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Capitol Hill apartment boom getting new ripples as 15th Ave E development moves forward

The Salal sign went up in 2010 as the Group Health Credit Union got a new brand (Image: Prima Seadiva via Flickr)

The Salal sign went up in 2010 as the Group Health Credit Union got a new brand (Image: Prima Seadiva via Flickr)

There are more signs that developers expect Capitol Hill’s building boom to continue and demand for apartments to remain steady if not continue soaring. CHS has learned details of a project moving forward to create a new four-story, 60-unit apartment building on 15th Ave E.

According to filings with the city, developer John Links of The Metropolitan Companies is moving forward on a plan to redevelop the lot currently home to Salal Credit Union in the 100 block of 15th Ave E across from Group Health. The planned building will stand four stories, be planned for 60 units and could have two levels of underground parking.

From the "Feasibility/Yield Analysis" for the 15th Ave E project (Image: Caron)

From the “Feasibility/Yield Analysis” for the 15th Ave E project (Image: Caron)

Preliminary work is being done by Caron Architecture. Caron’s work can be seen at this four-story 12th Ave development, these 10th Ave E townhouses, and in the plans for this E John apartment building.

The paperwork puts the project at about the same early point in its lifespan as this development CHS reported on last week that will create a five-story apartment building at the site of the Broadway post office. Construction is likely years away.

The plans, however, suggest that developers are planning to extend the current boom that is already in the process of creating thousands of new apartment units across Capitol Hill. Though not everybody is moving ahead.

The demolition made our This week in Capitol Hill pictures

The demolition at 18th/Denny made our This week in Capitol Hill pictures

15th Ave has seen its share of the boom with a cluster of new buildings at Pine and the project now underway on the north end of the commercial village after legal wrangling held up the four-story development’s construction for a time.

Nearby at 18th and Denny, the four-story, 32-unit apartment building that required the demolition of this 1890-built house has begun construction.

The new 15th Ave E development is moving forward as Group Health has announced it is planning major changes for its Capitol Hill campus with its new agreement with Swedish. Starting in 2016, Group Health patients will go to Swedish First Hill and Cherry Hill hospitals where they will be treated by Group Health. As part of the planned change, maternity services will transition to Swedish’s busy First Hill Birth Center.

Meanwhile, as either a reminder that all booms end *or* a harbinger of the possible next brick to fall on 15th Ave, the Key Bank parcel in the 300 block was lined up for a few years for a planned four-story, 45-unit condominium development back in the mid-2000s.

Then the global economy fell apart.

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23 thoughts on “Capitol Hill apartment boom getting new ripples as 15th Ave E development moves forward

  1. I’ve been hoping that 15th would be spared from the rampant development going on in our neighborhood, as it is a really nice street lined with interesting businesses and mostly 1-2 story buildings. But apparently it is not meant to be…not only this planned building, but also one at the north end of the commercial area (the old Chutney’s space). It’s a shame, but at least there are no apodments….yet.

    • It doesn’t help that this and so much of Capitol Hill is zoned for only 4 stories. Allowing 6 or 7 stories in more places could help absorb some of this strong demand for housing. Instead, since developers can’t build up higher, they are just going to keep building outwards, swallowing up more land and old buildings in the process. Until demand for housing is satisfied, you can expect the building boom to continue and spread.

      • Your relentless pleas for taller buildings is not a view that is held by many on Capitol Hill. Aren’t you satisfied with what is happening on Broadway? Does 15th really have to be inundated with tall buildings? It’s a damn nice street as it is.

        We don’t have to keep on building in order to meet the demand. There has to be a limit on new development.

      • Yes, 15th is a nice street and I wish to keep it that way. Which is why we need taller buildings elsewhere.

        I’m greatly dissatisfied with what is happening on Broadway and along Pike/Pine. These corridors are exactly where we need tall buildings to meet demand. This keeps the sprawl away from streets like 15th.

        Its quite simple. Create corridors where you build high, dense buildings to meet demand. Keep quieter areas quiet (like 15th). Otherwise, we fast forward 20 years and every block of Seattle will have been torn down and rebuilt with a 5 floor block-to-block box.

    • Not building more apartments is likely to increase pressure over existing tenants and drive rents even higher.

      Demand and offer.

      • nom nom: that repeated (over and over) logic is beyond-exploited by the rotten, evil developers that tore down a piece of Seattle History (and, many, many other parcels that contained precious buildings that are living museum pieces to Seattle’s non first-nations history) at 18th and denny. Pro-development folks and those merely resigned to ‘this is just what needs to happen, market forces, blah, blah, blah’ acceptance will have been complicit in the sterilization of the city. The TOTAL GARBAGE Rudd Development Corp is building at 1823 18th Ave will be bulldozed in 2-3 decades due to mold, mushrooms and rotting particle board. The house on that 18th & Denny lot was valued at over $1 million dollars and had just enjoyed a .5 million preservation. It’s time to call out our elected buffoons and the Docker brigade of mediocre planners and stop this BS in it’s tracks.

