Design review: New look for ‘Taco Time building,’ final step for 601 E Pike

A new look for the "Taco Time building"

A new look for the “Taco Time building”

Tuesday, CHS looked at some of the first fruits of the labor to create a Conservation Overlay District in Pike/Pine. Wednesday night, the East Design Review Board will take a second and, perhaps, final look at an E Pike project that plans to forego the incentive program and wipe the old Mercedes garage it will replace from the street. Meanwhile, new investors bought the E Madison land planned for the Taco Time building for $3.6 million — but they didn’t buy the much-criticized design. More on both projects, below.

1420 E Madison
Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 5.27.49 PMNews that Seattle-base developers Metropolitan Companies was slapping down $3.6 million for the former home of an E Madison fast food joint had CHS asking: Will new owners mean new life for design-challenged Capitol Hill ‘Taco Time’ building?

Because, honestly, people pretty much hated the original plans. A year ago, the building’s plans were rejected yet again by the East Design Review Board.

Despite DPD’s decision that the development keep the same project number, we’re told the new owners are starting over after considering how the previous design reviews had played out. They’ve brought on Johnson Architecture + Planning to create the new proposal. That team was also responsible for what you see today at the Trace North, Trace Lofts and just-completed REO Flats apartment building on 14th Ave.

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A representative says the new six-story design “reflects the Seattle and Pike/Pine guidelines and responds to several expressed concerns” and, while the number of apartments, amount of commercial space and parking stalls is basically the same, “the new proposal differs in several key design areas.”

Review Meeting:May 28, 8:00 pm
Seattle University
824 12th Ave
Admissions & Alumni Building
Review Phase:EDG–Early Design Guidance past reviews
Project Number:3013776 permit status | notice
Planner:Shelley Bolser

The most significant change at this stage appears to be an overall shift in the building’s massing concept to reflect a more “classic Pike/Pine mercantile architecture” and a shift of building activity to Madison where the building entrance and garage entrance are both now planned to be located. The architect is also planning for masonry and “strong, darker exterior colors.”

The building is slated to eventually be home to 70 living units, 3,000 square feet of commercial space and parking for 77 cars. Its neighbor across the street is the super-green Bullit Center office building and sustainability showcase. A new mixed-use project is also planned just down E Madison to replace the old Piecora’s building.

Will there still be space for a Taco Time now that the chain’s family ownership is out of the picture? One can only hope! We’re guessing the design review board doesn’t want to hear about your love for Mexi-Nuggets.

601 E Pike
Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 5.25.40 PMAlso on Wednesday’s docket is one of the few projects moving forward on E Pike without benefit of preservation incentives. We first told you about the plan for a new mixed-use building on the property where the now empty auxiliary garage for the former Mercedes dealership stands at E Pike and Belmont back in December as the development was set to take its first run through design review.

With the go ahead to move forward, developer Intracorp now has Tiscareno Associates in charge of taking its project ahead to get final approval for the planned design for the six-story, 60-unit, 3,000-square-foot, 30-parking stall building. Across the street, construction is already underway on this preservation incentive-laden, seven-story project utilizing the facade of the old Mercedes dealership.

Review Meeting:May 28, 6:30 pm
Seattle University
824 12th Ave
Admissions & Alumni Building
Review Phase:Recommendation past reviews
Project Number:3015370 permit status | notice
Planner:Shelley Bolser

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13 thoughts on “Design review: New look for ‘Taco Time building,’ final step for 601 E Pike

  1. Re: 1420 E. Madison: 70 living units and parking for 77 cars.

    Finally, one of these developers recognizes that people have cars, and that failing to provide off-street parking doesn’t encourage people to abandon their cars, it encourages them to park in the (increasingly in demand) streetside parking spaces. Thank you!

    • Exactly right. Those who advocate for no parking in new buildings seem to ignore the fact that this results in decreased parking availability in surrounding streets and therefore headaches for those who already live there.

    • Very few New Yorkers own cars and the people who do tend to live in the outer boroughs of Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx, not in Manhattan where there are currently only two gas stations and very few affordable places to park. If you want to live in New York and own a car it makes sense to live in an outer borough and not in Manhattan.

      Likewise, here in the fastest growing city in the country, it makes sense- from a traffic perspective- to adopt zoning laws that actively encourage people without cars (a growing minority of Seattlites) to live in apartments and condos in downtown Seattle and surrounding neighborhoods where everyone (both people with cars and people without cars) can benefit from having more people on our buses and less traffic on our roads. Like car lovers in New York, car lovers in Seattle should consider the benefits of moving to an outer neighborhood of our city with less efficient mass transit options and allowing someone without a car to take advantage of the best mass transit infrastructure in the state.

      • There are way more than 2 gas stations in Manhattan. According to a New York Times article there are actually about 117 gas stations in Manhattan, which is not very many given the fact that almost two million people live there and there are a significant number of taxis and people from outside the borough that work there. The most expensive neighborhoods of the city have significantly less gas stations. You were probably referring to one of the more expensive neighborhoods in the borough.

      • While I agree in principle that encouraging fewer cars on the road is a good thing, the transit options in Seattle are far more limited than those in Manhattan. Saying that it’s the “best mass transit infrastructure in the state” really isn’t saying a whole lot when compared to cities that actually rely on a legit transit system – which Seattle doesn’t yet have.

        As someone who lived on the Hill and had to commute to Tacoma for work – for years – I didn’t own a car because I loved having one so much; I owned one because I needed it (to avoid the almost two-hour each way commute by bus). Of course I wouldn’t have a car if I lived in Manhattan! But comparing the two cities is pretty ridiculous in terms of assuming what people can accomplish via public transit; were I in Manhattan, I’d actually be able to get somewhere relatively quickly – and NOT on a bus. Your attitude doesn’t recognize that people might live in the Hill and have legitimate reasons that they need cars. Making parking horrific doesn’t solve anything; creating real options for people in terms of transit (and affordable housing) would be more helpful.

      • You are absolutely right.

        Capitol Hill is not even close to Brooklyn transportation options (or density). Living without car is the consequence of making our city livable without a car, not the prerequisite.

  2. Carsarereality: If there is such a dearth of parking for Cap Hill residents – demand must be HUGE. You should start a business building and renting out parking spaces!!! Good luck.

    • Yeah, you keep on pretending, but I personally know 3 people who rent in bldgs on CapHill, one case 2 in the same apt w/ a car each, and they are constantly playing parking jockeying games. Moving their cars in and around to score free neighborhood parking. Pretending people don’t need parking doesn’t make it so.

      • I’m not pretending anything. If there is a market for parking — go build parking instead of forcing rentors to pay for it whether they need it or not.

        Street parking belongs to the city, not to the person who lives on the street.

      • My understanding is that many (? most) buildings with parking offer it as an option, for an extra fee beyond rent. So in this case a renter is not being “forced” to pay.