What Capitol Hill’s new Kelly Springfield office building will look like


Here is a Pike/Pine history lesson. In 2013, CHS reported on a mixed-use apartment, office, and commercial development being planned to incorporate the 11th Ave block home to the REI-rooted, auto row-era buildings housing The Stranger and Value Village. Nearly four years later, the developers behind the project are ready with what could be the final design for a reduced, apartment-less version of that original plan.

With final design approval Wednesday, the new project will mean an overhaul and new life for Value Village’s old mid-block Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company building and its landmark-protected exterior. But thanks to landmark status both inside and out, the lucky old one-time home to White Motor Company next door — where The Stranger still does its thing — at 11th and Pine will live on untouched by the new Kelly Springfield project and its planned 65,000 square feet of office space, 12,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, and parking for around 30 vehicles — none of them probably “motor trucks.”

The project faces what should be its final design review after years of meetings with everything from the design review board, to the landmarks board, to community groups, Wednesday night: Continue reading

HALA Capitol Hill: The dense want it denser — the not so dense, not so much

While the young urbanists of Capitol Hill might be disappointed the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda zoning change proposals for Broadway probably won’t create three-hundred-foot apartment towers, Seattle officials are ready to face opposition in other parts of the neighborhood where even relatively modest height boosts are planned,

Generally speaking, Jesseca Brand with the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods said, residents in already dense areas, especially on Capitol Hill and First Hill are more accepting and see the proposed changes being pounded out through 2017 as a good thing. Areas on Eastern Capitol Hill, to the south, and in the Central District where single-family streets are more common are more apprehensive and are concerned about “cultural and economic displacement.”

“Our hope is that the community feels they can shape this program neighborhood by neighborhood,” Brand said at last week’s HALA open house organized by city planners in a more fun than you would expect for this kind of session venue — Capitol Hill’s Optimism Brewing. Sometimes a drink is required when discussing the future of Seattle’s central neighborhoods. Continue reading

Board and developers agree, Midtown Center project needs further review

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-3-58-13-pmIt’s not often that the backers behind a big time project in Seattle ask to be slowed by another review. But the project to redevelop Midtown Center and a city fully city block at 23rd and Union is complicated.

The East Design Review Board agreed Wednesday night that the project planned for 2301 E Union should, indeed, return for a second Early Design Guidance meeting.

Brad Reisinger with Lennar Multifamily Communities, one of the site developers along with Regency Centers, requested a second EDG because the project is complicated due to the block-sized site and the pending agreement with the Africatown nonprofit.

An agreement between developers to sell Africatown about 20% of the 2.4-acre property at 23rd and Union to give the nonprofit an ownership stake is still being finalized. Regency is currently under contract to purchase the block.

CHS looked at the history of the block, its importance in the Black community, and the long road to redevelopment for Midtown here. Capitol Hill Housing, meanwhile, is developing the Liberty Bank Building across the street from Midtown Center under a community agreement with partners including Africatown that will be fully affordable and  is hoped to become a template for inclusive development in Seattle.

Plans from Encore Architects for the Midtown Center project propose two seven-story buildings with 355 units in one and 120 in the other. In the larger building, 10% of the units and a to be determined portion of the units in the second would be affordable. Plans also include a large local grocery store, pharmacy, smaller retail spaces and 482 parking spaces. CHS looked at the design here earlier this week.

“The overall mass and scale seem kind of grotesque in my mind,” one neighbor on 24th Ave said. Many commenters raised similar concerns and the board referred to the proposed development as “massive.” Continue reading

Design review: Long paths for Midtown Center’s mixed-use grocery future, Hill dive bar-turned microhousing

Blueprint Howell

Blueprint Howell

Long-anticipated development is the shared theme Wednesday night as the East Design Review Board takes its first look at two projects neighbors have been expecting for years — one will replace the home of a classic Capitol Hill dive bar, the other could redefine the heart of the Central District.

600 E Howell
You know it best as the Redwood. After more than 10 years on E Howell, the much-loved, and long-doomed dive bar is set to be replaced by a seven-story, mixed-use building that will create 73 “Small Efficiency Dwelling Units,” and four studio apartments atop 1,500 square feet of commercial space. Continue reading

Beer and upzoning: Brewery venue for Capitol Hill HALA Open House

City officials want your feedback on the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda and planned zoning changes  and they’re prepared to use snacks to get it.

