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The day Franklin Tseng has been worrying about at Broadway and John is finally here

The Seattle Times checks in with light rail tunnel-fearing Capitol Hill landowner Franklin Tseng as the first tunnel boring machine traveling from UW to Broadway is about to pass directly beneath and finds him waiting at Broadway and John… in the basement:

The Capitol Building has survived earthquakes. Still, Tseng was worried enough to fly in from Hong Kong this month. He will be sitting quietly in the basement office, to feel any vibrations heading his way.

The rest of the Times piece is a cool check-in on some of the final stretches for the three boring machines at work in the project. CHS wrote about Tseng’s tunnel boring concerns in November… 2010.


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21 thoughts on “The day Franklin Tseng has been worrying about at Broadway and John is finally here

  1. 88 years ago somebody like you was bitching about that structure going in on the corner of Broadway and John.

    “It looks like all of the other generic brick buildings around here!!!!”

    Hopefully the next complainer will love the new structures as much as you love this one.

  2. Oh please ohyes – really? Buildings used to be constructed with some appreciation of the aesthetics of the neighborhood. Do you really think these new buildings fit the community of Capitol Hill? As in the people who are from here, and whose families are from here. I can guarantee that developers today don’t give a shit about the neighborhood – they come from who knows where and want to make a quick dollar. Our beautiful vintage buildings have history and actually represent something. What do all of these new eyesores represent?

    I agree with you hybridtoaster!

  3. Probably not since back then everything was made out of brick. You know since wood was the other alternative and by that point Seattle, Spokane and further East Chicago had burned to the ground. So, my guess is, 88 years ago they were saying, “thank goodness this is brick, it will probably stand for at least 100 years”. So yeah, I agree with the top post, I hope they don’t ruin this beautiful piece of history just to put up something else that doesn’t actually look like it belongs in the neighborhood.

  4. well first of all, it’s not going anywhere… none of these landmark brick and mortars will. the owner says he wants to keep it in his family for another generation too. if it’s damaged it can be repaired… it just may be costly. i appreciate the love and concern shown for the building, because yeah, it DOES matter what our surroundings are like. not only should we be glad that a piece of our history remains standing on that corner, but i think it is a far better structure than most of the housing that has been built in our neighborhood recently, and since the equally bland/ugly world’s fair buildings (which, if you haven’t noticed, aren’t being preserved). people in the 20s might have complained about the height/size of the building but i doubt they would have looked up and complained about the overall appearance of the structure unless they were lamenting the loss of the small homes and trees that might have been there. i also find it hard to imagine people 88 years from now saying “look at those gorgeous pre-fab aluminum panels and those tiny balconies on every single apartment! and what a lovely hodgepodge of random colors!”

  5. Great architecture is like music in the best of both, there is something familiar and new new at the same time. Just look at the baseball park renaissance of the late 90’s. These builders took the best of the oldest traditions and married them to modern convenience and comfort. Nirvana brought melody into punk, Frank Lloyd Wright blended functionality in a style that is still revered, check out his design in Normandy Park, the Tracy House for example. Our hope can only be that WHEN this building is replaced, that Mr. Tseng or it’s current owner has the foresight, financial means, and commitment to the neighborhood to build something we can enjoy its esthetics and functionality.

  6. I will jump in. They represent lack of imagination, corporate greed and a complete disregard for any of the character of the neighborhood, do you need more listed out?

  7. Also, let’s not forget that the TBM is not going to affect this building at all. Remember the 6.8 Nisqually Earthquake from 2001? Gues what? That happened and this building withstood it. The very minimally possible murmurs from the TBM won’t even register.

    Also, about the comment on the aesthetics of buildings, clauren is right. The folks that designed and built our buildings from the early 20th century (Anhalth anyone?) really really cared about the buildings that they were developing. Down to the finest details, these buildings were constructed with care. Look at many of the entryways and see inticate cavings, or up around the crown you’ll likely see the same. I don’t think it’s so much that these structures were built to match the “character.” These heritage structures are part of the character in MODERN times. The local developers creating Kent Station North on the Hill could learn from SF developers that do a usually pretty great job of matching the character of the structures around them. Even the most modern buildings look distinctly San Francisco. We could have that here too. New buildings could look distinctly Capitol Hill (Anhalt, bay windows, brick, beautiful wood/heavy glass/brick retail facades, etc). It won’t happen, but it is possible to match the character of neighborhood structures with new buildings.

