Community Post

Preservation of Carmack House Opposed by Owner: Neighborhood Support Needed

At the Landmarks Preservation Board meeting on May 6, the George Washington Carmack House on E. Jefferson and 16th Avenue, the subject of several earlier stories on this blog, see here, will be designated an historic landmark — or not.

The Squire Park Community Council nominated the house for landmark status and the Landmarks Preservation Board, with a divided vote, accepted the nomination at its April 1 meeting.  At least two of the board members stated that their “yes” vote at the nomination stage was intended to give them more time to consider the extensive material presented in favor and in opposition to designation. 

The owner of the property, the estate of Irene Jewdoschenko, has hired historian Art Skolnik who presented a lengthy argument at the April 1 meeting of the Landmarks Board that neither the house nor its owner, G.W. Carmack, were special or notable. See “No (Gold) Rush to Judgment” >;;;  It’s expected that those arguments also will be presented at the May 6 LPB hearing.

The property owner presumably wants the property cleared so it can be sold to the Swedish Medical Center or the Sabey Corporation as a site for a future medical office building.  The lot on which the house stands is zoned Single Family which limits the development possibilities (and its value) to most purchasers. Embraced on two sides by a multi-level parking garage the site is no longer prime for a single-family home.  However, for developments that can be found to be functionally related to the Swedish Medical Center and within the confines of the Institution’s Master Plan, the value could be much greater.  The owner has listed the property for an asking price in excess of $1,000,000 and the listing makes reference to a study for a possible six-story medical office building. 

A potential purchaser of the house, who would move it to a nearby property and restore it for use as a B&B has been in conversations with the estate and with owners of nearby properties.  However, no deal has been reached.  When the Landmarks Preservation Board accepted the nomination of the Carmack House and agreed to further consideration, its destruction was put on hold.  If the LBP rejects Landmark designation on May 6  the house could be quickly demolished. 

Neither Swedish nor Sabey has revealed to the Swedish Major Institution Master Plan Citizens Advisory Committee (MIMP CAC) a proposal to develop the site for medical office uses.  Such development likely would be years away because of the need to get Master Use approval.  However, Historic Seattle, which has been assisting in the effort to preserve the house, has been told by representatives of the Jewdoschenko estate that it will not wait to demolish the house if the Landmark Preservation effort fails.

Expressions of interest and support by members of the community, sent to the Landmarks Preservation Board in care of Beth Chave, [email protected] will be considered.  The deadline for sending letters is May 5, but all letters, and e-mails received by the Landmarks Preservation Board by noon April 29 will be made a part of the material reviewed by the board prior to the meeting and will be especially useful.

0 thoughts on “Preservation of Carmack House Opposed by Owner: Neighborhood Support Needed

  1. we suggest you don’t update, improve, or make it any more useful or we will need to get the government involved.

  2. Just a few corrections on your article:

    The site is zoned Institutional, not residential, which answers the property value question.

    The Trustee of the estate is limited in what is to be done with the property. The law requires that the property be liquidated and the proceeds to go to the beneficiaries who happen to be various non-profit organizations.

    While there have been contacts with house movers and those who want to restore the house on other sites, the Trustee has NOT received any viable offers to have the house moved. The Trusee is willing to consider any and all timely proposals to relocate the residence.

    The house is in extremely bad condition after deteriorating for over 30 years. That includes a recent vandalism of the interior woodwork which is an active case with the Seattle Police department. Anyone with any information should contact the Police or the Trustee.

    Thanks for your ear.

    Arthur M. Skolnik FAIA

  3. Not to get too tied up in the zoning issue, but the property is zoned Single Family which allows any single family home development. But, as Mr. Skolnik points out, the property is part of a “Major Institution Overlay” zone. The MIO provides: “All uses that are functionally integrated with, or substantively related to, the central mission of a Major Institution or that primarily and directly serve the users of an institution shall be defined as Major Institution uses and shall be permitted in the Major Institution Overlay (MIO) District.”

    This means that the market for the property’s greater value includes only those who can satisfy the MIO’s narrow definition of permitted uses. Perhaps the market consists entirely of Swedish Medical Center and/or its partner the Sabey Corporation.