I suspect, but alas because it takes 18-24 months to build a building we get used to ignoring it and, unfortunately, living with it, while the creators laugh all the way to the bank.

  12. I’m also a “young urban professional”, imagine that. Been living here (or close by in the CD) for damn near the past decade – partly due to character of the neighborhood and partly due to the COST. I’m focused on things OTHER than furthering my career and fattening my pockets, and this hood was very conducive to that. Was.

    The binary view that if we don’t somehow fit your mold and price-range that we must be street people is laughable and sad all at the same time.

    This new breed of snotty “young professional”, far too many whom are transplants, who want the instant gratification of living in a “cool” hood while contributing nothing but some big tech dollars to raze everything that made it cool and install cardboard condos and yuppie eateries… Stick to your belltowns and kirklands, you hip young things.

  13. Imposing? I’ll give you that. But “unique”?? Bwah ha hah!!!! This design looks like all the other new construction (except for Liz Dunn’s buildings) – cheap and boring.

    I’ll miss passing the old dude who has been playing his guitar out back of the Undre Arms recently. And the ability to cut through that parking lot as I’m walking.

  14. “The binary view that if we don’t somehow fit your mold and price-range that we must be street people is laughable and sad all at the same time.”,

    followed, curiously, by:

    “This new breed of snotty “young professional”, far too many whom are transplants, who want the instant gratification of living in a “cool” hood while contributing nothing but some big tech dollars to raze everything that made it cool and install cardboard condos and yuppie eateries… Stick to your belltowns and kirklands, you hip young things. “

    Gee, LOL–no “binary” stereotyping there, is there?

  15. I hope the yuppies that move into that building are ok with being across the street from the needle drop and MOMS Pharmacy, both important resources for the neighborhood.

  16. “because you’re some pseudo hipster wannabe that YOU get to decide to walk in here and change a neighborhood that was happier and better off with out you?”
    Thats funny. Actually I’m a 51 year old former addict who’s made a career in non-profit, counseling suicidal teens, addicted teens, teens trying to get off the streets and out of prostitution, LGBT teens who’ve been thrown out of their homes, young people who have aged out of foster care and runaway teens on the American circuit. Most likely I’ve lived on the Hill longer than you’ve been alive.
    What have YOU done to change things for the better on the Hill????

  17. …and, no, I do not like these new buildings going up everywhere. I do not like the lack of affordable housing. I do not like that money seems priority in so many lives. But I also don’t like that people can make such ignorant generalizations such as Yuppies Out. Maybe I should have left your initial moronic statement alone.

  18. “Let me guess, you live on the streets, shoot up heroin and are 65 years old? Your comment makes no sense.”

    I admit, this was my sad, sad, sad attempt at sarcasm.

  19. Designeronthehill: I think that to call some of the new buildings “abominations” is a bit unfair. The Joule building could be better, but it’s not really that bad, and has attracted a nice mix of retail at the base. The “230 Broadway” building, still under construction, is looking better and better as it nears completion (nice use of brick, for one thing), and some nice street landscaping should help alot (along E Thomas, where some ugly old trees were removed).

    And there are at least a few examples of some well-designed, quite beautiful buildings….such as the Brix on north Broadway.

  20. Nah Jim, see some of us actually live here and have liveD here, and can see with our own eyes what is going on. A newbie to the area obviously wouldn’t have such an insight and makes their viewpoint (or lack of) all the more frustrating. Next you’ll tell me that SLU isn’t being filled with amazon workers.