With reporting by Bryan Cohen
The time has come to say goodbye to the physical remains of 33-year Capitol Hill favorite Piecora’s. Wednesday, crews began tearing down the 14th and Madison building on the corner that will someday be home to a new mixed-use development planned for the site. But for the next year, you’ll see a chain-link fence and the exposed remnants of the old Piecora’s foundation. Old Capitol Hill is gone. And the new one hasn’t shown up yet.
Karvarasek said you likely won’t see the start of work on the new building for more than a year given current timelines. The boarded-up shell of Piecora’s had to go, developer Equity said in an announcement about the demolition, because of “graffiti, vandalism, and vagrancy” at the building.
“Equity decided to tear down the building in the interest of public safety and preserving Capitol Hill’s street-level aesthetics,” the release said.
CHS reported on the demolition permit in January after a homeless man, along with others, and their sidewalk-full of belongings were repeatedly removed from the property by police.
Last April, CHS broke the news on the Piecora’s family decision to sell the property it acquired for $3 million in 2002, Equity’s $10.3 million deal, and the developer’s plans for a six-story, 140-unit mixed-use apartment building. At the time, the project was on target for a late 2015 start of construction.
Piecora’s served its last slices only days after the 2014 news broke. CHS was there on Tuesday, April 15th for the restaurant’s final night of service.
On the development’s current trajectory, Karvasek expects the earliest possible date for the first design review for the project won’t happen until May at the earliest. Last month, representatives from Equity began meeting with the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council to start soliciting community input on the project.
It’s an expensive piece of land, though, and it’s possible timeframes could change again if another developer decided to get involved though Equity has said it hopes to develop the property and hold it as part of its growing area portfolio. While the new building is on track to be the first project Equity constructs on Capitol Hill, it has purchased three others as it pursues the lucrative rental market in the area. “We very much like the Capitol Hill area,” an Equity spokesperson told CHS in 2014. “We think it’s a strong submarket.” Equity owns more than 30 residential properties in the region.
As the demolition plays out over the coming weeks, Karvarasek says there are high hopes for the design of the future building. Situated on a rising slope along E Madison and overlooking the Broadway basin leading to First Hill, the building will fill a prominent corner on the street and will be just a block from the dramatic rise of the Bullitt Center, touted as the greenest commercial building on the planet. An early massing included in the “site plan” for a permit for the project shows a polygon with an angled wall along Madison and an internal southern courtyard.
“We think it’s important to hold the corner, and really respect the corner. Our favorite designs are doing that,” Karvarasek said.
— CHCCouncil (@CHCCouncilSea) March 19, 2015