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Save Madison Valley: Tensions over planned PCC development

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Last week, around one hundred and twenty people gathered at the Bush School Community Center deep in Madison Valley to attend a presentation and question and answer session with architect Charles Strazzara on his conceptual ideas for what the future mixed use development project on the property that currently houses the much-loved City People’s garden store on E Madison will look like. And since many members of the audience weren’t keen on seeing such a large project go up in the Valley, it was a lively — and at times heated — meeting. And there are still weeks until the project’s first design review in July.

“We’re in that interim of space between now and the submission of that EDG packet. I want to work with you until then. We want to become a good neighbor,” Strazzara told the crowd.

CHS broke the news back in March that the owners of the triangular lot that is currently home to City People’s is in the process of selling the property to the Michigan-based developer Velmeir with plans to build a four-story mixed use project with a 25,000 square-foot commercial space for a PCC grocery market, 75 residential units, and 164 parking spaces. Since the April announcement of the project, neighborhood concerns about the development have coalesced in the form of a group called Save Madison Valley, who say they to have hired a land use attorney to help them shape the project. Members of the group were present at the May 17th meeting, sporting black Save Madison Valley t-shirts and ready to have their say on the Studio Meng Strazzara design.

The event — organized by Madison Valley Community Council, its president Lindy Wishard and Jeff Floor, a member the Central Area Land Use Review Committee (or LURC), an organization which seeks to facilitate dialogue between neighbors and developers working on projects in central Seattle—was an opportunity for architect Strazzara to explain his ideas for the project and show of preliminary graphic renderings with a powerpoint as well as take questions from the attendees and hear their input.

Floor from LURC asked the crowd to be respectful of the presentation after several outbursts from audience members . “Typically when we get a developer to show up it’s much closer to the EDG phase or after. And not all developers want to do it so I’m appreciative when they want to do it,” he said. Given the preliminary nature of the concept renderings featured in the presentation, Strazzara, Floor, and Wishard asked the audience not to take photos, a request that displeased some. “What’s respectful about not taking photos,” shouted one attendee.

Strazzara’s presentation and vision for the project attempted to address neighborhood concerns about the scale of the project, particularly on the portion of the development that would be built on the declining slope that faces east onto Dewey Place. The project will consist of a series of setbacks, the most extreme of which will face Dewey. “This is our preferred option,” said Strazzara. “It really pulls the massing up to Madison. On Dewey we won’t have [a] long wall.” Dewey could still face the highest portion of the project at 40’.

Strazzara was keen to stress the fact that he doesn’t want to build out the project to the full mass and height allowed by the lot’s zoning code. “I didn’t take advantage of that because I think we’re going to be very sympathetic that [neighborhood concerns about scale],” he said.

The project’s parking garage is planned to be concealed and below grade, with a entrance and exit on Madison avenue. Strazzara said that while developers usually want to build as little parking as possible under city code, he’s including more than required to placate neighborhood concerns about loss of parking for residents. The 75 residential units will be a mix of studios, one bedrooms, and two bedrooms, though a specific breakdown hasn’t been decided on. Strazzara said that they plan to set aside some of their units as affordable using the multifamily tax exemption program.

At one point Strazzara said that bringing multi-family housing to Madison would be a “nice way to bring affordability to the Valley.” Attendees scoffed and one said “Come on, it’s not going to be affordable.” Strazzara backtracked, apologized, and said market rate multifamily units are affordable when compared with the cost of single family homes.

Though the atmosphere was tense and passionate throughout the presentation, afterwards, when Floor with LURC asked the audience to break into groups to come up with their ideas of what could improve the project, members of Save Madison Valley complained that event organizers had bumped the group’s presentation on their organization to the end of the agenda.

“There is an organization here called ‘Save Madison Valley’ that has been completely shut down by the organization of this meeting!” yelled one attendee.

Discussion of the project raised concerns about traffic and parking impacts of the project. Some said they wanted to see affordable residential units, some suggested building townhouses against the side of the project facing Dewey to mitigate the wall-like effect of the development’s tall east face. Many expressed disapproval of the overall project size.

