The walls and glass are smashing down on yet another block of Pike/Pine as demolition — and preservation — work has begun at the site of the former Mercedes Benz dealership where a seven-story, mixed-use project will eventually stand on E Pike between Belmont and Boylston. What the project will look like, more on the staggering amount of Pike/Pine construction underway and video of giant Tonka toys in action, below.
Wednesday night, the East Design Design Review Board will get its first official looks at two development projects destined to change their very different corners of the area — the 1021 E Pine office and preservation project planned to rise above Pike/Pine and The Madrona Company’s planned transformation of a lot used as a community garden into a new, four-story apartment building at MLK and Union.
1021 E Pine
CHS has covered the twists and turns as the ambitious project to fuse two structures with long histories on 11th Ave into one new-era office building has moved forward. The five-story project is now ready for its debut in the public process having earned community support for the likely “high financial commitment” required to achieve the “visionary” plan.
|Review Meeting:||February 26, 6:30 pm|
|1000 E. James St.|
|Student Center Multi Purpose Room #210|
|Review Phase:||EDG–Early Design Guidance|
|Project Number:||3016229 permit status | notice|
Developers and real estate owners Legacy Properties and architects Ankrom Moison will come to Wednesday’s meeting hoping to win preliminary support from the board from a slate of zoning departures necessary to achieve their preferred plan. The early design guidance session could be easy sailing for the project — community group the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council says the real test will come in the next phase of the review as the board looks at the plans for materials and finishings on the 97,000 square-foot project.
1141 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
The empty lot at MLK and Union once home to the Green Plate Special “garden-to-table” program’s field of plenty is planned to be home to a project from developer Marty Liebowitz’s The Madrona Company that will create a “4-story structure containing 50 residential units and 7,500 sq. ft. of commercial space” with underground parking for 25 vehicles.
|Review Meeting:||February 26, 8:00 pm|
|1000 E. James St.|
|Student Center Multi Purpose Room #210|
|Review Phase:||EDG–Early Design Guidance|
|Project Number:||3015747 permit status | notice|
Back in 2008, The Stranger gave Liebowitz the title of “coolest developer in Seattle,” for his ideas to add cheap music practice spaces for “the rock-and-roll kids” who make only 10 to 20 thousand dollars a year. It’s unclear whether that vision is still a part of the design, though, as the building’s plans have undergone changes since the post.
Proposed changes to preservation incentive rules in Capitol Hill’s Pike/Pine area are still under negotiations after the city and a developer agreed to step away from an appeal process late last year. Those involved with the process tell CHS a City Council committee will introduce newly tweaked legislation in the coming weeks that would, among other things,
lessen overall increase the number of “character structures” that would need to be preserved in order for developers to earn zoning incentives, minus one provision proposed in July that would’ve required developers to save one entire structure per commercial project.
Last summer, CHS reported on the Seattle City Council plan to increase demands on developers who want to take advantage of lucrative zoning incentives designed to preserve Pike/Pine’s oldest buildings. The incentives, originally created in 2009, give developers the option to build bigger projects if they preserve certain character structures within the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District. Over the past year some Capitol Hill community members, led by the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council, became concerned the rules offered too much carrot and not enough stick to developers. Under last year’s proposed changes, developers would have to save more character and get less building in return. Continue reading
After slamming on the brakes only days before the project’s first public design review in January, there is a new plan from the longtime owners and soon-to-be developers of 11th Ave’s auto row-era Bocker and Brown Buildings — the current home of Value Village, The Stranger and, soon, Big Fun. An influential community group has given the project its initial blessing — but warns of “a high financial commitment” required to see the ambitious project completed.
Legacy Pine will bring its updated plan for the 1021 E Pine project to the East Design Review Board for a design guidance meeting Wednesday night to assess the proposed project’s bulk, scale and basic adherence to the principles of the Pike/Pine historical preservation incentive program the real estate and development company hopes to be part of in building the 75-foot-tall office and retail project. The development is also planned to include 20 residential units and three levels of underground parking for 136 vehicles.
The developer’s preferred plan remains essentially the same for Wednesday’s meeting as the structure being proposed before Legacy Pine pulled out of the planned review. CHS did not receive answers to questions we sent to Legacy Pine about changes in the proposal.
