With development looming, Capitol Hill’s Conover House considered for landmarks protections — UPDATE

The house in 1937

(Image: King County)

Things were very different in the late 1800s. Capitol Hill, technically, didn’t exist yet. Charles Tallmadge Conover helped build it. Now, his own 1893-built house, sandwiched between E Olive and a parking lot and the Central Co-Op on E Madison in an area then called Renton Hill, will be considered for landmark nomination this Wednesday afternoon during a public meeting and presentation before Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board.

Initially, the preservation hearing for the 1620 16th Ave building was slated to be voted on in March, along with the First Hill/Capitol Hill Knights of Columbus building. The presentation, public comment, and vote on the nomination of the “Conover Residence” were postponed at the request of the building’s owners, the social services nonprofit Jewish Family Services.

The organization hoped to do additional research and respond to items raised in letters of public comment by, among others, the Capitol Hill Historical Society as well as the former owner. Nonprofit group Historic Seattle is also supporting the nomination.

While the nomination of the Knights of Columbus building was advanced by the Board with a 7-0 vote last March, this nomination vote is likely to be more contentious. Continue reading

You’ll need to scan your fingerprints to get into Birch Road Cellar, a new ‘BYOB members club’ in historic First Hill landmark

More than a hundred years ago, it housed the horse-drawn carriages of the Stimson family. Until the mid-1970s, it harbored the famous car collection of Seattle businessman Joshua Green. And starting Friday, the historic First Hill Stimson-Green carriage house will be home to the new “BYOB members club” Birch Road Cellar.

Club owners and lifelong friends Sharon Provins and Kim Bosse call it a “new spin on the private members club concept” and “an oasis for friends to spend the night together uninterrupted.”

Members pay $105 or $135 per month for a storage locker for their favorite wines and spirits, which they can drink in a space that’s not exactly home, but not really a bar, either. It’s open until 2 AM, yes, but doesn’t sell any alcohol. And you’ll need to unlock two doors with your fingerprint — or accompany someone who can. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Public Notice Conover House Landmarks Nomination

From the Department of Neighborhoods

NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING OF THE LANDMARKS PRESERVATION BOARD to consider Landmark Nominations for the Following Properties:

 Conover House 1620 16th Avenue

 The Landmarks Preservation Board will consider this nomination at its meeting on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. in Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, Floor L2, Room L2-80 “Boards & Commissions”.  Continue reading

Destined for overhaul and preservation as part of mixed-use development, Harvard Ave’s Knights of Columbus building considered for landmarks protections — UPDATE

For a century, it was almost exclusively Catholic men called Knights who were allowed to freely roam the lounges, smoking room and bowling alley of the Knights of Columbus headquarters on the south edge of Capitol Hill. They could work out, or attend Glee Club, dinners, and public speaking classes. Women could not be members. They hung out in the Ladies Parlor.

If everything goes according to plan, by 2021 or so, people of all types will be able to roam the three-story steel and brick masonry, Renaissance Revival-style building. The new owner, SRM Development, a Spokane-based developer of multifamily and commercial properties, hopes to refurbish the historic building through adaptive reuse.

Wednesday afternoon, Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the nomination of the building for historical protections during a public meeting and presentation. Continue reading

City agrees to ‘no controls’ in battle over Capitol Hill’s landmarked Sullivan House — UPDATE

(Image: CHS)

While we’re celebrating a group dedicated to Capitol Hill history and preservation, here’s an update on one of the neighborhood’s most recent official landmarks — that won’t be protected as a landmark.

Last March, CHS reported on the ownership trust behind 15th Ave’s Sullivan House taking the city to court over the 120-year-old Capitol Hill mansion’s approval as a Seattle historic landmark and the decision’s scuttling of a planned multimillion sale.

That case has now been resolved with an agreement forged via the Seattle Hearing Examiner for the city to agree to not require controls that would have prevented demolition and development of the dilapidated but historic property. Continue reading

Save the Broadway Performance Hall? You have a few years but Seattle Central planning major overhaul

(Image: Broadway Performance Hall)


If Kshama Sawant wants to save a Seattle performance venue, we’ve found one closer to Capitol Hill than the Showbox to work on. Time is gradually running out for the Broadway Performance Hall at Seattle Central College. College officials hope to overhaul the building and end its days as a venue for local plays and performances, but state budgeting priorities mean construction isn’t likely to start for at least five or six years.

The building is more than 100 years old though it was “modernized” in 1979 and rates the lowest on the campus in terms of facilities, said Barbara Childs, spokesperson for Seattle Central. While it met standards when it was built, it is no longer up to code in terms of energy efficiency or seismic standards. Additionally, the sandstone keeps absorbing water, causing more problems, Childs said.

Beyond the need for physical upgrades, the school is in need of more library space, and more space for open studying, in order to meet accreditation standards. The school hopes to meet all of those goals with one large project. Continue reading

Once lined up for microhousing, Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue wins landmark status

From a plan to gut and fill in its namesake garden courtyard with microhousing apartment units to setting the groundwork for landmarks protections that will preserve its architectural features for years to come — the 94th year of existence for Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue Garden Apartments has been a big one.

In a pre-holiday vote last Wednesday, the Seattle landmarks board voted unanimously to make the Roy Vue a landmark and extend the city’s protections to the building’s exterior, central arcade, and, importantly, the site’s courtyard and elevated garden spaces. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue ‘garden apartments’ move forward in Seattle landmarks process

A coalition of veteran preservation advocates and a relatively fresh-faced nonprofit dedicated to Capitol Hill history has won its first round in what is hoped might eventually be a series of victories establishing landmarks protections for important neighborhood buildings.

The Seattle Landmarks Board Wednesday night voted unanimously to approve the nomination of Capitol Hill’s 94-year-old Roy Vue “garden apartments” for protections of its historic exterior, interior and landscaping features. The 600 block Bellevue Ave E apartment building will now move forward in the process with the board set to make its final designation on the property in coming weeks.

Eugenia Woo of Historic Seattle praised the building’s “high level of integrity” and said it was crucial the Roy Vue be protected in its complete “garden apartment” vision “because the garden, the courtyard, and the building were integral to the whole design.”

The Roy Vue’s unique flipped “U” design with a garden courtyard sited away from the street is the equivalent of the “Seattle freeze” of the city’s historic buildings, one board member quipped, with a dignified wall facing Bellevue but a hidden jewel of a garden tucked away inside.

Bolstered by public comment from many of the Roy Vue’s current tenants in support of protecting the building they call home, the vote marked the first successful step in a collaboration between the Historic Seattle organization that has long been dedicated to preservation in the city and the Capitol Hill Historical Society as the neighborhood group made its first foray into the official landmarks fray. Continue reading

‘Saved’ from microhousing plan, Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue Apartments to be considered as Seattle landmark

A coalition led by Historic Seattle and residents of Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue Apartments has put the Bellevue Ave E building up for consideration for Seattle landmarks protections.

A plan for to convert the building to microhousing was stopped by a campaign led by building tenants, neighbors, and preservation advocates earlier this year.

A second report on the 94-year-old “eclectic Tudor Revival” structure was prepared at the request of property owner Alliance Multifamily Investments, according to the document (PDF) posted to the Department of Neighborhoods landmarks site. That report from July is now labeled as a “Historic Resource Report.”

Continue reading

City Council takes up landmarking of Broadway’s Eldridge Tire building

Capitol Hill’s next landmark is set to begin its path through the Seattle City Council on the way to official historical protection.

Broadway’s Mission Revival-styled Eldridge Tire Company won designation last year after the landmarks board agreed the auto row-era design was worthy of protection. Continue reading