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

‘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

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

Capitol Hill Historical Society receives first-time funding — and has big plans for 2019

Are more Capitol Hill buildings headed towards landmark status in 2019? If you ask Capitol Hill Historical Society, the answer is a resounding yes.

Now, with new funding, that might just become a little easier for the local conservation non-profit. 4Culture, the cultural funding agency for King County, recently awarded CHHS two-year funding support of $2,000 total for its preservation advocacy and historic neighborhood education. Other groups receiving 2019-2020 Preservation Sustained Support funding include Historic Wallingford, Kent Downtown, the Alliance for Pioneer Square and the Seattle Chinatown-ID Preservation and Development Authority, among others.

It is the first time Capitol Hill Historical Society, since its early 2017 founding, received public funding. Until now, the nonprofit has relied on individual donations and goodwill from unpaid volunteer board members and other volunteers.

“It gives me the sense that things are moving forward and that we’re getting recognition. We must be doing something right,” said Tom Heuser, board president of the nonprofit and a CHS contributor on Capitol Hill history. Continue reading

Coworking giant WeWork coming to Capitol Hill in preservation incentive-boosted Kelly Springfield project — UPDATE

The future of 11th Ave is coworking (Image: Ankrom Moisan)

The preservation-incentive boosted development that is turning the old Capitol Hill Value Village space — and before that, REI, and before that, the Kelly Springfield Motor Truck Company — into an office and retail complex in the heart of Pike/Pine will be filled with desks from coworking startup WeWork.

The Puget Sound Business Journal broke the news Tuesday on the plans for the company to be the sole tenant in the five-story building, filing the project’s 70,000 square feet or so of office space with WeWork’s brand of glossy coworking space, entrepreneurial and “business incubator” services, and, maybe a WeWork company store. 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

Why save Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue? ‘A lot more to it than just the number of units’

An effort to extend landmark protections to the Roy Vue building marks the Capitol Hill Historical Society’s first foray into preservation, but it won’t be the last.

“This is a sign of our involvement in the community,” said Rob Ketcherside, vice president of the society and a CHS contributor on Capitol Hill history. He said the nearly two-year-old group is hoping to do more such work, as long as members of the all-volunteer organization can find the time for it.

“It’s not about trying to control every property in the city. It’s about holding on to the heritage properties we have,” Ketcherside said. Continue reading

In face of $40M suit, Sawant plans ‘Save the Showbox’ concert at Seattle City Hall

(@gibbstack via Instagram)

Capitol Hill’s District 3 rep Kshama Sawant is soldiering ahead with a “Save the Showbox” concert and rally at City Hall despited a $40 million lawsuit against the city over a surgical preservation ordinance that has temporarily staved off the sale and redevelopment of the 1st Ave venue.

Seattle husband and wife rock band Smokey Brights will headline the Wednesday, September 19th, 5:00 PM “Concert/Rally” preceding a public hearing in Seattle City Council chambers. UPDATE: The bill has grown with Sol, Sassy Black, and Dude York joining the show.

CHS reported earlier on the Sawant ordinance passed by the council and at the heart of the $40 million lawsuit from the Showbox property’s owner, a Las Vegas company owned by Seattle strip club magnate Roger Forbes. Among the arguments in the suit are allegations Sawant and other council members “engaged in ex parte communications with Save the Showbox supporters but failed to disclose those communications as required by law” and that the ordinance represents an illegal “spot zone.”  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