A swell of Capitol Hill community support for the 94-year-old building, organized neighbors, and some local media coverage has apparently inspired the developers behind a plan to convert the Royvue apartment building into microhousing to back off.
The tenant-led Save the Royvue group announced the change in plans for the 34-unit apartment building in an email to supporters Monday night.
“What once seemed like an almost finalized deal between the parties involved is no more,” the group writes. “Most purchases like this are hatched under the radar and the public finds out when it’s too late. Instead, you knew a deal was brewing with a very small window of opportunity to react. They were caught completely off-guard by the community’s persistence and prompt organized response.”
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In early April, CHS reported on plans filed with the city that would have built over the Royvue’s garden and overhauled the three-story building and to create 147 small efficiency dwelling units in the structure. The Save the Royvue effort was formed to organize a way to thwart the sale and stop the project.
The developer’s decision doesn’t mean the Royvue is now “saved.” The group tells CHS it plans to continue the process to seek landmark protections for the building and its signature courtyard.
CHS calls to Anew Apartments, the developers behind the planned purchased and redevelopment of the 1924-built building, have not been returned.
The full letter is below.
Thank you for all your support over the past 3 weeks! The outpouring of warmth and your vocal response has been heartening. Your support is a testament to the fact that as a community, we can look out for one another, our historic landmarks and the community we have built.
So now for the the good news: We reached the end of the developer’s feasibility period and we have been informed the DEVELOPERS/BUYERS HAVE WALKED AWAY FROM THE PURCHASE OF SALE AGREEMENT AND THE SALE OF THE ROY VUE IS NO LONGER PENDING!
This is because of all of YOU! What once seemed like an almost finalized deal between the parties involved is no more. Most purchases like this are hatched under the radar and the public finds out when it’s too late. Instead, you knew a deal was brewing with a very small window of opportunity to react. They were caught completely off-guard by the community’s persistence and prompt organized response.
We cannot thank you enough for sharing our story with your friends but we know this isn’t just our story. What has been happening with our building, unfortunately is happening all over Capitol Hill and Seattle. We have felt strongly that if the proposed plan was allowed, a frightening precedent would have been set for all historic brick apartments buildings like ours. As Seattle grows and develops, we need to preserve our historic landmarks and the communities that inhabit them. Once lost, these historic and often affordable places, full of unique life & community, cannot be replaced.
Please note that although the current developers have walked away, the Roy Vue still is not “SAVED”. Only the landmarking process will provide the opportunity to truly safeguard this historic landmark in the future. So, please, we still need your support over the next few months as we continue to work on our landmark application and when we are assigned our day to appear before the landmarks review board, we will need you to be there and fill the room. We will provide further communication on that, once a date is set.
On a celebratory note: You’re invited!! Once it’s a bit warmer, we can’t wait to invite you all to gather with us in the courtyard garden to celebrate organizing as a community, historic preservation, the landmarking process and to discuss how we can protect more historic places that anchor the community! You have sent a clear message that you want a voice in how our communities are shaped. Now, in the face of this momentary victory, it is imperative that we not go back to business as usual but instead, continue to raise the volume on the conversation around Seattle’s historic preservation problem and the mindset in place that allows these sort of plans and developments to seem feasible.
Lastly, we all owe a huge thank you to Historic Seattle, the Capitol Hill Historical Society and a neighborhood coalition for their invaluable partnership and continued work on the Roy Vue’s landmark application.