We’ve toured 23rd and Union this week as the area’s landowners are showing renewed energy in revitalizing the troubled intersection. Several area projects by JC Mueller LLC — including the southwestern lot at 23rd and Union — stalled in 2008 after lending froze, grinding construction to a halt all over the country. Some development is re-starting in Capitol Hill, so how are these CD projects faring?
“We are getting inquiries now, so that is good,” Jim Mueller told CDNews in an e-mail.
“There is a bit more lending activity and Seattle remains a highly rated city for investment in apartments. We are hopeful that 2011 is a good year for all, but we have nothing to announce at the moment.”
For those who need a refresher on the currently-stalled projects, here’s a brief recap:
2051 E Madison today
2051 E Madison as planned (image from JC Mueller)
“Twilight Exit” is still scrawled above a closed door at 22nd and Madison, where plans for a five-story apartment building with retail on the ground level remains stalled. The project was approved two years ago and would have larger sidewalks, and space for outdoor cafe seating.
Across the street, the old Deano’s property is also supposed to get a new look. Again a mixed apartment and retail building, the new project would include 222 apartments:
2021 E Madison as planned (image from JC Mueller)
Meanwhile, Capitol Hill Seattle is reporting on a 6-story assisted living development project that could be starting soon on Madison at 22nd Ave East:
Though both sides in the deal say it’s too early to say much about it, scheduling is already underway for the public process required to approve plans for a 6-story assisted living care facility run by Redmond-based Aegis Living on a peculiar triangular lot at 22nd Ave East and East Madison, across from Safeway.
That lot is currently owned by Meriwether Partners. Hopefully, a green light on its development might be a good sign that Mueller’s Madison projects could soon find more favorable economic conditions.
A few blocks away at 23rd and Union, another stalled Mueller project remains an empty lot. CDN has written about that corner’s development troubles recently, as three of the four corners have become vacant. The planned housing and retail project would have 92 housing units and retail space on the ground level.
23rd and Union as planned (image from JC Mueller)
We’re hearing about some alternative plans for the 23rd Ave space that we should have some more information on shortly. We’ve also seen some good ideas in comments for ways to activate the area in the near-term. More to come, soon.
I am a big fan of the way Mueller develops projects. This is why: 1) he pays for good design and doesn’t do it “on the cheap” 2) he embraces the community engagement process both in design review and proactively sharing and gathering info from the n’hoods he develops in 3) he strategically picks locations that other developers might shy away from because of contamination and/or crime issues (remember the old deano’s?) I am hopeful that one or all of these projects can begin soon.
Can you direct me to some of those projects that have been completed? I’d like to see what he’s done in the past. Thanks!
Thanks, Tom. Good article. It’s great to see the renderings and imagine that structure on the corner. I hope things really do happen on 23rd in 2011! We need it.
Lizwas, I was speaking about these three projects and how he took them through design review. I believe that at least two of them are designed by Mithun, and whether or not you like their generally modern aesthetic, they build quality, green buildings. There are much worse architects that he could have chosen on the cheap. I am not sure if I am remembering correctly, but I think Mueller used to work for a large downtown developer, maybe Vulcan, maybe Wright Runstad – not sure. I am sure a little googling could tell you though. I know that 23rd and Union went though a contract rezone, and I don’t believe there were any complaints or arguments made against it (I think it was 40 to 65) and that is no small achievement in this town! I am not all for density all the time, but I think it is right in strategic locations, and 23rd and Union is one of them. There needs to be more people living at this intersection – people who will be eyes on the street and take ownership of it, and bring more foot traffic and commerce to the area.
is the past association.
I totally got what you meant about design and his location choices and his apparent intentions. I thought you were referring to completed projects, not the design, design review, and zoning phases, which are so cumbersome and costly – I work in the architecture industry so I know all too well how much money goes into these things before a shovel hits the dirt. It is a shame when projects fall through or sit idle for so long after so much time, energy and money has been spent to get to that point. If you knew of completed ones I was just interested in what those were.