Modera set to be sixth new building planned for three blocks of 11th Ave

(Images: Mill Creek Residential)

The design packet describes this as the “perspective view from Hothouse” (Images: Mill Creek Residential)

Plans for a sixth development project within a two and a half-block stretch of 11th Ave will move forward Wednesday night as the Modera building takes what will likely be its final bow in front of the East Design Review Board.

The project being developed by Mill Creek Residential and designed by Studio Meng Strazzara will create 135 units in a six-story building destined to replace the parking lot behind the Caffe Vita row of businesses and the old Winston apartment building home to Wildrose and Hothouse sauna. Don’t worry about the loss of one of the last of Pike/Pine’s parking lots. The building will have a massive underground parking facility with room for 124 cars and 40 bikes. And, yes, there will be 6,000+ square feet of commercial space ready to accommodate yet another addition to the Pike/Pine entertainment district.

The goal of it all, the developers say, is to create “a market-rate rental community” appealing “to a wide range of Capitol Hill neighborhood dwellers” –

The development will be designed in context with the distinguished character of the surrounding neighborhood in architectural elements, building scale, and massing. We are committed to using quality, long-lasting materials, and an aesthetic design that appeals to and blends with the neighborhood.

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Booming rental market has kept phones ringing at Tenants Union — Plenty of calls from Capitol Hill

The Whitworth Apartments, where some rents rose 20% last year (Image: Cadence Real Estate)

The Whitworth Apartments, where some rents rose 20% last year (Image: Cadence Real Estate)

As rents on Capitol Hill continue to rise at breakneck rates, so are complaints of landlords trying to displace the residents paying those rents. Jonathan Grant, executive director of the Tenants Union, told CHS that calls about rent increases have become the top issue on the organization’s tenant’s rights hotline.

“In the last three years we’ve seen rising rents and displacement becoming the number one issue in Seattle,” he said.
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Capitol Hill ‘Construction Hub’ designed to keep people moving through development wave


Living, walking, and doing business on Capitol Hill isn’t always easy amid the forest of construction cranes that sometimes feels like it has taken over the neighborhood. But the City of Seattle says it is working to coordinate construction project in key areas of the city, including Capitol Hill.

SDOT_Construction_Hubs_Boundary_Map4.8.14-1024x662SDOT’s Construction Hub Coordination Program was launched this spring to help keep residents and local businesses moving even with unprecedented numbers of construction projects underway in Seattle:

The hub team of project and on-site coordinators assess permitted construction holistically, across public and private lines, in areas with multiple simultaneous construction projects in close proximity—otherwise known as construction hubs.

Capitol Hill’s current hub boundaries are defined as a north-south rectangle from E Harrison to E Madison between Broadway and 15th Ave: Continue reading

Project 2014 artfully documents master plan to redevelop late-’90s Capitol Hill

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.20.11 AMCity Arts magazine art director and Hillebrity Dan Paulus “wanted to document, as accurately as possible, the change that has swept across” Capitol Hill in the decades he has lived here. Armed with a turn-of-the-millenium architect’s map of the neighborhood, Paulus set about creating Project 2013 2014:

So I spent a weekend riding my bike up and down every street—from I-5 to 15th Ave. E and E Roy St. to E Union St.—
noting any buildings that appeared to be from the early-’90s, any that I knew had been built in the past few years, and Proposed Land Use Actions for any future developments that were in the works. It was amazing to reconnect with and rediscover the neighborhood I thought I knew so well. (How long have those Hobbit cottages on the North end of Bellevue Ave. been there?)

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Project 2014 is a 22-year master plan aimed at transforming the face of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood in a manner that would maximize financial potential by replacing structures deemed no longer conducive to the city’s long-term economic goals.

(Images: Project 2014)

(Images: Project 2014)

He writes about his alternate reality creation that reimagines the piecemeal redevelopment of the Hill as some sort of master plan and name-drops a few Capitol Hill haunts past here – Proposed Land Use Action. “To report errors or order your own print,” the article notes, “contact danp@cityartsmagazine.com.”

Sidewalk signs hyping Capitol Hill apartments hit with Independence Day weekend blackout tagging protest

A 15th Ave victim

A 15th Ave victim

 In the meantime, the Central District has taken anti-development angst into a much more creative direction.

In the meantime, the Central District has taken anti-development angst into a much more creative direction.

We don’t know exactly what set it off but somebody was busy with a spray can over the 4th of July weekend tagging a-frame sidewalk advertisements for various Capitol Hill apartment complexes from 19th Ave E to Pike/Pine.

This picture below from Twitter was claimed to show a tagger at work Sunday night.

With rents continuing to rise and City Hall so far powerless to do much to stem the tide, it’s possible the weekend’s blackout tagging was an angry response to the ongoing rise in the cost of Capitol Hill living. Or maybe whoever is responsible is a sidewalk muni code vigilante tired of what can be a cluttered pedestrian experience. Whatever the cause, the response was thorough if not elegant with apartments and condo buildings new and old included in the sweep.

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Was it you? Tell us why in comments, text or call (206) 399-5959 or tell us via email at chs@capitolhillseattle.com.

Hill’s rents continue to soar as Seattle delays affordable housing plan

E Denny Way's Pantages is featured in the city's report on affordable housing (Image: William Wright Photography)

E Denny Way’s Pantages is featured in the city’s report on affordable housing (Image: William Wright Photography)

From the Seattle Workforce Housing study

From the Seattle Workforce Housing study

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 8.16.20 PMHousing costs on Capitol Hill and throughout Seattle are reaching new heights as the most recent study showed average rents on the Hill have reached $1,557 a month. That’s up $162 from this time last year when CHS reported on soaring rents in 2013.

