It’s a modern Capitol Hill condition. Looming over every plate of delicious, cheap, Rancho Bravo tacos is the knowledge that here, too, will someday rise a six-story apartment building. But it’s not going to happen soon.
“We have decided to postpone development of this property for a couple of years,” developer Maria Barrientos tells CHS about the E Pine parcel home to the Mexican fast food joint that is envisioned — eventually — as a “gateway development to Pike/Pine.”
CHS reported on the hopes attached to land — the “property name” is listed as “Kentucky Fried Chicken” — in King County Records here in 2012 as we wrote about prolific Capitol Hill real estate investor Ron Amundson’s efforts to begin unlocking the value of his many neighborhood holdings.
At the time, Barrientos said she hoped the project to develop the property home to Rancho Bravo and Everyday Music would be put into motion. “We would love to redevelop that,” Barrientos said. “It’s this fabulous opportunity. It’s not on the horizon for short term. But once [the other projects] are up and running, it’s what we want.”
Amundson purchased the property in 2008 for $4.2 million.
Architects Schack A+D posted this rendering and description of a six-story apartment building designed for the site:
A 136,000 square foot mixed-use project containing 120 apartments, 20,000 square foot of ground floor retail and below grade parking. The proposed project would offer a high-energy living and shopping experience, capitalizing on the new light-rail transit station. To maintain the urban pattern of the Pike/Pine neighborhood, the program was divided into three distinct buildings, two of them new and one of them an existing character structure. A street-level pedestrian alley connects the three buildings, enhancing the neighborhoods already vibrant pedestrian environment. The alley will be lined with retail on both sides and incorporate public art, green space, and areas for gathering. To reflect the light-industrial style of existing buildings in the area, the first floor of retail will have 16 foot ceilings. The building materials will primarily be exposed wood, board-formed concrete, and articulated steel connection details often used and admired in older character structures in the neighborhood.
Barrientos said the decision to hold off on the project isn’t a reflection on any perceived coming weakness in the Capitol Hill apartment market. The veteran developer said the decision was based on “a more realistic view of non-performing assets and a need to make them viable ahead of the properties that have tenants that are doing well.”
Instead, Barrientos and Amundson plan to move forward with a vacant property the investor owns in Pioneer Square. But first, Barrientos said, the focus will be on finishing the first big lease push to fill their Lexicon project with tenants.
The Harvard Ave “boutiquement” project – their word, not ours! – that rises behind Dick’s Drive-In is in pre-leasing and, Barrientos was happy to tell us, is already 50% full. A 509 square-foot one-bedroom runs $1,625 per month. The two-bedroom model runs $2,825. Or you could live in the 610 square-foot penthouse for $2,025. “Select units at Lexicon are part of Seattle’s MFTE income-restricted program,” the website informs.
Sunset Electric earns LEED Platinum
CHS reported earlier this year on the opening of the Sunset Electric apartment building as the first project to be completed under the auspices of the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District’s preservation program. This week, Arizona-based developer The Wolff Company announced the 11th/Pine project has been awarded LEED Platinum certification:
The Wolff Company, a real estate private equity firm, announced today the U.S. Green Building Council has awarded its Capitol Hill, Seattle multi-family development, Sunset Electric, with LEED Platinum Certification. The 92-unit project with a large ground-floor restaurant tenant is one of the first of its scale in the greater Seattle area to obtain the highest possible LEED certification for environmental responsibility and efficiency.
Designed by Weber Thompson Architects of Seattle, the Sunset Electric Building was also one of the first to benefit from the Pike / Pine Conservation Overlay program to reward character structure preservation with a zoning height bonus. Originally constructed in 1926, the building’s large brick façade, expansive ground-floor ceiling heights and large window bays are reflective of Capitol Hill’s auto-row heritage.
The new building that is now leasing apartments is designed around an innovative open-air courtyard. Central to the building’s efficiency, this courtyard eliminates most interior corridors and common areas that require heating and cooling in less efficient buildings. Residential units are bright with operable windows on both sides enabling efficient through-ventilation and natural cooling. The residential lobby is the courtyard’s lowest level. Access to the building’s apartments is through a series of innovative bridges and balconies common in modern European designs.
The building benefits from a state-of-the-art reverse-cycle chiller system within the parking garage. This system exchanges heat generated from conditioning the parking structure to the domestic hot water supply system. Efficiencies in the hot water supply and the elimination of conditioned corridor space is anticipated to reduce Sunset Electric’s energy demands by 50%.
The apartment units aesthetically benefit from an equal degree of attention to detail. Timbers from the original structure were preserved and reconditioned locally and have been used to create sliding barn-style doors within the residences. Elegant tiling, modern cabinets and appliances and floor-to-ceiling windows contribute to some of Seattle’s most desirable apartments. A green-roof and patio area look down on the heart of Capitol Hill and the adjacent Cal Anderson Park.
Sunset Electric joins the Pike+Minor development as the first Capitol Hill projects to achieve the Platinum level certification, a Wolff representative told CHS.