Pundits discussing yesterday’s inauguration of Barack Obama noted that economic recovery in the nation won’t be complete until it passes down Wall Street, Main Street – and continues down MLK. It may not be Martin Luther King, Jr. Way but there are yet more signs of renewed economic activity — and a few challenges — at 23rd and Union following last week’s news that Capitol Hill Housing is set to develop a new affordable apartment project near the intersection.
Our sister site Central District News reports that a local entrepreneur and real estate investor is preparing new transactions at two corners of 23rd and Union including the long-empty lot with approved rezone and plans for a six-story apartment building that has sat stalled by the poor economy. Meanwhile, the on again, off again relationship with the US Post Office is apparently coming to an end as CDN has learned the postal facility anchoring the shopping center on the southeast corner of 23rd and Union is slated to be shut down.
Ian Eisenberg, who already owns the car wash and Med Mix properties at 23rd and Union, has purchased the empty lot on the southwest corner of the intersection and the building that houses the Neighbor Lady. Eisenberg said he is pursuing financing for the planned mixed-use building that was designed for the southwest corner, but has been stalled since the recession hit. That project, led by developer Jim Mueller, passed design review in August 2008 after being approved for a rezone to allow a 65-foot height. Mueller sold the property and design to Eisenberg’s 23rd Avenue Capital Management LLC for $2.3 million in December. Eisenberg said he is “lining up financing” and hopes to break ground as soon at the summer if he is successful.
Mueller, by the way, also has a “frozen” project on E Madison at the site of the old Deano’s market.
CDNews has also learned that the post office officially sent notice to southeast corner owner Tom Bangasser that they will vacate its space on the corner by January 2014. Bangasser says he is pursuing a rezone that will open his property up to 65-foot heights to make the shopping center more appealing for development. The Broadway post office, by the way, should remain in place into at least 2015 following the 2012 purchase of its building by investors. In the meantime at 23rd and Union, City Council member and candidate for Seattle mayor Bruce Harrell has set up his campaign HQ in a vacant space in the possibly soon-to-be-redeveloped shopping center.