Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Develop or not develop?

A quick trip around the neighborhood reveals that there is plenty of development currently in progress here, all of of it involving the construction of single-family residences.   In our part of town it’s unusual for there to be new office or multi-family developments underway.  This is principally due to the fact that the few blocks that are zoned for commercial or higher-density residential buildings have already been developed.   Here and there, however, there are some pockets of real estate that could be developed on a grander scale than what currently occupies the space.  Right now there are several separate plots in Madison Park that could see something other than single-family-residence development in the next year or so.

In general, higher-density residential buildings in Seattle can only be built on properties in areas specifically zoned for that purpose.  Madison Park has several areas near the Lake that are designated as available for lowrise development, which includes cottage housing, rowhouses, townhouses and three-story apartment buildings.   Most of the Park is designated either SF 5000 (meaning zoned for single-family residences on average 5,000 sq. ft. lots) or SF 7200 (which encompasses all of Broadmoor and most of Washington Park).  There are also some SF 9600 lots in the neighborhood, along the water south of E. Prospect Street and continuing south through Denny Blaine.  Very little commercial/retail zoning exists in Madison Park, with the area along E. Madison Street between 41st and 43rd Avenues constituting the vast bulk of these properties. Such development is also allowed along 42nd 43rd Avenues between E. Blaine and E. Newton Streets and along E. Madison Street between 31st and 33rd Avenues E.

With the recent sale of the building that housed Café Parco (1807 42nd Ave. E.) there was speculation that the property would be slated for development.  But as we previously reported, that is apparently not going to happen.  Rehabilitation is going to happen, however, and the space will house the personal office of a Madison Park resident who would like to both live and work here.

At about the same time the Café Parco space turned over, the neat 1929 brick building just to the south also changed hands.  It was purchased by third-generation Madison Park resident Brad Augustine, through a real estate holding company.   We quizzed him on whether he has any development plans for the property and he responded that he doesn’t plan to do anything more at the present time than remove an underground storage tank that’s on site.  The building currently houses two office tenants and Augustine says he will continue to manage the property as a commercial building.  His property management/development company, Madrona Real Estate Services, is known for developing some high-quality projects in the area.

One new low-rise development that definitely is on the drawing boards is slated for 2307 43rd Avenue E., the property across from Swingset Park from which a 1920s Craftsman-style residence was lifted and then barged away several years ago.  The property has sat forlorn since that time, awaiting a new owner with a plan.   That plan has now been filed and, assuming the City approves the project, a three-unit residential structure will be built on the site, including parking for six vehicles.

Finally with regard to potential neighborhood development, we note that the city’s Department of Planning and Development is apparently still deliberating over the proposal to build a six-unit apartment building at 2346 43rd Avenue E., the site of Madison Park’s only over-water single family residence.  We reported on the controversy surrounding this proposal when the plans were made public last January. To date, it looks like the review is continuing.  A check of the DPD website shows that the permit status for the project is nothing more advanced than “Application Accepted.”

[Illustration courtesy of E. Cobb Architects.]

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