“What we would need to stomach it was that it was vastly reduced in size,” said one attendee to applause from around the room. “We want less of everything, fewer units, less commercial space. PCC is not an amenity, we don’t need grocery store,” said another.

Not all opposition to the project is about size. Here are some examples of feedback already received by the city on the project — including support for the development:

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The 2925 E Madison development will face its early design guidance review July 27th. You can learn more about the review here. Learn more about the Save Madison Valley group at savemadisonvalley.org.

More reviews
Wednesday night brings two projects in front of the review board as a lofts project set for 1820 Boylston tries to pass its second round in the recommendation phase and a 23-story senior living facility planned for 620 Terry on First Hill begins its early design guidance phase.

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72 thoughts on “Save Madison Valley: Tensions over planned PCC development

  1. With anti-housing NIMBY f-cks fighting nearly every multifamily project in the city, perhaps they should stop claiming [hysterically] that there is adequate housing capacity. The housing crisis sits squarely on the shoulders of these privileged oligarchs.

    • Whoever you are, have you even been to this section of town? Do you really think its the uber rich of Madison Park and Denny Blaine fighting this development? Ha. They could care less. I invite you to come down this way, and walk around the neighborhood and meet some of the ‘privileged oligarchs’ you are talking about. I think you’d be really surprised. The problem lies with out of state developers finding properties in need of updating and willing to take a big buy out. That has nothing to do with the neighbors in the area, who may have bought their home 15, 20, or 30 years ago because it was the only affordable place in the city..complete with hazardous and deadly flooding. Get a grip on your angst please.

    • a group of privileged white people who were able to buy a home in madison valley worth at least a million dollars who are trying to control what a property owner does with their own lot. keep up.

    • How many homes in MV are worth at least 1 mil? And only in Seattle could you be described as a privileged oligarch (white apparantly) while opposing a boutique organic grocery stor and attached market rate apartments. Lastly, how would you describe black or other minority people who oppose development in their meighborhood- which may very well be MV by the way. Are they also privileged oligarchs?

    • How many homes there are worth $1M? Zillow should be able to provide that answer. It’s a shock for long time residents how much people are willing to pay.

  2. Time to roll back the Madison BRT terminus stop to 23rd instead of MLK. If the Madison Valley pearl clutchers can’t even accept a three story building at the terminus of the line why should the city invest in high capacity transit there?

    Also, if they don’t want the quality union grocery story we’ll take it at 23rd/Jackson!

    • Actually, if this development goes up as designed then forget the BRT to MLK. Being at a choke point on Madison, traffic in and out of that building will cause backups all the way up to 23rd during rush hour.

    • Actually, it’s already like that. Have you been down there at rush hour lately? Madison is not a wide street, and traffic is regularly backed up in both directions in that area. I used to go to City People’s in the afternoon, but it’s near impossible now even if it remained. The BRT bus is just going to be sitting amongst the cars, going nowhere.

  3. Madison Valley has shelteredmore than it’s share of poor people over the years, and remains a much more reasonable priced and diverse area thsn many other Seattle neighborhoods. I think this is really about neighborhood character and tge loss of City People, which is an important part of the neighborhood’s make up. Sure, some of these people do seem a bit hysterical, but others probably just want some of the most important aspects of their area to remain in place. And kudos to the developer for getting out in front of the neighborhood so early. Not all do it, more should.

    • Be more specific. What do you mean by “neighborhood character”? That can mean a lot of different things to different people.

    • Hutch, what I meant by neighborhood character is the feel of a street of single family and smaller scale dwellings facing a four story wall. The structure will change the physical feel of that neighborhood, as will the loss of City Peoples. I am not against the development but do wish it could have happened to a less dostinctive business than City People. And I also think some of the posters here are no less hysterical in their anti- NIMBy opinions than those who they vilify on the anti-development side.

