A longtime Capitol Hill business has closed possibly due to the costs of impending city regulations mandating that old buildings become earthquake ready. Callahan’s Auto, which has operated from its 1319 E. Madison location since 1948, moved to Monroe in Snohomish County in December.
CHS has made repeated unsuccessful attempts to contact owner Kevin Callahan. One employee reached by phone confirmed that the move had to do with the cost of updating the building with seismic supports.
The neighboring buildings housing Chop Suey and the Madison Pub are separate structures.
While Callahan’s has for decades avoided retrofitting their building, new development regulations rolling out this year would require all “unreinforced masonry structures” to make the expensive upgrades. DPD’s 2012 URM Policy Committee released the mandate recommendations earlier this month.
The Talbot building, which housed Callahan’s, is one of the neighborhood’s several “pre-earthquake readiness” structures not be retrofitted with seismic supports. City requirements for seismic upgrades currently only kick-in when the building or its use undergo a major change. The new regulations, expected this year, would mandate all buildings have seismic supports.
The Talbot building ranks as one of Capitol Hill’s highest seismic risk structures, according to a 2007 FEMA survey of unreinforced masonry structures in the area. The two-story building — constructed in 1920, according to King County records — still has its original solid wood supports and beams, each measuring about one-foot in diameter. Callahan previously told CHS that the building has remained structurally unchanged ever since.
According to King County records, Frances Kirsch-Erdman owns the deed for the property. She could not be reached for comment.
CHS wrote about the building’s development potential here last spring based on the FEMA survey ranking and the highest-risk properties slowly being ticked off the list as part of planned developments.
CHS also reported last year on the concentrations of URM structures on Capitol Hill and created this map to show the extent of their presence:
Here’s the map of the city’s survey findings — you’ll note the large pocket of unreinforced masonry structures in Capitol Hill’s core as well as remaining concentrations in downtown, Pioneer Square and smaller pockets elsewhere in the city. You can zoom in and click on specific addresses to learn more. Note that the dataset is heavily caveated by DPD — there may be errors and we have found several funky address issues. If you find anything weird, let CHS know and we’ll see what we can do to further scrub the data.
The Capitol Hill development community is already on the case. Later this month, the Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and developer Gerding Edlen have planned a workshop on Seattle’s coming URM policy:
The meeting will be held at the Melrose Studios in the basement of the Melrose Market. No worries, by the way — the Market underwent a full seismic upgrade.
You can register for the event here.