It may be a first for Seattle development: overhauling an old apartment building to create new microhousing. By combining two Seattle development trends at a legendary E Summit building, one developer thinks he may have found a solution to create some much sought after affordable housing on Capitol Hill.
In some ways, a microhousing renovation project would be back to the future for the Summit Inn. The history of tiny, affordable rooms for rent goes back well beyond the recent aPodment-powered trend. The Summit In was built 115 years ago for single room occupancy units.
Developer Brad Padden told CHS he plans to start the estimated $2.5 million renovation in October and have units ready to rent by next summer. The plan is to add one story to the building and transform the building to a mix of dorm-style congregate units and “small efficiency dwelling units” with individual kitchens.
Padden paid $2.9 million for the property late last year.
The combined $5.4 million project could very well be the first of its kind in Seattle, according to a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Planning and Development. There are no regulations that specifically prohibit both congregates and SEDUs going in a renovated building, said the spokesperson.
CHS wrote about the part DIY madhouse, part Capitol Hill artist collective Summit Inn last year, and followed up in January after rents increased $100 when Padden took over from longtime owner Pete Sikov. Many of the Inn’s current residents aren’t happy about the changes and the loss of one of the last DIY-inspired buildings on the Hill. In January, the Slummit Block Party, LLC was a music-filled protest and party to say goodbye to the old days at the Inn. The artists at The In NW Arts, another of Sikov’s Capitol Hill properties, say they are awaiting a similar fate.
Padden says he’s genuinely interested in finding ways to keep artists at The Summit Inn and thinks “socially conscious entrepreneurs” like himself may be able to come up with innovative solutions to do it. “I would love for (artists) to be who would like this building,” Padden said.
Over the years, tenants at the Summit Inn were given more-or-less free rein to augment the building. Padden said he recently discovered a secret grow room built into one of the units. He also said the building is in immediate need of significant upgrades before tenants are forced to move out this fall.
The 1700 block of Summit is one of Capitol Hill’s last remaining pockets of lower income housing, where musicians and public housing residents live across the street from buildings housing high concentrations of sex offenders and others making the transition from time behind bars. A revamped Summit Inn could be the first of many changes for the block. Padden said he’s also looked at buying the Curben Hotel next-door.
As for the old crop of artists and musicians that called the Summit Inn home, Padden said he hopes some of them can return. In the meantime, Padden said he wanted to continue an open dialogue with Inn residents and is even planning to hold a discussion on KUOW with Rich Dillard, the Inn’s former manager.
What will the rents be in the Summit Inn once the microhousing overhaul is complete? Padden said he won’t know until he gets a better idea of the renovation costs and any overruns on the planned budget.