Next Tuesday, January 10th, representatives from city departments will be on hand at Capitol Hill’s Optimism Brewing for a Central Seattle HALA Open House:

HALA Central Neighborhoods Community Meeting

HALA has produced proposals for upzoning areas across Seattle and Capitol Hill changes that would allow taller buildings in the neighborhoods around Capitol Hill Station and concentrate seven-story office towers just off Broadway. HALA changes in the Central District were set up to be even meatier.

Though there will NOT be free beer (“Beer is available for purchase but will not be provided by the City”), the invite sounds like a good time for you involved types who, ya know, care about the future of the city, and stuff:

We’ll be highlighting maps that show draft neighborhood affordable housing proposals (read more about those here). In addition, there will be opportunities to learn about transportation projects in your neighborhood, hear what’s going on at the Office of Sustainability and Environment, and give feedback on upcoming Parks investments.

The January 10th all-ages session with “casual conversation around proposed changes to your neighborhood” will be part of an ongoing process to shape and finalize the proposals over the year.

Neighbors get first look at Midtown Center plans: big grocery, pharmacy, 120 affordable units

While the details of an agreement between developer Lennar Multifamily Communities, Regency Centers and Africatown Community Land Trust for the Midtown Center project are still being finalized, neighbors got their first looks at early designs for the development as it moves toward its first design review just a few days into 2017.

The developers showed off a plan for a a horseshoe-shaped, block-long building that Lennar and Regency would fund and a smaller building on the south end of the block financed by the Africatown partnership with around 60% of the units created as affordable housing. Neighbors also heard about plans for a 30,000-square-foot grocery store included in the plan to be anchored by what was described as a local grocer. A representative said the project partners are not yet disclosing who the grocer is and are also not yet identifying the pharmacy chain lined up to move into 10,000 square feet of retail space in the project. There will also be some commercial spaces designed for smaller businesses, representatives said Wednesday night.

In all, the project will bring hundreds of units of new housing to the block:

Working in conjunction with neighborhood leaders, the preferred design includes a separate development on the southern portion of the lot which will provide neighborhood oriented retail, community office space and approximately 120 affordable housing above. The northern portion provides approximately 355 units over a variety of retails uses at ground level. The main corner at 23rd and Union is raised above the storefront, which is setback to allow for wider sidewalks, with the corner recessed even further to provide spill-out space and increased pedestrian activity at the corner. The two developments are linked by a pedestrian through block connection that provides interest along the longer blocks.

Brad Reisinger with Lennar told CHS at the Central Area Land Use Review Committee community meeting held to discuss the project before the Christmas holiday that the company plans to have the agreement with Africatown finalized after its first Early Design Guidance meeting, scheduled for January 4th. Continue reading

Seattle Central seeks bids to develop two Broadway properties

Seattle Central is moving ahead on plans to develop two of its long-held Broadway properties as mixed-use buildings that would bring new affordable housing to the street. And it is looking for help.

The Capitol Hill school has released a call for developers to make their bids in “letters of intent” for leasing or buying the land — the Atlas / Broadway Café building in the 1500 block of Broadway, and the South Annex/ International Programs building at Pine and Broadway — for redevelopment “commercial purposes and/or housing, including a potential affordable housing element.” Continue reading

Shopping center developer in deal to buy 23/Union block with Africatown as partner — UPDATE

Echoing a framework for “inclusive development” forged across the street where Capitol Hill Housing’s affordable Liberty Bank Building is slated to rise, the developers behind a project planned to bring a seven-story, 400-plus-unit project to 23rd and Union’s Midtown Center say they are working on a deal with Central District community nonprofit Africatown that will give the organization an ownership stake in the project.

The planned deal “articulates a path forward and shared goals for inclusive redevelopment of the property” the companies say.

According to the announcement, California-based multifamily housing developer Lennar is working with Regency Centers to develop the 2.4-acre block and Regency is currently under contract with the property owners to purchase the site. Lennar and the “developer, owner and operator of “quality retail property leasing in shopping centers nationwide” have worked out a plan for Africatown to develop around a half-acre of the site, or around 20% of the land.

