12th Ave Arts gets final design tweaks before planned December start of construction

The $38 million project to transform East Precinct’s 12th Ave parking lot into affordable apartments, office, retail and restaurant space and, yes, Seattle Police Department parking will take one last pass through the design review process Wednesday night. From a design standpoint, we’re down to the nitty gritty.

“There are some decision on siding,” Capitol Hill Housing’s Michael Seiwerath tells CHS of some possible highlights in Wednesday night’s  meeting.

The siding recommendations — “solid cohesive color” or “subtle bands” etc — and a few other elements fit and finish will be part of the discussion along with presentation on tweaks to the retail design, improvements in pedestrian safety and open space and signage. 


Project: 1620 12th Ave  map
Review Meeting: 6:30
  Seattle University map
  824 12th Ave Admissions & Alumni Relations Bldg
  A&A Room
Review Phase: Recommendation past reviews
Project Number: 3012437 permit status | notice
Planner: Lisa Rutzick

The bigger deal for the 12th Ave Arts project is the planned groundbreaking in early December and gearing up for a final push to raise the a final $750,000 from the community to add to the millions $3.8 million already raised through grants and larger gifts to support the project. Half of the $3 $4.6 million goal came thanks to big cash from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the Joshua Green Foundation, and the Wyncote Foundation.

Seiwerath said $565,000 from Washington Building for the Arts has put the capital campaign on pace for a solid finish. Expect to see more grassroots-level opportunities to support the project in 2013, Seiwerath said.

Capitol Hill Housing is using a mix of tax credits, levy dollars, state programs and commercial bank loans to complete the $38 million project and is receiving a $7.7 million loan from the city to help create 80+ units of affordable housing. An agreement for transferring the property from the city to the nonprofit developer was pounded out earlier this year.

Here’s how the numbers behind 12th Ave Arts break down:

  • Affordable residential units for 30-60% median income households (a mix of studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom units at Levels 3-6)
  • 17,000sf of office space (Level 2) — much of the retail space will be occupied by Capitol Hill Housing, the remainder will be leased to mission driven organizations.
  • 6,000sf of retail space, including the infrastructure required to support a restaurant (Ground Floor)
  • (2) performing spaces — one fixed seat theater; one multipurpose / black box space (Ground Floor)
  • (111) parking stalls and essential services spaces in support of the Seattle Police Department, East Precinct (Below Grade and GroundFloor)
  • With theater groups already lined up to manage the performance space, the project has a 2014 opening target. The architect on the project is SMR Architects, creator of the plans for CHH’s Pantages Apartments on E Denny Way.

    It’s been busy times for CHH — it opened its new apartment building The Jefferson  at 12th Ave and Jeff last month.

    12 Ave Arts mostly sailed through its early design guidance session in October 2011 and another visit to the board in May.

    The project hasn’t always had such an easy go of things. Representatives from community groups working on the project in the past said it was bogged down in logistical problems involving the East Precinct for more than a decade. One main sticking point had been the parking infrastructure and concerns over the cost and the number of spaces the project would need to provide. Those issues for the long-term were finally solved. No word on the short-term parking plans for East Precinct. Last we heard, SPD was looking for secured parking for around 100 vehicles somewhere on the Hill. Trouble finding parking on Capitol Hill? We’re sure SPD will work it out.

    As for who is going to live in the 88 new apartments when they’re ready in 2014, there are two tracks. For those who qualify for subsidized housing through HUD or Section 8, there is a waiting list. UPDATE: No Section 8 housing in this project, per CHH comment below. For everybody else who might qualify for the affordable units, CHH operates on a first come, first served basis. Seiwerath said things used to operate with wait lists for both types of renters but the wait part of the wait list became too much with people waiting years sometimes for an opening. Now he ways the available units will be listed via capitolhillhousing.org and Craigslist when they are ready for leasing. You can sign up for the CHH mailing list to stay on top of things.

    Dr Proposal 3012437 Agenda Id 3804

    5 thoughts on “12th Ave Arts gets final design tweaks before planned December start of construction

    1. This seems to be a nicely-designed building, but of course the details will make a difference….I’m hoping they will go with the “wood option”…a way to soften the industrial look that all the new buildings seem to have, unfortunately.

      It’s great that CHH is apparently making this a completely “affordable housing” building. I hope all those who are complaining that less affluent people are “being pushed out of Capitol Hill” will investigate this option.

    2. So..This sounds all well and good, but the thing that stands out most to be me is having affordable housing and “mission driven organizations” at this location; isn’t that code for (nearly) homeless? Yes, yes impoverishment mothers, and the working poor, but I don’t see many of them going to the planned restaurant below due to it probably being fancy like the rest of 12th, and that will also scare away the Capitol Hill rich who don’t want to be panhandled and/or sold drugs after eating.

      Yes, maybe I am being to much of a dbag.

    3. Thanks for the coverage. A few clarifications:

      The capital campaign goal is $4.6 Million, and to date we have raised more than $3.8 Million (80%!) in pledges. The community support for this building has been truly moving.

      Regarding the affordable residences, there will not be any project-based HUD Section 8 apartments in 12th Avenue Arts, though there are some in other CHH properties. All 88 apartments will be for those making less than 60% of Area Median Income- $42,000 for a two person household. Therefore, there will not be any wait list to move into the building. All the vacancies will be posted on our website in 2014, closer to the opening. For those interested, sign up for our e-newsletter at: http://capitolhillhousing.org/howyoucanhelp/emaillist.php

      Thanks,
      Michael Seiwerath
      Capitol Hill Housing

    4. I agree with your assessment of yourself.

      “Affordable housing” does not mean that rent is really low. The people who will live in this building will be middle class, and most of them will be employed. I seriously doubt they will be panhandling or drug-dealing outside their residence, or anywhere else.

    5. There’s police precinct parking right there. I seriously doubt there’ll be much panhandling or dealing, even if the residents were considerably lower income than what they’ll surely end up being.

      But if that’s your attitude, perhaps your kind SHOULD be scared away from 12th ave. A few less d bags would do this end of the hill some good.