One of the largest abandoned buildings in the Capitol Hill area and a haven for taggers, squatters and who-knows-what is about to be torn down, CHS has learned. And it looks likely a dormant $11 million development project is being geared back up again to replace it at the corner of Pine and Bellevue.
According to documents filed with the city’s Department of Planning and Development, a permit has been issued for the demolition of the 26-unit Marion Apartments. And we’ve learned the company that owns the land has made the final payments for the $59,000 in fees it owes for its application to construct a six-story, 118-unit mixed-use building with about 13,000 square feet of ground floor retail. Now DPD just needs to approve the construction.
“Like a lot of people, we’re working as hard as we can to attract financing for the project. But, we’ve fallen victim to the credit crunch,” Stratford Company CEO George Webb told CHS in July 2010 when we took a look at the Hill development that had become mired in the global real estate crash and the looming reminder of an abandoned apartment building falling into decay.
The Stratford Company first brought the proposed development known as Pine Street Condominiums to the city’s design process in August 2007. The design was approved in 2008 — with conditions (see the embedded document below — but hasn’t moved forward until now. Given what we’ve seen in all of the new wave of development on the Hill, it seems likely this project will also be transitioned to an apartment-based sales plan but we’ll need to confirm that with the developer before anointing these the Pine Street Apartments.
We have calls and e-mails out to Webb to learn more about the renewed effort and will update when we learn more. UPDATE: We received a brief confirmation from Webb that things are moving forward:
We are in the process of finalizing our building permits and capitalizing the project. We plan to break ground as soon as we can obtain a construction loan for the project.
Webb also confirmed that the project will be apartments once completed:
It will definitely be apartments so you can remove the doubt about that in the article.
Also, we did make a change awhile back that it appears hasnt been picked up in your reporting to make the Bellevue ground floor space live/work, so we will have 132 units (not 118) + about 4,000 sq ft of commercial.
In the intervening years, the building has become a magnet for street art, taggers, squatters and everything in between. DPD has fielded numerous complaints about the property and Webb told us that on numerous occasions he has had vagrants removed from the building and graffiti painted over. It hasn’t all been bad — the space under the abandoned building’s overhang has been used for guerrilla flea markets and street performance.
But in addition to the graffiti, the old apartment building has a gaping, charred hole on its northwest corner from the October 2008 fire that ripped through part of the building as its final tenants were being moved out. Investigators determined that the fire was intentionally set by 89-year-old Ed Jackson who had served as the apartment manager and the neighborhood’s de facto nightwatchman. Jackson died in the blaze.
The 1623 Bellevue project to the north of the Marion Apartments appears to still be on hold though inspections for a demolition were completed in 2008.
The sudden motion on the Bellevue/Pine project continues the trend of the great development thaw of 2011. If demolition and construction moves forward soon, a three block stretch of East Pine from Bellevue to Belmont will suddenly be a very busy place. The long-stalled development at Pine and Belmont replacing the People’s Parking Lot is full-steam ahead and apparently making quick progress.
Up the Hill, the 230 Broadway project is ready to begin demolition soon. Demolition is already in progress at 13th and Madison and work at 16th and Madison is gearing up. At 19th and Madison, they are already driving pilings and pouring concrete. Meanwhile, an appeal is holding up similar progress on the Bullitt Foundation’s project at 15th and Madison where the old CC Attle’s has already been swept away.
And more is coming soon. We reported last week that the ambitious Sunset Electric development at 11th and Pine is on path for a summer start of construction.
Streetcar 2013. Light rail 2016. Busy days on the Hill.
In addition to noise, dirt and putting big trucks on the street, this burst of construction energy is powering an extremely rapid overhaul of some key areas of the Hill. How Pike/Pine and all of Capitol Hill can manage to keep its “grit” in the face of so much redevelopment remains to be seen. For now, with yet another truckload of dirt bumping down the road toward I-5, things will probably be plenty gritty.