“For the past two months, Lennar Multifamily Communities, Regency Centers and the Africatown Community Land Trust (Africatown) have been exploring ways for private developers and the neighborhood to work together in the development of the Midtown Center at 23rd & Union in the Central District,” the announcement reads. Continue reading

One last chance to say goodbye to the Capitol Hill Value Village

We said goodbye to its temporary incarnation as Capitol Hill Arts District community space V2 with a dance party. A fitting farewell for its funky fresh life as the center of Capitol Hill thrifting starts Tuesday and lasts three nights as the old Kelly Springfield Truck Company turned REI turned Value Village (with a lot of other bits and pieces in between) hosts the Punk Rock Flea Market for one last gasp of creosote and dust on 11th Ave:

Punk Rock Flea Market

CHS broke the sad news in October 2015 that the popular Capitol Hill location of the thrift shop chain was preparing to close after one final Halloween. Macklemore was devastated. The building owned by the Ellison family that founded the Value Village chain was lined to have the property developed by local real estate developer Legacy CommercialContinue reading

CHS Year in Review 2016 | Plans to build our way out of it, the year in Capitol Hill development

There it is. Just as 2016 staggers to a close, market analysts — with a heavy stake in the outcome — say, looky, Seattle rents may have finally reached a “turning point” after years of mostly unabated increase. Will 2017 be the year Capitol Hill rents finally break? If so, 2016 will be marked as the final thrust of the old way of Seattle boom development as the new HALA-throttled marketplace is finally whipped into shape. For the pessimists — or, perhaps, optimistic landlords — if rents haven’t really turned that climb upside down and Seattle’s affordability crisis continues, then, well, 2016 will represent more of the same even as our intentions grew. Here is a look at how the year in development played out on Capitol Hill.

YIR 2016
+ CHS Year in Review 2016 | Capitol Hill’s most important stories
The year in Capitol Hill pictures
Plans to build our way out of it, the year in Capitol Hill development
Pizza, no palaces, and the real world — the year in food+drink

CHS YIR 2015 — Our first look at the new Capitol Hill
CHS YIR 2014 — More than supply and demand
CHS YIR 2013 — Capitol Hill development and the quest for affordability
CHS YIR 2012 — The re-development of Capitol Hill

Bellwether's Cambridge building got a $10M upgrade

Bellwether’s Cambridge building got a $10M upgrade

Years of concern about the cost of living in the densest neighborhood in one of the densest cities in the nation continued in 2016. Along the way, it seemed like those concerns were growing — not shrinking away. But there were real actions in 2016 to address Seattle’s — and Capitol Hill’s — “affordability crisis.” More projects were completed with at least a component of affordable units and nonprofits like Bellwether, which now operates six affordable buildings across Capitol Hill, further emerged to help lead.

Continue reading

As plan for seven-story development takes shape, community looks to future of 23rd and Union’s Midtown Center

Decades of change at 23rd and Union is about to accelerate. The first week of 2017 will bring a much anticipated first public review of the development plans for the Midtown Center, a flashpoint block in the wave of new investments reshaping the Central District and a corner with a deep history of pride and tragedy.

Just four days into the new year, developer Lennar and the architects at Encore are scheduled to present what have so far been closely guarded plans for the project after months of work banging out a plan for the 2.4 acres of shopping center land. What you see above aren’t design renderings — those aren’t available yet — but community design concepts for the block created by UW architecture students in 2015.

The Central Area Land Use Review Committee community group is preparing for the crucial review with a meeting for neighbors and those interested in the project Wednesday night. “The project will transform one of the most significant sites in the Central Area,” organizers write.

Central Area Land Use Review Committee: Community Meeting with the design team for the re-development of MidTown Center

The California-based developer Lennar’s framework includes a rezoning of the block that would allow 85-foot heights and construction of seven-story mixed-use apartment buildings on the land pitched as “one of the last remaining large developable sites” in the city as the real estate market around it heated into overdrive this summer. To achieve the rezone, the project will need community buy-in — and approval from the Seattle City Council.

It may have a partner in that pursuit. Continue reading

On site of future Broadway affordable housing, mayor announces $47M in levy investments


Seattle Mayor Ed Murray speaks at a press conference announcing $47 million for affordable housing projects.

City officials announced $47 million will be awarded to affordable housing projects on Thursday at Capitol Hill Station’s future “transit-oriented development,” which will include 110 affordable apartments.

Rising rents are driving neighbors out of the city or onto the streets, said Steve Walker, director of the Office of Housing.

“Every city in the west has an affordability crisis, but in Seattle, we are leading the way on the west coast in addressing that affordability crisis,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray at the announcement to media on the empty, paved lots where Capitol Hill Station’s developments will eventually rise.

The Site-B North parcel will eventually be home to Capitol Hill Housing’s 110-unit, “permanently affordable” development. CHH is lined up to receive $8.7 million of the grants announced Thursday and has requested an additional $4 million from King County’s transit oriented development fund.

Continue reading