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Demolition begins for Hugo House, Broadway post office projects

On Broadway, the process began Monday. On 11th Ave, Wednesday is the official start of demolition. Two centers of the Capitol Hill community — one charming if a bit cramped and full of history, the other the opposite of charming but still cramped — are being demolished this week to make way for new mixed-use projects.

On the corner of Broadway and Denny, the demolition has begun to make way for the new six-story development that will replace the longtime post office. The developer plans to use brick, corten steel, and glass to finish the structure and units are planned to have 3’x6′ balconies from which to gaze out upon the wonders of Capitol Hill Station and the most rapidly growing stretch of Broadway. It is expected to open by summer of 2017. The post office, in the meantime, has moved down Broadway — and won’t be coming back.

The other chunk of Capitol Hill community ready to meet its demolition fate probably deserves a more respectful end. Instead, the 1902-built mortuary that became known as Hugo House ends its life fenced-off, mostly gutted, and with its roofing in disarray after a Seattle Fire training session. The literary nonprofit said goodbye with one last party and has moved to First Hill for a temporary stay. It will return in two years to a new community center inside the new mixed-use project set to be built at the site. The new 10,000-square-foot space will include six classrooms, offices, two performance spaces, and space for writers to do their thing. “We want it to make sure it’s a place that feels warm and welcoming to writers,” executive director Tree Swenson told CHS.

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6 thoughts on “Demolition begins for Hugo House, Broadway post office projects

  1. I’m so glad to see that long-time wart on Broadway, aka the Post Office, going bye-bye. Hopefully its replacement will be well-designed and use quality materials. But another building with 3×6′ balconies? Those things are not really functional and look “tacked on” to a building. My understanding is that they are used by developers to satisfy the “open space” requirement for all new buildings, and to maximize square footage, instead of providing actual open space.

    • I agree. I just think it’s a pity it’s only six stories. Everything within a couple of blocks of the light rail station should be zoned for much higher density, and stepped down from there. (Meanwhile, developers are starting construction of 20+ story buildings in SLU where the traffic is already gridlocked and rail is twenty years(!) away, if it even gets included in ST3 at all)

    • I’ll take a 3×6 balcony over those ridiculous 12″ deep “balconies” there are putting on places. At least 3×6 allows for a chair and a place to grill.

    • At least 3’x6′ is big enough to keep a bicycle (either “bicycle” or “two chairs” would be my definition of a balcony).

  2. The loss of the building most recently inhabited by the Hugo House is huge. Ugh.

    OTOH, I’m happy that a large building will be going in the old USPS space, even if it’s one of those generic boxes.