Capitol Hill Value Village building with auto row and REI roots wins landmarks status but how much protection will it afford?

REI called 11th Ave home during its early growth as a retailing giant (Image: REI)

REI called 11th Ave home during its early growth as a retailing giant (Image: REI)

You already knew this but Capitol Hill’s Value Village is a landmark.

Or it will be after a City Council vote.

Wednesday afternoon, the Seattle Landmarks Board voted 9-0 to designate the historic Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company building as an official Seattle landmark saying the building held special significance in the neighborhood due to its history in the early years of REI and its place in the “economic heritage of auto row.”

As a landmark, the building will be afforded special protections and alterations to its exterior will be subject to review by the board. But the designation may not stave off development planned for the site.

A representative for real estate developer Legacy Commercial said it was too early to say what bearing the vote would have on his company’s plans to use Pike/Pine’s preservation incentives to create a 75-foot tall office building above street-level commercial space with the property. The building is owned by the Ellison family that founded the Value Village chain.

One likely next step could be an appeal of the board’s decision. Another representative for the developer called the Kelly-Springfield building “a middling example” of auto row-era architecture in asking the board not to support designation of the property.

CHS wrote about the Kelly-Springfield nomination here. The neighboring White Motor Company building — currently home to The Stranger — will take its turn in front of the board on January 21st after successfully moving through the first round of the landmarks process in December. In that session, the REI connection for the two buildings was firmly established and the board was swayed to consider not only the 1918 building’s exterior but also its classic auto row-era guts including the three-story structure’s impressive upper-story truss.

In voting for landmark status for the current home of Value Village Wednesday, the board cited the many letters it had received from the public in support of protecting the buildings and the connection to REI as a significant factor in the decision. “The building has industrial automotive significance,” one board member said. “Letters have expressed that the building conveys that significance.”

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8 thoughts on “Capitol Hill Value Village building with auto row and REI roots wins landmarks status but how much protection will it afford?

  1. This was a big step. I would like to see the city grant the landowner a zoning variance in the negotiation that will follow this ruling to build a taller building in the parking lot (ideally affordable housing and office space) in exchange for restoring the entire building inside and out. We need to figure out how to add density in a way that enhances the neighborhood rather than destroying it. Enough with the block-sized developments and facadism.

    • That is exactly the kind of density I want in my neighborhood. Narrower, taller buildings, and a better appreciation of old irreplaceable structures.

  2. It’d be nice if as part of this designation the buildings would still be renovated and the parking lot redeveloped. Seeing the renderings of the building without that horrible Value Village awning make it look drastically better.

    • I agree with you about that huge awning. It really detracts from the otherwise-beautiful façade of the building. It would be nice if Value Village would at least decrease its size.

  3. Pingback: Last chance to have your say (via email) on 11th/Pine as Seattle landmark | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  4. Pingback: Thanks to auto row and REI roots, The Stranger building to join neighboring Value Village as protected landmarks | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle