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

94-year-old Highland Apartments lined up for seismic overhaul — But first, is it a landmark?

One of the next Capitol Hill buildings to be considered for City of Seattle landmark protections this summer is going through the process before it can also get another sort of important protection — from earthquakes.

The Highland Apartments, the 1924-built masonry condominium building in the 900 block of 11th Ave E just across from Volunteer Park, is lined up to be reviewed in June “in order to ascertain its historic nature prior to a proposed major alteration to the property,” according to the nomination report prepared on behalf of the building’s owner. Continue reading

As Rev. McKinney remembered, his Mount Zion Baptist Church set to become Seattle landmark

Tuesday, a celebration of the life of Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney was held at McCaw Hall following the civil rights leader’s death at the age of 91 early last month. Now, legislation is in motion to designate McKinney’s home church at 19th and Madison as an official Seattle landmark and protect the building’s architectural features.

“Landmark status is reserved for locations in our City that have been of exceptional value to social, political, architectural or community causes – and in the long history of Mount Zion Baptist Church, it has contributed greatly to all of these and more,” an announcement of the legislation from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office reads. Continue reading

The Royvue is not ‘saved’ but group says developer drops microhousing plans

A swell of Capitol Hill community support for the 94-year-old building, organized neighbors, and some local media coverage has apparently inspired the developers behind a plan to convert the Royvue apartment building into microhousing to back off.

The tenant-led Save the Royvue group announced the change in plans for the 34-unit apartment building in an email to supporters Monday night.

“What once seemed like an almost finalized deal between the parties involved is no more,” the group writes. “Most purchases like this are hatched under the radar and the public finds out when it’s too late. Instead, you knew a deal was brewing with a very small window of opportunity to react. They were caught completely off-guard by the community’s persistence and prompt organized response.”

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Save the Royvue! Residents rally to thwart sale of Capitol Hill building

A view worth the fight? A look across the Royvue courtyard (Image: Haley Blavka Photograph/Save the Royvue)

Seattle’s endorsement of rapidly adding thousands of efficiency sized housing units to the cityscape has some residents in Capitol Hill unconvinced that one size fits all. Tenant-led group Save the Royvue has escalated its effort to keep the 94-year-old building from succumbing to development plans that would significantly reduce apartment size. The growing assembly of advocates says the Royvue Apartments is fine the way it is and now seeks landmark protections to keep it that way.

Eugenia Woo with Historic Seattle is consulting with the group and shares their worry that “the city is losing its identity.”

“This city has always been known for its character and that distinguishes us. It’s ok to have good new designs but unfortunately most of what’s being built is not so great,” she said. Continue reading

A ‘Brutal’ landmark? East Pine Substation the Central District’s unlikeliest candidate for preservation

Tuesday is the deadline for you to weigh in on what might seem to be one of the more unlikely candidates to become a neighborhood landmark — Seattle City Light’s Brutalist, brick-walled East Pine Substation.

The E Pine at 23rd Ave facility will go in front of the  Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board Wednesday “to determine the historic status of the property prior to a SCL proposal to increase the substation’s capacity, security and reliability for the surrounding Central Area, First Hill, and Capitol Hill neighborhoods,” according to the department’s nomination document (PDF) on the property.

The nomination document describes the era of City Light’s investment in architecturally significant infrastructure: Continue reading

Capitol Hill property owner takes Sullivan House landmark decision to court

Lawyers are asking the King County Superior Court to reject a well-worn, dilapidated 120-year-old Capitol Hill mansion recently approved as a Seattle historic landmark.

Saying that the decision has “prejudiced” their client by “causing the loss of a sale” and “substantially destroying the economic value of the property,” lawyers for the estate that owns the Sullivan House at 15th Ave and E Olive St. filed the lawsuit last month after the old mansion became one of the city’s most unlikely properties to go forward in the designation process that sets up controls and incentives on certain properties deemed worthy of preservation by a city convened board.

In the suit, lawyers for Elaine Thorson, the retired schoolteacher they say moved from California and plunged her life’s savings into buying out other heirs to her deceased aunt’s unique Capitol Hill apartment property, are asking the court to reverse the land use decision on the house and send the mansion back to Seattle Landmarks Board with direction to “reject the landmark nomination based on the severe economic impact such a designation will have (and has had) on the petitioners.” Continue reading

The story of the proposed Capitol Hill landmark that somebody actually wants to be a landmark — UPDATE

The 1898-built Queen Anne Victorian home of a Seattle businessman that has survived through the changes of Capitol Hill at 15th and E Olive St. is lined up for purchase by a townhome developer. In a city scrambling to create more affordable housing and with a nearly 120-year-old house that has definitely seen better days, the trade probably seems worth it.

Neighbor and architect Jim Castanes disagrees and has launched an effort to have the Patrick J. Sullivan House designated for official city landmark protections. “We all love it in the neighborhood,” Castanes tells CHS, “plus its context on the corner is wonderful. It’s a nice little character area.”

UPDATE 12/20/2017 5:38 PM: “The bones are there.” The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board Wednesday night voted for the Patrick J. Sullivan House to move forward in the city’s process to designate architecturally important historical properties for protection. The decision came despite protests from Ann Thorson who now manages the estate of her late aunt purchased the 1898-built Queen Anne-style Victorian and lived there until 2010. “In her declining years, my aunt couldn’t take care of it and allowed to dilapidate,” Thorson said, telling the board that she cannot afford to restore the house and would like to sell the property. She told the board it will cost $1 million just for minimal restoration and said she and neighbors believe the house is a dangerous “eyesore.” Representatives from historical preservation groups including Historic Seattle and Friends of Historic Belltown spoke on behalf of the nomination saying the house may be in poor condition but that it remains a showcase of “integrity” as one of the few remaining examples of its kind in the city.

The board Wednesday night sided with the preservation groups and voted to move the nomination led by a neighbor of the house forward for a hearing in the new year. A resident who spoke during public comment said she had toured the house and hoped to make an offer on the property with the intention of restoring the structure. She told the board she wasn’t able to put in offer on the $2.2 million listing — “the pricing was set for development not restoration.” Landmarks designation “would force a lower price better for restoration,” the woman said.

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Destined for demolition, ‘depressing’ Broadway Bonney-Watson won’t get landmark protections

There is no shade thrown more darkly than the criticisms leveled at an old building brought up for landmarks review by a developer who wants dearly to demolish it. Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board Wednesday night unanimously rejected the nomination of Broadway’s 1961-built Bonney-Watson Funeral Home calling the modern-style building underwhelming, boxy, and, well, depressing.

“We think this building is not a landmark and we’d like you to agree with us,” Jack McCullough, legal counsel for the company under contract to purchase the property and develop two mixed-use buildings on the site, said, calling the building a “most ordinary and uninspiring example.” David Peterson, who prepared the nomination report for the developers called the building “disappointing” and said it was his belief the building doesn’t meet any of the city’s landmark criteria: Continue reading

With buyer lined up, 15th Ave’s Patrick J. Sullivan House to be considered as landmark

The house in 1905 (Image: Seattle of Today Architecturally)

The nearly 120-year-old house at the corner of 15th and E Olive hit the market last month just in time, we joked, for Halloween. Listed at $2.2 million, the property is also a prime candidate for redevelopment. Before anything moves forward, the old Patrick J. Sullivan house will get its turn to be considered for landmarks protections:

Landmarks Preservation Board to consider nomination of P.J. Sullivan House for landmark status

SEATTLE (November 22, 2017) – Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider nomination of the P.J. Sullivan House in Miller Park located at 1632 15th Avenue on Wednesday, December 20 at 3:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in Seattle City Hall (600 4th Avenue, Floor L2) in the Boards & Commissions Room L2-80.

The public is invited to attend the meeting and make comments regarding the nomination. Written comments should be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board at the following mailing address by 3:00 p.m. on December 19:
Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649

The property is currently listed as pending according to real estate records. The nomination packet was prepared by Castanes Architects but there is no indication of what any new buyer has planned for the property.

December will be a busy time for old Hill buildings potentially facing demolition. On December 6th, the landmarks board will consider Broadway’s 1960s-era Bonney Watson Funeral Home as an official landmark. CHS reported here on the unsuccessful first design review of the twin seven-story mixed-use apartment buildings destined to rise on the coveted funeral home property.

In addition to attending the December 20th hearing on the nomination, you can add your comments here by email. The full 1632 15th Ave nomination packet is below. Continue reading