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12th Ave Arts milestone means progress, precinct logistics and new Cap Hill Housing home

The 12th Ave Arts project that will create a six-story mixed-use apartment and theatre project atop what is today the East Precinct’s parking lot has reached an important milestone that paves the way for the building to break ground later this year.

Mayor Mike McGinn announced last week that the legislation required to authorize construction of a new police parking facility as part of the project and transfer the property to Capitol Hill Housing has begun its movement through City Hall. The full announcement is below.

The progress is an important step for the housing and arts project that will create affordable apartments just outside Pike/Pine as well as be home to three Capitol Hill theater groups.

While East Precinct is now much more enthusiastic about the decade-old plan, many logistics are left to solve for the officers that patrol Capitol Hill’s streets including finding a nearby, fully secure parking facility to use during construction and figuring out a solution for fueling vehicles with the loss of the pump currently part of the 12th Ave lot.

For Capitol Hill Housing, the milestone has importance beyond the ability to develop yet another affordable housing project in the neighborhood. With the planned demolition of the Davis Hoffman building where it currently makes its offices, the announcement also means progress toward the construction of a new home for Capitol Hill Housing.

Here is the full announcement on the legislation from the Mayor’s office:

Mayor brings 12th Avenue Arts Project closer to completion
Legislation sent to City Council last step before groundbreaking

SEATTLE – Mayor Mike McGinn today announced that an important milestone has been reached in the work between the City and Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) to make the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct parking lot available for redevelopment into a mixed-use, transit-oriented development. The development will include affordable housing, retail, arts and community space. Today’s legislation is the formal agreement between the City and CHH to make the redevelopment possible.

“This is a win for lower-income Seattle residents, community space, artists and the Capitol Hill neighborhood as a whole,” said McGinn. “Last year we removed City obstacles to redeveloping this site. I look forward to joining city staff and community stakeholders at the groundbreaking this fall.”

“We are thrilled by Mayor McGinn and the city’s overwhelming support for 12

th Avenue Arts,” said Capitol Hill Housing CEO Christopher Persons.   “This new development meets a variety of community needs in a neighborhood that welcomes such an inventive partnership.”

“The redevelopment of the East Precinct parking lot has been an aspiration of the neighborhood for 20 years.  This project will connect Broadway and the Pike/Pine Corridor with 12

th Avenue and will continue the revitalization of this part of Capitol Hill.  It is a wonderful example of how government and community can create a partnership that benefits everyone.”  Michael Wells, Executive Director, Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.

McGinn transmitted legislation today to the City Council that will:


  • Create a legal agreement to allow Capitol Hill Housing to develop a garage with a minimum of 111 stalls for the exclusive use of SPD, 88-units of affordable housing, 15,000 square feet of community commercial space for nonprofit groups including Capitol Hill Housing, two performing arts spaces, and pedestrian-oriented retail; and,
  • Transfer of the property is required in order for CHH to access new market tax credits for the project. A groundbreaking is expected for later this fall.

McGinn first announced the agreement on June 1, 2011. It was significant in that it made the parking lot available for future redevelopment for the first time.

 Located on 12th Avenue and Pine Street, the 29,000 square foot site, purchased by the city of Seattle in the mid-1980s, is currently utilized by the SPD as a parking lot, fueling station and mobile command center. A letter of intent (LOI) that laid out the basic terms and conditions of the property sale was negotiated and signed by both parties in May 2011.

The city’s Office of Housing, using 2009 Seattle Housing Levy funds, has awarded the housing portion of the development a loan of up to $7.7 million. As a requirement to receive the Office of Housing money, CHH is obliged to lease every apartment to individuals and families earning less than 60 percent of the median income. Companion legislation from the Office of Economic Development proposes to provide the commercial portion of the project with up to $1 million in a Section 108 HUD Loan, which requires that a certain number of jobs be created in order to receive the funding. 

This development meets the call for new mixed-use commercial space and affordable housing opportunities outlined in both the Capitol Hill and Pike/Pine Neighborhood Plans, while supporting SPD’s long-term requirements for the East Precinct.

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