Club plans to put E Union Knights of Columbus property up for sale

Knights of Columbus, First Hill, Seattle

Depending on how you look at it, there is another historic Capitol Hill-area building lined up for sad destruction — or to be part of much needed redevelopment.

The Knights of Columbus, Seattle Council 676 will meet next week to hear Grand Knight Tom Joyce discuss one of the biggest decisions in the group’s 116 years as “a fraternal order of men dedicated in our Catholic faith” — the multi-million dollar decision to sell the Knights’ 106-year-old masonry building at the corner of Harvard and Union. Continue reading

The Royvue is not ‘saved’ but group says developer drops microhousing plans

A swell of Capitol Hill community support for the 94-year-old building, organized neighbors, and some local media coverage has apparently inspired the developers behind a plan to convert the Royvue apartment building into microhousing to back off.

The tenant-led Save the Royvue group announced the change in plans for the 34-unit apartment building in an email to supporters Monday night.

“What once seemed like an almost finalized deal between the parties involved is no more,” the group writes. “Most purchases like this are hatched under the radar and the public finds out when it’s too late. Instead, you knew a deal was brewing with a very small window of opportunity to react. They were caught completely off-guard by the community’s persistence and prompt organized response.”

Continue reading

Here’s how Mandatory Housing Affordability might open up a new horizon in Pike/Pine preservation: 8 stories

11th at Pine’s Richmark Label building — primed for preservation-boosted redevelopment

You don’t see many eight-story buildings in Seattle, but they may start sprouting up in Pike/Pine and other places around town in the coming years. The reason has to do with the way affordable housing will interact with historic preservation.

Eight stories is an odd height. Under the Seattle building code, buildings up to seven stories can be built from wood. Eight or higher, and the building needs more durable materials such as concrete and steel. The more durable materials also make construction cost considerably more, to the point that eight-story buildings aren’t really profitable. Continue reading

Save the Royvue! Residents rally to thwart sale of Capitol Hill building

A view worth the fight? A look across the Royvue courtyard (Image: Haley Blavka Photograph/Save the Royvue)

Seattle’s endorsement of rapidly adding thousands of efficiency sized housing units to the cityscape has some residents in Capitol Hill unconvinced that one size fits all. Tenant-led group Save the Royvue has escalated its effort to keep the 94-year-old building from succumbing to development plans that would significantly reduce apartment size. The growing assembly of advocates says the Royvue Apartments is fine the way it is and now seeks landmark protections to keep it that way.

Eugenia Woo with Historic Seattle is consulting with the group and shares their worry that “the city is losing its identity.”

“This city has always been known for its character and that distinguishes us. It’s ok to have good new designs but unfortunately most of what’s being built is not so great,” she said. Continue reading

Up against rent boom and affordability crunch, residents worry about plan to change 1924-built Royvue into microhousing

Residents of a classic 94-year-old Capitol Hill apartment building hope to organize against a plan to gut the structure and turn its 34 apartments — some as large as four or five room spaces — into more than 100 units of microhousing.

“Everyone in the building is obviously going to be kicked out,” one resident tells CHS of the project. “This place is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve seen in the neighborhood and I can’t believe there aren’t any checks in place to preserve other ones like it.”

In an affordability crunch and a boom market for rents, Seattle is doing everything it can to create more homes and landlords on Capitol Hill have been particularly creative trading away parking and laundry rooms (and sometimes retail space) for more places to live. Continue reading

From shadow of the Space Needle to Capitol Hill, Inform Interiors to join Blu Dot on E Pine

The overhauled former home of a longtime Capitol Hill vintage and design store will be home to not one but two new furniture retailers.

Seattle furniture boutique Inform Interiors is moving up the Hill to Bellevue and Pine to join “contemporary furniture” retailer Blu Dot with its coming soon Capitol Hill showroom in the historic Colman Automotive building.

“We’re excited to be moving to a more vibrant area but we know everything is an adjustment,” Inform sales manager Hillary Rielly.

Their once low-key home on Dexter is now lined up for redevelopment by Vulcan which prompted owner Allison Mills to look for a new interior for her interiors. Inform plans to open the new showroom by the first week of May in the renovated auto row-era building, a space with triple their current square footage. Continue reading

Euro fashion retailer Scotch and Soda set to join Melrose Ave

Scotch and Soda’s U Village store (Image: University Village)

The corner once home to quintessential Capitol Hill coffee shop Bauhaus is today home to an upscale cycling lifestyle “clubhouse.” The space around the corner on Melrose that used to be an art gallery before being built into the gargantuan, seven-story Excelsior mixed-use building? Amsterdam-based Scotch and Soda is adding the retail berth to its growing roster of U.S. locations.

Company officials haven’t confirmed the new store, the chain’s second in Seattle joining a location in the University Village mall. Permits filed with the city indicate the start of planning is underway for the shop on the eastern side of Melrose adjacent the entrance to the mixed-use building’s 280-vehicle underground parking garage and across the street from Melrose Market. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Historical Society | What happened with Galbraith House

Galbraith House as of January 26th. Photo by Tom Heuser

When I saw the headlines last month that Galbraith House, a protected landmark would be demolished, my heart sank and I had to do a double take. How does a Capitol Hill landmark get cleared for demolition? The whole point of the landmarks ordinance is to prevent demolition not to enable it. I read the articles and the comments, and asked around thinking I had missed something, but only found misconceptions, half-truths, and dead ends (quite literally in one case). So I went straight to the source.

I scoured the Landmarks Preservation ordinance and the past 12 years of board meeting minutes, spoke extensively with city staff and other preservation advocates, and put all the pieces together. What I learned is a serious one-two punch to preservation that deserves our immediate attention. Now for those not familiar with the whole process, let’s start by taking a tour of the city’s landmarks ordinance. I will only cover the most salient points. Consider this a quick crash course.

The Ordinance: Landmarks designation is a four-step process and the city’s website lists and summarizes each very clearly. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Sullivan House voted for landmarks protections

Its owner says it is dilapidated, rotted in places, infested by bugs in others, and she had plans to sell it to a developer with plans to tear it down, but the 1898-built Sullivan House at 15th Ave and E Olive St. has new life after the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted Wednesday night 6-2 that the old house is worthy of its protections.

“We think it still is a castle on the Hill despite its poor condition,” said neighbor and architect Jim Castanes who was reduced to examining the house from afar using “a zoom lens and binoculars” but successfully led the effort to win the landmarks designation.

“The board has the power to keep the wrecking ball from this well-loved residence,” Castanes said.

In reaching their decision, board members 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. “We are landmarking what exists today.” Continue reading

Here’s why Capitol Hill’s Galbraith House is being demolished

(Image courtesy John Fox)

Officials at Sound Mental Health tell CHS the decision to demolish a landmarked Capitol Hill mansion comes in the midst of planning about how the property owner can best serve the more than 20,000 people it helps each year struggling with addiction and mental health.

“The number of folks who need support help in our community has increased exponentially,” Sound spokesperson Steve McLean tells CHS.

“Our challenges are myriad — one of our challenges is space.”

CHS posted Tuesday about salvage underway on the 1904-built Galbraith House at 17th and Howell. An application to fully demolish the building that has been used as a Sound — formerly Sound Mental Health — facility and its neighboring carriage house has been approved by the city.

McLean tells CHS that Sound has been evaluating its options for the property for the past several years even before it became unusable in 2017 due to safety and structural issues. “At this stage of this process, we are assessing what we are going to do with that property,” he said. Continue reading