11th/Pine REI development+preservation project could bring more workers to Pike/Pine

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Legacy provided CHS with this rendering with the stipulation that we include a clear label — “Conceptual Rendering: Materials, Shape, Construction type are subject to change/Design Review”

There’s more going on with The Stranger building at E Pine and 11th Ave than we originally reported. CHS has learned that the preliminary plans for a development we documented here — The Stranger building next for Capitol Hill mixed-use redevelopment plans — are much more ambitious in size and scope than originally reported. Meanwhile, an effort to overhaul the neighborhood’s preservation incentives for developers even as the ruleset faces a test in front of the city’s hearing examiner is moving forward.

Representatives for longtime owners of the old REI buildings that now house the alternative weekly and Value Village met last week with the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council to describe their early concepts for a mixed-use development that will incorporate the two old structures and the adjacent southern parking lot and create an ambitious 11th Ave office development smack in the heart of the neighborhood.

Legacy provided CHS with this rendering of the concept and the following statement on the planned project:

Legacy’s vision is to create a true mixed-use project with office, ground floor retail, as well as residential components.  

We believe, if or when we proceed, that our approach and commitment to the architecture of the existing structures will be a tribute to the neighborhood and its history.  The project has the ability to bring more day time workers/uses to support existing retail and restaurants, in addition to providing Capitol Hill’s growing businesses the opportunity to expand their footprint within the community.

The early 1900s-era structures are known as the site on Capitol Hill where REI first grew to prominence after its early start lower on Pine. Long ago, these buildings, too, were part of the area’s auto row past. A possible office project at 11th and Pine would join Liz Dunn’s 11th Ave office and mews project about to start construction on the other side of E Pike.

More on the buildings from our previous report

More on the buildings from our previous report

CHS reported earlier that the new development project including new ground level retail space (likely not a returning Value Village), office space, and residential units probably won’t move forward for at least a “few years.” In the meantime, a representative for Legacy said the conceptual planning for the project will move forward under the auspices of the Pike/Pine Conservation District incentives as they currently stand even as many in the development community are hovering to see the outcome of an appeal filed against new, more onerous preservation standards being considered by the Seattle City Council.

Under the proposed new requirements, developers would not be able to pick and choose which facades to retain when multiple historical structures are involved in a project.

City Council’s Tom Rasmussen said he hopes that new revisions to the overlay incentive updates to make it easier for developers to determine the mix of housing, retail, office and, yes, even hotel uses will solve any lingering uncertainty for projects in the neighborhood.

“I would hope they would find that an appeal may not be necessary,” Rasmussen said.

The updated proposals and potential appeal come as some of the original neighborhood backers of the incentive plan are questioning its impact.

A great deal of the discussion at the most recent PPUNC meeting was dedicated to talking through the potential REI/Value Village/Stranger project in light of the proposed changes to the incentive program. While some on PPUNC said they had hoped to see more elements of the old buildings preserved in the concepts discussed by Legacy, the developer representatives at the meeting questioned the possibility of creating a profitable project without overhauling the internal structure of the character buildings given current height restrictions. In other words, the only solution to improving the incentive program may be to give developers willing to more fully preserve Pike/Pine’s oldest buildings an even bigger, taller incentive to shoot for.

You can learn more about the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council on its Facebook page facebook.com/PPUNC.

17 thoughts on “11th/Pine REI development+preservation project could bring more workers to Pike/Pine

  1. This actually looks like a better preservation project than a large amount of
    Projects currently going up. It does suck that Value Village would be sacrificed, however.

  2. Honestly .. didn’t know the value village building was so beautiful until now. That dumb canopy thing they have in front of the entrance makes the place look so trashy.

    I do still wonder why a bunch of the beautiful flourishes in the tile work (is it even tile?) on the former Velo building were removed a few months ago. It seems like they are back in the rendering.

    • Hmm. Agree VV green canopy is nasty, but the building…. beautiful? Always wonder how people gauge “beauty”. Not particularly good proportions or grace. Material: red brick- familiar but beautiful? Or is it simply age? Old, has survived, therefore beautiful….. Care to articulate?

  3. Looks like a very nice use of the buildings, and good to see that parking lot redeveloped. 11th/Pine could be getting quite nice, although with all the noise from the bars I’m not sure I’d want to live there.

  4. Yipes! Not Value Village! That is the best “thrift” shop I have ever been to…and I have shopped a lot of places in the US and Canada.

  5. What a great massing strategy that allows the two former buildings to retain their own character and presence. It’s also nice to see some support on this blog for a well executed project.

  6. I also think it looks like a good project. I do hope that Value Village can find a new Capitol Hill home, however. It’s nice to have them nearby.

  7. Looking at the preliminary picture where it butts up against the existing lofts how they will take into account the loft windows that are on the north side, the easment for the next door building that has a garage door access in the parking lot and the Aveda school that is even lower with windows on the west side of the parking lot.

  8. Noooooo!!! Not Value Village!! They are part of the fabric of my life – part of what makes my neighborhood so fun, sustainable, walkable and environmentally friendly all at once. We stop by there on the way to or from cal Anderson at least weekly. This is terrible news!!

  9. For me, height isn’t an issue as long as it doesn’t block cell signals. Most days of the year it’s too gray and drizzly to see any views anyway.

    • I guess you have forgotten what a glorious summer we had….starting in May, until just a few weeks ago.

      Do you actually think cell signals are more important than scenic views? That’s just sad.

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  12. Well, it could be worse and I suppose it was inevitable. And it will suck to lose Value Village. Now only if the architects had not screwed up the mullions alignment on the windows of the new bar…maybe they can fix that too when they do more, make them align with the top again, like they were in the original.

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