Lawsuit settlement won’t end effort to save the Showbox

(Image: The Showbox)

Seattle is conceding on an important legal battle in the campaign to save the city’s Showbox music venue championed by Mayor Jenny Durkan, campaigned for by District 3 rep Kshama Sawant, and fought for by groups like Historic Seattle.

In the deal announced this week by the Seattle City Attorney, the city will pay the Showbox property’s owner Roger Forbes $915,000 to cover attorney fees and both sides agreed to move forward with a King County Superior Court Judge issuing his final ruling after quashing the city council’s temporary expansion of the Pike Place Historic District to protect the building and stop a planned sale.  Continue reading

Landmark Knights of Columbus building set for ‘adaptive reuse’ future in middle of new apartment buildings

The future of the historic Knights of Columbus building lined up to be at the center of development along Union just above Pike won’t be more housing, the developer behind the project says.

The second of two new apartment buildings planned to wrap around the 106-year-old masonry clubhouse passed through the early phase of design review last month as planners were finally able to work out solutions to provide a better relationship between the planned development and neighboring E Pike buildings. Continue reading

Design reviews: Knights of Columbus development’s Harvard plans, plus a ‘mass timber’ first on First Hill

A split decision last spring will bring one of twin new projects planned to rise around the historic Knights of Columbus building in front of the East Design Review Board again Wednesday night. Meanwhile, another project coming in front of the review board would create Seattle’s tallest “mass timber” building.

The 704 E Union component of the Knights of Columbus project — a planned seven-story, 37-unit apartment building that will neighbor the overhauled landmark — passed through the first stage of review in April with the board’s only concern centering on a “gasket” connection planned with the 106-year-old masonry clubhouse structure.

But before the full development can move forward to the final recommendation phase of Seattle’s design review process, its larger twin planned for the land currently dedicated to surface parking along Harvard still has a few rough edges that need to be smoothed including “unresolved issues relating to tree placement, open space and the relationship of the project to the neighbor,” the board’s report on the April session reads, the St. John’s Apartments and, most importantly to you summer drinkers, encroachment on the St. John’s bar patio. Fighting words, no? Settle down. There’s a plan. Continue reading

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