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COVID-19 restrictions bring most Seattle construction to a halt — including Capitol Hill Station’s hundreds of new apartments

Capitol Hill Station’s “transit oriented development” construction will come to a halt (Image: CHS)

While Capitol Hill has gone mostly quiet under COVID-19 restrictions, there was a louder than usual buzz of saws, hammering, and heavy equipment as contractors worked Wednesday to wrap up projects and secure work sites across the neighborhood.

Monday’s latest round of restrictions to slow the outbreak’s spread include a shutdown of businesses and industries deemed “non-essential” — late Wednesday, word spread that would, indeed, include most residential and commercial construction.

Across Seattle and on Capitol Hill, the decision will ripple through the area on a project by project basis. Most will also go quiet.


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“At this point, we have identified which are essential and nonessential projects,” a spokesperson for Lease Crutcher Lewis told CHS about the lead contractor’s shutdown of work at the neighborhood’s largest and most important development currently under construction — the transit oriented development along Broadway at Capitol Hill Station.

Working with Portland-based lead developer Gerding Edlen, Lease Crutcher Lewis says the project owner determined the site did not meet Gov. Jay Inslee’s threshold for essential construction work.

In a Wednesday memo, the governor’s office tried to clear confusion around the impact from this week’s increased COVID-19 restrictions on the construction industry. Construction related to essential needs like infrastructure repair or telecommunications can continue. Most commercial and residential work cannot.

The restrictions are currently planned to continue through April 8th but could be extended.

Around the Hill, large projects still underway include a new gym and parking garage at the Holy Names Academy, a new Uncle Ike’s on E Olive Way, and several new market rate apartment buildings and townhome projects. Smaller home residential projects will also come to a halt though some contractors said they planned to continue working at sites with only one or two workers.

The Lease Crutcher Lewis spokesperson declined to comment on the impact to the hundreds of Capitol Hill Station project workers. Many of the crews involve union industries and any work stoppages will be handled under bargained contracts.

The construction of “publicly financed low-income housing” has also been deemed essential but that component of Capitol Hill Station development has already been mostly wrapped up. A Capitol Hill Housing representative tells CHS that the affordable apartments in the Station House building just east of the station’s main entrance have already begun to fill with new residents.

With its 110 units, Station House is part of about 170 affordable units set to be part of the 430 or so new apartments being created above Broadway in the development. CHS reported here on the decades of community work that went into shaping priorities for the project.

When complete, the full development will span four buildings around Capitol Hill Station with hundreds of new apartments and more than 30,000 square feet of commercial space including a new H Mart, new retail, food, drink, and daycare businesses, and a new home for the farmers market, plus more than 200 underground parking stalls for cars, and 250 parking stalls for bikes.

The full project has been planned for a late 2020 opening. It’s not clear at this point if that goal is still possible.

Wednesday, King County reported its 100 death of the COVID-19 outbreak that started in late February. Officials are hopeful the increased social distancing efforts will continue to slow the spread of the virus in the area.

UPDATE: Add at least one major transit project to the construction shutdown. The Montlake Project to complete the western side of the 520 replacement project including a new lid over the highway has been put on pause by the state:

CHS COVID-19

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James in the CD
James in the CD
1 year ago

LOL….hope all those real estate demons lose money

Jamel
Jamel
1 year ago

Ignorant comment. The “real estate demons” are the only ones adding supply to keep up with demand in a growing City like Seattle. It would be hilarious to watch the City Government try to build housing at a reasonable cost. They can’t. Building’s wouldn’t get built if there weren’t people moving here who need a place to live. Do you say the same thing about all business people who take risks you are not willing to take?

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
1 year ago
Reply to  Jamel

Not to mention all the jobs that are now lost.

These “anti-developer” morons think they’re being activists, but really they’re negatively impacting the neighborhood, jobs and the economy.

Ironically, I bet these same complainers feel like they should be able to do whatever they want with their property.

Marxism really sux
Marxism really sux
1 year ago

What a pathetic life full of hate you live James.

Ross Criffles
1 year ago

Nah, developers are self-important greed driven weasels, delivering the cheapest possible product at the highest possible cost, everyone knows they are scum.

JayH
JayH
1 year ago

Maybe the projects that are still being worked on can hire some of those laid off workers! 600 Howell is months behind due to lack of workers.

Jesse S
Jesse S
1 year ago
Reply to  JayH

600 Howell is not being worked on, at least as of today. There was a flurry of workers yesterday, but I didn’t see anyone out there all day today.

Matt
Matt
1 year ago

Project was delayed for 2 years due to design review. Let’s not shift the blame