Surrounded by taller buildings with room for more people on all sides, two 1906-built houses set to finally make way for development on Bellevue Ave E

A rendering shows how the building will fit in on Bellevue Ave E

Already surrounded by buildings ranging from three to eleven stories, the last remaining single family-style homes on a stretch of Capitol Hill’s Bellevue Ave E just off E Olive Way will meet with demolition crews if a project coming before the East Design Review Board is approved. But questions remain about whether or not a small stand of trees will meet the same fate.

The project involves properties and two 1906-built homes that have been lined up for redevelopment for most of the past of decade as new buildings sprung up in the nearby area and filled the neighborhood in.

The around 170-unit project comes amid ongoing demand for new housing in the city despite the COVID-19 crisis and economic fallout.

The plan is for two adjacent parcels at 123 and 127 Bellevue Ave E, roughly where E John hits Bellevue and stops – about a block north of Denny. Each of the two sites is currently occupied by a building constructed in 1906.

One is still a single-family home. The other started that way and has been renovated and expanded to become a 13-unit apartment building with a small parking lot. The proposed building is surrounded on all sides by apartment buildings, ranging from three to 11 stories. Continue reading

Design review: First look at proposal for preservation incentive-boosted project that will rise above 110-year-old E Pike Rowland building

Wednesday night will bring two virtual design review meetings that could help set the course for new developments on Capitol Hill in 2021 including a project planned to preserve the E Pike facade of the 1910-built commercial building that has been home to Gay City and Kaladi Brothers as part of an eight-story, incentive boosted mixed-use project.

CHS reported on the early plans from developer Hunters Capital and longtime property owner Chip Ragen to redevelop the corner of E Pike and Belmont.

Wednesday night, the Studio Meng Strazzara-designed project will take its first step in front of the East Design review board. Continue reading

Design review: Capitol Hill auto row-inspired design gets an update for Hilltop Service Station project

(Images: Studio Meng Strazzara)

A Capitol Hill project dinged for what the developers said was “not being modern enough” is back in the design review process and ready for public comment.

The 523 Hilltop project from Capitol Hill-based developer Hunters Capital — and inspired by the neighborhood’s auto row-era preservation projects — is settling into the final phase of design review under the city’s “administrative” system put in place to keep projects moving during the COVID-19 crisis. Continue reading

Dear humans, it’s time to help shape the design of new housing across from Broadway Hill Park

“Dear humans, I’m sad to say this will be my last spring bloom with you all…” (Image: @maniftendst)

There is good reason for the City of Seattle’s streamlined design review process. And there is good reason for new housing across from rare Capitol Hill parkland. But it doesn’t make the scene passed by on so many COVID-19 walks at Federal and Republican any less melancholy. The little house and the blossoming tree are, indeed, enjoying their final season.

The proposed project by Mercer Island-based Sealevel Properties at 1013 E Republican will use the outbreak-streamlined administrative design review process and is part of a sudden, busy pulse of review activity across Capitol Hill. It’s time to add your comments before the proposal is assessed. Owing to coronavirus restrictions, the city has adjusted development regulations to cut out the in-person meeting with the design review board and allow developers to instead go through an administrative process with a public comment period. The comment period for the project opened with notices to neighbors two weeks ago. It closes May 26. Continue reading

Design review: Seven-story Jewish Family Service ‘Conover House’ development on 16th Ave

(Image: Weinstein A+U)

CHS reported on Seattle developments lining up to opt in to the city’s new streamlined design review process hoped to help unclog the project pipeline during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Turns out a few are out in front of the pack including one 16th Ave project CHS noticed just in time for a brief about the proposal just as its 14-day public comment is coming to an end.

You have until the end of the day May 20th to weigh in on the 1620 16th Ave proposal for a new seven-story, 88-unit apartment building with space for a ground-level restaurant, and underground parking for 105 cars. Continue reading

Council approves plan to streamline Seattle design review process during COVID-19 crisis

With a change for a key area of the city, the Seattle City Council Monday was able to approve legislation hoped to put its design and landmarks review processes back into motion even as COVID-19 restrictions continue to make standard public meetings impossible.

