WSDOT to present Montlake Market ‘preservation options’

Washington Department of Transportation officials are holding a public meeting Wednesday to discuss its $455.3 million “520 Montlake Project” and community calls for solutions to save the much-loved Montlake Market.

CHS reported in October on the higher construction bid for the project to create an improved Montlake Boulevard interchange, a landscaped lid over SR 520, a bicycle and pedestrian “land bridge” east of the lid, and a three-lane West Approach Bridge South over Union Bay for eastbound traffic.

Construction is slated to start in early 2019 start and the work could wrap up as early as 2023.

Neighbors continue to call on WSDOT to “save” the market as it expects to take over the property “needed for public use” later this year.

State officials have said the property will be “impacted” by the new 520 design including a changing grade around a planned onramp that will eliminate any possibility of the gas station in the lot returning. WSDOT has not closed the door on the market somehow remaining as part of the corner after construction is complete.

The Montlake Blvd Market, or Hop-In as old-timers and those with deeper Montlake roots might call it, lists an opening year of 1936. The property also has been the location of things like the neighborhood Christmas tree lot and many a charity car wash. The property’s owner has been Lynne Parrott, a Clyde Hill resident and Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman, Jr.’s niece, according to King County records. The property has a taxable value of around $1.4 million.

WSDOT has posted a “questions and answers” document about preserving the market. In it, officials address one of the issues repeatedly raised in community concern about the coming construction. Sorry, WSDOT says, but they’re not going to eliminate a new Montlake lid over 520. And, even if they did, it wouldn’t help. “The Montlake lid, whether built or not, has no direct effect on the Montlake Market building,” the document reads. “The rebuilt Montlake Boulevard overpass will have to be elevated about 4.5 feet to meet the federally required clearance above the roadway, comply with current structural codes, and accommodate site constraints.”

Join us Wednesday for 2nd public meeting regarding the Montlake Market

The WSDOT SR 520 Program is hosting a public meeting this Wednesday, Jan. 30, to share information and gather community feedback on potential scenarios and tradeoffs associated with our efforts to preserve the Montlake Market building.

Meeting topics will include:

  • Recap of our November 2018 public meeting on the Montlake Market property
  • How WSDOT evaluated various ideas for preserving the market building
  • Overview of Graham Contracting Ltd.’s preliminary Montlake Project design
  • Potential scenarios for preserving the market building
  • Technical constraints and tradeoffs associated with the scenarios
  • Montlake Market property soil-testing update
  • Next steps

Meeting Details:

Date/Time: Wednesday, Jan. 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
WSDOT presentation at 5:40, followed by Q&A sessions and small-group discussions

Location: St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
2100 Boyer Ave. E., Seattle, WA 98112

Parking: Limited free parking is available onsite.

Transit: Bus routes 43, 48, 255, 311, and 545 serve the Montlake/SR 520 area. The U Link light-rail station at Husky Stadium is about one mile from St. Demetrios Church.


Call: 206-770-3554 (M-F; 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

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13 thoughts on “WSDOT to present Montlake Market ‘preservation options’

      • So… I was curious. I have a car, but I almost never put gas in it in the city 1) I rarely voluntarily drive short distances or around the city, so I don’t find myself running low around my own neighborhood 2) it’s way more expensive here than out in the sticks, which is where I’m generally headed. What did I find? Gas stations are being killed by upzoning….

        “Some gas stations are attractive to developers because they sit on land that has been upzoned for six to eight stories, making them good sites for apartments,” said Al Dams, chief deputy assessor for the county.

        “With the citywide upzone that’s in the works—which will impact 27 neighborhoods and commercial districts in Seattle—gas stations occupy space that’s about to become even more valuable. They’re situated in areas zoned for buildings many stories higher than a slanted Chevron roof dares to go.

        “Essentially, the land in some places is worth so much,” Dams said, “that a gas station is not the highest and best use of the land.”

      • How does a corner store being demolished to make way for an on-ramp to an expanded highway factor into the whole “war on cars” narrative?

        You’re not making a great deal of sense.

      • How does a corner store being demolished to make way for an on-ramp to an expanded highway factor into the whole “war on cars” narrative?

        The dwindling few people that still thump their chests about the “war on cars” (also known as Monson-ites) are not rooted in reality and typically can’t be reasoned with.

    • CD Neighbor nails it. Pretty much any single story building is at imminent risk of redevelopment. Property is taxed on nighest and best use. That means it is all to be mixed use apartments over retail.

  1. It continues to amaze me that wsdot doesn’t actually appear to have a holistic plan for the end to end project, or apparently a budget either. Montlake was to get a lid, now it has a huge hole in it. No one seems to know what the portage bay section looks like. Do we get a lid on delmar ? One plan even showed a lid over I5.

    Wsdot grinds down opposition by proposing endless variants and never reveals its preferred plan

  2. The market has a pretty good sized grocery section, larger than the nearby Mont’s Market. Google Maps shows no full sized groceries less than an 30 minute walk away.

    Loss of the market would have a significant on local shopping.

  3. Nothing the wants of few to impact the needs of many. Next, they’ll complain it took too long and/or was too expensive. Just like the clowns in their cars whining about the traffic they created.

    One of WSDOT’s options should be a bulldozer through the front door of the place.

    • This store is very important to the neighborhood. It is an actual grocery store. It has an area that high school and University students is to study. It has a great deli, wine, and beer. We know the names of the clerk’s. On Saturdays in the fall football fans use the lots to tailgate, party, and have good fun. It’s a slice of old Seattle, and out neighborhood loves it. To lose it just so equipment can be parked during construction is a shame. The state owns huge parking lots just on the other side of the bridge. Those can be used. This isn’t an anti-progress post at all, so please don’t take it that way. This is a quality of life post. Destroying the market had nothing to do with the actual 520 expansion, it’s just a staging area. Once the project was done the property was going to be sold off.

      • The quality of life has been destroyed all over Seattle. It’s not a value of the decision makers, developers and tech companies. It’s sad but it’s too late.

  4. I grew up in Montlake (across the street from the playfield), and at that time my Mom would sometimes order items from this market, and they delivered…..WAY before the current trend for grocery delivery by Amazon and others. I also remember a pancake house, which was situated just north of the market, where the 520 offramp is today.

    The traffic congestion through that area is already very bad at times…..can’t imagine what it will be like during construction!

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