The extra time has spawned an additional design alternative in the proposal from architects Ankrom Moison as well as more sophisticated renderings that show some of the plans for the building’s exterior materials and finishings. Those elements, typically the focus in the next step of the public review process in the “recommendation” phase, have taken on added importance for the 1021 E Pine project. Continue reading
With a name that harkens back to Capitol Hill’s glorious yesteryears of the early 2000s, a new preservation and development project is beginning work in the middle of the action on Broadway. Expect things to get even busier on the block between John and Denny.
The Hollywood Lofts project will create a six-story loft-style apartment project that will incorporate the brick store and office building that has stood at the site since 1929. Designed by Hewitt, the project will include 24 lofts, a restored facade and 3,600 square feet of restored commercial space and underground parking for 11 vehicles. It will stand directly across from the under-construction Capitol Hill Station and neighbor Dick’s Drive-In. Its loft-style units are being designed as larger than average Capitol Hill living spaces — and will be priced accordingly.
“Everybody else is building for the totally tiny units. We wanted to go after a different demographic,” said Capitol Hill developer Maria Barrientos, a consultant on the project.
Longtime Capitol Hill real estate investor Ron Amundson is developing the project as his second foray into unlocking his many neighborhood holdings. His first project stands behind the legendary burger joint and is currently under construction to create a seven-story, 38-unit building.
Though the Hollywood Lofts project will incorporate portions of the old 1929 masonry building, the project is located outside of the Pike/Pine Conservation district and therefore is not eligible for added preservation incentives.
Amundson’s likely next development also won’t have an opportunity to preserve. He holds the land currently home to Rancho Bravo and is planning a “gateway”-caliber development for the connective block between Cal Anderson Park and the heard of E Pike. (Don’t worry — Rancho Bravo has plans of its own.)
Meanwhile, even without preservation incentives, expect history to be a big part of Hollywood Lofts including a European-style central court” and “heavy old timbers from the building” being “re-incorporated.” And there’s also the name — and homage, it seems, to the last full-time tenant in the building’s street level retail history, Hollywood Video.
A study highlighted by The Atlantic Cities site says that there is a connection between “Gayborhoods” and gentrification:
The results of the study do point to a connection between gay neighborhoods and some of the markers of gentrification. Across the board, the researchers found neighborhoods that began the decade with larger concentrations of gay men saw greater income growth, and, especially in the Northeast, greater population growth as well. This last finding, perhaps one of the most significant in light of current debates about gentrification, largely backs up research done a decade ago by UCLA’s Gary Gates. (However, several of the study’s other conclusions, including the finding that gay couples were no less likely to live in racially or ethnically diverse neighborhoods, contrast Gates’s research from the 2000 Census).
Of course, the study is also filled with confounding takeaways when considering Capitol Hill’s development:
Contrary to popular perception, there was little evidence that gay or lesbian households were more likely to live close to downtown. Gay men, however, were more likely to live in neighborhood tracts with older, historic housing stock.
OK, the classy old housing stock fits the narrative.
The more interesting question might be where in Seattle are gay men “gentrifying” the neighborhood next? Looks like a neck and neck race between West Seattle, First Hill and the Central District.
UPDATE: Just in case it’s not clear, it would be absurd to pin the “gentrification” of any area on any one group or factor — yes, even tech workers. In the meantime, The Seattle Times has posted a look at the areas of the city that have “gentrified” the most.
Thursday, Seattle’s City Hall is filled with discussion about the people who can afford to live in the city — and the people who will be able to afford to live here in the future. CHS will have more on the Seattle Workforce Housing Forum soon but you can read through some of the reports assembled for the forum today:
a. City of Seattle Housing Needs Data
b. Incentive Zoning Presentation (Cornerstone)
c. Draft Benchmarking and Best Practice Report (Otak Inc.)
d. Speaker Bios
e. Seattle Cornerstone Report
f. Otak Presentation
While there is much to be done about providing affordable rents in the city, the datasets included also address home ownership in the increasingly expensive city. Last fall, CHS reported on the harsh reality on Capitol Hill’s home ownership market — most of the people currently living in the neighborhood cannot afford to buy a house here. There aren’t many condos you can buy, either.
Meanwhile, the story of climbing rents on Capitol Hill continued for buildings old and new.
We’ve embedded the “Housing Needs Data” report below that documents existing conditions in the city and documents what rent various earning levels can afford. The 2014 HUD Area Median Family Income — MFI in the document, below — is $88,200. Continue reading
Up here, we call it Pike/Pine. But Wednesday morning in downtown Seattle, they were calling the lower reaches of the two critically important connective streets a golden opportunity for reinventing — and redesigning — the city’s central core.
