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Piecora’s demolition underway as design comes together for future mixed-use building

(Image: @ngbarnett via Twitter)

(Image: @ngbarnett via Twitter)

A massing concept submitted in the project's early permitting paperwork. Developers say the first public design meetings for the new building won't start until May at the earliest

A massing concept submitted in the project’s early permitting paperwork. Developers say the first public design meetings for the new building won’t start until May at the earliest

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.

“Everything is taking longer than we thought with the permitting process,” Equity Residential vice president Bradley Karvasek told CHS. “Permits are taking longer to obtain now than they have in the past.”

 

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.

IMG_5055

So long, Piecora’s, and thanks for all the pizza.

A photo posted by John Roderick (@johnroderick) on

“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.

Piecora's last night after 33 years on Capitol Hill came suddenly last April (Image: CHS)

Piecora’s last night after 33 years on Capitol Hill came suddenly last April (Image: CHS)

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.

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16 thoughts on “Piecora’s demolition underway as design comes together for future mixed-use building

  1. All this change makes me sad. It’s really too much and too fast. Capitol Hill looks like a war zone against the classes.

  2. When are the PPUNC meetings? The website is out of date, and I never see meeting announcements. I keep reading that they are representing the neighborhood in meetings with developers and politicians. As a member of the community, it doesn’t feel accessible. I am getting concerned that deals are being negotiated without adequate public input and transparency by a group of developers, business owners, and architects that represent their own interests rather than the broader issues of the community.

    • John Feit here, chair of PPUNC. Our meetings have been, for the past four years, the third Tuesday of the month at 5:30. We are looking for a new space so that time and date may change. Our next meeting is at the Capitol Hill library, April 23rd, 6:00 pm, in the upstairs meeting room. You are more than welcome to attend.

      To your point about transparency – our meetings are open to all concerned parties, and have been since our founding in the 1990s. With respect to a website (actually a Facebook page) – I wish I had some help to maintain it, but as I do almost 100% of the work already, our list-serve (about 250 subscribers) is what we rely on for advertising our meetings. CHS knows how to contact me, and I can add your name to it, should you wish.

      You are correct that architects, landowners, and developers are the most engaged – but that is not for a lack of outreach on my part to get others involved. It is typical of almost any Seattle neighborhood that our ilk the most engaged, as it is our passion and profession. That being said, more/new voices are encouraged and respected. There are no deals being negotiated without the majority support of those who attend our meetings, so please get involved and have a voice.

      • Thanks John. I will plan on attending. Some additional community outreach would be helpful. An email list of 250 people is only directly reaching a fraction of 1% of the Capitol Hill Community.

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