Maybe this part of the plan for a seven-story, mixed-use apartment building slated for the corner of Harvard and E Pine — the home of Bill’s Off Broadway — should be inspiration for expanded parameters for the Pike/Pine preservation incentive program:
This project plans for retaining all three existing tenants and returns them to their current locations with approximately the same configuration at the completion of construction.
Or, maybe not — depending on the tenants.
Project: 721 E Pine St. map
“It’s a great opportunity — we don’t want to flub it up,” developer Denny Onslow tells CHS about his first independent project following his decision to step down from leadership of Harbor Properties earlier this year. There, he built up big chunks of downtown Seattle over a nearly 30-year tour of duty including Capitol Hill’s Press building that eventually became condos on E Pine. But the “small infill project” he calls the project he is undertaking on Capitol Hill might just be the first in his career predestined for an existing set of commercial tenants — Bill’s, Red Label Moto and the confusingly charming 15th Ave Garage.
“That last one could be a little challenging,” Onslow said. “Bringing back a garage use that wouldn’t be allowed in the first place. We’ll figure it out.”
CHS first reported on the 721 E Pine project when we spoke with Bill’s Off Broadway’s Don Stevens about his plan to move the neighborhood pub to a temporary home and eventually return to the new Bill’s building when it is completed in 2014.
Of course, not all of the new Bill’s and the apartments above will be new:
The applicant proposes building a new multi-family residential project with approximately 78-95 market-rate units, which capitalizes on the additional height allowance and FAR waiver that would be permitted if a character structure is retained. The applicant’s intent is to retain and restore the street-facing facadesof the character structure, construct one level of below-grade parking, one level of retail space, and six levels of residential units. The applicant has initiated negotiations with the three existing tenants in an effort to retain them in the completed project and return them to approximately their same locations and configurations.
Unlike some of the other developer and architect teams struggling with the condition of the character structures they are trying to incorporate, Onslow said the buildings he purchased this summer for $2 million have some excellent bones to work with.
“We’re trying to preserve the frontage. It’s in darn good shape. Or at least it appears to be,” he said.
“The building itself is tired — the electrical, the water is shot. The old brick facade is wonderful.”
The preferred design for the project includes a second-level “porch” that Onslow hopes will be used by residents and present the building with energy to connect with the activity on the street below.
“It’s part of how to get that separation — cadence and rhythm of the brick. Create an animation,” he said. “A place where you might actually see people.”
The construction will be part of, perhaps, the largest wholesale change to two city blocks the neighborhood has ever seen in such a constricted time:
There is an opportunity to coordinate the project design with the concurrent design of the former BMW dealership site located on the remainder of the block. This includes the potential for orienting the design to create open space in the block interior as well as coordinating utilities.
The adjoining 714 E Pike project is only a few months ahead of Onslow’s — a situation that might be “coordinated” he says to make for better logistics between the two projects. 714 E Pike will create around 270 apartment units and another 6,000 square-feet of retail space on the block. You can get a hint of where that design is settling out in the 721 E Pine renderings. There will be more coordination between the two projects including the same landscape architect working on both. Meanwhile, Avalon Bay is under contract to purchase the Mercedes dealership on the next block and is beginning the process of creating a mixed-use apartment project.
Infrastructure changes will accompany the new building. Onslow says the process has already begun with the city to move wires underground and remove utility poles in the area.
Onslow says he sees an exciting opportunity for “harmony” across the three developments as this swath of Pike/Pine below Broadway is completely transformed.
Of course, harmony does not mean homogeny. “We’ll be a level above them thanks to the grade, ” Onslow boasts. “Our rooftop deck will be very popular.”
Also part of Wednesday night’s design double header will be the second and, perhaps, final session for the Sola 24 project to replace what we called a “long abused 4-plex” with a 21-unit, four-story apartment building near 12th and Denny. Designed by architect Chris Pardo, the Po Dog-style project had a few neighbor issues to deal with following its February early design guidance session:
Approximately seven members of the public attended this Early Design Review meeting. The following comments, issues and concerns were raised:
- The property owner north of the site noted that there are existing trees on the southern portion of their property; that they are concerned about. They would like to see the proposed protect or minimize disturbance to the root system of these trees.
- The tenant/building manager north of the site noted they were concerned about the existing/future condition of the sewer connection on the shared vehicle access.
- Both the property owner and tenant/building manager stated they would object to a design that did not give consideration to residential privacy and pedestrian/vehicle safety.
- A southern single-family resident spoke on behalf of the single-family residents along E Denny Way and share their concern with the proposed contemporary models. Those residents prefer a ‘pitched roof’ design that uses materials/colors found in those structures. A scaling down of the height. Additionally, they would prefer more of a setback for the structure and increased landscaping along the southern portion of the site.
In February, the board sent the project through to the review of the best part of any hot dog — finishings. Wednesday night, the recommendation session will weigh the project in its final recommendation phase. There don’t seem to be many issues to hold it up — on the design end of things, at least. The project complies to area zoning and the developer isn’t asking for any departures from the neighborhood’s new four-story norm.
Project: 109 12th Ave E map