Only four firms left in bid to build Capitol Hill Station housing+retail sites

And then there were four. Following one bidder’s public drop from the running to develop the Capitol Hill Station housing and commercial sites, CHS has learned five other firms have also pulled out of the project. The Wolff Company decided not to submit a final proposal earlier this month, citing uncertainty around ownership and retail constraints leaving just four developers in the running to build all or part of the 100,000 square feet “transit oriented development” that will include housing, commercial, and a community spaces:

Capitol Hill Housing – Site B North

Gerding Edlen – Master developer for all sites

Jonathan Rose Companies/Capitol Hill Housing – Master developer for all sites

Lowe Enterprises – Sites A, B-South, and C

Dropped out of the race are The Wolff Company which had been pondering joining the competition for Site A, MacFarlane Partners which was making plans around a master developer role, Lennar Multifamily which dropped from Site B-South and Site C competition, Belwether Housing which cleared out of the Site B-North run, and Security Properties which dropped its bid for Site A.

The list of remaining bidders was the second part of CHS’s request to Sound Transit to obtain copies of the firm’s actual proposals. Sound Transit eventually denied the request. In an email to CHS, Sound Transit’s senior legal counsel Loren Armstrong explained why the proposals are exempt from public disclosure.

“This procurement is slightly different from a typical request for proposals,” she said. “Specifically, the submission and evaluation of proposals in this procurement is the first step in a process that for each parcel will culminate with the negotiation and execution of a unique purchase and sale agreement, with terms that are not yet defined.”

Sound Transit is expected to pick its developer(s) by January, at which time we should have some fresh project renderings in addition to details on how the project will take shape. Appraisals have placed the value of the Sound Transit properties at a combined $25 million. Continue reading

Artist’s giant hands getting ready to join kissing jets in Capitol Hill Station

(Image: Josh Kelety for CHS)

(Image: Josh Kelety for CHS)

Forney's Crossed Pinkies will soon become part of the landscape along Broadway

Forney’s Crossed Pinkies will soon become part of the landscape along Broadway

"Here’s a photo of me re-drawing the “Walking Fingers” design for the West Entry," Forney writes. (Image: Ellen Forney with permission to CHS)

“Here’s a photo of me re-drawing the “Walking Fingers” design for the West Entry,” Forney writes. (Image: Ellen Forney with permission to CHS)

As Capitol Hill Station is racing toward completion, so is progress on the public art that will eventually call the structure home. Meet Ellen Forney: a local cartoonist, Capitol Hill resident, and professor at Cornish College of the Arts who has joined the effort to beautify and humanize the future station.

She says the project is a “zillion” times bigger than anything she’s ever done.

“The brush lines are going to be like these thick ropes,” Forney tells CHS. “I just can’t wait to see it. It makes me giddy.”

Forney has designed two massive murals to be displayed in the North and West entrances of the Sound Transit light rail station now under construction along Broadway. One is called “Crossed Pinkies” which is 40 feet long and 13 feet high, and will hang in the North entrance overlooking John Street. The other piece for the Broadway entrance, “Walking Fingers”, will be 20 feet by 28 feet.

Forney, originally from Philadelphia, has been a professional cartoonist illustrator since the early 1990s, and has dabbled in a variety of other artistic mediums since then. She landed the light rail station gig back in 2008 after submitting a series of paintings of hands in provocative positions to Sound Transit — paintings which had originally been featured in the 2007 Seattle Erotic Art Festival. The series was called Big Fucking Hands.

“I really like to be … suggestive, even explicit, but not necessarily graphic or representational. So even when the hands were doing very sexual things, it was just the hands,” says Forney. “Hands have so much personality.”

Walking Fingers will stand  20-feet high

Walking Fingers will stand 20-feet high

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Capitol Hill Station retail and housing: $25M price tag, one developer drops out, plans due in December

We'll be seeing more proposals for the development around Capitol Hill Station soon. Here's one rendering from a past American Institute of Architecture Students project.

We’ll be seeing more proposals for the development around Capitol Hill Station soon. Here’s one rendering from a past American Institute of Architecture Students project.

Developers have finally submitted their proposals for the four sites that will make up the retail, housing, and community surrounding the Capitol Hill light rail station. Sound Transit says it is now reviewing plans submitted by the shortlisted teams. Officials must also decide if the four parcels should be developed separately, or if one firm will act as “master developer” for the 100,000 square feet “transit oriented development” that will include housing, commercial, and a community spaces. There’s also an official price tag now: $25 million.

