More big news at 23rd/Union: Eisenberg buys stalled project, Neighbor Lady building + Post Office leaving

Design for planned but stalled building on southwest corner

Design for planned but stalled building on southwest corner

Ian Eisenberg, who already owns the car wash and Med Mix properties at 23rd and Union, has purchased the vacant lot on the southwest corner of the intersection and the building that houses the Neighbor Lady.

CDNews has also learned that the post office officially sent notice to southeast corner owner Tom Bangasser that they will vacate their space on the corner in January 2014.

The news comes on the heels of an announcement from Capitol Hill Housing, which intends to redevelop the Key Bank property at 24th and Union into a mixed-use affordable housing building.

Eisenberg hopes to secure financing for the planned mixed-use building that was designed for the southwest corner, but has been stalled since the recession hit. That project, led by developer Jim Mueller, passed design review in August 2008. Mueller sold the property and design to Eisenberg’s 23rd Avenue Capital Management LLC for $2.3 million in December.

Eisenberg said he is “lining up financing” and hopes to break ground as soon at the summer if he is successful.

“Our goal is to get it done before the two years”,” he said, referring to the building permits for the project that could expire if too much time passes without breaking ground.

The current home of the Neighbor Lady housed Thompson's Point of View for years

The current home of the Neighbor Lady housed Thompson’s Point of View for years

Eisenberg said he also purchased the building between his corner property that houses Med Mix and the Key Bank. Currently the home of the Neighbor Lady, the building housed Thompson’s Point of View for decades. Longtime owner Derryl Durden and partners sold the property to Eisenberg for $1.025 million in December.

Sisters in Common—a mental health and counseling organization that has operated out of the upstairs of the building for years—will be moving out, said Eisenberg. However, the Neighbor Lady will stay, and Eisenberg does not expect any changes to the property any time soon.

Meanwhile, the future of the southeast corner shopping center is very tenuous following today’s news that the post office will leave in one year. Since the post office anchors the shopping center, and the odds of finding another tenant to rent the same amount of space are low, property owner Tom Bangasser is planning to get the ball rolling on a rezone. He is hoping the rezone could allow buildings as tall as 65 feet, the same height as the stalled project across the street. The rezone will make the property much more likely to find a developer.

“Now is the time that community goes to work on the future plans for the neighborhood,” said Bangasser. He said he already spoke to tenants, and they plan to hold a community meeting soon to discuss the future of the corner.

“I intend to engage anybody and everybody,” he said.

It is still unclear whether any of these projects will find the financing to move forward with redevelopment. But the commonly held belief among property owners is that once one project comes through, the rest could follow suit quickly. Will 2013 be the year that 23rd and Union starts its dramatic rebuild? We’ll have to wait and see.

28 thoughts on “More big news at 23rd/Union: Eisenberg buys stalled project, Neighbor Lady building + Post Office leaving

  1. I’ve been watching this corner for 15 years now. Seen Mueller’s big hole in the ground just sit there waiting. Watched as MedMix and the car wash actually started to clean things up a bit and bring business back to the neighborhood. 23rd & Union’s taken a lot of hits over the years; I’m excited to see that at last we may be moving toward something positive.

  2. While I realize the situation regarding the postal service (overworked, underpaid, etc.), the closure of the 23rd and Union office coupled with the dark clouds gathering over the Broadway and Denny post office is slightly alarming…is there a prospect for a combined station elsewhere on the hill?

    • Should have included this: The Post Office has said they intend to have a retail presence in the “area.” But the distribution operations are leaving for sure, and that’s a big employment center. Those workers go to nearby businesses for coffee, lunch, etc. So even if the retail location stays nearby, that’s a loss that folks are concerned about.

  3. I tried to post links to articles elsewhere on the internet but it seems some filter on this site has blocked them. I would like to draw attention to the new owner Ian Eisenberg’s dubious past and legal issues in the porn and health soda industries. Searching for Ian Eisenberg seattlest will bring up one article.

      • Hmm. I must have missed all that. I don’t like dealing with liars and perverts, but, I’m not sure how those things effect development, unless he intends to have the place run as a brothel with message parlor’s on the retail floor. While I personally disdain such things, it would bring needed jobs and stimulate the economy.

      • Hmmm…I missed that too (and I’ve been a regular reader for a long time). Sounds like Numby is trying to squash the conversation. If he isn’t and this is just dredging up an old story, I would be interested to see the links to the CD News story so we can educate/inform everybody that missed it the first time around. IMO it’s important that the community knows the background so we can keep a watchful eye.
        Ian and his family made money….a TON of it…. by taking advantage of people and lying. They have been part of a “Dateline” investigation for their 1-900 business decades ago, taken to court and paid out millions for a deceptive check cashing scheme, and seem draw to unsavory industries like porn and internet gambling.
        I am hopeful that his more recent move toward real estate in our hood is an indication that he has turned a new leaf and going for the straight and narrow. I am pleased with what life Ian has brought to he corner so far. In the back of my mind I worry that somehow Ian is going to take advantage of our community.

  4. Sorry to hear about the post office (again). I guess they’ve really decided to move this time?

    I wonder if the developer dominos really will start falling at that corner? I’m kind of worried about a lame mixed retail/condos vibe. At least the post office gets used (and the liquor store for that manner). I can’t imagine a developer catering to vices too well, except for maybe a same day cash lender.

  5. 13 replies and nobody is asking what the fate of the Neighbor Lady is? I really hope we don’t lose that place.

    • The article says that the Neighbor Lady will stay, that there is no plan to develop that building any time soon. Great news as both really add a lot to the area.
      Anyone know the history of the Thompsons/Neighbor Lady building?

  6. I think this is very sad. Why can’t the USPS anchor a new 65 foot tall building? Then they could stay. It is a social hub for the neighborhood and I use it several times a week-either going inside or using the drive up mailbox. The USPS serves a valuable public function, as well as being a place to see your neighbors and send business mail. Is the property owner forcing them out due to a rent increase, or are they leaving of their own accord?

    • They are consolidating distribution centers, which is a big part of the current operation there (for example, they rent the fenced part of the parking lot to store their delivery vehicles). There is a chance that a retail post office could be part of the new building. That’s still unknown. Those po boxes have to go somewhere, and it’s obviously a bustling location. The owner has said he would love to have a continuing post office presence. We’ll see.

  7. 23rd is perfect for student/worker housing, right on the line to the UW AND to downtown.
    Which is to say it’s right on the line FROM UW and downtown.
    Which is to say, losing some PO distribution (heck some might become residents in the growing number of units) might not be so bad.

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