— Abba A Solomon (@Abba_A_Solomon) March 18, 2020
Not all Capitol Hill landmarks are created equally. Some are demolished.
Work crews started taking down the 120-year-old mansion at the corner of 15th Ave and E Olive St. Wednesday, the start of the end for a house that has had a busy three years since it first hit the market just in time for Halloween 2017.
This January, permits were approved for a cluster of eight townhouses on the 7,200-square-foot lot. The same month, a demolition permit for the Sullivan House was also signed off on.
The project from developer and real estate investor Alex Mason and MGT Builders and the Cone Architecture firm will replace the house that was landmarked but ultimately not protected by the city.
Commissioned by Seattle “boilermaking businessman” Patrick J. Sullivan, the owner of Queen City Boiler Works in Pioneer Square, the 1900-built house was one of the oldest remaining in the neighborhood. For its past few decades, the house served as an apartment home for a small but eclectic set of tenants.
In March 2018, CHS reported on the ownership trust behind 15th Ave’s Sullivan House taking the city to court over the old mansion’s approval as a Seattle historic landmark and the decision’s scuttling of a planned multimillion sale.
In reaching their decision, board members had focused on the old house’s “distinctive visible characteristics” of Queen Anne-style architecture as well as its prominent place at 15th and E Olive St. as one of the last of its kind in an evolving residential area of Capitol Hill. “You can see a lot of what makes it beautiful,” one board member said at the time. “We are landmarking what exists today.”
That lawsuit over the landmark decision was resolved early last year with an agreement forged via the Seattle Hearing Examiner for the city to agree to not require controls that would have prevented demolition and development of the dilapidated but historic property.
By May, Mason had a deal — $2.15 million for the prime property on busy but still growing 15th Ave. Cone Architecture, meanwhile, will add another teen Capitol Hill street to its roster after already completing design work on townhouse projects on 10th, 12th, and 16th Avenues.
This also won’t be the first time a Capitol Hill landmark will bite the dust. CHS previously reported on the demolition of the Galbraith House just blocks away at 17th and Howell after Sound Mental Health successfully argued that the property had become unusable due to safety and structural issues.
Now, in a neighborhood that still needs more homes, it is time for the Sullivan House to make way for what comes next.
BECOME A 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' CHS SUBSCRIBER TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.