  4. hate to say it but welcome to what the rest of us have been suffering through loosing our homes and being displaced all over capitol hill as a result of development. Just because lots of folks living in Madison Valley are wealthy doesn’t make you any different. were all being impacted and it sucks, the city needs to step up and put a stop to all of it

    • DJSC- stopping development will allow people who already live in our neighborhoods to continue living there- more development allows wealthy people to come in and displace those who can no longer afford rents. these ‘mixed use’ properties are a crock of shit and a cop out- you still need to make a descent amount of money to live in those buildings and there’s not even enough of them around to house all of the people who used to be able to afford living in the neighborhood. sure city peoples is leaving and we’ve also lost all of our favorite spots of capitol hill as well. Come talk to me DJSC when you’ve been priced out of the neighborhood and forced to leave your home BECAUSE of buildings like this one

    • I am being priced out of my neighborhood. But I recognize that building more helps to ease demand on existing rental properties. Stopping development in desirable neighborhoods with access to transit drives up rental costs for everyone. Freezing a neighborhood in time is not realistic or optimal. Additionally, since many residents around this particular site are homeowners, they aren’t being directly affected by the rental market.

      I agree that a bunch of the mixed-use, new construction projects are overpriced for what they are, but there’s obviously demand. Cities and neighborhoods change, which can be upsetting for people, but freezing neighborhoods in time (aka San Francisco) is not the way to go.

    • Kudos! Madison Park and Madison Valley have been spared a lot of the development that Capitol Hill has had to endure. I’ll sure miss City Peoples but it’s time they shared the burden of housing like the rest of us.

    • You are aware that the only thing being “displaced” by this development is a garden store, right? Not a single resident is being kicked out of their home by this developer.

    • I love how people who have likely never been to Madison Valley confuse it with Madison Park. Many of us bought our houses long ago when you folks were terrified to drive through because of all the crime. Now we working class folks (yes, plenty of us still here) are struggling to hang on to our houses while caring for aging parents, trying to help our kids attend college. Madison Valley is not Madison Park. I’m so tired of the “rich people” caca. Clearly you folks haven’t lived in Seattle long if you think everyone who ever lived in Madison Valley is rich. I’m an hourly shift worker, not some salaries Microsoftie. My neighbor is a clerical staffer at Boeing. The person behind me is on SSI. Maybe I should just assume all these Cap Hill posters live in mansions on Federal?

  5. The building should be at least 4 floors taller given its along an arterial and mass transit options steps away. This is much better placement for a large structure and keeps them out of quieter ares so we’re not mowing down every house in the city for small apartment buildings.

    Too bad for those that live next to the proposal and don’t like it.

    • It’s not much of an arterial. It’s just two lanes with an occasional turn lane, and in the afternoons it is literally bumper-to-bumper backed up the hill towards 23rd and in the other direction to the Lake Washington Blvd turn-off into the Arboretum, if not beyond. There’s really no alternative, as it’s the only through street in the area. That’s right now, with no added traffic from a large mixed-use development

      I live on the hill but I used to go down that way to City People’s to get stuff for my deck container plants and sometimes to go to Madison Park. But that stretch of Madison has gotten so bad that I don’t even try to go near there between 3pm and 6pm. It’s as bad as South Lake Union.

      I’m a believer in high density where the infrastructure can support it — I think the properties on top of the Cap Hill Link Station should’ve been 15 or 20 stories, for example — but there’s no subway in this area and there’s nowhere for added traffic on Madison to go — unless you mowed down every building along it to widen it, which isn’t going happen. The “transit options” are just going to be buses sitting in traffic, going nowhere fast.

    • Joe there are bus lines and the planned BRT will be a walkable distance from this property – although the hill won’t make it a pleasant walk. It also has convenient access via MLK and LWB to move people in/out of the area.

      Its better alongside Madison than mowing down homes and towering over them. If we don’t build here, that is the alternative and is already happening in some places.

  6. Seattle is going to be a huge dense city just like San Fran. Just accept this morons or move. I want a PCC here, this benefits residents of neighborhoods in multiple directions. What a bunch of whiny dipshits.

    • The Seattle 2035 plan calls for Urban Hubs to allow for my density, while at the same time designating other areas like Madison Street and Madison Valley as NOT BEING URBAN HUBS, and being single family residence areas. A sensible plan allows for both density and single family homes, an idea your brain does not seem to have space for.

