Construction on the long-vacant lot at the southwest corner of 23rd and Union could finally start this spring, now that real estate development company Lake Union Partners has purchased the land and is taking the long-planned project forward.
Lake Union Partners confirmed last week that it has paid $3.8 million for the lot. The new owners are hoping to break ground this spring on a previously designed building with 92 apartments, 74 underground parking stalls, and 4,000 square feet of retail space. Lake Union Partners is also planning to develop a lot at the northwestern corner of 24th and Union, where they hope to build an approximately 40-unit building.
We asked Scott Roberts of Lake Union about the changes to the neighborhood and gentrification from the influx of new investors. Here is his reply:
We just sincerely like the neighborhood. I don’t see what gentrification has to do with this. We’re building market rate housing and providing new retail and commerce to an established neighborhood. We certainly aren’t displacing anyone (the site has been vacant for years) or trying to change the place. We simply believe people want to live in this neighborhood so we’re providing a little housing.
Land owner Ian Eisenberg had planned to develop the land in partnership with Lake Union Partners with a timeline of breaking ground in August 2013 and opening in fall 2014 but that timeline was delayed and Eisenberg said he eventually decided to sell the land.
The lot was the former home of the Coleman Building, which was damaged in the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake and subsequently demolished.
Changes big and small continue to ripple across the area around the intersection. Capitol Hill Housing announced last year it plans to develop an affordable apartment building on the site of the former Key Bank. The one-time home of Liberty Bank, a key financial institution in the history of black Seattle, the property is slated for a landmarks hearing in February. Nearby, the owner of the arson-damaged Med Mix announced he plans to relocate leaving the space vacant for a new tenant. It seems likely there will be interest. Across the street, the longtime owner of the MidTown Center property is moving forward with a plan to rezone the property to allow development to 65-feet high on the parcels.
Megan Hill and Justin Carder contributed reporting to this post.