Design reviews: An even friendlier proposal for church-friendly 8-story project on First Hill

Most projects considered by the East Design Review Board come to the table with three options and a proposed “preferred” design that the developers and architects have settled on. The board typically doesn’t question the selection and sets about helping to shape the design. But in the case of a planned eight-story apartment block planned to rise across from First Hill’s First Baptist Church, the board not only said nope to the preferred design, it tossed all three proposals out.

“The Board was disappointed by the lack of any significant variation between the three schemes, and that there was no exploration of other forms that might allow the project to step back from the street-edge and create conditions that better meet the criteria in the Design Guidelines,” the report from the review meeting reads.

Wednesday night, developer Carmel Partners and Encore Architects hope to erase that disappointment with a new early design proposal to get the project back on track.

Design review: 1100 Boylston Ave

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Seattle back to work on easing mother-in-law apartments and backyard cottage development

Seattle can finally move forward on legislation hoped ease the city’s housing crunch by encouraging more mother-in-law apartments and backyard cottages.

The Seattle Hearing Examiner has upheld the city’s environmental analysis on accessory dwelling units is adequate, which clears the way for the City Council to act this summer on relaxing rules on the developments.

“Seattle faces an affordability and housing crisis, and we are acting to increase the supply of housing options as quickly as possible,” Mayor Durkan said. “We need to use every tool in our toolbox to boost the supply of housing – and that includes knocking down barriers for homeowners to build more backyard cottages and in-law units. We must address the significant financial barriers and lengthy, complicated permitting process for backyard cottages in Seattle.” Continue reading

‘The Pike Investment and Development Opportunity’ — Eagle and Victrola block of E Pike hits market for $9.9M

(Images: Paragon Real Estate)

In spring of 2012, CHS broke the news on a $9.2 million deal for Madison Development Group to acquire what we called at the time the Bauhaus block, the collection of property home to cafes, shops, and old school Capitol Hill apartments along E Pine at Melrose where the preservation incentive-boosted Excelsior Apartments stands today.

The news set off a new wave of “Capitol Hill is dead” that hasn’t really subsided. Another new ripple — this time on Pike — should add to the call.

A new listing from Paragon Real Estate investors shows that the 9,870 square feet of land currently home to Victrola’s E Pike cafe, corner bodega transformed into sushi restaurant Noren, and the dark recesses of nearly 40 years of Capitol Hill queer history and nightlife at the Seattle Eagle hit the market Friday for $9.9 million and is being touted as an “A+ trophy location” and “investment and development opportunity.”

“This offering presents the rare opportunity to develop one of the last remaining corner lots within 3 blocks of Downtown Seattle. Site is suitable for approximately 70-100 units plus commercial space,” the sales pitch reads. Continue reading

In Pike Motorworks, a look at the big things Pike/Pine’s preservation incentives have created — including a $128.3M price tag

There just aren’t many others like it. Another of the Pike/Pine preservation incentive boosted development projects has changed hands for a mostly unheard of sum. Pike Motorworks — built on the bones of the old E Pike BMW dealership and garages and now one of the largest apartment buildings on Capitol Hill — has sold for $128.3 million.

In the transaction, developer Arizona-based Wolff Co. has cut its ties with the neighborhood. In 2015, it cashed out of another preservation-incentive boosted project at 11th and Pine as it sold off the Sunset Electric development for $41.6 million to nationwide player ASB Real Estate Investments and its $5.7 billion portfolio spread across the U.S.

A similar new owner now moves in at Pike Motorworks as Boston-based TA Realty adds the property to its $28.2 billion in assets. Continue reading

Many cranes above Capitol Hill and the CD, few safety incidents over decade of intense development

In a neighborhood full of construction cranes, you might be looking at the Capitol Hill sky a little differently after Saturday’s terrible accident on Mercer. But with a development wave of more than a decade reshaping Pike/Pine and Broadway, reported incidents involving cranes and Capitol Hill construction sites have been few and far between.

Most incidents CHS has reported on over the years have been minor and fortunately there have been few injuries. In 2013, for example, a crane working on the 12th Ave Arts building dropped a bundle of shoring beams. Nobody was reported injured and the project was not significantly delayed by the incident.

