Finally, a $23.25M deal — and plans for inclusive development — at 23rd and Union

It is a riskier bet than most $23.25 million land deals in Seattle. But new neighbors and longtime community members are probably happy to see real progress. Africatown, again in partnership with sustainability nonprofit turned in-city housing developer Forterra, will still be part of inclusive development component in the deal. And the buyers seem to know what they are doing.

Lake Union Partners announced Tuesday that it is surging ahead with a plan to redevelop 23rd and Union’s Midtown Center block and has already closed on a purchase of the land — a riskier approach than national shopping center developer Regency Centers and its partner Lennar were apparently willing to take in their failed deal to acquire the property and build a grocery-focused project.

“Given our other investments at 23rd and Union, we’ve worked hard to connect well with the neighborhood and as always, we simply try to do good work with our design, be respectful of the community, and create projects with neighborhood retail that residents of the area need and want,” Patrick Foley of Lake Union Partners said in the announcement. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Community agreement on 23rd Ave properties opens door to development, Mandatory Housing Affordability implementation

From the City of Seattle

Mayor Ed Murray will send legislation to City Council to implement a community vision for 23rd Avenue and Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) requirements at key intersections with Union, Cherry and Jackson streets in the Central District.

“Generations of families and people have called the Central District home, making enormous contributions to Seattle’s heritage and identity,” said Mayor Murray. “Our goal is to ensure we maintain the cultural character of the Central District while keeping it affordable during a time of unprecedented investment and growth. These affordability requirements will help us accomplish these goals with a shared vision for this unique community.”

The 23rd Avenue Action Community Team has been working in the Central Area to support the neighborhood’s unique identity and community character by encouraging pedestrian friendly mixed-use development that promotes new housing options, including affordable housing, while supporting existing and new small businesses to serve the diverse community.

“The 23rd Avenue ACT supports the zoning recommendations for the Union-Cherry-Jackson nodes,” said Lois Martin, chair of the group. “As community stakeholders, we have been working in the Central Area for close to six years to develop and implement comprehensive work plans to support and enhance smart growth along the 23rd Avenue business corridor.”

The 23rd Avenue Action Plan is the product of nearly 100 meetings, over 30 community-based organizations and hundreds of area residents who engaged in hands-on and interactive workshops, focus group meetings, individual workshops, in-person interviews, business canvassing, and online surveys. In addition to the proposed rezone, the City has worked with the community on several additional local investments, including support for small businesses, transportation improvements, a cultural district, and increased affordable housing – and the City will continue to look for new partnerships with the community.

The agreement would allow taller buildings in exchange for contributions to affordable housing. It is estimated that the MHA requirements implemented along 23rd Avenue will produce 50 new affordable homes over the years. The remainder of the Central District will be included in the citywide MHA rezone legislation expected later this year, and will help contribute to over 3,700 rent- and income-restricted homes in the next 10 years. The cost of a rent-restricted two-bedroom apartment for a family of three earning $52,000 would be $1,296.

Seattle’s MHA program requires multi-family residential and commercial development to either include rent-restricted homes for low-income families or make a payment to the Office of Housing to support affordable housing. For these sites, the requirements would be 7 to 10 percent of homes or $20.75 to $29.75 per square foot for residential buildings and between 5 and 8 percent of floor area or $8 and $20.75 per square foot for commercial buildings.  The proposal includes some of the City’s highest MHA requirements in recognition of the Central District’s unique history, as shown in Seattle 2035 Equity and Growth Analysis.

The increase in development capacity needed to implement these MHA requirements is an additional one to three stories.

New MHA requirements have already been implemented in Downtown, South Lake Union and the University District. The Council is currently considering how to implement MHA in the Chinatown-International District.

Street Treats counter and its custom ice cream sandwiches ready in the Central District

“Here’s Andi! Our first customer. Very soft opening now until 8!” (Image: Street Treats)

The Street Treats truck has a place to park. After moving its production kitchen to E Union, the mobile dessert and custom ice cream sandwich provider, is now ready to debut its walk-up counter offering “street treats” to its new Central District neighbors.

The official opening is planned for Saturday, April 22nd but stop by for a soft opening snack if you get the mood.

Street Treats adding ice cream sandwiches, sweets to busy scene around 23rd and Union

Homestead Seattle grows into new space in Pike/Pine, sprouts new plant shop on E Olive St

The folks behind vintage furniture and design brand Homestead Seattle have been growing all sorts of things. Their design shop is about to grow into a larger, much more prominent space. And, Sunday, the new Homestead Seattle Plant Shop will blossom on E Olive St near 23rd Ave.

“We’ve definitely seen more apartment gardening,” Ryan Tansey tells CHS about some of the trends at play behind the new shop at 2202 E Olive St. “People who are moving to the hill are less likely to have a yard to work with,” Tansey said. “And I’ve also heard from some people that because many people are having kids later, having plants around is another way to have something to nurture and grow.” Continue reading

Pratt Fine Arts Center plans expansion in mixed-use development

(Image: Pratt Fine Arts)

(Image: Pratt Fine Arts)

Pratt Fine Arts Center’s plans to expand are moving forward with designs in progress and money in the bank to anchor a six-story, mixed-use development on the block it calls home at 20th and Jackson.

