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New wave of Capitol Hill apartment projects includes E Pike dealership building, Taco Time lot

Earlier this week, CHS reported on a 15% year-over-year jump in median rent for Capitol Hill residents. The demand part of the equation is clear. Here comes more supply. Two more Capitol Hill apartment projects are now underway — one that will replace an E Pike auto dealership facility, another that will fill in an empty lot where a fast food restaurant once stood — and a third has officially changed hands.

  • 600 E Pike: Earlier this year, CHS reported that big-time developer Avalon Bay was under contract to purchase the building home to the outgoing Mercedes Benz dealership on E Pike and making plans for a seven-story apartment building on the site. A company representative presented early plans for the massive, L-shaped site last week at a session of the Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council in advance of the project’s planned January debut in front of the East Design Review Board. Early directions include one concept that would preserve and restore or recreate much of the E Pike frontage of one of the last vestiges of E Pike’s auto row days in exchange for development incentives that will allow Avalon to build the project to seven stories.

City records document what will be an impressively large project: “a 7 story building containing 300 residential units above 20,000 ft. of retail at grade. Parking for 300 vehicles to be provided below grade.”

(Images: CHS)

One element of the Avalon plan that may take the most heat from the community is a desire to use the E Pine portion of the L’s street-level to host a mixed leasing office/amenity area for residents instead of a retail or restaurant tenant.

We’ll know in January whether Avalon has convinced community leaders it is getting feedback from now that the leasing office plan is right for the street.

County records do not yet indicate that the property sale has been completed so we don’t yet know what price Avalon paid for a good portion of a prime Pike/Pine block.

Wolff Co. paid nearly $14.9 million for the BMW parcels just up the street. Its destiny will include 270 units and some 6,000 square-feet of retail.

2010’s Taco Time demolition (Images: CHS)

  • 1420 E Madison: $2.5 million could have netted you the empty, contaminated lot where a Taco Time once stood on E Madison — directly across the street from the about-to-be-completed “greenest office building in the world.” County records don’t indicate a sale has taken place, but development plans are about to be unveiled for a new apartment project on the land that has been owned by the Taco Time founding family for decades. A design review has been scheduled for January:

Design Review Early Design Guidance application proposing a 6-story, 70 residential unit structure with 3480 sf of street level commercial and 3 levels of below-grade parking for 95 vehicles.

Taco Time vice president Robby Tonkin told CHS the property was for sale in 2010 and said that the environmental testing reported on earlier that summer revealed “very low levels of environmental contamination” — not entirely uncommon given the Hill’s auto row and industrial past.

The new project will stand across Madison from the nearly finished Bullitt Center. The 50,000 square-foot zero-energy project has garnered worldwide attention for its ambitious green design and sustainable features. We’ll see what the Taco Time neighbors — or possible new buyers — bring to the table in January. One thing is certain — this new project will have a lot more parking than the Bullitt building.

CHS featured more images of Capitol Hill fast food joints of old here (Image: King County)

  • 1111 E Union: Alliance Realty, already behind one ginormous Pike/Pine development on E Union, is, indeed the developer — but not the buyer — running the six-story apartment project currently filling in the hole at E Union and 12th where the Undre Arms once stood. We reported on a new buyer moving the stalled project forward earlier this year just as demolition and then digging and now building has commenced. Transwestern Investment Management announced it bought the land and the project for a cool $4.05 million. The 105-unit building should be completed sometime in 2013. That’s $38,500 per unit — $540 per square feet of land — for those scoring at home. Smart shoppers. The boys and girls down the Hill paid around 40% more for their Pike/Pine units.

More Development Notes:

  • You won’t have to wait for January for more Capitol Hill design review activity. Next week, the aforementioned Wolff project on the BMW property will return for what developers hope is the final phase of the public design process. Also slated for next Wednesday’s schedule is a project at 422 Summit Ave E — “a 6-story structure containing 48 apartments. Parking for 10 vehicles to be provided below grade and 4 surface space” — that we haven’t yet covered on CHS. More on the reviews here next week.
  • The week following, the design board will consider the adaptive reuse project CHS reported on in October that will transform the old Del Teet building — a.k.a., the old Broadway Hollywood Video building — into lofts.
  • January will be a busy month for development planning. CHS counts six Capitol Hill-area projects on the design review docket.
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