Changes are afoot on the north end of Broadway, and not everyone is happy. Scratch that, some people are pissed off.
SRM Development, the firm behind the pending redevelopment of the 230 Broadway site, is planning significant changes to the 600 block of Broadway. SRM intends to relocate Bank of America from the corner of Broadway East and East Thomas Street, on the 230 Broadway site, to 612 Broadway East by early next year. Nearby, the old Jade Pagoda building is being overhauled to attract new restaurant or retail tenants. We covered the various real estate players holding pieces of the block last spring before the plan for the temporary B of A home emerged.
Mike Frost, who manages the 614 10th Ave. E. apartment building across from the demolition site, said he and nearby homeowner Mike Klozar left last Friday’s meeting with SRM under the impression that the developer had little intention of adjusting its plans to address their concerns. “I’ve talked with everyone on our side of the street,” said Frost, “and everyone other than the [owners and residents of 1005 E. Roy St. apartment building] is dissatisfied with what we’ve heard so far.”
Bank of America’s previous home at Broadway and Thomas is about to be redeveloped. CHS has covered recent design review meetings for the 230 Broadway project, which is appearing again before the design review board on Wednesday. The relocation plan calls for the demolition of residential properties at 613 and 615 10th Avenue East to provide space for a surface parking lot that would serve the bank and future commercial tenants on Broadway.
Andy Loos, development manager at SRM, anticipates demolition to be completed in two weeks. The demolition would result in the loss of four housing units from the site. Two of the units had been occupied at the time SRM pursued a building permit from the City of Seattle to enable the relocation. Loos said that one tenant left of his own accord and that the other received compensation through the City’s Tenant Relocation Ordinance.
Last Friday, several concerned neighbors met with Neighborhood District Coordinator Thomas Whittemore, who helped arrange a meeting that same day with SRM. “I’ve met with the adjacent property owners and told them of our plans and they seem fine with what we are doing,” said Loos.
Point of contention number one: construction impacts. Loos said that SRM is acting in compliance with city regulations and is implementing, for instance, pest control measures. Klozar, however, said, “Those of us that live on the block where this is happening have to deal with large trucks and giant dumpsters dropped in front of our driveways for the next several months. This is a real problem because two of the residents are doctors on call who may be required to get to the hospital in a hurry.”
Point of contention number two: sewer capacity. Frost believes the sewers that serving the site are not fit to handle the water runoff that a surface parking lot would generate, and he met Friday morning with staff from the City’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) regarding this matter. Loos said he has heard no such thing and has not talked to DPD about the matter yet.
Point of contention number three: loss of affordable housing. Klozar recently formed a Facebook group for the North Broadway Community because the project “has removed affordable housing in favor of a parking lot for 40 cars for a temporary bank location.” Loos, on the other hand, insisted that the housing that was lost was market-rate.
Point of contention number four: parking. Frost questions whether a parking lot is needed at this location, as an existing parking lot is located at the southwestern corner of the block. Loos said that SRM is only providing the parking that its tenant, Bank of America, would need to maintain its business. Loos added that SRM could not rely on parking at the existing lot, since it is under different ownership and could potentially be redeveloped.
Point of contention number five: future development.
Klozar said, “After construction is completed we are to be rewarded with an ugly parking lot, high intensity lighting in our bedroom windows, and the view of a bank building painted grey with a red stripe. This does not fit Capitol Hill’s character in the least.” Klozar is concerned that the traffic that a commercial parking lot on 10th Avenue East might generate would negatively impact the nearby Lowell Elementary school and disturb the block’s more residential character.
Loos said, “The bank is a good clean use with minimal impacts regarding noise, traffic, smells and garbage. We will add parking to the area which can be utilized in the evenings (after banking hours) when parking is at a premium due to the theater and nearby restaurants thus leaving more spaces on the street for residents and visitors.”
“All we would ask is that residents be involved in the plan and help craft something that is attractive, preserves the trees and is functional,” Klozar said. “We want only a win-win for the neighborhood and the businesses that we also hope will thrive here on the hill.”
Klozar and Frost say they plan to continue drumming up support for their cause and to continue discussing their concerns with representatives from SRM. Klozar is considering starting a neighborhood association in the North Broadway area. In the meantime, though, with demolition permit in hand, SRM is moving forward with its plans.