As a $1.64 billion plan takes shape to completely transform State Route 520’s pass through their neighborhood, some Montlake neighbors are most worried about the neighborhood’s longtime market.
A representative from the City of Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development sounded the alarm in an email to neighbors before Tuesday’s meeting:
This is an important late breaking development. WSDOT is proposing to acquire and potentially demolish the Montlake Market. If this is a concern, please let WSDOT know at tonight’s open house (4:30-7pm, St Demetrious). If you can’t make the meeting you can make comments on the online version of the open house here http://sr520.participate.online until July 8.
Tuesday night, WSDOT officials were at Montlake’s St. Demetrios Hall to present the plans for the next phase in replacing 520 as part of $4.65 billion in projects that have already created the longest floating bridge in the world.
Wednesday, a WSDOT representative told CHS that the agency is preparing a statement on the planned acquisition and said it is in talks with the property owner. According to the rep, the property that is home to the market and the service station just off the 520 combined offramp and onramp on Montlake Blvd has been identified by planners as likely to be impacted by the new 520 design and what will be a changing grade around the onramp. “It actually has a bigger impact on property than we had earlier thought,” the representative said. “As you get further into design, you learn things.”
UPDATE 7:05 PM: In an update on the project, WSDOT detailed its reasons for needing to acquire the property:
- WSDOT needs the property to build some of the project’s planned improvements, such as retaining walls and fill, sidewalks, connections to shared-use trails, and utility relocations and modifications. We also will use the property for construction staging and traffic shifts.
- We determined in the 2011 environmental impact statement that we’d have to close three of the four driveway accesses into the gas station. The gas station and market are business tenants on the property. The change in driveway access will affect the operations of both tenants.
- We are in discussions with the property owner regarding WSDOT’s purchase of the site and the operations of the businesses.
“We know these businesses are important to many people in the Montlake area. We’ll keep the community updated as this process unfolds,” the update reads.
WSDOT also provided an update on the project’s timeline, below. The final phase involving a planned second Montlake bridge is currently slated to be completed around 2027.
- Montlake lid, West Approach Bridge South, land bridge over SR 520
- Construction to begin by 2018
- Estimated duration: 4-5 years
- New Portage Bay Bridge with regional bike-pedestrian path, Roanoke lid, improved I-5 interchange, bike-pedestrian I-5 crossing
- Estimated to begin as early as: 2020
- Estimated duration: 6 years
- Second bascule (drawbridge) over Montlake Cut
- Estimated to begin as early as: 2024
- Estimated duration: 3 years
Construction on the Seattle-side features of the new 520 is slated to begin “by 2018,” according to WSDOT. Years of construction will include the “West Approach Bridge South, Montlake lid and interchange, and land bridge over the highway, Portage Bay Bridge, 10th Avenue East and Delmar Drive East lid, and I-5 connections.” A second bascule bridge over the Montlake Cut is also planned. The land currently home to the market and service station would be put to use as a “staging area” during the years of construction.
The Montlake Blvd Market, or Hop-In as old-timers and those with deeper Montlake roots might call it, lists an opening year of 1936. UPDATE: It is currently owned by Scott Iverson and a company called BTF Enterprises, according to the city business permit.
In addition to the grocery, deli, and gas station frequented by residents, 520 commuters, and plenty of Huskies, the property also is the location of things like the neighborhood Christmas tree lot and many a charity car wash. The property’s owner is Lynne Parrott, a Clyde Hill resident and Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman, Jr.’s niece, according to King County records. The property has a taxable value of $1.4 million but will likely command a higher price tag.
Neighborhood reaction to the possible closure of the Montlake Market echoes the situation around the development planned to replace City People’s in Madison Valley with a PCC grocery and mixed-use apartment building. What can we say, neighborhood neighbors? Now you know how several corners of Capitol Hill have felt during the ongoing waves of redevelopment.
The 520 project, meanwhile, is still open to community shaping. There’s more to be concerned with than just the neighborhood market as design, transit, pedestrian, and bike issues around the new features are still being finalized. Details from the latest open house are posted here. You can also learn more and provide feedback via this 520 Replacement Program Online Open House.