A magnet for taggers, junkies and squatters, Capitol Hill’s “charred, tagged and empty” Marion Apartments are finally coming down. According to workers at the site, demolition should begin at the 1960s era apartment building in coming days as a project to create a new mixed-use development again lurches forward a the corner of E Pine and Bellevue.
It’s been nearly one year since CHS reported that plans for the six-story, 118-unit mixed-use building with about 13,000 square feet of ground floor retail were being revived. But the path to getting work started at the decaying apartment complex was slow and winding. Finally, earlier this month developer George Webb of The Stratford Company confirmed that he expected ground to be broken on the project “in the next few weeks.”
“Please share with your readers that we remain more enthusiastic than anyone to move the project forward to completion!” Webb wrote.
Maybe not more enthusiastic than the City of Seattle, however, as it has been fielding increasing complaints about graffiti and concerns about squatting at the site. According to a person familiar with the project, police were called out to the apartments last week to give the building a final sweep and clear the building of any unauthorized residents before the coming demolition. You can see some of the accumulated detritus and left-behind possessions piled outside the abandoned building in the photo on this post.
We talked to Webb in July, 2010 about delays in the project that were holding up the plans originally approved years earlier.
The future. More about the project here
“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,” Webb said at the time.
In October 2008, a fire ripped through part of the building as its final tenants were being turned out as the building was prepared for what was thought to be imminent demolition. Investigators later determined that the fire was intentionally set by 89-year-old Ed Jackson who had served as the apartment manager. Jackson died in the blaze.
In the years since, the building has sat empty and cycled through various waves of tagging and graffiti work, some interesting, most not. The empty space beneath the structure was, for a time, put to use for a weekly guerilla flea market. These days, construction crews for the neighboring — and about to be completed — Bellevue Terrace project use the area to park their trucks and prepare construction equipment.
Bellevue Terrace is beginning the marketing phase of its lifespan soon. The 320 E Pine development that will wipe away the Marion building is just getting started.