For lack of a cornice… and an architect of historical import and the relative lack of rarity of old building’s of its type… but especially that missing cornice, the Seattle Landmarks Board voted Wednesday afternoon 5 to 3 against the designation of Capitol Hill’s Pinevue Apartments building as a protected Seattle Landmark.
Presenting on behalf of the Madison Development Group, David Peterson of Nicholson Kovalchick made the case that the Pinevue was neither architecturally significant — nor historically complete.
“The loss of the cornice is very substantial,” Kovalchick argued though he admitted the rest of the building is “remarkably intact.”
CHS reported on the designation process for the building here. The vote helps clear the way for this 115,000 square-foot development planned to wrap around and rise above the preserved facades of the Melrose and Pine building that Bauhaus currently calls home and the Pinevue. A handful of apartment residents as well as businesses including Le Frock, Edie’s, Scout Apparel, Vutique, Wall of Sound and Spine & Crown Books currently call the Pinevue home.
The developer presentation also dragged the Pinevue’s architect through some ghostly mud calling Harry H. James’s work ”simple” but “formulaic.” Expect a James haunting at Melrose and Pine soon.
“[I'm] struggling with the missing cornice,” one board member said in voting against the designation. By the way, at least three of the board’s members said they currently live in the Capitol Hill area and walk by the building on a regular basis.
The building’s small contribution to Seattle African American and media history also wasn’t enough to win consideration. The building was reportedly home to The Seattle Republican newspaper for a time. The paper is remembered as “Seattle’s first truly successful African American newspaper.”
[mappress mapid="25"]In coming to its decision, the landmarks board weighed the building against six qualities:
a) It is the location of, or is associated in a significant way with, a historic event with a significant effect upon the community, City, state, or nation; or
b) It is associated in a significant way with the life of a person important in the history of the City, state, or nation; or
c) It is associated in a significant way with a significant aspect of the cultural, political, or economic heritage of the community, City, state or nation; or
d) It embodies the distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style, or period, or a method of construction; or
e) It is an outstanding work of a designer or builder; or
f) Because of its prominence of spatial location, contrasts of siting, age, or scale, it is an easily identifiable visual feature of its neighborhood or the city and contributes to the distinctive quality or identity of such neighborhood or the City.
The developers have said they plan to preserve a portion of the building’s facades and the building’s floor ratios in exchange for incentives that will allow the project to build to seven stories. The design also includes the replacement of the Pinevue’s missing cornice. No schedule for construction has been publicly announced.