UPDATE — 7:35 PM: In a 5-5 tie vote, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted Wednesday night that the Melrose Building at Melrose and Pine should not move forward in the nomination process. Meanwhile, the neighboring Pinevue Apartments building will go to the next stage in the process.
“It is remarkably intact but it doesn’t rise to the standard of landmark,” one board member argued in declining to support the Melrose Building’s nomination.
Meanwhile, the board expressed interest in taking a closer look at the Pinevue building including its “really unusual features” and mostly unmodified early 20th century mixed-use-style architecture.
The juxtaposition of the two decisions reveals an interest from the board in the Pinevue as a clear example of a specific building type — in this case, an early mixed-use apartment building — versus what it described as a more mercantile and miscellaneous form for the single-story Melrose. The board also expressed appreciation for many of the unique design elements and craft of the Pinevue. But to perhaps foreshadow what is next for the landmarks process for the old building, there were already grumblings about the loss of a cornice from the Pinevue structure midway through its life that could help nudge it toward disqualification as the nomination process continues. CHS examined the architectural qualities of the Pinevue building — also known as the Timken Roller Bearing building for a longtime tenant of the space — here in 2012.
Public comment prior to the votes included nearby residents and a Bauhaus employee. The barista made an impassioned plea for the protection of the building as a cultural asset but the board ultimately ruled that the building did not adequately embody the characteristics of a specific architectural style nor qualify as a distinctive, identifiable element in its neighborhood at the base of Capitol Hill.
A preservation and development project is planned that will gut the buildings but preserve their structures and facade. The Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council said it did not support landmark nomination for either building saying it was satisfied with the conservation goals of the developers planning to rebuild the block.
The board will take up the nomination of the Pinevue Apartments building again on April 3rd.
Original Report: Today’s the day. The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board meets Wednesday afternoon and included in its docket are two early 20th century Capitol Hill buildings slated for some major changes. The Melrose Building, home to Bauhaus, and the Pinevue Apartments, home to residents as well as businesses including Le Frock, Edie’s, Scout Apparel, Vutique, Wall of Sound and Spine & Crown Books, are up for consideration for the city’s landmark protection program. While it sounds a bit like a “witness protection program,” designation could be less dramatic, creating a rule set for protecting portions of the building even as development possibly proceeds. Our full report on the nominations is here.
Information on the 3:30 PM meeting — which includes time for public comment — is below. According to the agenda, the nomination discussions should start about 45 minutes into the proceedings around 4:15 PM. CHS will be there to cover Wednesday’s session as it is determined if the buildings go forward in the process.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING OF THE LANDMARKS PRESERVATION BOARD
to consider Landmark Nomination for the Following Properties:
301-309 E. Pine Street
Pinevue Apartment Hotel
313-321 E. Pine Street
The Landmarks Preservation Board will consider these nominations at its meeting on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, 40th Floor, Room 4060.
The public is invited to attend the meeting and make comments. Written comments should be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board at the following address by February 19, 2013, by 5:00 p.m.: Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, Dept. of Neighborhoods, P.O. Box 94649, Seattle WA 98124-4649.