The split decision paves the way for the house’s demolition to make way for planned development.
The Capitol Hill Historical Society which had been advocating for fhe structure’s preservation has details on the vote and says changes to the old structure over the years ultimately doomed its chances at protection:
All that said, the crux of the issue was largely about whether Conover House still embodies the distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style (colonial revival) and whether it stands out in the neighborhood. Due to the lot being partially excavated to allow for a 5th basement unit with windows, the asbestos siding and missing (concealed?) pilasters, and other additions to the house, the board overall was not convinced that such was the case. Further, while acknowledging that the house stands out on its block, most of the board asserted in agreement with JFS that the house does not stand out in the area more broadly.
In May, CHS reported on the plans of the building’s owners, the social services nonprofit Jewish Family Services headquartered nearby,.to demolish the Conover Residence to make way for a seven-story, 88-unit apartment development with space for a restaurant, and underground parking for 105 cars.
Charles Conover, a city editor at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, had the family house in built in 1893. Proponents of preservation say the house is a “highly refined” example of the Colonial Revival style in Seattle and was, architecturally/stylistically speaking, ahead of its time.
The Historical Society, meanwhile, is also raising attention for “major alterations” planned to a recently designated Capitol Hill landmark. In November, the Roy Vue building won landmarks protections that would stave off a developer’s plans for converting the 94-year-old building to microhousing. CHHS reports that a new plan proposes to add a penthouse and four-story townhouse structure to the property. The plans must be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Board’s architectural review committee.
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