        If people want density (I do) as responsible development, there are places that are appropriate. East of Broadway is not the place; Broadway, lower Pike/Pine, downtown, Belltown, Pioneer Square should be zoned for 20-80 stories with required minimums. Demand it. Write, email, call. If/when you do nothing but vomit the same mantras, developers pounce and destroy greatness in quiet neighborhoods, replacing it with utter crap, driven by rotten greed.

      • 80 Stories? Are you f***ing nuts? No one that lives here would ever allow that. We have views here and they are protected by limiting heights. Im pissed they even allowed for 6 stories on Broadway.

        I suspect anyone who is pushing for greater height is not from here. Real Seattlelites respect the natural beauty of the (shrinking) views that we do still have.

        If you want tall wall to wall buildings and no views go live in the shit hole Cascade neighborhood west of I-5 down from the hill its got a lot of those new tall crap apartment buildings you love so much. You can look out your window into a brick wall and smile knowing you have “density”

      • Someone (not saying it was you) decided to make Capitol Hill an urban center. They built subway, a tram, and opened tens of upscale restaurants.

        It is not wonder that people want to live here, that developers want their piece of the cake. Same as previous owners selling their houses, landlords rising rents, etc…

        Until another zone of Seattle has similar transportation possibilities (close to I-5, buses, train, bike lanes…) and amenities, bars, shops, restaurants, fancy stores… ,the demand is only going to grow

        We can ban all development, set rent controls and enjoy the $2000 tag for a studio (a la San Francisco) or try to build up with a better design (not wall to wall) so at least some views are preserved (a la Vancouver).

        Who is a real Seattlelite? Home owners?

  2. It’s a better use of space so I’m not upset. Same as the new Chutneys development. I’m sure Key Bank’s days are numbered too. That underused parking lot is a waste of prime space. Outside of these opportunities, there are not a lot of other potential sites until you stop renewing leases etc in existing structures. That’s a long ways away. Sure 15th will see change but I don’t see it being mowed down overnight.

    Agreed, pragmatic. Since we cannot build up, we build out which is really unfortunate.

    • Yeah, this doesn’t upset me too much either. At least they’re not pretending it won’t need parking. And the Credit Union could just as easily go right back into the same ‘ground floor retail’ space once the new building is completed. It’s an OK-attracitive bldg now, but doesn’t particularly add any charm or vintage design to the street anyway, that a new bldg couldn’t also do as well.

  3. 15th is one of the few streets in Seattle I’d *like* to see developed in certain ways. There are some great blocks (Victrola, Smith, Canterbury), sure, but each of them faces a really ugly block. There’s no area that’s great on both sides of the street.

    The Key Bank is ugly. The Subway building is ugly. The Safeway, Walgreens, and QFC each form block-long dead spaces on 15th itself, walls without storefronts. The art helps a bit, but not much. Each of those big buildings *should* be 3-5 story buildings with a big block store and multiple smaller stores, with apartments on top.

    • This is true! While development is sucking the character out of Pike/Pine, the 15th area is one that’s always looked much better on the parallel streets (especially 16th and above) than on the main drag.

    • Completely agreed that the Key Bank parcel is BUTT UGLY. I walk by it every morning, and wonder how it can possibly still not have been developed, considering the real estate market. Super interesting to hear that it was planned to be developed a decade ago… by all means, build something else there.

      Same with QFC! God that’s ugly.

      I remember 15th before Wallgreens (RIP City People’s…), and I gotta say that as ugly as the current Safeway is now, it was SO much worse before… it used to be a massive parking lot, with the store itself shoved back against 16th Ave. It was fug.

      • I agree with you about the Key Bank building, and it certainly is a waste of space to have all that underutilized parking. But the QFC isn’t that bad…’s a supermarket, for god’s sake….don’t expect it to be architecturally wonderful!

  4. I don’t understand all the backlash against new development, it injects much needed revitalization (and housing) into the city (Capitol Hill in particular). And it creates space for new retail shops! All developers are not created equal and it is naive to vilify all of them. Yes, there are some that take advantage of the code and bulldoze should-be landmark sites, but the reality is that most of the time, they are replacing eye-sores (think on-grade parking) with new space for retail, people and energy!

    In fact, 15th NEEDS development, I agree with the above comments on the Key Bank site and other eye-sores on the street – the credit union needs to go in my opinion. I welcome the new construction. Maybe I will have awesome new neighbors to go get drinks with in the new retail space that will be built.

    • > And it creates space for new retail shops!

      If by “retail shops” you mean banks, credit unions, chain stores, national fast-casual food restaurants, etc. then you are correct.

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