  7. There are so many missed opportunities with this project – its really a shame. It is unfortunate that the developer is from out of state. They will have an 18 month-2 year relationship max with the community and then they will make their $$$, wash their hands of it and be done. To the “privileged ogliarchs” comment – you might want to rethink who you are calling that. Its the out of state developers that can swoop in and buy up property for millions of dollars, spend millions redeveloping and leave with millions more in their pockets – not the homeowners in that valley. All the neighbors and businesses in that area have had long standing community relationships in and around CityPeoples. I truly hope that those in opposition will be heard, and respected, as their property values, lifestyle, ease of access will all be compromised by the construction and traffic that is inevitable. Those criticizing the Madison Valley residents, why don’t you drop by and walk around the ‘hood. You’ll see these neighbors and businesses are NOT the uber wealthy of Denny Blaine and Madison Park. Frankly, far from it. And yea, it sucks that its been happening on Capital Hill. But I don’t get the “crappy stuff is happening to me, so crappy stuff should happen to you attitude.” What’s the point of that? Hoping the whole city becomes a crappy land of out of state developers determining what our city looks like? Nice.

    And the traffic? Its a real concern. Washington Park is to the west, so there is no way that the road can be expanded that direction. The valley is to the east, no way there too. As it is right now to turn left onto Lake Washington Blvd, from Madison, can take forever, sitting through light after light. I can’t even imagine adding a grocery store to the mix. I hope the developers will add in the cost of a traffic cop, much like Trader Joes has – as there is no way cars can come and go to a grocery store at that location.

    Too add – (I hear) there has been a discussion going on on the Next Door site where comments opposing the development are routinely being deleted. This has huge consequences as the city of Seattle monitors this website for comments for feedback. I hope whoever is deleting is caught. Truly unfair to censor such a contested topic.

    • …so if this was an “in state developer” somehow things would be different? Where does that come from… oh simplified us vs. them, gotcha.

      Reality is that one of the people that helped make city people’s what it is also happened to own the property has decided to cash in. There are two sides to every transaction, why do people only complain about the buyers? People are people, in state or out.

      This out of state developer is not maxing the build-out to what zoning allows, be thankful for that. They are not asking for a variance, they are only functioning well within what the existing zoning allows.

    • The difference between local developer and out of state developer is not just over simplified ideology. It has to do with who is truly invested in the community during construction and for years to come. It also acknowledges who HAS BEEN invested in the community and for some reason those folks are being berated for not wanting a giant, overscaled development looming over their homes. And to the point about not asking for a variance? The biggest reason they are not asking for variances is that those take YEARS to be approved, if at all – because this community IS trying to rally against it, and guess what? That costs them money which will not help on the return on their investment. Make no mistake, they are NOT asking for a variance out of the pure goodness of their hearts, or out of any allegiance to that community.
      To add – out of state developers do little for our city. They don’t invest in the infrastructure surrounding the properties (schools, transportation, etc), unless mandated to and that is at a bare minimum. And during construction all sorts of easements etc are granted but to the neighboring small businesses that bear the brunt of the construction process – nothing is given back to them.
      Think twice about calling all developers the same. Its not true. Truly no different than Sam Walton coming and building a Walmart here where all the revenue for that business goes back to Arkansas, or wherever that company is from.

    • I do feel for the homeowners living directly downhill from this development. It sounds like the architect is already making some concessions on height, but with the slope being what it is, it’s hard to put any multi-story building in that wouldn’t affect sunlight and views.

      But I’m sorry, I can almost guarantee that suddenly being within walking distance of a high-end grocery store isn’t going to “compromise” anyone’s property values. In fact I’d imagine it’s going to mean an extra $100,000 of net worth in their pockets.

    • In state or out of state surly makes little difference. They are all trying to do some form of maximizing profit and while reducing risk. Yes, there are some local developers that may break that mold, but to think merely because someone has some sort of connection to Seattle or WA they will be good stewards for the community is a bit naive. Example, the guy who is selling the property. He was a great steward for the community until he decided to reap his rewards. Hell, maybe he picked the developer that he though would be most sensitive to the community (which they seem to be so far)… or he just sold to the highest bidder.