The Downtown Seattle Association hosted business and community leaders at the unveiling of its Pike-Pine Renaissance initiative to rethink and better structure the public spaces and infrastructure of downtown. Many of the concepts would find a welcome home up the Hill, too. Clean, safe-to-walk through alleyways, anyone?
The initiative vision is described in surprisingly urbanist language: “To move Downtown incrementally toward higher quality, more consistent pedestrian space through upgraded standards for sidewalks and intersections.”
The Seattle Times notes that the area’s recent attempts at reinvention haven’t met with much success:
The area’s last major transformation was in the 1990s, when developer Matt Griffin and a group of investors raised $175 million to create Pacific Place at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Pine Street. Griffin and his partners also struck a deal to have Nordstrom open its flagship store in the historic Frederick & Nelson building next door.
Since then, despite numerous studies and piecemeal efforts, the Pike-Pine area’s streets and buildings have yet to blossom into a coherent, harmonious whole. There are blocks of prominent retail space such as Pacific Place and the renovated Westlake Center followed by blocks of mediocrity.
While the design initiative may inspire projects off the Hill, some see a growing connection between the opportunities and problems in the downtown core and Capitol Hill. East Precinct officials have publicly acknowledged that crime issues around Cal Anderson, for example, increasingly mirror those found downtown. It follows, then, that some of the public infrastructure discussions and initiatives could drift up the Hill.
Meanwhile, with less fanfare than Wednesday’s focus on the most urban of Seattle’s spaces, another “urbanist vision” unveiled on the day presents a look at possible change for Capitol Hill’s single-family home dominated areas:
The real meat of the report, though, is an overall recommendation to up-zone Seattle’s single-family neighborhoods. This is controversial, but important. Discussions of where new development should go tend to be narrowly constrained to a few urban villages, while the vast majority of Seattle – something like 2/3 of the land – is considered off-limits (the yellow stuff in the map at right). So we argue about whether to allow 5 stories or 6 in a narrow sliver of Capitol Hill, meanwhile acres and acres of the city’s neighborhoods remain locked at absurdly low density levels.
To add insult to injury, as single family houses get more expensive, they become even more out of reach to larger families, resulting in a spiral whereby only small, wealthy families can afford them, thereby decreasing density even further.
The City of Seattle hosts its affordable housing public forum on Thursday.
The full Pike-Pine Renaissance design report is below. Continue reading
The “share economy” is cropping up everywhere in Seattle, making the organized sharing and lending of tools, cars, and office space increasingly a part of ordinary life on Capitol Hill. But what about shared housing?
Communal homes have existed for decades on Capitol Hill and beyond but few if any have actually managed to be truly co-owned, co-managed, and co-constructed. Capitol Hill architects Mike Mariano and Grace Kim are months away from making the dream a reality. The couple, who run architectural firm Schemata Workshop, are behind Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing on 12th Avenue, slated to break ground in April.
“We’re going to live here for the rest of our lives,” Mariano said. “We want this building to last forever.” Continue reading
An effort to save an empty but historically significant 1960s bank near the intersection of 23rd and Union got its first round of approval for landmark status last week. The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted late Wednesday afternoon to accept the nomination of the former Liberty Bank building, the first Black-owned bank in the Pacific Northwest.
The building will have to win another round of approval from the board to be preserved as an historical city landmark. The utilitarian building, which has sat empty and fenced off since KeyBank left in September, is planned to be razed for an affordable housing project. Capitol Hill Housing has been in negotiations with KeyBank to buy the building and erect a mixed-use development on the site.
Longtime Central District/Africatown activist Omari Garrett filed the landmarks petition for the bank. He said his fight to preserve the bank ran deeper than just saving a building.
“Our children are not on the street shooting eachother because they dont have a place to stay. They don’t have Black institutions to look up to, they don’t see Black bank owners,” Garrett said. “Housing is not our problem in the Central Area. Our problem is identity and having cultural institutions in Africatown.”
A community post on the Central District News site praised the board’s vote:
Members of Seattle’s Africatown attended the meeting to continue to advocate and preserve the cultural and historic fabric of the african american central district community, now known as ‘Africatown”.
Historic preservation, economy success, education, and cultural identity all make a substantial contribution to Seattle’s Africatown community.
The success of the nomination was the right thing to do.
It was the only thing to do.
There comes a day when even the old and fascinating need to be replaced by the new and, likely, less fascinating. This week, the 1900-era neighborhood “haunted house” on 16th Ave E between John and Harrison was salvaged, torn to pieces and carted away. Thanks to everybody who sent notes and pictures of the demolition. We’ve shared a few here to say goodbye.
