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What the development at 12th and Pike will look like — Plus, E Madison’s Mad Flats

Here's what developers hope you'll find at the northeast corner of 12th and Pike in a few year (Image: CHS)

Here’s what developers hope you’ll find at the northeast corner of 12th and Pike in a few year (Image: CHS)

The East Design Review Board has two Capitol Hill projects on its hands Wednesday night as the public gets its first look at a new project on E Madison (that will replace a really old Victorian that first must pass through the landmarks board) and the most complete look yet at the mixed-use project coming to the northeast corner of 12th and Pike (replacing one of the oldest, “organic” mixed-use projects in the neighborhood that was already rejected by the landmarks board). It’s a landmark night in Capitol Hill design review… kind of.

1200 E Pike
The path to development at 12th and Pike has been a long, winding road.  Purchased by a real estate investment trust in 2007 for $3.2 million and already rejected as an official city landmark, the 1900-era building at 1200 E Pike will be completely razed to make way for a six story project with 88 living units, 3,000 square feet of street-level retail and underground parking for 38 vehicles.

The Seattle landmarks board cited “integrity” issues when deeming the structure unfit for protection status noting the significant amount of changes it has undergone both inside and out since first erected in 1903. Developers decided not to attempt to utilize the city’s preservation incentives to include any portion of the existing structure in the new plans.

Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 2.35.00 PM Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 2.35.29 PM Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 2.36.16 PM

Wednesday night, the board will get its second and likely final look at the project. In March, the board was mostly satisfied with the Ankrom-Moisan massing though there was some criticism of the proposed structure’s bulk. In the meanwhile, its plan for “fin walls” has been rejected in the latest update. The Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council also weighed in with it support. Zoning departure requests were limited to a proposal related to the building’s driveway. In other words, the project was a clear go for this week’s recommendation session — and unveiling its proposed design.

Review Meeting: August 14, 8:00 PM
Seattle University
824 12th Ave
Admissions & Alumni Community Room
Review Phase: Recommendation past reviews
Project Number: 3014650 permit status | notice
Planner: Shelley Bolser

Developers Tarragon say the project’s architecture should follow “massing pattern/setback of existing building” while creating “interplay between public and private outdoor spaces.” The final design adds a theme of “stage” and “junction,” according to the developers — including “corner expression” and “display” for the bustling intersection of 12th and Pike. Finishings will include metal plate panels, wood siding and perforated mesh screens, according to the plan submitted for the review.

1523 E Madison
Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 2.25.56 PM Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 10.37.13 PM Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 2.32.21 PMWhereas its Design Review companion has already had its to-be-demolished forebearer rejected as an official Seattle landmark, a new lofts project planned for 1523 E Madison still has a historical review to look forward to along with Wednesday night’s initial examination of its design.

The Mad Flats project from developer Johnson Carr and architects Janette will create 55 “efficiency dwelling units,” 3 live work units at street level plus 800 square feet of commercial space on a parcel near 15th and Madison.

But first, a *very* old Victorian that has been used as offices in recent times will need to take a pass through the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board to see if the 1893-ish building qualifies for protections that would put a stop to the flats plan as envisioned:

This proposal is addressing a need for affordable housing within the city’s urban neighborhoods. Labeled “workforce housing” by many, the objective is to provide an opportunity for those with limited income or with needs for a safe, simple, efficient living environment, to find residence within our urban centers. This achieves several objectives such as reduced commuting and encouraging live-where-you work opportunities; keeping people and their contributions in the city rather than outlying suburbs; all the while utilizing the cities pre-established systems. Our commitment to the neighborhood, great design, and the health and well-being of our residents has resulted in several exciting up and coming communities throughout Seattle.

It seems unlikely the old Victorian has a chance:

The building was constructed in c. 1893-1898 as a two-story single family residence. Original construction permit files were not available. The building appears to have been constructed as a vernacular style of the Victorian era, with some features such as a Queen Anne style window and patterned shingles, but no distinctive architectural elements identified with high-style architecture. The original house was also relatively small and most likely intended for a working class family. The earliest known owner and occupant of the house was Herbert R. Schmidt. Schmidt purchased the house in 1926 and resided there with his wife Antonia. Schmidt was a department manager for the Dagg-Derneden Co, shirt manufacturers located at 163 Jackson Street in Pioneer Square. Schmidt owned the house and resided there until at least 1966, at which time he was retired from his own Custom Shirt Shop.