Sound Transit’s initial property valuations were echoed by the agency’s outside analyst, which released a detailed appraisal of all five sites last week. The appraisals by Valbridge Property Advisors gives an interesting, albeit dry glimpse into the kind of work that goes on behind the scenes in the very early stages of planning many Capitol Hill developments.

In addition to considering constraints of the community development agreement, the appraiser evaluated how the neighborhood and transit-centered location would increase the property’s value. The report also analyzed nearby property sales:Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 3.47.59 PM

In total, the four TOD properties were valued at $25 million. Here’s how the appraisals break down:

Site A: $9.1 million
Site B North: $2.8 million
Site B South: $6.2 million
Site C: $6.9 million

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Piece by piece, Broadway’s Red Wall is finally coming down

We've been through a lot with this guy (Image: CHS)

We’ve been through a lot with this guy (Image: CHS)

More than five years after the demolitions that kicked off the massive project, the Capitol Hill Sound Transit light rail station is entering its final months of construction. As the station rises between John and Denny on Broadway, the various murals and art installations that have decorated the exterior of the surrounding plywood “Red Wall” are slowly coming down piece by piece.

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

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CHS Community Post | Capitol Hill business owners to Sound Transit site developers: Make it unique

Panel Members Left to Right: Karen True (Pioneer Square Alliance), Moderator Michael Wells (Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce), Binko Chiong-Bisbee (Kobo), Tracy Taylor (Elliott Bay Book Company), Michael Oaksmith (Hunters Capital), Linda Derschang (The Derschang Group), Chip Ragen (Ragen Associates), Tim Farrell (Tarragon).

Panel Members Left to Right: Karen True (Pioneer Square Alliance), Moderator Michael Wells (Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce), Binko Chiong-Bisbee (Kobo), Tracy Taylor (Elliott Bay Book Company), Michael Oaksmith (Hunters Capital), Linda Derschang (The Derschang Group), Chip Ragen (Ragen Associates), Tim Farrell (Tarragon).

2014_9 Broadway Retail Panel 2As a reminder, anybody can post to CHS. You can find our latest contributions in the CHS Community section. Posts of high quality and interest may be shared on the CHS homepage. Thanks to all community contributors for being part of CHS! CHS reported on the “transit oriented development” process at Capitol Hill Station here: Developers vying to build Capitol Hill Station housing+retail say properties are overvalued

By Michelle Hippler, Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, the Capitol Hill Champions hosted a Broadway Retail Panel Luncheon at the Capitol Hill Library where neighborhood business owners spoke candidly to the developers who will bid on the prime real estate above the Link light rail station on Broadway. The resounding message was that developers have to get it right, and that means thinking more creatively about the retail spaces.

The bottom line, as Linda Derschang (Linda’s, Oddfellows, Smith, et. al.) put it: what really created the thriving Pike/Pine corridor business district was the high rent on Broadway. Pike/Pine happened because “nobody small and new could afford Broadway anymore.” Fast-forward to 2014 and even she is nervous about signing a long-term lease for Linda’s Tavern on Pine where the rent is expected to triple within a few years and the landlord refuses to make any improvements. “Will the renters filling up all these new apartments come to Linda’s? Will all the indie rockers move away?”

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With eye on 2016 Capitol Hill light rail, plans readied to integrate Metro, Sound Transit service — UPDATE

Escalators leading up to mezzanine level of the UW light rail station (Image: CHS)

Escalators leading up to mezzanine level of the UW light rail station (Image: CHS)

King County Executive Dow Constantine will be at the University of Washington light rail station construction site Wednesday afternoon to announce the “initial results” of planning “to integrate services provided by the region’s two largest transit agencies” — King County’s Metro and Sound Transit.

“It is essential for transit agencies with overlapping jurisdictions to fully integrate their services, and provide them to the public as efficiently as possible,” Constantine said in a statement on the planning earlier this summer following his executive order forcing the process. “Long term, our transportation future requires both adequate revenue and continuous innovation to expand service. This initiative advances the innovation half of that equation.”

UPDATE: The release plan includes possible proposals to revise Metro Route 8 and create or revise Capitol Hill routes to better connect the Broadway light rail station to South Lake Union and First Hill. More details below. Continue reading

Sound Transit issues clarifications for Capitol Hill Station development proposals as cost concerns mount

Lots of concrete got pumped in to help complete Capitol Hill Station this spring and summer. Lots of money will need to be pumped in to complete the "transit oriented development" around the station (Image: Sound Transit)

Lots of concrete got pumped in to help complete Capitol Hill Station this spring and summer. Lots of money will need to be pumped in to complete the “transit oriented development” around the station (Image: Sound Transit)

As the projected start date for construction of the apartment complexes and businesses that will populate the area surrounding the Capitol Hill light rail station approaches in coming years, Sound Transit has released clarifications of many of the rules governing how the short-list of potential developers will outline project proposals for the developments. According to Cathy Hillenbrand of the Capitol Hill Champion community group, Sound Transit has provided new information about how the proposals will be graded and selected as well as aspects of the design process.

