Weatherford House died so that 42 new neighbors could rise on Capitol Hill

Screen shot 2013-03-26 at 9.12.56 AMThe Weatherford House, currently being demolished atop Capitol Hill, will once more rise.

CHS has received many messages alerting us that the end of the line has been reached for the former home of Weatherford Antiques as it is demolished to make way for this four-story apartment building.

The more than 100-year-old house was rejected as a candidate for Seattle landmark protections last year. It was too much of a mish-mash. Too lacking in the notable history department. Too funky. It’s not alone in its rejection.

[mappress mapid=”13″]With regional planners expecting Seattle’s population to continue booming through 2030, even with landmark status, we’d still need new places to put our incoming neighbors.

The 42 units coming thanks to developer Murray Franklyn will house some of them. Six stories atop the former home of B&O Espresso will house hundreds more.

The new buildings are probably more useful than an antique store or a coffee shop and, who know, perhaps there will be room for new shops in the thousands of square feet of new retail also part of many of these Capitol Hill projects. It won’t happen at 14th and John, however. The building’s new commercial spaces are being positioned as live/work studios.

Thanks to @aboscardin for the picture

23 thoughts on “Weatherford House died so that 42 new neighbors could rise on Capitol Hill

  1. I was pleased to see an architectural salvage crew remove the deorative elements of this house a few weeks ago. Weatherford House will live on as parts transplanted into other structures.

    • Also, the guys building the B&O building referenced above are totally no-talent jerks. Totally ridiculous. Look at their crappy portfolio http://www.NKARCH.com .They don’t even live in washington. They live on the East Coast. Thanks for making my neighborhood look like crap.

  2. Capitol Hill is pocked with crack houses, awful cheap 50’s buildings that beg to be destroyed, and other bleeding eyesores. What gets torn down?

  3. How do we stop this jeanluc?

    Do what San Francisco does:

    1 – Have strong neighborhood associations that can stop the destruction of historic buildings that will ruin or take away character from the the neighborhood.

    2 – Enact a city-wide ban on all national chain stores; no more tearing down older buildings to build “modern” condos with Subways and Dunkin Donuts at street level.

    Seattle needs to get it it through its thick skull that it can only be original once, and when you tear down an old building, it’s character can never be fully replaced.

    Character comes through time, and if Seattle keeps getting in tear down fits once every 15 years, we’ll soon have a city that is full of nothing but out of date fashion statements.

    • San Francisco should know…living here 60 years, the wannabe big town fantasy syndrome and greed, overcomes sound and mindful planning and appreciation of “quality of life” most of the time.
      There are examples of creatively sustaining character and growth that could have been incorporated, as evidenced by the clever and effective moving of the large home on 18th Ave to accommodate a newer larger structure on the same lot.
      Sadly, greedy, thoughtless owners and their developer ilk, with the help of tax hungry. The “gent” in the NEXT comment box, might move to an area that is full of “usefull” structures and a beautiful view, like Kent.

  4. Hmm I wonder why San Francisco is so expensive? You guys are making seattle more expensive with all your nimby ideas. Also a lot of these buildings you want to save are useless, if saved they will turn into crack houses and real of piss. Once again you can look at San Francisco as an example. All preservationism does is halt progress and turn beautiful cities into toilets. If a building is no longer useful, tear it down.

    • WTF? I’m guessing you prefer Plano, TX to Paris, then? You know nothing about what makes cities great. NOTHING. People go to New Orleans, Boston, Paris, Rome, Athens, Montréal, etc for the HISTORY and CHARACTER of these places that comes with time and a mix of QUALITY buildings, not disposable crap like the particle-board garbage so many greedy developers are putting up on the Hill right now. Go read anything by James Howard Kunstler before you spout ignorant nonsense, please.

    • And, btw, affordability needs to be tackled via new rent-control or real estate management techniques as well as rent increase limits and tax breaks for landlords committed to keeping rents from soaring. None of that needs to be exclusive of preservation of cherished buildings (especially at gateway-like corners such as this one) such as the already-missed Weathersford.

      As others here have stated, there’s plenty of garbage on the hill that could be replaced with denser housing. Towers downtown could be MANDATED to be minimum numbers of floors to achieve density where it makes most sense. And, absurdly, there’s a surface parking lot across the street at Safeway that would have been a better choice for densifying than to tear down this piece of Seattle history.

  5. As more of the “less useful” and “funky” old buildings disappear, so will the spirit of the neighborhood slide to give way to more corporate anchor stores and larger bland buildings priced for the well compensated and more conservative crowd. Enjoy what’s left of it while you can, cause the Hill is gonna be as interesting as an airport in about 5 minutes, and twice as packed with dipshits. More density is exactly right.

  6. San Fran’s entire downtown smells like piss! Umm the buildings in Paris are much taller, and therefor actually serve a purpose in a dense environment. Single family homes that contain one business are no longer useful in many parts of the hill. I’m sorry but buildings of these size were torn down centuries ago in Paris.

  7. This building was long past it’s prime and not worth saving unlike the old white apartment home a block north. That was saved due to community outcry and is a beautiful restoration. You have to pick your battles.

    Also many small chains and local businesses have found homes in the retail spaces of new developments. It’s not all Quiznos and UPS stores people. No need to always assume worst case.

    Bottom line, change happens.