The landmarks hearing comes next Wednesday, August 21st. If recent actions are any indication, the heavily modified building won’t stand in the way of the planned development.

Before we get to the landmarks end of things, the East Design Review Board will render its first judgements on the proposed project’s merits and special requests. “This site is small and has challenging geometry but its location overcomes these characteristics,” the developer promises. The preferred massing scheme includes a “prominent urban feature” at 16th and Madison that will establish “a strong urban corner” and provide “adaptability from live/work to commercial use.” We don’t know what that means! But we look forward to seeing it fleshed out when this one comes back with a final design in a few months.

Design Proposal (13.3 MB)
Review Meeting: August 14, 6:30 PM
Seattle University
824 12th Ave
Admissions & Alumni Community Room
Review Phase: EDG–Early Design Guidance
Project Number: 3014989 permit status | notice
Planner: Shelley Bolser


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39 thoughts on “What the development at 12th and Pike will look like — Plus, E Madison’s Mad Flats

  1. Great, more bland “bread boxes” , its horrific how this city has no regard for its history and things that make it unique and livable. Developers run this town and as for affordable housing, thats the last thing they care about. Can we start rent control maneuvers??

    • unless you live in a hole in the ground, or built your house\apartment. STFU about the “evil developers” and go back to eastside or wherever your parents were paying for you to live before you decided to move to hill. These “old” buildings that your so fond of are full of issues, mold, shitty insulation and waste energy and money. Not all change is bad.

      • Wow Andy, you should work on not sounding like an ignorant, intolerant douche. Jet City Jim, I for one am smart enough to see the land grab going on by well-off and rich developers in Seattle. The rapid consolidation of wealth is astounding. We have to stop it. Rent control? Needed. MUCH BETTER preservation of our history? Needed. The drowning out of the Andy Parkers of this city? Well, that’d be priceless.

      • There is no need to be rude.
        Over a lifetime of living on Capitol Hill, part of the joy has been walking down Pike, Pine, Harrison, John and enjoying the sky or the mountains or downtown through the buildings flanking the streets, some old, some new.
        One does adapt to the changes. Some are positive, the vibrancy of foot traffic, wonderful new shops, people.
        But this design, a black looming box, suspended over a corner, says something, and it isn’t good, to me.

  2. How was the building modified? It looks largely intact.

    Why on earth would we even contemplate destroying an 1893 building? Have we no foresight?

    • The first modification was 10 years after it was built. They raised it up, moved it 10ft back from the street, and put the commercial floor under it. There’s a 4-6 inch dip down the middle of the building that was probably the result of that. All of the windows and door have been cut to match the distorted frames.

      • Who cares if it was modified. The ay-holes on the joke of a Landmark Preservation Board always use this tactic to destroy our dwindling stock of historic buildings. Utter BS. And, shame on CHS for all-but-pronouncing this Victorian dead. Way to doomsday it’s future and discourage citizens from trying to raise enough hell to stop this developer/landmarks board cahoots shite. Election 2013: Where the hell are McGinn and Conlin on the issues of preservation and affordability? Murray, too. We’re represented by corrupt hacks.

  3. I like the new construction. That’s the ugliest Victorian style house I’ve ever seen. I’d think that anyone who lives in the area would be much happier with a newer building.

    • As someone who lives across the street, I would like to inform you that you are mistaken. I would not be much happier with a newer building… especially not one like this that appears to present a giant wall to my street in place of victorian charm and human scale.

  4. I like the design of the new building at 12th and Pike. I think it looks cool. I like the wood slats on the underside of the overhanging part, and I like the metal/mesh siding on the bottom floor. I’m a bit sad that the existing stores along Pike have to find another home, and the old building is kind funky and interesting, but certainly not worth preserving.

  5. oh goodie, another anonymous box to replace a building with immense character! And ANOTHER anonymous box – er, triangle? – to replace an 1893 house! Thank goodness we’ve got that historic overlay thingie that has done absolutely nothing to maintain any character whatsoever in Capitol Hill architecture.

  6. To those who dislike the 1200 project, what modern buildings DO you like that this one should model? Lot’s of negative comments but no one mentions what should be done. And keeping things as is is not an option as our city continues to grow.