“What I’ve been hearing is that the developers will be having to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars if not more just to complete these proposals just because of the level of design-detail Sound Transit wants,” said Hillenbrand. “So if you’re one of the six teams competing for Site A, that’s not a great percentage of chance for winning, so are you going to lay out hundreds of thousands of dollars for that?”CHStation-TOD-area-600x467-1 Continue reading

Location, location, location — and proximity to transit: Developers line up Broadway post office site for 5-story apartment building

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 8.07.18 PM

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

The “long-term holders” who purchased the building home to Capitol Hill’s post office in 2012 are lining up plans to build a five-story apartment building on the Broadway site.

Mark Craig, of Bartell’s real estate investment subsidiary Henbart which bought the property in 2012 for $3 million, confirmed the start of the public development process for the corner building home to the U.S. Post Office Broadway branch.

“We’re real excited about the location and the proximity to transit,” Craig said. UPDATE: Henbart is owned by the Bartell’s family but is not a subsidiary of the drugstore chain. Sorry for the mistake.

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Capitol Hill Station’s crane ready to depart Broadway’s skyline after 3 1/2 years

Capitol Hill Station's shell now rises above the Broadway construction walls. Time to say goodbye to the crane. (Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill Station’s shell now rises above the Broadway construction walls. Time to say goodbye to the crane. (Image: CHS)

Construction signs warned the Hill to be ready for a long haul back in December 2009 (Image: CHS)

Construction signs warned the Hill to be ready for a long haul back in December 2009 (Image: CHS)

A part of the neighborhood skyline for nearly 1,300 days is slated to wave its 250-foot arm goodbye to Capitol Hill this month. The giant crane purchased by Sound Transit contractors that has helped build Capitol Hill Station and the U-Link light rail tunnels beneath Capitol Hill will be taken down, disassembled, and transported north to help build a new station in Roosevelt.

Sound Transit says it will require approximately 20 trucks to cart the giant crane. More information about the crane’s August removal will be announced soon. The Krøll 1800 (Capitol Hill’s is the metric model) was set up with its enormous 250-foot jib about 100 feet off the ground. The model can be as tall as 200 feet. It can lift more than 30,000 pounds at full extension and more than 130,000 when operating at a shorter radius, according to the manufacturer. Continue reading

Blue Angels above Seattle, Jet Kiss below Capitol Hill

Mike Ross and crew in 2010 after after receiving the A14 fighter jet for the future installation in Capitol Hill Station (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

Mike Ross and crew in 2010 after after receiving the A4 fighter jet for the future installation in Capitol Hill Station (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

The return of fighter jets above the skies of Seattle has CHS thinking about the fighter jets destined to fly together underneath Capitol Hill.

For the Blue Angels, here’s when to make sure your babies, pets, and skittish friends are in a safe place over the next few days:

2014 – I-90 Seafair and Blue Angels Closures
The annual Seafair festival begins when the pirates land the first week of July and ends with the Blue Angels flying over Lake Washington in a spectacular display of aeronautics. The Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) role is to make sure drivers and pilots are safe during the annual event.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires WSDOT to close Interstate 90 while the Blue Angels perform for the safety of both drivers and pilots.

Which roads and ramps will be closed?

Interstate 90 will be closed to all vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, eastbound and westbound, mainline and express lanes, between Interstate 5 in Seattle to Island Crest Way on Mercer Island:

  • Thursday, July 31: 9:45 a.m. – noon; 1:15 – 2:40 p.m. (Practice)
  • Friday, Aug. 1:  12:15 p.m. – 2:40 p.m., (Practice)
  • Saturday, Aug. 2:  12:15 p.m. – 2:40 p.m., (Full show)
  • Sunday, Aug. 3:  12:15 p.m. – 2:40 p.m., (Full show)

Below ground and slated to hang above the boarding platform with the opening of Capitol Hill Station in 2016, Jet Kiss by artist Mike Ross features two A14 fighter jets deconstructed and re-assembled in a kind of frozen mid-air embrace. “This monumental sculpture is created from two decommissioned A-4 Skyhawk fighter jets,” Ross wrote of his creation.

The jet was one of a pair taken apart and reconfigured for the sculpture (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

The jet was one of a pair taken apart and reconfigured for the sculpture (Image: Kat Nyberg Photography with permission to CHS)

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