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‘One of the last remaining large developable sites’ in Seattle hits market at 23rd and Union

Developments planned and in motion around 23rd and Union (Images: Kidder Mathews)

Developments planned and in motion around 23rd and Union (Images: Kidder Mathews)

You’ll have to call to find out an asking price, but 23rd and Union’s hallmark property is officially for sale. Last week, realtors for longtime MidTown Center owner Tom Bangasser released some slick marketing materials with sweeping aerial photos solely dedicated to selling the property.

“We have unprecedented interest around the world on this site,” said Jason Rosauer, partner at realtor Kidder Mathews. “I anticipate it will be a record setting price.”

(Image: Kidder Mathews)

(Image: Kidder Mathews)

The 106,000 square-foot MidTown property currently includes a downsized U.S. Post Office, a handful of small businesses, a liquor store, and Smash Putt (until July 31st, anyway). The materials call MidTown “one of the last remaining large developable sites” for sale in Seattle and make a big pitch for the block’s potential given its central location in the city:

For the first time in over 70 years, the MidTown Center property, one of the last remaining large developable sites in Seattle, WA, is on the market for sale. This offering includes more than two acres of flat land on a full city block in the center of Seattle.

This property offers unparalleled potential in one of the hottest commercial real estate markets in the world. Seattle is the #1 fastest growing large cities in the United States with over 15,000 jobs added to the metropolitan area in 2014, the majority of those within two miles of South Lake Union, the Central Business District, Capitol Hill, and MidTown Center.

UPDATE: You can check out the new sales site at

The sales materials don’t mention the Africatown community process seeking to create a public development authority or land trust to develop the property, nor Bangasser’s overtures to include Ms. Helen’s Soul Food Bistro in the center.

The marketing also leave out Bangasser’s drawn out effort to rezone the property to allow for six story structures. It’s currently restricted to four-story buildings after the City Council’s land use committee rejected Bangasser’s rezone proposal in February. Council members said they opposed granting an upzone as there was no project on the table to consider, but that it should one day be upzoned.

(Image: Kidder Mathews)

(Image: Kidder Mathews)

(Image: Kidder Mathews)

(Image: Kidder Mathews)

Bangasser would have preferred to have that day come before he sold the property, but it would appear he’s ready to move with or without it. The Central Area Land Use Committee fought to attach a set of community priorities to the site including affordable housing guarantees as a condition of an upzone.

Meanwhile, the city’s 23rd Avenue Action Plan recommends a upzone all around the intersection to allow for six-story buildings. Amanda Bryan, one of Central Area LURC’s founding members, said the group generally supports the city’s proposed upzone.

As the City Council prepares for budget season, it could still be awhile until members take up a rezone of the area. In the meantime, another developer across the street has applied for an upzone to its property.

In November, CHS reported on the plan for Lake Union Partners to acquire and develop its second corner at 23rd and Union. Plans for The Central call for a 6-story, 144-unit, mixed-use development with 110 parking stalls underground.

“If it appears the city’s proposal is moving along at a quicker pace than ours, then we would drop our proposal and simply move forward under the city’s legislative rezone proposal,” said Lake Union’s Patrick Foley.

The company’s other development on the southwest corner of the intersection is planned to open before the end of the year. CHS reported on the development’s centerpiece retail tenant Electric Lady, a sibling shop to 20/20 Cycle specializing in electric and cargo bikes.

CBD Development Pipeline

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25 thoughts on “‘One of the last remaining large developable sites’ in Seattle hits market at 23rd and Union” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Good for Bangasser. Sell that thing for top dollar and head off into the sunset. I’m envious, but happy for him.

    • The Geographical center of the city is actually in the Cascade neighborhood near the intersection of Minor Ave N and Thomas St. There’s a marker on the sidewalk indicating the exact spot.

      The more you know…

  2. I am shocked to hear that he has changed his mind about handing over this valuable piece of real estate as a gift to the local black community.

    • Came here to make the same comment. Not surprised, just disappointed. I would have loved to see more black owned businesses in this area. There is so much potential and we need more people in our community setting positive, visible examples for youth. Hopefully whatever goes up at least employs some youth and folks of color from our neighborhood.

      Also, does anybody have insight about this interest coming from around the world? I heard China is investing a lot in Seattle, particularly downtown and SLU. I’m really curious to hear more about what kind of stuff they’re developing, if they’re talking to people in Seattle besides those in the real estate business, and what their knowledge of the neighborhood is like. I’m being idealistic about them possibly connecting with the community, but in any case I’d like to know more about non-Seattle and non-US developers. Anyone have insight?

    • Did you really think that he would gift something that’s probably worth more than 20 Million out of kindness? I’d like to have some of what you’re smoking.

    • I attended a few of the community meetings centered around redeveloping the property with Afrocentric principles. It was pretty interesting an d people seemed genuinely psyched for something other than the typical retail on the bottom, apts up above formulaic shite. There were so many earnest people, trying to develop strategies to save what remains of the African-American community in the CD and create something truly unique. It doesn’t seem like the Bangassers were behind it, for all the talk, there hasn’t been much action from them.

  3. After a likely bidding-war to own and develop it, I’m anxious to know what and when something is going up there. Now is the time for all the “know-it-alls” here to start their bitchy, whiny rhetoric about what they want and would like to see be put there. You know it’s coming. As for myself..I can’t wait ’til whatever goes in is ‘open,’ and adding to our evolving ‘hood.

    Maybe Ian will get in on the action. wink-wink

  4. WhyCall them Thugs and looters people been around here in this neighborhood 30 or 60 years. ain’t nobody got no sign begging for change like the little dirty kids you See on Broadway and downtown central district was a proud neighborhood before All this development came In everybody knew each Now It’s a bunch of fakeness and bullshit. I’m from the real central district

      • So can spelling. It was written as “loiterers” not “looters”….although the latter is probably true too.

    • They might not have signs but they have guns, graffiti, illegal drugs a lot stronger than pot, and a burning desire to make sure that “ain’t no newcomers” gonna move in and pay top dollar to live in some of those dilapidated shitholes that no one has cared for in 30 years. The day can’t come soon enough that I can stop having to call 911 for medical assistance to some heroin junkie OD’ing on his latest score right outside my front fence.

  5. believe me I don’t need no history lesson about the CD I was pointing Out the people that you guys called thugs and looters That have been in the area that long or even longer. only people doing graffiti on buildings is probably the kids you know maybe the one’s that’s breaking windows on churches. the folks that I know from the area we definitely don’t do and my point is when the new people do come in the neighborhood they should know the history of the neighborhood not to be so quick in judge people that was here already when I see a whole bunch of people having a party. having fun I don’t call the police but let me and my friends have a BBQ in my backyard the police always show up and we’re not doing nothing wrong just having fun With family too much of a double standard in the Seattle area so really you can’t tell me s*** about the CD. god bless and have a good day

    • There was yet another shooting at 23rd and Cherry last night.

      I don’t need no history lesson on da CD neither.

      Let’s look to the future.

  6. Why there it is, racism. That’s something new to the CD. Thanks new comers. We can always count on you to continue to perpetuate lies and rewrite the real history of the CD and what happened here.

    Contrary to what you believe you not not better than any one else.

  7. FWIW the Bangasser family has a long history of working for civil rights in Seattle.

    “Following World War II, Mr. Bangasser became involved in the Civic Unity organization that worked to correct the animosity against the Japanese. From that, he moved into work for racial equality and was prominent in the work that led to Seattle first fair-housing ordinances.”