“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon.” - Dr. Seuss
by Michael Sarko
- The Capitol Hill Times -
Don’t let the occasional 80-degree day fool you: summer is effectively over in Seattle. Since autumn, winter and the better part of spring, more or less, have the same thing in store for us weather-wise, what are we to talk about to pass the time? Well, like the weather, demolition and development are omnipresent features of the everyday in Rain City, especially on our dense and apparently irresistible Hill. Rather than presenting a list of all of the construction projects in our neighborhood (which would take up the better part of this column), what follows is a closer look at some of the more interesting projects currently percolating in our ever-changing home turf.
12th Avenue Arts
1620 12th Avenue
Aside from the light rail and street car, Capitol Hill Housing’s dream development near the intersection of 12th and East Pine Street is perhaps the most ambitious construction in the neighborhood. The 12th Avenue Arts building will follow the effective de rigueur trend of mixed-use to provide 88 low-income housing units situated above arts organization offices and theater space. CHH will move their own offices into the second story of the 12th Avenue Arts building. Other familiar names have signed on as future tenants, including Three Dollar Bill Cinema, while a new consortium of independent theater groups called Black Box Operations will manage the two performing arts theaters onsite. The building is roughly 25 percent complete. CHH will seek the last chunk of project funding from donors at the upcoming Omnivorous food event on September 27.
1111 East Union Street
Farther down 12th Avenue at the crunched-up intersection of East Madison Street, East Union Street, 12th Avenue and 11th Avenue a company called Alliance Residential is hard at work giving shape to a large, new apartment building. The Viva will have 105 units of market-rate housing with retail space on the 1st floor. The sleek concept art of the still-in-frames Viva is an intense contrast to the site’s former occupant, an almost comically ramshackle apartment building called the Undre Arms. The Undre was demolished in the summer of 2012, removing a curiously run-down landmark. It also took with it the former landlord’s anti-abortion window sign, which was controversial enough to inspire other residents to build a website voicing their disapproval of its display. The triangular Viva is expected to open in early 2014.
605 15th Avenue East
As we reporter a few weeks ago, the busy builders at Stream Real Estate have offered up the soon-to-be-demolished site of Chutney’s Grille to Storefronts Seattle for an ongoing art installation. Artist Greg Lewis’s wood sculpture repurposing entitled “Boxed Up” is still on the lot, but the next round launches in October. Jennifer Zwick’s “Lamp Meninas” will join the project in a few weeks, followed by other artists through February 2014. When it’s time for the wrecking balls to roll in, the art will live on in photographs and the Stream Fifteen mixed-use building will become a reality, bringing 33 new market-rate apartments to Capitol Hill. Its new residents will be able to enjoy whatever restaurant goes into the lot currently held by The Canterbury Ale and Eats (and rumor has it that the new restaurant will also be called The Canterbury, for nostalgia’s sake).
Currently unnamed project
10th Avenue East and East John Street
Up until last week, a single-family home stood on the corner of 10th Avenue East and East John Street. A demolition crew arrived on the morning of September 12 to knock down the 108-year-old house to make way for a new, but comparatively small project. The current plans mention a three-unit row house and new boarding house to be undertaken by developer Murray Kahn.
End of the Great Western Motors Building
905 East Union Street
Despite a bid to achieve historical landmark status, the Great Western Motors Building on East Union Street will not be spared in the years to come. The Seattle Landmarks Board voted 7 to 3 against the site’s application, to the relief of a developer called the Wolff Company. Wolff has several projects in progress or in planning in Capitol Hill, including a new mixed-use building on 11th Avenue and East Pine Street, and a very large, 260-unit apartment and retail block on the East Pike Street BMW complex. What will go up on the current site of the Great Western Motors Building has yet to be determined, but permits and design review are certainly in the offing.