“In order to achieve Pratt’s long term vision, we have worked tirelessly to find the best way to accommodate Pratt’s growing need for additional facilities to better serve art students and independent artists,” Steve Galatro, Pratt executive director said. “This multifaceted development will expand our capacity, unlock new potential, strengthen the connections to our neighborhood, and ensure that creativity thrives in a dynamic urban campus for many years to come.” Continue reading

After plan went ‘sideways,’ SDOT says will find a way to build E Union protected bike lanes

Protected bike lanes on E Union won’t fall through the cracks. Seattle Department of Transportation officials say they are working on a plan for adding a protected area on the busy street for riders after the upgrade dropped out of the Madison Bus Rapid Transit plan and was also left off the drawing board for the city’s Bike Master Plan “five-year” projects.

The plan for E Union’s protected bike lane addition “very plainly went sideways,” SDOT chief of staff Genesee Adkins said at Tuesday’s meeting of the Seattle City Council’s transportation committee as she introduced a session reviewing the department’s bike plan projects (PDF). Continue reading

Another ugly incident at 23rd and Union

A protest against displacement and in support of Africatown’s efforts at 23rd and Union devolved into a fight between activists and security at an area business Saturday — and a video from an ugly exchange in the midst of the confrontation has drawn sharp rebuke.

Police were called to the intersection Saturday afternoon after activists who had been part of an anti-displacement “Mini Block Party” at Midtown Center crossed the street and challenged security seeking to keep protesters off the frequently targeted property at Uncle Ike’s, the legal pot shop that has been a regular target of those opposed to both what they say is the I-502 cannabis industry’s non-inclusive system and concerns about gentrification in the rapidly developing neighborhood.

One protester was reportedly treated for facial injuries by Seattle Fire after the fight. Police said that the groups were separated around 4 PM.

But an exchange in the aftermath of the fight recorded by Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg in which activist and recently evicted block resident Omari Garrett tells the Jewish business owner to “go back to Germany” and “let those Nazis get on you again” has outraged many and forced developers working in the neighborhood and partnering with Africatown — run by Garrett’s son K. Wyking Garrett — to try to distance themselves from the situation. Continue reading

With Seattle City Hall the target, Oliver fills Washington Hall in mayoral campaign kickoff

IMG_9653

With a platform based around equity, the fight against displacement, and the fight for social justice — plus a boost from left firebrand Kshama SawantNikkita Oliver kicked off her campaign to unseat Mayor Ed Murray from Seattle’s City Hall by filling the Central District’s Washington Hall beyond capacity Sunday afternoon.

“We need a mayor who has the courage to point out the obscenity of having two of the world’s richest people in our area when we have so many homeless,” Sawant said, warming the crowd up for the candidate’s speech.

For what it’s worth, neither of those extremely rich people are among the dozens who have already given to Murray’s reelection campaign. But while Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates aren’t on the contributor list, Murray has already tallied more than $300,000 in contributions at this point in the race. The Capitol Hill resident launched his campaign with a big head start last summer in a party at big time political PR executive Roger Nyhus’s home near Volunteer Park. Continue reading

Police chase down Grand Am after reported Central District drive-by

Two people were taken into custody after a swift and heavy response from Seattle Police to a reported drive-by shooting Monday morning near 25th and Jackson.

Police were called to the area just after 11 AM to a report that two people had been shot at by a passing vehicle near 25th and Jackson. With no reported injuries at the scene, police began searching for the gold Pontiac Grand Am reported to have been involved in the shooting.

The car was spotted by police headed north on Rainier and was chased to MLK before the Grand Am was eventually ditched near 31st and Bayview and at least three occupants fled on foot.

According to police radio dispatches, officers were able to quickly surround the area and begin searching backyards on the block where the car was ditched. Around 11:20 AM, an officer reported he had one person held at gunpoint. Officers soon reported two people were taken into custody. A K9 unit and the Sheriff’s Guardian One helicopter were also searching the area for a possible third person who may have been in the vehicle but that female suspect was not found. Police said two people were detained after the incident.

The incident comes amid increased concerns from community members and businesses about Central District gunfire incidents.

UPDATE: SPD has posted a brief on the incident:

Officers chased down two suspects Monday following a drive-by shooting in the Central District. Around 11:15 AM, police received reports that someone in a gold Pontiac had fired at two men walking on the street near 25th Avenue and Jackson Street. Officers spotted the suspects’ vehicle and followed it to 23rd Avenue and South College Street, where two suspects ditched their car and took off on foot. Police caught up to the men and took them into custody. No one was injured in the incident. Officers attempted to contact the victims following the incident, but they declined to provide statements to police. The SPD Gang Unit is investigating and asks that anyone with information call (206) 684-4585.

 

Big bust raises tensions at Midtown Center

As neighbors living around 23rd and Union concerned about gun violence met at Seattle University for a community crime meeting to discuss recent shootings, a major law enforcement operation including reports of flash bang explosives went down in a tension-filled Midtown Center Thursday night.

Multiple people were taken into custody during the incident first reported to CHS around 7:30 PM Thursday after the operation was well underway.

A Seattle Police spokesperson said Friday morning he was looking into the situation and could not provide details of the arrests and SPD’s possible involvement. UPDATE 3:40 PM: SPD has posted a report on the arrest of a 27-year-old man wanted in connection with a shooting incident Monday night: Continue reading