  8. Under normal circumstances I would say being able to walk to a grocery store would put $$$ back in to the net worth of your property. But I am thinking of the families at the foot of the hill, and the blocks east of that. I think the ‘cost’ of the noise from 6 a.m. to 11 pm (hours of operation), the traffic in and around this (and trust me, know way will traffic be contained to Madison), and the 4 pm total shade shadow in summer will cost far more than the added benefit of being able to walk to a fancy grocery store. I know, its hard for folks to feel sorry for this development. I think its the combination of losing a beloved store and place as City People’s combined with Vermier, the out of state developer, as well as neighbor’s feeling they have no recourse to the detriment that this will cause on their property. They are being told to suck it up and enjoy the ‘benefits’ it will obviously bring included added value, yet being cursed for caring about the current value that exists and is being taken away. Seems to me, the people who are saying suck it up, deal with it etc, are none of the people who actually live there.

    • Yep, I don’t live near this property but I say suck it up.

      In the 8 years that I have lived in my small condo I’ve lost my view of Downtown, dealt with added noise, loss of street parking for my guests, and so on. I didn’t come here and cry about it and blame out of town developers who are out of touch – assuming in town developer care differently is a farce. They all want to make money.

      When you live in one the hottest areas of the fastest growing cities in the US, things change. You have to deal with it. If you want to live in a time warp, cash out and move to Duvall.

    • People need to stop with the “total shade” thing — the building will be on the NORTH side of the neighboring houses. The only shade it will produce will be on Madison!

    • dave it you look at the orientation of the building and consider that Madison runs NW, homes to the East of the development will be somewhat impacted by having a wall to their West. Considering the sun sets further to the North in summer, they will have some early evening shading.

      With our rising temperatures, it may be a welcome break from the late afternoon summer heat.

    • Thank you for thinking of us families in the Valley, but as a mother of two, I can’t think of many things better than being mere blocks from a quality grocery store. Bring it!

  9. um, regarding the shade issue? i was going by drawing provided by the architect delineating the shade at a 4pm time.
    see post here, you will have to scroll down to see it. http://www.savemadisonvalley.org/blog/

    and to Timmy73’s point about living in a timewarp – no, none of these people do. I really suggest the you actually visit the site and see if you still agree. Sounds like you have no idea what you are talking about, which I can understand seeing as you moved here and chose to live in a tiny condo in the middle of downtown. This is not the same. I do think there are some areas in Seattle worth preserving at least a modicum of character, for any number of reasons. Sadly, newbies like you have no perspective on what makes a livable city or invested community.

    • I’ve lived on Capitol Hill since 1997 and chose to live in a small condo on the hill, not Downtown (I just lost my view of it).

      I guess living on Capitol Hill for only 19 years does make me a newbie but I’m very invested in the area, have no plans to leave and accept that things change. I’m sorry that you don’t and live under false assumptions about CHS posters.

      I am very familiar with the area and City Peoples as I shop there for plants, eat at Cafe Flora often. I’m happy to see the changes taking place and having more options in the area.

  10. @i used to live…

    “Sadly, newbies like you have no perspective on what makes a livable city or invested community.”

    What a ridiculous, insulting, and baseless statement.

  11. You claim to be “very familiar with the area” – but it seems to me that your and apparently a lot of other people’s perception is shaped by your view of E Madison – City People’s and Cafe Flora. The real Madison Valley is below and behind there.

    I invite you to take a walk down to Dewey Place E and E Republican and then take a walk around the block past the Mad-P P-Patch and then off down to the drainage park on 30th Ave E and Denny.

    You might well be suprised by what you find.

    • Didn’t realize posters here have to spell out in great detail every moment they’ve spent walking down every street in our city to validate their understanding of the neighborhood and its surroundings.

      I’ve walked down Dewey Place E, maybe 3 or 4 times but that was several years ago. I’ll go take a walk around it this weekend if that makes you feel better, Paddy.

      It won’t change my perspective or opinion. I support this development because its along an arterial and I feel the developer has been as respectful as possible.