  8. Have any of you lived in this supposedly “historic” “landmark” building? I did. For about two years. It is a dump. Your preservation goals are misplaced. It might be pretty to look at (oooh brick oh my god I’ve never seen brick before wow), but to me it’s a blight.

    Ask residents about how secure the place is.

    Ask how comfortable it is on a summer afternoon when the sun sets and the brick starts radiating the heat it has been storing up all day.

    Ask about the plumbing and how many days it has been since the last time the hot water was out.

    Ask how safe residents felt being inside during the Nisqually quake.

    Ask about how much the rent was five years ago for a 1BR. Ask how much it is now.

    Ask the landlord to show you the former apartment door in the basement that’s still stained with blood … blood-stained with *words* that the suicider wrote while bleeding out. (I am not joking, though I hope someone finally got rid of that thing.)

    But, you know, I’m just a commenter on the internet so I could be full of crap. Feel free to check me.

    I’m just saying before you get all weepy about potentially losing a piece of “history” and before you decry all developers as insensitive, neighborhood-destroying, financially-myopic wretches, you should check yourself and take a reality pill. Not all new construction is an affront to the neighborhood, and as a 20 year Capitol Hill resident, I’m glad to see density and modern construction come to my hood. I’d not shed a single tear if the Capitol had to come down and be replaced with steel and glass new-con. It is the 21st century, after all.

  9. I lived in the Capitol Building from the summer of 2006 through the summer of 2010. It’s a good building. The walls are thick and sound-proof, people are reasonably respectful, and the location is fantastic.
    I never had problems with my plumbing, and I always appreciated the steam heat that was included with my rent in the winter. Surprise, though– old apartments do get warm in the summer! I had a box fan and only suffered that one week in ’10 where it was over 100 for days and days.
    I never felt unsafe in my building and, indeed, its location at a busy intersection made me feel much safer walking home late at night since I didn’t have to use dark and empty side streets. When I lived there, I could get inside with either an electronic fob or a Medeco key. Both of those felt perfectly secure to me.
    Some laundry was stolen from a dryer the first week I lived there back in ’06, and I saw one mouse one time (followed promptly by an exterminator), but I think these are pretty reasonable problems for an 80 year old building in a dense urban neighborhood.

  10. Fear the settling. My 1906 house is few blocks north and has survived many a quake. Sometime this month my foundation cracked from top to bottom. Waiting to hear if Sound Transit thinks its just a coincidence.

  11. We have been hearing, and recently feeling, the rumbling below our home one block off Broadway & Harrison. The sound and vibration is similar to the largest low bass speaker you have ever experienced.

    Actually, there it is right now. Rumble rumble.

  12. I agree that the majority of the new apartment buildings on Capitol Hill are cheap/unattractive, especially those horrible 4-6 unit “townhouses” with extremely narrow “driveways” leading into “garages” (aka closets) which aren’t used because they are too difficult to manuever into. And I especially hate the buildings with tiny 2’x4′”balconies” which are tacked on to every unit, for the sole purpose of satisfying the “open space” requirement in building codes.

    However, there are exceptions, such as the Brix building which I think is quite beautiful and fits very well into the neighborhood. I’m also hopeful about the “230 Broadway” building, still under construction at Broadway&Thomas…the design looks promising, and I notice they are using some tan bricks for the siding…yes! Still to come is the huge development over the light rail station…hopefully alot of community involvement will result in great buildings at that site.

    In short, those who decry all the new buildings as crap are just not paying attention.

  13. @calhoun,

    When Brix was coming online I have to say that I wasn’t really impressed, but I do have to say that I’ve changed my mind since the Joule appeared across the street and after seeing photo after photo of incredibly dull or just plain ugly designs for newer projects. Brix does actually sort of mesh with the existing streetscape. There are two long(ish) time Capitol Hill businesses housed within. It uses similar materials to the ones traditionally used in this area. Even the back side makes the street feel cosy (I can dig a row-house though -NOT the horrible townhomes that were big a few years back).

    In camparison to say the Broadway Building, Brix was actually designed with the neighborhood around it in mind. Who knew?

  14. I am sort of jealous actually. I wish I could have heard Brenda below my feet. Just the idea that we can build something so impressive (as human beings) in a relatively easy manner is super fascinating to me though, so to each their own I guess.