    The 1523 house is quant. Too bad it cannot be moved. What exactly is an “efficiency dwelling unit”? An aPodment?

    • Good question. One newer building that comes to mind is on the northeast corner of Boylston and Denny (I don’t know the name of the building) – it incorporates some of the features of an older Victorian style building and fits in well on it’s street. If you Google map “Denny and Boylston, Seattle”, you’ll be able to see it via Streetview.

      Sadly, I can’t think of any others off the top of my head. I really don’t like most of the newer buildings on the Hill. They vary from unremarkable to outright ugly.

    • I’d REALLY like for you to explain to me why Seattle CANNOT POSSIBLY GROW ANY LARGER without the destruction of one of the oldest mix use buildings on Capitol Hill. Please enlighten me!

      • Buildings become end of life…

        Buildings become too expensive to retrofit, renovate and maintain….

        12th and Pike is a prominent location, ROI on a new building is better than the current…

        People who own old buildings wish to sell them at some point and the new buyers have a different vision….

        and on and on…

      • People, please — just because a building is really old doesn’t mean it’s a LANDMARK. This just happens to be a really old building. Period. There’s nothing particularly special about it. And that’s my opinion. You can have your opinion too, but that doesn’t mean that developers are evil. This is how cities work. Buildings get built, then later on they get replaced by newer buildings. Sometimes the community agrees that certain old buildings are worth saving. But we don’t save every old building just because it’s old.

    • I think the Brix building at Broadway/Mercer is quite beautiful for a modern building…primarily because brick is a major component of the exterior…far superior to the cheap-looking materials that are often used on the new buildings. I wish brick was used more often…it has a timeless appeal….but it is expensive and would cut into the developers’ bottom line….poor things, only 5 million profit instead of 10.

      • Agree! More expensive building materials mean a building that will last, and age gracefully. Instead of looking like crap after weather a few Seattle winters.

      • I agree, Brix is a great looking building with a more timeless design.

        Another great thing about Brix, it’s construction. Concrete and steel, much more durable than Joule across the street when you look at not only the quality of living but the durability of the buildings.

        I see so many buildings going up that are made of wood chips and glue, makes you wonder what they will be like in 30 years.

  7. I generally like the prelim design elements incorporated in the 1200 E Pike project. The contrasting color palette does a good job of breaking the massing into 2 distinct elements. I would like to see a few vertical elements that overlay both color palettes and facades treatments. Could carry up from one or 2 pilasters in the podium. Nothing over the top, but something to break up the 2 distinct modules. Needs a better connection. Otherwise I think it’s on the right track. I believe this building has the opportunity to effectively anchor the corner, similar to what Agnes Lofts does on the SW corner of the block.

  8. Does anyone realize that this “modern, fresh” look will become dated? Pike/Pine, A neighborhood of buildings that look like they were built in the early 2010’s. Whoopie. Can we at least model this neighborhood somewhat from the Pearl Dist. in PDX? There was a chance to keep the facades of a lot of older structures and build them up. Fortunately, there are a couple of projects doing just that: 11th and Pine and 14th between Pike and Pine, old location of the Porchlight. The progress is moving at a swift pace now. For all those snarky young professionals who judge us, driving into the parking garage in their BMWs, we made up the blood of this neighborhood. It truly is sad to see sentimental structures go up in smoke, so more snarky fucks can move in and comment such as “STFU and move to the Eastside”. If you want everything new, shouldn’t YOU move to the Eastside? Oh well, perhaps progress brings great things but I wonder if this will become another Belltown.

  9. This is already becoming another Belltown. In the last five years we’ve added so many new bars and restaurants. Increasingly the neighborhood is full of drunken misbehavior on most nights of the week. People come here to party, party, party and trash the neighborhood before going home or move here to party. Also, to another point, many of us live in the old character structures and they are not all rundown and full of mold–some of them are quite lovely.

  10. I hope to god the new development on Madison (if it happens) is not yet another apodment… sounds like it might be, but probably the developers are getting savvy to the negative meaning for the word and calling it something else instead. But if it quacks like a duck….

    City Council, please pass those stricter regulations on apodments ASAP!

    • The article also speaks to “efficiency dwelling units” at 1523 E Madison. Sounds like aPodments to me! If you’re not sure what an aPodment is, Google it.

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