Beyond cranes, the neighborhood’s construction sites have only been the location of a handful of significant emergency situations over the years. Continue reading

Here’s what 150 or so new apartments surrounding the (newly landmarked) Knights of Columbus building will look like

Still only a massing proposal and a design concept, this is what could rise next to the Knights of the Columbus building

Here is the first look at early design proposals for the two projects that will work together to shepherd the newly landmarks protected Knights of Columbus building into its new adaptive reuse future and add more than 150 new apartments to the block at Union and Harvard.

Design review: 704 E Union St and 722 E Union St

The projects from developers SRM Development and the Runberg Architecture Group will begin the city’s design review process with a joint session Wednesday night. Continue reading

‘Capitol Hill Development Site’ — $21M deal includes E Olive Way commercial buildings and Fred Wildlife events space

Part of the pitch for the “Capitol Hill Development Site” from JLL

A Capitol Hill land deal so large it takes multiple real estate industry rags to track down all the details has gone down, putting a block of commercial buildings and the home to a popular neighborhood event space along E Olive Way on the road to redevelopment.

The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce and Puget Sound real estate industry chronicler The Registry have both reported portions of the deal that will put “half an acre” of Capitol Hill commercial property under the control of “Vancouver, Canada-based real estate investment and management companyLow Tide Properties. The registry tallies a price tag of $16.9 million for two of the “office buildings” while the DJC puts the complete deal at $21 million.

The “Capitol Hill Development Site” has been a prime target for investors after the large block of properties just off E Olive Way was brought to market for its longtime owners by the Jones Lang LaSalle firm. Continue reading

Design review: Belmont condos, Boylston microhousing

Wednesday night’s session of the East Design Review Board will represent another step in the block by block transformation of Capitol Hill with two projects that will create nearly 100 new homes including new condos on Belmont and new microhousing on Boylston.

301 Belmont Ave E
A new condominium project is coming to this corner just below Broadway replacing a 1908-built fourplex.

301 Belmont Ave E

The plan from a group of investors including OLT Capital and the architects at Wokshop AD calls for a seven-story, 34 condo unit project that will include one unit meeting “the City’s affordable housing incentive criteria” affording the project its extra height and scale under pre-Mandatory Housing Affordability incentives. The developers purchased the property last June for $2 million. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Historical Society | Rentals to Radiators — Part 1: Weird streets of UMadBro


This is the start of a history of 953 E Union, that rundown building at Union and Broadway Court destined for demolition.

It is easy to miss that old house. Its walls, roof, doors, and windows are all painted in a particularly unnoticeable black. If not for the simple, unexpressive sign hanging outside none of us would know it held Complete Automotive Detail for many years.

It is much older than the city thinks, though: 1900 rather than 1918. A close look at its history reveals a surprising view into early settlement, residential development, and the rise and staying power of Auto Row.

In Part 1 we’ll look at how the surrounding streets came to be. Until recently, it’s an area no one needed to talk about for decades, surrounded by Union, Madison, and Broadway. Let’s call it UMadBro. Continue reading

An ‘unheard of concession’ in the Central District at The Chateau apartments

A resident at The Chateau and the building’s long-broken lift
(Image: CHS)

District 3 representative Kshama Sawant was back outside The Chateau apartments Wednesday to announce victories for the building’s tenants and what she says is a tenants movement in Seattle inspired by the work of her City Council office and her Socialist Alternative political group.

Sawant’s Wednesday rally also included an unusual finale — a four-member team from the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections there to follow-up on a massive roster of repairs identified in what has become a staircase by staircase, frayed wire by frayed wire, and missing and or defective smoke detector by missing and or defective smoke detector battle pitting the city councilor against developer Cadence Real Estate.

Calling the 19th Ave building and the Central District the “core of Seattle” and the “epicenter of the crisis of economic evictions,” Sawant announced that her efforts to shed light on Cadence’s acquisition and planned redevelopment of the Section 8 building had “forced” the developer to meet with residents and make several concessions including allowing the Section 8 tenants to remain in their units in coming years until the building is eventually demolished to make way for a new microhousing project with 73 “small efficiency dwelling units.”

Sawant also announced what she said was an “unheard of concession” — $5,000 from Cadence to every household living in the building on top of legally required relocation assistance. The small group of tenants and representatives from groups like Be:Seattle that have also been working with the building’s interested residents gathered with Sawant cheered at the notion of the $5,000 checks. Sawant said the agreement with Cadence, as of Wednesday, still needed to be written down. Continue reading