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Capitol Hill’s Melrose Market sold to shopping center developer

(Image: Melrose Market)

It’s no Neighbours but an iconic Capitol Hill property has been sold. Melrose Market, the preservation and locavore focused retail development home to Sitka and Spruce and Terra Plata, is now owned by the same real estate investment trust that owns the Broadway Market shopping center.

Public terms of the deal were not yet available from the county but the Puget Sound Business Journal is reporting a $15.5 million price tag.

The deal moves the award winning and much lauded Melrose project out of the hands of busy Capitol Hill developers Liz Dunn and Scott Shapiro.

UPDATE: Terra Plata chef/owner Tamara Murphy has weighed in on the deal in the CHS Facebook comments. “Simmer down everyone. Nothing is changing, just new owners,” she writes. “At least for now!” she adds.

Acquired in a $3 million deal, the auto row-era building was transformed into an open market place with shops and restaurants for a 2010 debut centered around anchor tenant Sitka and Spruce after Matt Dillon agreed to relocate his critically acclaimed restaurant from Eastlake. Terra Plata’s opening in Melrose Market was a less tidy affair with a legal battle that delayed the project finally wrapping up in time for a late 2011 debut. Other tenants include Rain Shadow Meats, Homegrown, Taylor Shellfish, the Melrose Studios event space, Still Liquor, and Glasswing.

Melrose Market purchaser Regency Centers knows the neighborhood. The grocery-focused real estate investment firm paid $43 million for the block-long Broadway Market shopping center home to QFC and more in 2015.

Melrose Market has been praised for its mix of preservation and design. Here’s how Graham Baba, the architects behind the overhaul, described the project:

This 21,068-square-foot project involved the adaptive reuse of a collection of one- and two-story historic auto row structures built between 1919 and 1926. Located on a triangular block in Seattle’s densely populated Capitol Hill neighborhood, the project provided the opportunity to breath new life into the underutilized structures and into the immediate neighborhood. Working with the client, a set of goals were established for the project: preserve and highlight the historic character of the structures; incorporate sustainable, repurposed materials wherever possible; bring back the transparency of the original building to maximize natural light; and find ways to engage and interact with the streetscape and pedestrian traffic.

While many original tenants have come and gone, the project is currently fully leased.

Though it was built without apartments, the preservation-friendly project has provided more housing for the neighborhood with rights to an extra floor of height transferred to other development in the neighborhood.

The sale does not involve the building along E Pine home to collection of restaurants including Machiavelli and Li’l Woody’s. That property continues to be held by its longtime family partnership owners.

Liz Dunn’s development company Dunn and Hobbes is next setting its sights on the Central District with planning begun on a “four-story building, approximately 40 feet tall, built at grade with no underground parking” with retail space occupying the frontage along E Cherry and residential units above on the block currently home to the Twilight Exit and Tana Market. Dunn’s most recently completed big project was the Chophouse Row development on 11th Ave between Pike and Union. CHS spoke with her recently about her development philosophy and projects mixing housing, offices, retail, and food+drink.

Shapiro’s Eagle Rock Ventures most recent big project was the transformation of the Harvard Exit into the new Consulate of Mexico in Seattle.

The Melrose sale comes at a time when the neighborhood is on the look out for some big land deals that could impact Capitol Hill institutions after the Neighbours property was listed for sale at $6.9 million to start the year.

Meanwhile, here’s a time machine view of Melrose Ave in the summer of 2008:

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7 thoughts on “Capitol Hill’s Melrose Market sold to shopping center developer

  1. Fabulous! The development company can tear it down and build condos; just what the area needs instead of those overpriced shops and restaurants. We love what they’ve done to the Harvard Exit building.

    • No they are not. Regency simply bought the property as an investment. They aren’t changing anything other than property management.

      Just chill out everyone!

  2. Quash the sale, Kshama. The Melrose Market is a very unique, iconic, beautiful place that has put baubles on my shelves and delicious food into my mouth. Socialist Alternative, please do the needful.

  3. Melrose Market sold development rights to other nearby properties for extra housing height. Those can’t be undone, so the property is probably at it’s highest and best use.

  4. The trolls on here are getting better. It’s getting harder all the time to tell when someone is actually serious or partaking in really effective chain-yanking.

    • I guess what we really need is the Jimmy Blog, where we can read about things that only Jimmy cares about, and then only Jimmy can comment, and only Jimmy can respond to comments. I’m sure it would have a similar readership to CHS. Happy Jimmying!