Montlake prepares for years of new 520 construction, life without market

WSDOT’s “artistic rendering of the transit hub on a planned SR 520 highway lid in Montlake.”

The Montlake Market won’t stand in the way of progress to complete the replacement of SR 520. The state has agreed to acquire the property for $16 million as it prepares for the start of construction on the “Montlake Project” to create an improved Montlake Boulevard interchange, a landscaped lid over SR 520, a bicycle and pedestrian “land bridge” east of the lid, and a three-lane West Approach Bridge South over Union Bay for eastbound traffic.

Thursday night, WSDOT will hold a pre-construction open house hosted by the SR 520 project’s contractor from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. The meeting will cover the latest project designs, construction schedule, and management plan for limiting construction effects in Montlake.

But the fate of the market destined to make way for the project became much more clear with the $16 million deal.

According to King County records, the property’s longtime owner, Lynne Parrott, a Clyde Hill resident and Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman, Jr.’s niece. The property has a taxable value of around $1.4 million. WSDOT had estimated preserving the market would add another $20 million to the construction costs around the project.

In May, WSDOT broke the news on the deal at a community meeting in the neighborhood:

Dave Becher, WSDOT’s Director of Construction for the SR 520 Program, informed meeting participants that WSDOT and the property’s owner recently agreed on a purchase price for the property, and WSDOT will take ownership in June. He also said WSDOT leadership determined it is not practicable to preserve the market during Montlake Project construction, and the building will be removed in early 2020.

No date has been announced for the market’s closure but WSDOT was slated to take possession of the property this month. The state is working to establish a location for a temporary market to operate during the 520 construction.

The Montlake Blvd Market, or Hop-In, lists an opening year of 1936.

Incompatible as a service station and market in the future layout of the reconfigured streets, the parcel had been planned to stage construction for the Montlake project and later phases of construction. Once the Montlake Project is completed, the legislature has now directed WSDOT to sell the market and gas station property immediately – “approximately six years earlier than planned,” WSDOT says.

The state will also oversee the process of decontaminating the soil beneath the longtime service station.

“Keeping the market was not feasible, but we did not make the decision in a vacuum. We talked to legislators about Montlake Market, they drafted the proviso of what we could do for the community, and we readily agreed,” said Steve Peer, the project’s media and construction communications manager. Peer added the project “threads the needle through the highly urban environment of the Montlake neighborhood, and the Montlake Market has been there for decades.”

The $455.3 million project to create an improved Montlake Boulevard interchange, a landscaped lid over SR 520, a bicycle and pedestrian “land bridge” east of the lid, and a three-lane West Approach Bridge South over Union Bay for eastbound traffic is now set to begin construction that is likely to last into 2024.

You can learn more about Thursday’s meeting and the project here.

 

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14 thoughts on “Montlake prepares for years of new 520 construction, life without market

  1. Might spend $20m on market, but so far not offering those immediately adjacent to 5years of construction any funding for better sound insulation or AC to mitigate noise and dust. Thanks WSDOT !

    • LOL.

      You live in a mansion.

      Next to a freeway.

      You should have enough money, or should already have been prepared enough for noise and dust.

      20 mil is a lot though.

      • Yeah, the amount of dust and exhaust particulates created daily from highway next door far exceeds the amount generated by construction for a few years.

    • Unless I’m reading it wrong, SDOT is not spending $20 mil on the market. From the article:
      WSDOT leadership determined it is not practicable to preserve the market during Montlake Project construction, and the building will be removed in early 2020.

  2. Just went to open house and asked WSDOT spokesperson: Why did the wealthy Freeman family get so much for the market, several times the actual value? My understanding of the answer: Freeman’s brought out all the lawyers to get a high price, and the state capitulated instead of more court time. Should be an interesting story here.

  3. As soon as the amount to preserve the market was determined to be $20m, the value of it became $1 less than $20m. Community value of the market (based on the negotiated value of $16m) was then valued at $4m. An obvious random number affected by many factors including how much a fight Freeman’s lawyers were willing to put in and how long the State was willing to delay the project based upon the protracted legal battle that would of ensued. Disappointed to learn that it was the Freeman family that got this payout.

  4. This construction project is going to make for a colossal mess for some years. That area is already very congested at times, and it will be much worse. It’s an area to avoid, for sure.

    • The $16m was on the table to buy a market, but not to help mitigate noise or even buy out property owners who will be trapped from selling for the next 5 years while this thing gets built.

      On the east side they condemned a property which is as close as about 100 houses in Montlake.

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