CHS wrote previously about the small wave of townhouse projects underway around the Hill that includes a development to replace the old house that originally stood a few blocks south. The long-empty, entirely neglected single-family-style house will be replaced by Project 339, a three-story, eight unit row house complex that features a community courtyard surrounded on three sides by the development. Developers paid $1.3 million for the property last fall so don’t expect the resulting three-story row houses to be cheap. Still, it’s the kind of trade that happens in a neighborhood under growing demand for places to live in a city in the middle of expansion.
Here’s what neighbor Kate Clark wrote about the old house along with these pictures she posted to the CHS Flickr Pool:
I learned the house used to be on what is now Group Health Hospital property two or three blocks south. Some 30+ years ago was it moved to the location where yesterday it met its end. After it was moved it was never completed indoors to make it habitable. It was never lived in again. The only plumbing was some rudimentary piping into the 2nd floor bathroom. The woman who owned it lived in the trailer parked next to it. For a time her daughter lived in another trailer parked on the lot. Preceding the demolition a salvage company came in and took all that it could for reuse.
In the meantime, Capitol Hill has been busy with demolition and the start of new projects so far in 2014.
For more progress on affordable rents and homes in Seattle, consider being part of next week’s forum on “workforce housing” at City Hall:
Seattle Workforce Housing Forum
Thursday, February 13
Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, 1st Floor, Bertha Knight Landes Room
Noon – 4:30 p.m. – Expert Panel and Stakeholder Engagement Discussion
4:30 – 6:00pm – Informal Gathering with Panelists
6 p.m – 8 p.m. – Public Feedback Session
Join us as we tackle the best ways to meet Seattle’s affordable housing needs! We’ll hear from national experts about workforce housing production in cities like Seattle, and how we can make the smartest decisions possible going forward.
The forum will include discussions on:
- Ideas on How to Increase the Affordable Housing Supply
- Seattle’s Current Housing Programs
- Innovative New Strategies for Workforce Housing
- National Best Practices in Incentive and Inclusionary Zoning
Visit the City Council’s website (www.seattle.gov/council/
issues/affordablehousing/ forum.html) for the full agenda and to RSVP.
UPDATE: Photographer and neighbor Scooter Lowrimore has shared this time-lapse “memorial” for the old house:
In a decision released earlier this week, the Hearing Examiner has sided with the Department of Planning and Development’s decision to move forward proposed legislation to further regulate microhousing in Seattle.
CHS reported on the hearing’s two days of testimony in January as Capitol Hill land use activist Dennis Saxman and neighborhood activist Chris Leman took their fight against microhousing into the appeal process in an attempt to overturn a DPD decision to sign off on the proposed regulatory legislation – Does microhousing cause blackouts? Slow growth groups take cause to Seattle Hearing Examiner
Their argument: The intensive development will overwhelm Seattle’s environmental and civic resources and new legislation proposed to further regulate the housing would open the floodgates for aPodment-type developers.
“The evidence fails to show that the proposed legislation would spur new development of micro-housing or congregate residences, compared with what occurs under existing regulation of micro-housing,” the Examiner Anne Watanabe wrote in deciding against Saxman and Leman. “Clearly, the Appellants fear that this will occur, but the record does not demonstrate that this impact would likely occur.”
DPD documents submitted as part of the hearing showed that about 10% of all living units permitted or under construction were microhousing — a number DPD contends is likely to stay steady or drop when if the new regulations the appellants were fighting against are approved:
DPD was also able to show that the arguments Leman presented regarding fire danger for microhousing development were groundless:
While the defeat of a slow-growth effort might please the city’s urbanists, the decision is a double-edged sword as it moves the probable regulation of the housing type back onto City Hall’s agenda. The Hearing Examiner’s decision places the proposed microhousing legislation on track for the City Council to take up later this year. In addition to defining exactly what “microhousing” means, the legislation includes better triggers for environmental and design reviews for the projects and updated development standards to address issues around quality of life for those living in — and nearby — the congregate residences.
Meanwhile, developers in the area haven’t been waiting around. Permitting is underway for a new project from aPodments developer Calhoun Properties on an empty lot near 23rd and E Madison. Down near 14th and Yesler, there’s an even more ambitious project. Weighing in at 159 rooms, the five-story structure will “contain” four “congregate residences” plus two live-work units. The project also includes 1,147 square feet of retail space plus storage for 42 bicycles.