  12. No one forced you to buy property off a street zoned commercial. What did you think was going to happen? Who whined when the new development went up right across the street? All of Madison Ave is going to have these types of developments within a few decades. Repeat. Get used to it or move. Selfish tards.

  13. Ugh. This conversation is sooooo tired. We’re sorry you’re going to have a little more shade. We’re sorry your view of the back of a hill is going to change. We’re sorry you’re going to have to deal with a little more traffic and that the noisy evil PCCer’s are going to invade your little slice of heaven, but seriously….can you stop with the constant whining? There are plenty of quiet places with lots of sun, little traffic, pretty hills to look at and epic drain systems for you to live in our grand state. Move there. The rest of us in the neighborhood would like some new neighbors to hang out with and a PCC to shop in!!!

    • Im curious, Richard, why others stating why they have an issue with the project as it stands are “whiners”. In our society getting involved in your neighborhood is valued. Those impacted atempting to be heard regarding the impact and scale of the project are doing what involved citizens are supposed to do. I still find it boggling that others take such offense.

    • We take offense Del because we’re concerned that the few are going to ruin it for the rest of us. The rhetoric of your group is beyond just “wanting to be heard”. It comes across as bullying and we’re worried you’re going to scare PCC away from the project. We’re sorry that you are being impacted by the natural progression of the city, but many of us are very excited about this project and are looking forward to it.

    • Odd how folks meeting with th architect repeatedly and hiring a lawyer to figure out just what can and cannot be done, and how to work with the DPD , is considered “bullying”. Where is the bullying? From what I’ve read in the conversations online the name-calling and slurs come from the side incensed that the SMV people (of which I am not one, btw, but I do understand and agree with 80% of their mission) dare to oppose the sacred trojan horse that is PCC. I’ve seen those people called just about every name one can be called but haven’t seen the SMV members (their names are available online) doing the same. Where is this bullying if not from folks like you?

    • Richard, I’m sorry that my doing my civic duty offends you and your fixation on $7 a bunch kale in walking distance. BTW, when was the last time you walked anywhere to get groceries?

  14. I just want to say that I am proud that Seattle is filling up with more sane people. The rampant NIMBYism in our city is toxic. I find it ironic how this “progressive” city is filled with so many selfish people who refuse to accept that this is a city and not a country village of some sort. I am amazed that some people think they have a right to views and “character” that they do not own and did little if nothing to create. Character is constantly created so who is to say that the building of today doesn’t become the character of tomorrow.

    Before we go spending millions of taxpayer dollars on inefficient housing subsidies and handouts to non-profits to try to tackle housing affordability, let’s see if the market and so-called “greedy” developers can fix some of this problem for free.

    Sometimes we need to think about more than ourselves.

    • “filling up with more sane people”? “rampant NIMBYism”? “selfish people”? Who made you arbiter of good or bad Seattle citizens?

      What I find ironic is how I constantly read how people tire of the constant apartment building construction – the look, the materials, the sameness, the high cost, small areas and relatively low affordability in and around the city. Yet when it happens in other areas people wanna ‘stick to you’ and say suck up loser – its your turn to suffer.

      At what point will people start caring about the city as a whole, stop accepting this sea of sameness proposed by developer after developer, and fight for small places that make neighborhoods unique? Obviously not now, its clear we’re not there yet.

    • If you have a problem with “sameness” blame the fire code, plumbing code, electrical code, land use code, design guidelines, market economics, labor unions, and architects. Developers are only building what they can. The charming brick buildings of yesteryear are not allowed today. Just to build the “sameness” that you describe is incredibly expensive.

      So unless we are willing to forego our 99% safety factors and prevailing union wages. Or unless we are willing to dramatically rezone, we will never be able to get the highest quality buildings. Talk about housing affordability, building the way most people in Seattle would prefer would probably cost about $4000+ a month in average rent for a studio.

      Perhaps developers should open up their pro-formas to the masses to put an end to the public’s ignorance. At the end of the day, a developer is very lucky to make anything more than a 15% return today. This is peanuts when they are potentially risking a negative return should market conditions sour.

      Also, chances are this project is being built with pension fund money to some extent. So there is no good or bad here.

    • @ Reason….

