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.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill Value Village building with auto row and REI roots wins landmarks status but how much protection will it afford?

REI called 11th Ave home during its early growth as a retailing giant (Image: REI)

REI called 11th Ave home during its early growth as a retailing giant (Image: REI)

You already knew this but Capitol Hill’s Value Village is a landmark.

Or it will be after a City Council vote.

Wednesday afternoon, the Seattle Landmarks Board voted 9-0 to designate the historic Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company building as an official Seattle landmark saying the building held special significance in the neighborhood due to its history in the early years of REI and its place in the “economic heritage of auto row.”

As a landmark, the building will be afforded special protections and alterations to its exterior will be subject to review by the board. But the designation may not stave off development planned for the site.

A representative for real estate developer Legacy Commercial said it was too early to say what bearing the vote would have on his company’s plans to use Pike/Pine’s preservation incentives to create a 75-foot tall office building above street-level commercial space with the property. The building is owned by the Ellison family that founded the Value Village chain.

One likely next step could be an appeal of the board’s decision. Another representative for the developer called the Kelly-Springfield building “a middling example” of auto row-era architecture in asking the board not to support designation of the property.

CHS wrote about the Kelly-Springfield nomination here. The neighboring White Motor Company building — currently home to The Stranger — will take its turn in front of the board on January 21st after successfully moving through the first round of the landmarks process in December. In that session, the REI connection for the two buildings was firmly established and the board was swayed to consider not only the 1918 building’s exterior but also its classic auto row-era guts including the three-story structure’s impressive upper-story truss.

In voting for landmark status for the current home of Value Village Wednesday, the board cited the many letters it had received from the public in support of protecting the buildings and the connection to REI as a significant factor in the decision. “The building has industrial automotive significance,” one board member said. “Letters have expressed that the building conveys that significance.”

Board set to decide landmark protections for first of two 11th Ave auto row buildings with REI history

Screen-Shot-2014-11-18-at-12.41.12-PM-600x400Wednesday is a big day for the 1917-built 11th Ave building currently home to Value Village as the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board meets to consider whether the structure should qualify for protections that could end plans to redevelop the property.

Public comment will be part of the Wednesday session — note the room change — but you can also add your thoughts via email to Pike/Pine coordinator Sarah Sodt — sarah.sodt@seattle.gov by Tuesday afternoon.

Landmarks Preservation Board Meeting

Seattle Municipal Tower

700 5th Avenue, **17th Floor**

**Room 1756**

Wednesday, January 7, 2015 – 3:30 p.m.

In December, CHS reported that — thanks to REI history and the building’s auto row legacy —  the Kelly-Springfield building and its neighboring White Motor Company building currently home to The Stranger and the Rhino Room had advanced to the next round in the city’s process to determine if the structures should qualify for protections that would limit changes to the external features of the buildings. Additionally, the board will consider the White Motor building for possible internal protections when it considers that property later this month.

CHS wrote about the nomination of the Kelly-Springfield building here in November. An effort to advocate for protecting the properties has been joined by neighborhood groups and supported by REI, the Seattle-based outdoor gear company that traces its roots back through its first major growth on Capitol Hill.

The hearings on the properties has included some concern about decorative elements removed from the buildings prior to the nominations. During the December hearing for the White Motor Company building, the representative for the developers said she was concerned members of the public had “accused” her clients of “removing elements” and that allegations in written comments received by the board that the building’s owners had acted to damage the structure’s possible standing as an official landmark were “patently false” and “without any evidence or basis in fact.” In January 2014, CHS reported that workers had removed decorative rosettes the previous fall and that representatives for the property owner and developer told the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council that the elements were removed so that they could be preserved and restored to the building as part of a new 75-foot-high, nearly-100,000 square-foot office project planned for the land at the corner.

Capitol Hill Ferrari dealer buys auto-row era classic, former Callahan’s Auto shop on Madison

A $2.2 million prize on E Madison (Images: CHS)

A $2.2 million prize on E Madison (Images: CHS)

Through the glass at Ferrari and Maserati of Seattle's current showroom at 12th and Union. The reflection is yet another mixed-use development across the street.

Through the glass at Ferrari and Maserati of Seattle’s current showroom at 12th and Union. The reflection is yet another mixed-use development under construction across the street.

After Callahan’s Auto shop left Capitol Hill in January, the 14th and Madison building appeared to be a prime candidate for Capitol Hill’s next auto-row era redevelopment project. But for the time being, it looks like the building will stay true to its auto roots.

CHS has learned that Ferrari and Maserati of Seattle has purchased the longtime automobile garage for $2.25 million. Ferrari’s general manager Tino Perrina tells CHS he is still exploring his options for the space, which could include a new showroom or a service area. He also said a major redevelopment project — like the ones underway throughout Pike/Pine including across the street from the 12th Ave Ferrari showroom — was probably not in the cards.

“We want to keep the look and feel of the building how it is now,” he said. Continue reading