CHS reported here on the proposal from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office to move important reviews from citizen boards to city staff while continuing the public comment process through email and written feedback in a bid to jumpstart dozens of development projects including much needed housing. Last week, the council hit a bump trying to get the streamlining approved as it fell short of the necessary votes for the emergency change. Continue reading

As Seattle looks at temporary takeover of citizen design review, here are the projects around Capitol Hill in COVID-19 limbo

Thanks to COVID-19, the City Market development might never happen

With the COVID-19 crisis and worries of permanent damage to the economy, Capitol Hill might have a new lost generation of neighborhood developments swallowed up by a possible economic abyss. In areas around the Hill that have gone through such thorough waves of redevelopment, any slowdown might offer a respite. Here’s a look at what is on hold — and what might never be — as the Seattle City Council will vote Monday afternoon on Mayor Jenny Durkan’s plan to streamline design review and the landmarks process “to ensure our city work and projects move forward in a responsible way that keeps everyone safe and healthy.”

Durkan’s proposal would temporarily allow the Seattle Department of Construction and
Inspections and the Department of Neighborhoods “to administratively make some
decisions that would otherwise be made or informed by an in-person board or committee
meetings.” In the case of processes like design review, the goal would be to eventually establish virtual meetings.

On Capitol Hill 2020, most major construction is currently only hold due to COVID-19 restrictions including hundreds of new apartments above Capitol Hill Station. Those new developments are nearly complete and likely will open later this year despite any larger economic devastation.

But several more are set to be stuck in a COVID-19 limbo with delays and, for some, full on cancellations.


  • 15th Ave E: Hunters Capital’s planned brick, concrete, and metal five-story building inspired by auto row-era preservation had its proposal rejected by the design board just prior to the outbreak. A streamlined design review process could be what it needs to get started again. A major economic downturn could mean it never gets built.
  • City Market: The planned seven-story E Olive Way development set to replace — and eventually welcome back — City Market Continue reading

Design review: First Hill’s The Victor set to rise — in deference — next to First Baptist Church

There is a chance Wednesday night’s session of the East Design Review Board will be postponed due to wintry weather. If so, you’ll be prepared early for a January 29th session reviewing on The Victor, a planned eight-story, 227-unit apartment building on First Hill.

If not, read up quick and settle in for what could be the project’s final step in the public design process.

CHS reported last May on the early plans for the project from developer Carmel Partners and Encore Architects and their “church-friendly” midrise design in a zone that could have featured an apartment tower. Instead, the new development planned for 1100 Boylston will replace a surface parking lot with lots of new First Hill housing but even more deference for the neighboring First Baptist Church. Continue reading

Seven-story microhousing and apartment mix — plus seven Mandatory Affordable Housing units — planned for corner of Harvard and E Denny Way

A new project hoped to create 13 new apartments and 87 new microhousing units in a building planned to rise seven stories at the corner of Harvard and E Denny Way will come in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night.

The development from Karmiak and the architects at Workshop AD will also add a small but potentially cool commercial opportunity to the corner just a block from the southern end of Capitol Hill Station and across the street from Capitol Hill Housing’s Pantages House development. That small space — likely perfect for a cafe — and its connection to a planned terrace at the corner as well as sorting out whether people should enter the building primarily from E Denny or Harvard Ave will be among the largest remaining issues to sort out on the project. Continue reading

Design board looks at Belmont microhousing development as Capitol Hill reviews slow to trickle

Long gone are the days when CHS was covering two Capitol Hill design reviews per week. Wednesday night, the East Design Review Board will take up its first Capitol Hill project in over two months — and only one of two on the schedule for the rest of the year.

The honor Wednesday night goes to a project lined up for the 400 block of Belmont Ave E where developers Kamiak Real Estate and the architects from Hybrid are planning an eight-story microhousing project. Continue reading