With one major development underway and signs that Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop is here to stay, the area around 23rd Ave and E Union is poised for big changes in 2015. But the future of the intersection’s largest property remains somewhat uncertain.
Since the 1940s, Tom Bangasser’s family has owned the sprawling MidTown Center property, which includes a downsized Post Office and a handful of small businesses at 23rd and Union. In order to get the most out of selling the massive 106,000 square-foot property, Bangasser asked the City Council in 2013 to allow a future developer to build up to six stories on the site. The property is currently zoned for four stories.
On Tuesday the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee will discuss Bangasser’s proposal to up-zone his MidTown property. The committee is not expected to vote on the issue Tuesday. The current deadline for a vote is in January.
Council member Mike O’Brien has allowed Bangasser to push back the meeting for months to “allow a reasonable period of additional time to engage in continued dialogue regarding the MidTown property.”
A group of Central District residents, which had opposed the up-zone, is asking the council to tie a set of community priorities to the site not unlike the agreement forged by the Capitol Hill Champion for the the Capitol Hill light rail station site.
If the council grants the up-zone in January, the Central Area Land Use Review Committee (LURC) is asking the council also insert what’s known as a Property Use Development Agreement. PUDA’s can include a broad range of requirements for a future developer, including community aspirations for the site, according to LURC.
The city has also received dozens of letters from Central District residents who support the up-zone.
During a LURC meeting in May, Bangasser said he opposed efforts to attach stipulations on the property before it’s sold.
“If you put enough restrictions on the property, nobody is going to buy it,” he said.
LURC members have said they want to ensure a new development would include things like affordable housing, courtyards, small retail spaces, adequate parking, and preserving the history and culture of the surrounding neighborhood.