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

After COVID-19 pause, Seattle development projects signing up for new review process

Developers around Seattle and across Capitol Hill this week are making the decision of whether to transition their projects into the city’s temporary “administrative design review” process to keep developments moving forward through the COVID-19 crisis.

The result will be a small flurry of new design review notices and 14-day public comment periods for a handful of Capitol Hill projects currently stuck in development limbo.

A letter from the city presents developers with two options: One, elect to put their projects into review by city planning staff in a process that will “re-trigger” public notice and open up a new 14-day comment window for each project, or, two, to “wait until the Design Review Board’s (sic) have resumed business” to have review meetings rescheduled under the citizen board process. Continue reading

Proposal for First Hill mass timber high-rise seeks to reach even higher

An artful rendering of things to come above First Hill (Image: Clark Barnes)

An artful rendering of things to come above First Hill (Image: Clark Barnes)

The COVID-19 crisis and the resulting economic fallout could snuff Seattle’s latest development boom. Or the change might be more complicated and less predictable.

One of the more interesting projects in motion before the crisis is readying to return to the public development process with a plan that has grown in scale despite the uncertainty.

Developer Pryde Development and the architects at Clark Barnes have revised plans for a “mass timber” high-rise planned for First Hill to grow the design to 18 stories — adding six more floors to an already ambitious project.

“The project has elected to proceed with an 18 story, Type IV-A construction type,” the developers write in their updated proposal for the planned development that will replace a one-story 1949-built dental office on Seneca. “The structure will be mass timber, which requires a modular, gridded structural system,” they write. “The wood structure must be fully protected (covered) with gypsum wall board, therefore CLT wood veneer will be used as an interior expression of the wood material.” Continue reading

Seattle Central’s Capitol Hill growth plan includes new tech building on Broadway, student housing replacing parking garage

Student housing rendering

The longterm plan? Replace SCC’s massive parking garage with student housing

A proposed set of updates to Seattle Central’s growth plan could mean some big changes for the school and the neighborhood over the next 20 years including a new technology building on Broadway and new student housing replacing the school’s massive E Pine parking garage. In more normal times, the master plan update would be chugging along right now, holding meetings, gathering public comment, revising drafts of the proposed changes. Typically, this sort of update would take two years.

But like everything else, the update is on a kind of pause while we wait for the COVID-19 crisis to shake out.

Seattle Central, like all large institutions (mostly colleges and hospitals) across the city, has its own land use master plan separate from the surrounding neighborhood. The current plan for Seattle Central was developed in 2002, with the idea that it would last for 10 years. So, in true Seattle style, here we are 18 years later doing the update.

But even that will take longer than it usually would. Brittney Moraski, a member of the advisory committee studying the update, noted there is a moratorium on meetings for their committee and others like it, owing to virus concerns. Meetings through June have been canceled. July isn’t looking good, either.

“Our work has been paused,” she said.

Some of the process has moved online. 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

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. Continue reading

Its end filled with landmarks and legal proceedings, Capitol Hill’s 120-year-old Sullivan House demolished

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. Continue reading

Why there might* be a temporary** hotel above Capitol Hill Station

Building C is lined up to be apartments above a daycare and and a dentist office… eventually.

* COVID-19

apartments are worth more than hotel units?

As construction on the buildings rising above Capitol Hill Station is completed, the project’s lead developer has been looking for ways to put the properties and their hundreds of new apartment units along Broadway to use as quickly as possible. You might see a new hotel operating in the neighborhood next to the busy transit station — for a while, at least.

Developer Gerding Edlen is securing permits for a possible temporary transition in plans from apartments to 60 hotel rooms managed by the WhyHotel chain on the project’s southwest edge above Broadway and E Barbara Bailey Way, Jill Sherman of Capitol Hill Station master tells CHS.

WhyHotel is a Washington, D.C. based player in the growing “apartment hotel” industry that is targeting a more premium, extended stay and work housing-focused cut of the hospitality market. CHS reported in January on Sonder, another industry startup, stepping in to replace planned office space in an eight-story, 65-unit apartment and mixed-use building rising on the land where a surface parking lot once spread out on Pine just above downtown. Two floors of the under construction building will be dedicated to the hotel units while the rest of the upper floors will be standard apartment units. The change in plans in this project was a simpler effort — the city treats office and lodging as the same use category. Continue reading

On 19th Ave, church plans seven stories of affordable housing for seniors ‘displaced due to gentrification’

Mount Zion Housing Development, the real estate and housing arm of the 19th and Madison baptist church, has unveiled details of its planned seven story, 62-unit affordable senior housing project planned for its property just north of the church.

The 1700-block 19th Ave development is being planned for “seniors who have been displaced or who are at risk of being displaced due to gentrification in the Seattle Central District area” and would be a coordinated facility with the nearby E Madison Samuel B. McKinney Manor. Continue reading