Last week, the final design plans were approved for the eight-story building at Melrose and Pine that benefitted from generous incentives for melding a modern apartment structure with two auto-row era buildings. One of Capitol Hill’s leading developers says he can do it better.
“It’s clear during the recent uptick in development, especially studying the larger projects going through [Master Use Permitting] that there are loopholes and shortcuts in how the current Pike/Pine Overlay language was written,” reads a statement from Michael Malone’s Hunters Capital sent to CHS about incentives in place since 2009 that trade the right for developers to build larger and higher in exchange for preserving the facades and basic dimensions of historical structures in the Pike/Pine neighborhood.
Malone says that the design for his eight-story project on E Pike that will soar above the CK Graphics/Dunn Motors building Hunters recently acquired can be a showcase for what is possible — and what should be expected of developers who want to develop within the conservation district. The project comes before the design review board on May 29th.
“In the case of the Dunn Motors site (the CK Graphics building) we will be taking advantage of the overlay bonus, abiding by the required setback, retail height, etc.” Malone writes. “Yet we would like to set the standard when it comes to building a mass out of/on top of a pre-1940s building. It is our intent that the additional mass over the building will be built of high grade finish materials, to a design that compliments and enhances the historic façade below it. Far too many times this additional mass carries none of the original design features into the upper levels. Inside and out, the finished product will celebrate the unique history of a wonderful 1920s auto row building.”
The Studio Meng Strazzara-designed building at 501 E. Pike is planned to include 118 apartments above 4,000 square feet of commercial space and 6,000 square feet of offices. Parking will include 61 vehicle stalls plus another 31 for bikes. CHS wrote about the early plans for the building and the old Brocklind’s building across the street that Hunters also acquired earlier this year. The now-scuttled mayoral campaign for City Council member Tim Burgess had been putting the Dunn Motors building to some early office-related use, by the way, prior to last week’s announcement that his campaign was ending.
Hunters Capital has also been busy on E Pine with this multi-million restoration of the Colman Automotive building.
City Council member Tom Rasmussen, who spearheaded the initial creation of the conservation district’s incentive programs, said that there are plans to strengthen the requirements for developments involving Pike/Pine’s character structures:
To be more certain that we will succeed in our goal to retain character structures i.e. buildings that are at least 75 years old, I will be proposing some changes to the land use code and to the design guidelines for the Pike-Pine Overlay District. Council staff and staff of the Department of Planning and Development have begun working on the changes and I anticipate that we will have those ready for public review late this spring.
Malone says that he is part of the discussion in shaping the updated requirements.
“Hunters Capital along with several other business and building owners in Pike/Pine are working to update the language in the overlay to try and help preserve as many pre-1940’s buildings as possible on Capitol Hill,” Malone says. “Just one example of a change we are pushing for is: If developers want to take advantage of the overlay bonus, [we] would like to see them forced to save all pre-1940s structures on sites with multiple historic structures on it. Currently this is not the case.”
In the meantime, Malone says this next big project for Hunters Capital on E Pike will represent the spirit of what the new rules need to do.
We’ll have more on the project prior to the May 29th review meeting.