A former chocolate factory that operated on Capitol Hill for 21 years is slated to be torn down and replaced by an ultra-environmentally friendly, mixed-use development just down the street from one of the greenest buildings in the world.
A familiar Capitol Hill development team is in the early stages of planning one of the city’s first Passive House certified, mixed-use buildings where Fran’s Chocolate once made its home at 13th and E Pike. The Weber Thompson designs call for a six-story, 55-unit building above 2,400 square feet of retail space, and no underground parking.
“I really think this is the way of the future, to think about the buildings we build and their impact on the environment,” developer Maria Barrientos tells CHS.
While it will be green, don’t expect the rents to be cheap.
Along with Barrientos, Cascade Built is hoping the 1300 E Pike project can follow up the success of its 25th Ave E development, View Haus 5 — Seattle’s first townhouse to meet the standards set by Passive House Institute US. Passive buildings are required to be extremely airtight and insulated to minimize energy use, and costs 5%-10% more over regular construction, according to PHIUS.
The new project won’t fall in its shadow but will have a view of the Bullitt Center, the 15th and Madison project that achieved recognition last fall as the world’s first living building. While many had hoped the Bullitt would be part of a chain of eco-friendly development across Capitol Hill, so far it has been more of an island.
Fran’s CEO Andrina Bigelow still owns the 1300 E Pike property and told CHS in 2013 she was interested in opening a Fran’s retail shop in the space. However, a representative for Cascade said it was unlikely the chocolatier would decide to make a return.
The Bigelow family does intend to retain ownership of the property and was the driving force behind using the development to be as green as possible, Barrientos told CHS. The prolific Seattle developer said she was drawn to the project after the Bigelows presented the opportunity to stretch beyond her development comfort zone.
Fran’s left its original manufacturing space on Capitol Hill in 2014 and relocated to the original Rainier Brewery in Georgetown.
The development team met with members of the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council last week to give an overview of the project and discuss their plans to mostly demolish the existing 1926-built structure. Developers are not planning to leverage preservation incentives offered through the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District, although Barrientos said they may retain some structural elements.
The district provides height incentives to developers that agree to preserve the street-level facade and basic dimensions of historic neighborhood buildings integrated into new, mixed-use developments.
P/PUNC chair John Feit said the organization will be supporting the project. “There’s no controversy here. We were supportive of it,” Feit said.
The developers will take their first turn before the Design Review Board on March 16th.