Escalating housing costs have created what many officials say is an affordable housing crisis in Seattle. In February, Seattle City Council member Mike O’Brien said there was a “sense of urgency” to develop an affordable housing plan as soon as possible. “Every day the challenge is growing, people are struggling to survive,” O’Brien said.

At that time, O’Brien said the council would have an affordable housing plan by the end of this summer following the results of three studies. At a special committee meeting last week to review one of those studies, O’Brien said the plan would likely not coalesce until September and legislation would not reach the full council until 2015. Continue reading

Design board looks at Central District projects including ‘a missing tooth’ development

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 9.41.27 PMThe plan for a long-empty triangle the developer calls a “missing tooth” between Capitol Hill, the Central District and Madison Valley will take its first pass in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night. It joins an affordable housing project that will replace a lot most recently used as a Jackson St. Nickelsville camp in an all-Central District edition of design reviews this week.

Madison Apartments
The empty wedge at 23rd and Madison will someday be home to a four-story, 53-unit apartment building above 1,700 square-feet of commercial space and parking for 11 vehicles. But for now there are only weeds and a chain-link fence alongside four-star neighbor, Crush.

Bought by Charles Waterman of Hamilton Urban Partners for nearly $2 million in 2007 from those savvy real estate investors at the City of Seattle, the land is planned to be home to the new Neiman Taber-designed apartment building. The developer calls the land “Capitol Hill” — Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Anhalt castle revived to past apartment glory

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(Image: Public47)

After languishing for years as an abandoned office space, a 1930-built Capitol Hill apartment building is returning to its past glory as it welcomes back residential tenants for the first time since the 1960s. A year after construction got underway to gut and restore the Frederick Anhalt-designed building at 16th and E John, leasing is now underway at The Anhalt Historic.

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 11.23.18 AMThat’s not to be confused with The Anhalt Modern, a new project rising from a parking lot of the older building’s parcel, slated to be finished by the end of the year.

Real estate investor Richard Leider, whose Trinity Real Estate company acquired the Anhalt in 2012, told CHS the two-building project would fill Capitol Hill’s divergent apartment desires.

“What we like to do is find buildings that need work, and this was a good example that could be put into use as residential, which it originally was,” he said. “But people like new, too.”

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Inside The Anhalt Historic (Image: The Anhalt)

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Pro-growth group tries to halt height rollback in Seattle’s lowrise neighborhoods


A pro-development advocacy group is taking a page from the slow-growthers of Seattle with an appeal of proposed City Council legislation seeking to roll back increased height limits in the city’s lowrise neighborhoods.

“Today Smart Growth Seattle filed an appeal of the City’s Determination of Non-Significance (PDF) for legislation that would roll back a decade of progress toward welcoming growth in transit oriented neighborhoods,” the organization’s director Roger Valdez wrote in a Thursday statement to media about the move.

In its appeal, Smart Growth Seattle’s contends that the city’s lowrise zoning is working well.

“If adopted, the currently proposed Lowrise Multifamily Zoning Code Adjustments would substantially restrict the development capacity in the City’s lowrise zones, eliminating thousands of housing units that otherwise could be built,” the appellant states. “Smart Growth Seattle’s position is that the current lowrise zones are working well, allowing appropriately scaled and a wide variety of multifamily housing that meets much of the housing needs in neighborhoods like Capitol Hill.” Continue reading

City Council set to upgrade Pike/Pine preservation rules — Here are 8 projects already underway

It is legislation that has inspired some of the most awkward headlines in the history of Seattle journalism.

Why aren’t developers incentivized to save entire Pike/Pine buildings?, CHS asked, thus burning this decade’s allotment for using “incentivized” in a headline.

Meanwhile, City Council tells developers told to keep old city character, a TV station sputtered while also failing to note the preservation rules apply only to these blocks of Pike/Pine:

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Monday afternoon, the Seattle City Council is expected to approve updated legislation creating the fourth phase of the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District. Continue reading

Capitol Hill ‘garden apartment’ complex considered for landmark protections

"A 1945 tax record photo, view looking west at the east façade of the central building in the 10th  Avenue East group. "

“A 1945 tax record photo, view looking west at the east façade of the central building in the 10th
Avenue East group. “

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UPDATE 6/18: The owners of a 10th and Aloha apartment complex pulled their landmark nomination for the property one day before it was scheduled to go before the Landmark Preservation Board.  Property manger Michael Denning told CHS he originally nominated the Aloha Terrace property for landmark status under the assumption it would not qualify and that would increase its value. He said he had recently been told otherwise as his family works with several interested buyers.

Original Report: The longtime owner of a nine-building apartment complex at 10th and Aloha is asking the city to consider the property for official historical protection. The Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the nomination of the 1943-built Aloha Terrace apartments at its Wednesday, June 18th meeting (PDF).

It’s an interesting old piece of Capitol Hill and Seattle architecture.

The only question: What does it need protection from?

The ownership of Aloha Terrace did not respond to multiple inquiries from CHS about why the landmark nomination was submitted. In 2016, construction of the Broadway Streetcar will start nearby, but city officials told CHS the Aloha Terrace property will not be part of the project. Frequently the city or developers preemptively nominate buildings by policy or in order to ensure future development plans for the site won’t be held up by possible landmark status. CHS has not yet found record of any redevelopment plans for the site and the property has not been sold.

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Capitol Hill’s power grid ready to meet surprisingly low demands of development boom

There are at least 25 new buildings on Capitol Hill waiting for a Seattle City Light hookups and new requests are coming in about once a month.

Despite all that development in a relatively small area, City Light officials tell CHS the biggest challenge isn’t actually meeting the demand for power, which the neighborhood grid is well equipped to handle. Instead, the biggest challenge is the complicated scheduling and manpower required to move electrical poles and lines to make way for new construction and provide hook-ups when construction crews need it. Continue reading