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23rd Ave builds up with second big project at Union, ‘missing tooth’ building at Madison

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 9.50.17 AMThe next wave in a tide of change around 23rd and Union will take shape Wednesday night as another mixed-use development planned for the intersection takes its first bow in the Seattle design review process. Meanwhile, the board will also take what could be one last look at a long-planned apartment project for another connective point between Capitol Hill and the Central District at 23rd and Madison

2220 E Union
Design Review Early Design Guidance application proposing a 6-story building containing 146 residential units and 11760 sq.ft. of retail. Parking for 88 vehicles to be provided at and below grade.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 9.50.37 AMIn November, CHS reported on the plan for Lake Union Partners to acquire and develop its second corner at 23rd and Union. Last spring, change dug in on the southwest corner as work finally began on a long-planned, six-story apartment and retail project.

With that building designed by Mithun set to open later this year, Lake Union and architects Weinstein A+U will present their massing and scale proposals for the northwest corner of the intersection currently home to a gas station and Cappy’s Gym (which will be moving). Here’s the vision:

The proposed project will be a six-story, market-rate apartment building approximately 65-feet in height and approximately 162,000-sf including the below grade parking level. The building will contain between 140–150 residential apartment units, resident lobby and amenity spaces, an outdoor, landscaped courtyard and roof terrace, on-site building management and leasing offices, street level commercial space, street-level covered commercial parking accommodating 23–25 vehicles, and a single, below-grade residential parking level for 85–88 vehicles.

To achieve that height, developers are seeking to rezone the land:

A legislative rezoning that includes the project site is currently being considered based on the recommendation of the 23rd Avenue Action Plan Urban Design Framework (23rd Avenue UDF). Due to the indeterminate timeline of the legislative process, the proposed project is seeking a Contract Rezone that is consistent with the recommendation of the 23rd Avenue UDF.

The parcels are currently zoned for a 40-foot height limit.

Between the two projects, Lake Union will have spent $7.9 million to create around 240 apartment units, nearly 16,000 square feet of commercial space, and parking for 160 or so cars. Linda Derschang is on hand to help the developers sort out the commercial mix.

In 2014 as Lake Union first became involved at the corner, CHS asked partner Scott Roberts about gentrification in the area. We just sincerely like the neighborhood,” he wrote back. “I don’t see what gentrification has to do with this. We’re building market rate housing and providing new retail and commerce to an established neighborhood. We certainly aren’t displacing anyone (the site has been vacant for years) or trying to change the place. We simply believe people want to live in this neighborhood so we’re providing a little housing.”

Lake Union Partners is also developing the four-story Stencil apartment project at 24th and Union while Capitol Hill Housing will build affordable apartments above where the old Liberty Bank building — the region’s first Black-owned bank — now stands. Meanwhile across 23rd, the Midtown Center property remains for sale after the latest attempt to push for a rezone of the block by landowner Tom Bangasser was rejected at City Hall. Across the larger area, a full overhaul of the 23rd Ave corridor’s streetscape is underway starting with the first work on a Central District Neighborhood Greenway.

2220 E. Union St. View Design Proposal  (30 MB)    

Review Meeting
March 25, 2015 8:00 pm

Seattle University

824 12th Ave
Admissions & Alumni Community Building
Review Phase
EDG–Early Design Guidance  

Project Number

Michael Dorcy


Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 9.47.56 AM2305 E Madison
Land Use Application to allow a 4-story residential structure containing 50 units above 3,492 sq. ft. of retail space. Surface parking for 13 vehicles to be provided.

The lot at 23rd and Madison set to be home to a four-story development has been empty for years and the project took yet another year to go from its early design guidance session last spring to what could be its final recommendation session Wednesday night.

Despite the apparent lack of urgency, neighbors of the grass and chain link fence installation apparently won’t have an empty space to look at too much longer.

Wednesday, developer Hamilton Urban Partners and architects Neiman Taber will present their plans for the fit and finish of a new mixed-use building to finally fill the sloped lot. Here are their stated goals for the “missing tooth” project:

  1. Successfully develop a challenging site that is a missing tooth in the urban fabric.
  2. Provide housing and commercial opportunities that are scaled to the local housing needs and businesses.
  3. Develop a high quality building that is authentic to its time and is responsive to its context.

They’ll also be asked to address concerns raised last year in the early design guidance session for the project about the building’s relationship to the neighboring Crush restaurant and creation of a “strong corner presence.”  Don’t worry, the developers say, in this round: “At the corner between the Madison and Denny Facades, the project celebrates the corner with a façade that is more transparent, features a double height retail space, and expresses the geometry of the site by featuring a sharp prow that is typical of triangular sites in the Madison corridor.” Meanwhile, they’ve designed patios into the units facing Crush so the restaurant won’t face a blank wall. Chef and owner Jason Wilson, by the way, has said he decided not to sell the old house converted into Crush. Last year, CHS reported on the restaurant being put on the market after nine years of business.Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 9.49.28 AM

2305 E. Madison St View Design Proposal  (33 MB)    

Review Meeting
March 25, 2015 6:30 pm

Seattle University

824 12th Ave
Admissions & Alumni Community Building
Review Phase
REC–Recommendation  See All Reviews

Project Number

Holly Godard

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16 thoughts on “23rd Ave builds up with second big project at Union, ‘missing tooth’ building at Madison

    • The little pea-patch? I’m pretty sure it, and the Cappy’s Gym building adjacent are part of the development footprint, especially based on the image above.

    • My God, this city is so F#*$ed! Bend over and grab your ankles, folks, the developers are back (as if they ever went away), and they only care to appease if forced to. The soulless, money-grubbing bastards should be ashamed. Of course, we see the same old attitude that this essentially unchecked development is necessary, wanted, and contributing to some greater public good. People are just making a ton of money. It’s the local version of the long pathetic history of this world. I guess I need to find a socialist planet somewhere to live on.

      • Yeah, God forbid people make money off of providing goods and services! And taking on economic risk in the process! Everyone should just work for free! And/or, buildings should build themselves! And/or, all new buildings should be Soviet-style concrete bunkers built by the state, because the People just love those!

        Or perhaps: we don’t need to prevent further rent increases by increasing supply in the face of huge demand; let’s just block the demand by forbidding Americans from moving from one city to another!

        I lived on your socialist planet – the Soviet Union in the early 1980s. You can take it.

  1. There’s another P-Patch at 25th and Spring that is usually short of users, hopefully it will pick up some new gardeners from this closure.

  2. Oh goody, another block of apartments only one fifth of the entire population of Seattle residents will be able to afford.

    • Gotta keep increasing supply somehow. When rich people move into fancy new apartments, it means they’re moving out of less fancy, less new apartments, which makes it more likely that the rest of us will be able to afford them.

      • Seattle has a history of boom and bust. Just stick around long enough, and there may be a glut of available apartments.

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