Pike Motorworks block ready to leave history of auto row contamination behind

It’s nowhere as interesting as last month’s news that big ol’ Redhook is building a brewpub and “small-batch” brewery inside the Pike Motorworks development but it is a reminder of the property’s auto row past and the environmental reviews required to make the Capitol Hill block comply with environmental health statutes.

The Department of Ecology is taking public comment on the proposed removal of the “environmental covenant” on the E Pike property as a last step of certifying that restrictions can be lifted after a petroleum, lead and cadmium clean-up process.

The demolition, facade preservation, and redevelopment on the block included the removal of four underground storage tanks and about 20,600 tons of contaminated soil, the Department of Ecology said in the announcement, below. The department says soil tests have “confirmed that the site complies with Washington’s cleanup standards” and that the property “no longer poses a threat to human health or the environment.”

A spokesperson for the department told CHS in 2009 that the contaminated material from the building’s automobile industry past has been contained but not removed from the site and that the land would be subject to ongoing reviews to check for any change in condition.

Public comment on the proposed change to the restrictions on the property is due by December 10th.

Meanwhile now that the block’s past has been taken care of in an ecological sense, it’s time to look to the future. CHS is told that Redhook will need to go through a clean air review for its proposed E Pike brewing operation. The process should be similar to what Starbucks faced as it opened its roastery at Melrose and Pike. A hearing with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency in spring 2014 brought few complaints against the coffee giant’s plans.

The full announcement from the Department of Ecology on the proposed removal of the restrictive covenant is below:

The Department of Ecology proposes to remove restrictions on a Seattle property because the site has been shown to meet state cleanup standards that protect public health and the environment.

The site, the former BMW Seattle Pike Street facility, located at 714 E. Pike St. and 715 E. Pine St., contained petroleum, lead and cadmium contamination in its soil. The cleanup process in the late 1990s, under Ecology’s Voluntary Cleanup Program, included a formal environmental covenant on the property’s deed because some contamination remained under the building.

The deed restriction required notice to Ecology before modifying or removing the building.

Demolition of the building and redevelopment of the site earlier this year included the removal of four underground storage tanks and about 20,600 tons of contaminated soil. Soil tests confirmed that the site complies with Washington’s cleanup standards.

Ecology has determined that the property no longer poses a threat to human health or the environment and requires no further restrictions on its use. Before removing the covenant, placed on the property’s deed in 1999, Ecology invites public comment until Dec. 10, 2015.

For details and contact information, please see Ecology’s fact sheet, under Electronic Documents at:

https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=1055

Direct link to fact sheet: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/DocViewer.ashx?did=51127

People with comments or technical questions may direct them to Gene Freeman, Site Manager, Dept. of Ecology, 3190 160th Av. SE, Bellevue WA 98998; 425-649-7191; Eugene.Freeman@ecy.wa.gov.

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