12th Ave auto shop will make way for apartment and restaurant development

Servicing BMWs, Volvos, and Jaguars on Capitol Hill was good business for the last 46 years or so. Selling the property home to your 12th Ave auto service garage to make way for development of a five-story, 61-unit, mixed-use apartment building planned to feature “sun screens,” a streetfront restaurant, and “a generously planted” courtyard? Probably even better business.

The longtime 12th and E Olive St. fixture Car Tender will be moving out in the next year or so but the design review process for the new building that will replace it begins this week.

On Wednesday, the East Design Review Board will hear about a proposed mixed-use five-story 61-unit apartment planned for the corner of 12th Ave and E Olive St where auto shop Car Tender currently sits.

Design review: 1208 E Olive St

Car Tender owners Russell Kimble and John McDermott declined to comment on the sale and the development. The company claims a pedigree reaching back to the early 1970s. The version of the company owned by Kimble and McDermott was registered with the state in 1999. According to Car Tender’s website, the company has been servicing European cars including BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover, and others, in the city since 1971. Through various platforms, online reviewers have given the business an average of about four stars for its service. Its candy dish game is also apparently on point.

According to sales records, the garage owners bought the property for just over $3 million in 2008. Last summer, they sold to a local real estate investor for $7.6 million. Its current one-story auto shop was constructed in 1979, according to county records. If the development makes it through to construction, the Car Tender garage will, of course, be demolished.

The proposed horseshoe-shaped development by architects at Miller Hull Partnership would hit the base height limit of 40 feet in the Capitol Hill Urban Center Village. 11,500 square feet of commercial space is planned along with 3,100 square feet of residential amenity space plus an additional 1,800 square feet of rooftop amenity space. 61 studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom units are planned.

According to plans, the “horizontally modulated” design of the building along 12th is an effort to break up the scale of the project.

The preferred design shows four commercial spaces along 12th Ave and one at the corner of E Olive St and the alley. On the southern block along 12th Ave, the project calls for a covered outdoor edge for shops and restaurants to use.

A courtyard is planned for the center of the building. In the preferred option, the massing of the building is broken up along E Olive St with the courtyard dividing the two long sides of building at the ground level. A bridge connects them at a higher floor. The courtyard is “only for visual delight and not accessible by people,” according to the design proposal. Assumption — it’s for residents only.

The plans include covered, open air parking for 8 to 10 vehicles and 61 bike parking spaces — a big change from the dozens of vehicles regularly parked across the lot waiting for service.

The architects are also considering a facade with an exterior sun screen, mitigating solar heat gain for west and south-facing units.

The development’s sustainability goals include Built Green three-star certification, stormwater treatment on-site through infiltration, natural ventilation in most units, earth-coupled landscaping, pollinator pathway certification.

There are no public comment letters yet posted about the proposed project though one group of neighbors says it is concerned about the impact from increased use of the alley and hopes there will be a design solution to make it safer and healthier for people living nearby.

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7 thoughts on “12th Ave auto shop will make way for apartment and restaurant development

  1. I’ve been wondering when this will happen. This section of 12th is depressing with its fenced off massive parking lot.

    I hope the “generously planted” courtyard is indeed generous. This area needs more greenery.

  2. Readers should know that Miller Hull is a top tier design firm being used. If the design is allowed this will be a major win and put so much of the current trash being built to shame!

    It is so sad that we fail to appreciate the import of design on quality of life for those who encounter the built environment every day. Buildings are to cities like trees and mountains are to the land.

  3. RIP for another family-run business and a funky distinction of the Hill. On a more practical level, where will I take my Jag for service?