      You seem to believe that the units in this development will actually be “affordable.” I seriously doubt that….the vast majority of them will be market rate, which means $2000/month and up. Sure, there may be a few units less than that, in order for the developer to qualify for the tax exemption, but even those units will not be affordable for lower-income folks.

  15. One thing to say about the SMV folks at the meeting was they showed incredible disrespect for everyone who lives in MV who isn’t part of their group. Their MO at the meeting seemed to be about disrupting the proceedings and preventing the rest of us from hearing or expressing any point of view different than their own.

    As a longtime resident here, I really looked forward to hearing from the true variety of my neighbors. Instead, we got a couple SMV “plants” trying to trip up the architect, refusing to accept any guidelines from the meeting organizers, and literally shouting over their neighbors.

    SMV doesn’t represent the MV that I know. Their name and statements about themselves may suggest they’re dedicated to some common values we have here in MV. But I think their drama at the meeting reveals exactly the opposite–they’re dedicated to suppressing and belittling the views of their MV neighbors.

    • I was at the meeting as well Del, and your comment is a flat out lie. There were many “plants” (for lack of a better word) at that meeting who refused to respect the rules of the meeting or the architect. It was embarrassing to say the least. Their agenda is all that mattered. I wouldn’t speak with anyone from our neighborhood again if I was that architect. I would move forward with my plan and make sure the new owner of the property is happy as that is his job.

  16. CHS has done an awesome job of reporting, as usual. There are a few inaccuracies though I think – correct me if I’m wrong.

    “Dewey could still face the highest portion of the project at 40’” implies that Dewey residents will face a 40 foot high building. However, Dewey sits 30 feet below Madison and this building is to extend 40 feet above Madison with an extra 7 feet allowed for heating/cooling blocks. So Dewey residents are looking at mroe like 70 feet, not 40 feet, towering over them.

    CHS wrote “The project’s parking garage is planned to be concealed and below grade.” Concealed? It won’t be visible from Madison but in the drawings it’s quite visible from Dewey and in fact will have “punch outs” (per the architect), meaning open portions covered by metal grating facing on Dewey.

    Lastly, just about the entire room laughed when the architect said “affordable” regarding the apartments. I felt sorry for him at that. It’s too bad that they aren’t including some low income housing. Similar apartments above the PCC in Columbia City rent for thousands and these will too.

    • Actually, if I’m not mistaken, the architect confirmed during the second half of the meeting that 25% of the units will be reserved for households with below median incomes.

    • “I still live in Madison Valley” – I can’t figure out how to reply to your comment as there’s no reply button. The architect said they were seeking the tax exemption. I didn’t hear 25% but maybe that’s the requirement for the exemption? Sadly that’s still not and shouldn’t be confused with low income housing, which is what I was hoping for.

  17. Sorry, for the life of me I cannot imagine cars pulling in and out of a grocery store on Madison Street there. What, yet another stop light? So much for “rapid” transit or even driving down Madison St. By the way, plenty of grocery stores both large and small already in the hood.

    • Jack – Agreed. There is really no place to put a stop light there. Cars are already backed up at the lights just east and west, sitting through the light over and over before actually moving. You can see drivers at 26th or so bail & pull a U-turn along with many others who go around (i.e., through the neighborhoods) causing traffic nightmares for the residential blocks extending all the way to Montlake. In the afternoon traffic backs up in all directions & through the arboretum. You can stand at Lake Wa bd and look up the hill and it’s backed up all the way to 23rd. There are numerous buildings going up all around the area with far more residential units and a fraction of the parking this one has (150+ spots). The parking was requested by PCC (per the architect) and is *meant* to draw traffic because that’s the only was a 25,000 foot SUPERmarket can make a profit. A supermarket that size belongs at a major 4-way intersection, not on a 2 lane street with significant existing traffic problems. Bring on the apartments! But a destination SUPERmarket with destination parking does not belong in a choke point where it’s not even possible to widen the road. I’m sad to see that the BRT will not come anywhere near now. It wouldn’t make sense – it will just sit in traffic.