  8. Umm I’m not the one whining. If either if these buildings existed in Paris no one would even notice if they dissapeared. Comparing these to the beautiful buildings in Paris is completely laughable. I want to live in a city that evolves and changes, historically that’s what cities do. If you want to live in a city that doesn’t change, there’s always buffalo. By the way I go to San Fran a lot and while the architecture is better than Seattle’s it’s a dirty and smelly city.

    • Wow. Sigh. The point about Paris, Wes, is that many, many of its older buildings still stand due, in large part, to preservation efforts over centuries. No one is suggesting Seattle is Paris. The issue you and DD88 fail to get is that modern humans are shitty gatekeepers who F up most things and cannot / should not be trusted to go against base instincts of communities who, more often then not, get it right by NOT destroying things of perceived value -whatever that value may be. “Pick your battles” you say, DD88. Well, no. We’re beyond that. We’re seeing, real time, the destruction of what’s left of much of the history of the Hill just in the last 10 years. No one is saying it should smell like piss, Wes. Gimme a break. What a ludicrous thing to say. Totally irrelevant. Montréal smells like piss? Athens? Québec City. If so, we humans are sure dumb for going to places we deem romantic and moving because of their abundance of pee.

      DD88, Weatherford WAS one of our battles. Many of us, unlike you, enjoyed and learned much from that corner with several old buildings perched on it. We learned a bit about the relatively short history of this place as a settlement of European-Americans. There are fewer and fewer places like that in Seattle.

      And, Wes, if you’re suggesting that Paris is moving to build a Manhattan-like big building city, you are dead wrong. It’s a high-rise district. That is all. Maybe you could benefit from more travel and perspective. Maybe ;-)

      • You’re making a lot of assumptions here. That former house was BEYOND repair. I didn’t see any grass roots efforts to save the structure, just a lot of recent whining. What did you personally contribute to save this building? Even if you fought tooth and nail it was determined that the structure was beyond repair due to neglect. Some things are out of our control.

        I’m sure Seattle natives didn’t like seeing the area clear cut of its old growth trees to build these buildings.

        Some here need to get over themselves and realize that things change. You can’t hold on to every building and every memory. Every building has an emotional attachment to someone and we must understand that we cannot remain frozen in time.

        • The Weatherford House was NOT denied protection because it was “beyond repair.” It was denied because it was not thought to have historical or architectural significance. But a structure does not need to have these requirements in order to be worthy of saving, and the Weatherford House was surely in this category. It will be greatly missed for a long time to come.

          • Thank you, Calhoun, for setting DD88 straight. Smarmy DD88, I wrote, I phoned and I spent hours in these ridiculous Landmark Board review hearings.

            DD88, where you at the meetings? They were a joke. So-called “experts” (read entrenched political-types and lobbyists for architects) kicked around the idea of preservation and concluded the building was: 1. not a landmark with preserving (absurdly false, as the code clearly states that a protectable landmark can be any building or landmark that is cherished by its community 2. not one of the “better” examples of history on the hill and 3. costly to preserve. Experts on how this all works told me the whole thing was pretty much rigged from the start. Sure felt like it was to me. then again, if you were on that board, DD88, I’m guessing you’re warped rationale would have had you voting to demolish. Maybe you WERE on the board ;-)

            We don’t know what natives thought (they cleared land themselves, don’t you know?! We do know that humans cherish special things humans build, whatever attributes make them special. A whole lot of folks in our community thought this building was special. Many of us spoke up. Many pick other battles with the limited time they have. -Then there are folks like you- the ones who champion the disposable society where everything new is best.

  9. Correct. It had a crumbling foundation and deemed not worth saving by its owners or investors. It’s health had no merit on it being denied landmark status.

    If folks are serious about saving these structures they need to be proactive. Create a list of at-risk building and drive community awareness for support in advance of Land Use postings.

  10. X.G. I live on 14th Ave and don’t recall meeting you as no one reached out to me to help save this building. You seem like the ones who reactively complain “not in my back yard” but do not take any accountability. Rather play you the victim after the fact and blame others. Like something has been personally taken away from you when in fact, it was never yours to begin with. You my friend need to open your eyes.

    • ??? Were you one of the building’s owners? To question my intent seems arrogant and presumptuous. I put time into trying to save this building. I’m no “NIMBY”. I happen to believe preservation and densification can co-exist -with proper planning and a dose of spatial/social engineering (in the poly-sci sense) with everyday folks in mind, not just developer and politician profit. I was quoted in at least one article on this very blog at a meeting I attended. But, hey, thanks for essentially insinuating I’m a liar, NIMBY and whiney after-the-fact poser. Whatever.

  11. Paris is a collection of buildings built over the course of hundreds of years. The ones worth saving were saved. Even today they continue to tear down buildings in Paris. Part of why Paris could preserve so much is because like many European cities the population was stagnant for many years. That means no need to build, duh! Seattle’s population isn’t stagnant which means we have to build new housing, offices, hotels, grocery stores and restaurants. It’s simple economics, cheapest and most underutilized land will get developed first. Several buildings have been saved too, a few I’m very glad were saved and others I just can’t figure out why. Also I never said Paris was trying to be manhattan. My point is is that Paris accommodated density, you don’t reach a density of 52,000 ppsm with a bunch of nimbies running the show. Just for reference seattle is only 7,500 ppsm a lot closer to Plano’s density. I want to see the growth accommodated. I want to see seattle have a density of 10,000-20,000 ppsm. Some crappy buildings will be built in the process, but 15 years from now they’ll be the first to go. The better the building is the longer it will last.