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Change digs in at 23rd and Union as six-story apartment project breaks ground

IMG_474823rd-and-Union-Final-Rendering-600x368-2There was no public ceremony marking the project’s start but neighbors have definitely noticed — work has begun on the southwest corner of 23rd and Union.

The lot which has stood unused and empty for more than a decade is this week busy with drilling, pounding and concrete pouring as crews place huge girders into the soil and prepare to dig out space for the mixed-use building’s underground parkingIMG_4769

Earlier this year, developer Lake Union Partners said it was paying $3.8 million for the lot lined up for development for years as the area suffered through the global economic meltdown of the late 2000s. The new owners acquired the land and the previously designed building with 92 apartments, 74 underground parking stalls, and 4,000 square feet of retail space. Lake Union Partners is also developing a lot at the northwestern corner of 24th and Union, where they hope to build a 39-unit building.

Change is — now — coming fast and furious for the intersection. Smaller shifts like a planned pot store called Mello Times are one sign. Bigger changes like the downshift of the US Postal Service and a planned rezone on the southeast corner of 23rd and Union are another. Capitol Hill Housing is also moving forward with its plans for an affordable mixed-use building for the site currently home to the old Key Bank/Liberty Bank building. The neighboring former Med Mix building remains without a new tenant but there is work on the lot to add a twin retail building to the corner.

For neighbors and business owners in an area that has been anticipating these kinds of changes but had yet to see much come to reality, seeing actual dirt being turned is apparently a little shocking. We’ve heard from several people with pictures of the work underway. “Can’t believe it’s finally happening,” one text message reads.


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17 thoughts on “Change digs in at 23rd and Union as six-story apartment project breaks ground

  1. Seeing the construction equipment at 23rd and Union is a big deal. There’s some serious gentrification coming, but also a counterculture kickback with the pot-shops moving in.

    Still confused about the 24th and Union Development- Isn’t that supposed to be on the South East corner (at Fatima’s).

    Still assuming that Med-mix will be a pot-shop. What’s going in Ian?

  2. It makes me dizzy with disbelief seeing the trucks there after so many false starts. The Nisqually quake was in 2001 so it has been much more than a decade of being a bomb crater. Ryan talks of serious gentrification but it is really just making up for lost time. It is so sad that the earth had to be scorched so hard at this corner. It would be so different if things had been allowed to evolve and grow instead of having the gentrification fight just shut everything down until the corner just dies from neglect. Evolution is only gentrification if it obliterates what is already going on. Here the corner has been dead so long there isn’t anything left to save, so bring on the evolution.

    • I don’t think there was much alternative for that corner. As I recall the building that was there was so heavily damaged by the quake that fixing it was likely not an option. I seem to remember the building being so cracked and shifted that the windows on the Union St. facing side we not even square enough to close more than about half way.

      • Yes the Coleman building was falling apart but the damage was from long term neglect prior to the quake. The Nisqually just brought attention to how bad it was. FEMA actually turned down the building owners request for funds because the damage was prior to the earthquake.

  3. People throw the G-word around far too easily. Gentrification is not building on a long empty lot. Gentrification is not building spaces for local businesses and for neighbors to enjoy.

  4. It wasn’t the gentrification debate that slowed down the development at SW corner. It was the recession. Jim Mueller was ready to build (same as current design) in 2008 before real estate market crashed

    • Hi James, we acquired the site with approved plans from the previous developer who hired Mithun Architects to take the project through the Design Review process. We hired Compass Construction to build the project.
      -Pat Foley

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