  18. PCC, we want you here! I can’t wait to walk to you, enjoy your fresh organic produce, and grab a quick coffee or something from your bakery with my kids on a Saturday or Sunday morning before I continue my stroll to the Arboretum. After work, wouldn’t it be nice to just walk over to do my grocery shopping instead of having to get in my car? Walkable amenities are a reason I chose to live in this neighborhood! I spent the last ten years living in a very poor area of Chicago where the nearest grocery store was miles away. People referred to this as a food desert. This was an issue, as all the poor folks had limited access to nutritious food. I really can’t believe that people would complain about such a high quality grocer coming to their neighborhood. I feel like I am living a dream having you as my nearest grocery store. Not Safeway, not QFC, but PCC!!!! Wow.

    And I completely understand that people are having a hard time letting go of the 2 bedroom single family housing communities, but Seattle is growing. The affordability of Seattle depends on density. Yes, maybe some people are saying that these particular units will not be affordable, but it’s the total gross accumulation of units that will put downward pressure on prices. And what better place to put some density than in our little village, right along the proposed bus rapid transit line? And these are quality, architect designed units with Class A tenants. We are not talking about projects/ghettos, homeless shelters, or other housing that will be bringing vagrants into the community. This development will bring good working families into the area that want to live in the city, close to work, and don’t have the money to buy a single family home.

    How about all the other shops in the area that will benefit from the additional foot traffic and visitors to the destination grocer?

    You want to complain about noise? You live in a city!

    You don’t like a building going up next to you? You live in a city!

    You don’t like traffic? You live in a …….

    You get the point.

    I understand that there are good ways of going about things and not so good ways. So far, there hasn’t been enough information released to suggest that things are being gone about poorly. The engineers will perform the traffic studies, the permitting will look at height and lot density. These design issues are still be worked out.

    I also think that having PCC as a tenant will put pressure on the Architect to do things the right way. This is a large company that cares about public image. They don’t want to be associated with a debacle. They could be our best advocate. So let’s not scare them away.

    Let’s all be grateful that we live in a prosperous city, that is growing, and that people want to put money into our communities. The opposite of this is so much worse. I have a really hard time comprehending all the negativity that has been directed at this project. I hope that the architect is able to address as many concerns as possible, while keeping the project moving forward.

    • Thank you Shane. The majority of us in the valley agree with you completely, but our voices are being drowned out by the folks who have issues with the project. I also hope the architect, PCC itself and the new property owner can sift through all the negativity and realize the majority of us are looking forward to the new addition to our neighborhood.
      I also think it’s a beautiful building and the architect is listening to our concerns and doing all he can. I can’t wait to walk to PCC!! Please don’t wreck this opportunity people. Some of us our very excited.

    • I’m skeptical that “good working families”(with moderate incomes) will be able to afford a unit in this development. Market rates will prevail, with perhaps a few “affordable” units that are still unaffordable for most middle class people. And have you shopped at PCC before? It’s one of the more expensive markets around….great quality, yes, but not a store for those with moderate incomes.

      I can see the appeal of this development for those with higher incomes, but for everyone else….forgetaboutit!

  19. The PCC is a ‘Trojan Horse, designed to take our minds off the significant problems with the developer’s plan: 1) Traffic, adding 100+ more parking places and a huge building will increase traffic on an already very clogged street. The cars leaving the building will never be able to turn left (that already is a major problem at City Peoples. And if there is a Right Turn only sign, the people who want to go back to Cap Hill or the City will have to drive through currently quiet neighborhood streets that are essentially one-way now and already hard to drive through. 2) Scale of Building. We were told that the starting height on Madison was 129 ft and for Dewey two feet lower 127 feet, even though there is a major drop off down to Dewey. A sensible and acceptable plan would be to build on the existing City People’s lot back to the current fence and to not extend a hugh wall down to Dewey Street. This would leave the green belt intact. 3) Urbanization. The area in question on Madison is NOT part of an Urban Hub Plan in Seattle 2035. Building such a hugh building violates that Plan and vision for the City. Density has to increase in Seattle, yes, and Seattle 2035 addresses this issue in a number of ways, including leaving Madison in the Madison Valley out of the Urban Hub.