Two more Capitol Hill auto row-era buildings have fallen into the hands of a greedy developer — a developer that just happens to have recently completed a popular, roundly supported renovation of its last major Pike/Pine acquisition.
CHS starts 2013 with yet another Hunters Capital-related chunk of important news for the neighborhood — we’re in a rut. We’ve learned details of the Hill-based real estate investment group’s two new acquisitions of buildings that stand across E Pike from one another at Summit.
“The history of auto row buildings is special to Hunters Capital and we think to the community,” reads a statement on the acquisitions sent to CHS by the company.
“The character these older structures bring to the hood is priceless – old growth timber, steel hangers, terrazzo floors, aged masonry, they each tell a unique story in the history of Seattle’s original auto row.”
The buildings — The Greenus building at 500 E Pike and The H.E. Holmes building at 501 E Pike across the street — represent yet another major investment in the area for Hunters Capital. Last year, Hunters spent more than $4 million acquiring and restoring the Colman Automotive building at Pine and Bellevue. According to county records, the 18,000-square-foot H.E. Holmes acquisition cost Hunters $5.3 million. Details on the Greenus sale are not yet public.
Hunters say it “looks forward to giving continued life to these properties through restoration and development” and hopes “users continue to enjoy the historical feel inside and out.”
The purchases continue the Hunters model of buying, improving and preserving auto row-era Capitol Hill structures and marketing the buildings to retail, restaurant and office tenants looking to be part of the neighborhood’s eclectic mix. The move of Elliott Bay Book Company is one example of the model in motion.
The transactions have also helped make the exit of two long-time Capitol Hill businesses coinciding with the deals a little sweeter. Both buildings were held by the owners of their principal tenants and change is already at play at the intersection. The signs in the windows of longtime Hill business Brocklind’s Formal Wear, Costume Store & Bridal Shop tell part of the story.
It’s the sale of the year!!!!
Brocklind’s is proud to announce that we are retiring after 106 years of dressing Seattle in style! In celebration, we are giving all of you, our loyalcustomers, the opportunity to take a piece ofBrocklind’s home with you for good! That’s right, nomore rentals. You can BUY that coveted costume, thestylish tuxedo, or the wacky wig that you’ve had your eye on over the years!! We are selling EVERYTHING; men’s formal wear, vintage clothing, costumes,antiques, all our fixtures… Plus, we’ve marked ourentire bridal department down 50%!
Sale starts January 10th and goes throughthe end of February
So come quick before it’s all gone!
As of Thursday, January 10th, we will be resuming our regular hours: Monday through Saturday 9am – 6pm Closed on Sundays
We hope to have more from owner Jim DeAmbrosio about the store’s long history in Seattle, soon.
Hunters said it is already searching for a new street-level tenant to replace Brocklind’s following DeAmbrosio’s retirement and is in negotiations with the building’s second-floor office tenants to remain as it also looks to fill the currently empty space on the floor. As for the lower level theater below the building accessed from Summit, Hunters said it plans to continue making a home for Theater Schmeater. “We have no plans to move the theater in the basement, we love the use and look forward to a long relationship.”
Like Brocklind’s, across the street in the H.E. Holmes building, C-K Graphics is also winding down business on Capitol Hill. Dan McCarty, now $5.3 million richer, has agreed to merge his printing business and consolidate its assets and clientele with a Belltown-headquartered printer, said Chuck Stempler of the newly expanded Alphagraphics. Hunters tells us C-K will continue to lease the space for another year but Stempler said that the business has already been transitioned to Belltown.
The area around the two new Hunters properties is busy with planning and coming change. The Mercedes dealership up the street is being lined up for a seven-story preservation and development project. While construction of a 260-unit apartment building and preservation project at the former BMW showroom site closer to Broadway will start later this year.
While the buildings share an auto row past, an intersection and the fate that brought them into the Hunters Capital portfolio, they may face divergent paths in the future.
Hunters is crystal clear about its plans for the Brocklind’s Greenus building. “We are planning on an immediate exterior rehab much like our 401 E Pine (Area 51) Building went through,” a company spokesperson tells us. “The goal is to bring the building as closely back to its original look as possible. This will include a full brick and concrete restoration, new wood double hung windows, new roofing, flashings, refurbished street fronts, etc.”
The Greenus building counts Kissel Kar, Ford, DeSoto and Cadillac as past tenants, according to Hunters.
The H.E. Holmes building has an even more diverse pedigree — Howell Motor Co, Seaboard Motors, British Cars of Seattle, Franklin Auto Agency, Import Motors and more over the years — and also may face a more heavy-handed overhaul. Hunters says it is happy to have acquired the building’s “ornate features” and unique “100% poured concrete walls and floors” but hasn’t yet said it is committing to a restoration of the building. A preservation-minded redevelopment may make more sense — and make better use of the 9,000 square feet of the property currently dedicated to a parking lot.