Owners of 10th and Aloha apartments pull landmark nomination amid offers to buy

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A 1962 view of the middle building in the East Aloha Street group

With several offers to buy their 10th and Aloha “garden apartment” complex, the longtime owners of the Aloha Terrace apartments pulled their landmark nomination for the property on Tuesday, one day before its nomination hearing.

Property manager Michael Denning withdrew the nomination ahead of the Landmark Preservation Board’s Wednesday afternoon meeting, which CHS previewed earlier in the week. Denning told CHS that he originally nominated the 1943-built complex because he thought confirming the property did not qualify for landmark status would increase its value. “That’s a matter of debate now,” he said.

Denning said the 36-unit building and adjacent single family house have been in his family since his grandmother purchased the property in 1954. Denning said he’s currently speaking with several interested buyers and a deal could be reached to sell the property this year.

“It’s probably not going to stay in the family for very long,” he said. “We’d like to find somebody to keep Aloha Terrace Aloha Terrace, but once it’s not yours it’s hard to know.”

According to the nominating documents, the 902 E Aloha complex is a “modest” example of Seattle’s garden apartments, which feature “a large master planned site, internal streets and pathways, groupings of one-, two- and three-story buildings, and landscaped courtyards.”

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22 thoughts on “Owners of 10th and Aloha apartments pull landmark nomination amid offers to buy

  1. Pingback: Capitol Hill ‘garden apartment’ complex considered for landmark protections | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  2. “Denning told CHS that he originally nominated the 1943-built complex because he thought confirming the property did not qualify for landmark status would increase its value. “That’s a matter of debate now,” he said.”

    In the previous article, some were praising the owner for filing the landmark status. Those of us who are cynical saw it asa ploy to remove a hurdle. Unfortunately, us cynics were right. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this a great complex, but I think it’s safe to say the days of this complex are very limited. Another large apartment complex will be taking its place soon.

    • Seems like a pretty sketchy abuse of the Landmarks Designation process, to file for it hoping to have it turned down. I was one of those who gave them credit for better than that. Pretty shitty, I’d say.

      • While it doesn’t seem like it follows the intent behind the Landmarks Designation process, is there another way to clarify whether or not a purchaser will be able to tear down and rebuild on the same property? There needs to be a mechanism for this, and if the only way to do so is to apply for Landmarks status, then I don’t see anything wrong with this.

      • Unfortunately this is how the Landmarks Board has been used for years. I am confident that the current Board would have nixed many landmarks we have in place now in favor of development.

        Out of the many neighborhood nominations in recent years only 1 has been landmarked (Anhalt apartments at 1600 East John) most owners DO NOT want the property landmarked and use very fancy architectural historians to argue that a property is not worthy of protection. In most cases big development is ready to pounce.

        I appreciate well done modern architecture but am a preservationist at heart. Years ago my partner and I nominated the Galbraith House (Neoclassical at 17th and Howell) it was designated a landmark at the time. I am positive that if we were to nominate it now that they couldn’t bash it down fast enough. No way that this Board would do it. Developers shills they are.

      • Surprisingly, the BelRoy Apartments was granted landmark status in 2010. Of course that didn’t stop the developers from building the “New Belroy”, a god-awful monstrosity right in front of it.

  3. Too bad that this will likely be replaced with apartments that are of significantly higher rents. These buildings may not be perfect but at least they provide housing at rates that somewhat reasonable.

  4. I’m wondering if it might be wise for the city to restrict owners’ ability to pull their buildings from nomination… So the process isn’t abused like this. How callous.

  5. “We’d like to find somebody to keep Aloha Terrace Aloha Terrace, but once it’s not yours it’s hard to know.”

    No, it’s not remotely hard to know – there is simply no way anyone buying property at that location right now is going to keep those buildings.

    I don’t blame owners for going through this process ahead of selling – it’s kind of like getting pre-qualified for a mortgage before making an offer, but from the other side. But it is a huge misuse of the landmark status process. I’d agree with restricting the ability to pull a nomination mid-stream, except it seems that pulling the nomination saves the committee from wasting more time. OTOH, is there anything about the determination that depends on the quality of the nomination? Supporting materials etc? If so, I would want every nomination to have their packet put together by an independent party so that someone hoping for a “no” could not deliberately blow the proposal.

    • What other “pieces of shit” can you see on that stretch on Broadway (actually 10th Ave E)? If you are referring to The Gatsby, that is a very well-done building, with quality materials and nice landscaping….and it is only 3 stories tall.

  6. Oh my gosh, I cannot believe someone would actually want to maximize the value on a piece of real estate they own!! Seriously people, it says this building has been owned by the same family for over 50 years and because he was looking for a way to maximize the value of his property he is a bad guy? what about keeping this place an affordable place to live for over 50 years? I live across the street and this building, while the layout is cool of the yard, it is a piece of crap and I would never live there.

    I just dont understand the attitude so many people have trying to make someone look bad for wanting to get the full value of their building. Something tells me if the people who complain about his stuff owned a building, they would be singing a different tune.

    long live Capitol Hill!

    • I personally don’t have a problem with something much much larger being built there and am not the least bit fond of this quite ordinary complex of buildings being demolished for it.

      I guess what I don’t understand is why he would stop the nomination now?? I am pretty confident that the Board would laugh out loud at the idea of this complex being a landmark.

      Perhaps he has gotten Nicholson Kovalchik, Susan Boyle or Larry Johnson (typical “hired guns” for the process) to submit an “Exhibit A” saying that there is no way these are a landmark so why continue the process?

      Landmarks Board meetings are painfully boring anyways. Trust me. I have been to MANY of them.

      This way the Board, Mr. Denning, and the new developers can meet at the Columbia Tower Club tomorrow night to celebrate the opening of “Versailles” a collection of 1,547 boutique 127 square foot luxury units starting at ONLY $3,950 per month. With no parking of course but scads of bicycle parking.

      Way more fun than some stupid meeting that means NOTHING in the end. The Landmarks “Preservation” Board could care less about preservation of anything. They have shown that time and time again. At least where Capitol Hill is concerned.

    • Zero problem here with maximizing one’s assets. What I have a problem with is utilizing a process (landmark designation) that they didn’t want. It is wasting people’s time (board members) and it adds to our civic cynicism. It just seemed like an incredibly unneccessary step to take, evidenced by his withdrawal of the application.

    • Steve, the answer to your first question is ‘yes’, especially considering the fact that the family tradition was to keep the place affordable.

      Oh, and by the way, your building isn’t as pretty as you think.

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  8. Pingback: 1956 Capitol Hill anti-aPodment The Sterling considered as Seattle landmark | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  9. If anyone is following this chain still, please check out the recent story of the fight to grant landmark status to the Kelly Springfield Motor Building (value village) and the White Motor Building. Value Village made the first hurdle. It is looking hopeful that these beautiful old growth timber showrooms can be prevented from being town down. They go before the board again on December 17th. Please submit comments or attend the meeting.