With plans for seven stories next to Optimism Brewing, developer scores one of last available chunks on backside of Pike/Pine

E Union’s next mixed-use development above an old auto row property won’t bother with preservation.

American Classic Homes has purchased the old Complete Automotive garage in the 900 block of E Union for $1.8 million with plans to develop a seven-story, mixed-use apartment building on the site.

“This is our first Capitol Hill project and we’re excited about the location and being part of the neighborhood,” John Shaw of American Classic Homes said in a statement sent to CHS. “We’re starting to think about the design and how we’d approach the retail — our goal would be to add a restaurant at the ground-level, which will complement the existing mix of great local retail.”

The parcel is one of the last chunks of land available in this area on the backside of Pike/Pine that has seen a rapid wave of development creating giant preservation-incentive boosted projects and some smaller, but equally incredible investments in auto row-loyal overhauls that have created homes for the area’s burgeoning food and drink scene.

A spokesperson for American Classic Homes said it is too early to say what restaurant might be lined up for the more than 3,000 square feet of retail planned for the new building. The housing is being planned as a mix of 50 “micro units,” one bedroom, and studios. There will be no parking.

The 1,800 square-foot garage on the property at E Union at Broadway Ct dates to 1918, according to King County records. It had been owned by the same family since 1986. While demolition is the future of the old garage, across Broadway Ct, the Complete Automotive showroom now glistens as Capitol Hill’s Optimism Brewing. The 16,000 square-foot brewery opened in November 2015. CHS talked to Optimism ownership earlier this year about the $6.5 million purchase of the old auto row building and its preservation-friendly overhaul in the shadow of less faithful auto row reproductions powered by the Pike/Pine Conservation District incentives.

The planned project from American Classic Homes will have another example to its south of auto row preservation. The Central Agency building reopened in 2014 after a major restoration with longtime 12th Ave restaurant Lark moving in to anchor the development. Soon, the building will also be home to a new project from Heritage Distilling.

The 953 E Union project, meanwhile, won’t open for at least two years given the 18 months minimum usually required to complete design review and construction. By then, it will probably have a few more projects in motion nearby as these lost blocks between Pike/Pine and Seattle University fill in.

UPDATE 1/30/2017: The company has publicly announced the project as a SeaLevel Properties development saying the site will likely break ground in early 2018:

East Union Site to Energize One of Last Available Sites in Pike/Pine Corridor
Located at 953 East Union in the heart of the Pike/Pine Corridor, along what was once called ‘auto row’ in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the SeaLevel Properties team will break ground on a new 59-unit, 32,000 sq. ft. apartment building by early 2018. The building is slated to open in 2019.

Featuring seven stories and a 3,000 sq. ft. ground-level restaurant space, the project will include studio and one-bedroom units. In accordance with City building code, the building will not include on-site parking, but will feature bike storage on each residential floor, and a roof top deck with views of both the Space Needle and Mt. Rainer.

Additionally, the project is situated along a ‘green street’ on 10th Ave. —giving priority to pedestrian circulation and walkability.

“We’re really excited about this location and our first project in Capitol Hill,” said Shaw. “This will be a high-quality project that reflects the neighborhood’s priorities. As such, we are seeking a restaurant for the ground-level retail to further activate the green street and add to the wonderful experience of living in Capital Hill.”

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11 thoughts on “With plans for seven stories next to Optimism Brewing, developer scores one of last available chunks on backside of Pike/Pine

    • Yes, “*sigh*” really helps the conversation. I totally understand what you mean. It means “*sigh*, I love that old falling apart auto garage, such a shame that a beautiful building like that can’t be preserved.” Or maybe it’s “*sigh*, I hate all new development of housing, even thought it’ll help address the ongoing housing shortage in our city.” Or maybe it’s “*sigh*, I really need a haircut…”

  1. Only six stories in a vibrant, centrally-located, transit-saturated, beer-brewing part of town? What a missed opportunity. Just a couple of blocks away is the site of the 16-story Whole Foods tower. Build bigger. Our city needs more housing.

  2. None of this is “addressing the shortage of housing.” It just throws more neighborhood construction and disruption at those who live and/or work in the area with the end result of more luxury housing beyond the reach of all but the very highly paid. Its profit based development given a green light. Essentially, its just more gentrification at all costs.

    • One bedroom and studio rental apartments don’t really sound like ‘luxury housing’. Will you have to have a regular job to live in this new project in one of the most sought after locations in the city? Probably, but not the highest paid jobs. And yes, it is profit based development given a ‘green light’ by purchasing an under-valued property, taking the risk of developing it per Seattle zoning and building codes and trying to make some money. Not too sure why that is so egregious.

  3. Always glad for more housing and retail spaces. However, reviewing their website shows generic, faux-craftsman, cheap looking suburban tract homes. I hope to god they get some consultant or architect who understands the neighborhood and makes this project fit with at least some bit of pride in design.

    Also, I am hoping they lease the retail/restaurant space to something local and good, not some shitty Subway or Chase branch.