The fenced-in, weed-filled vacant lot on the southwest corner of 23rd and Union may not stay that way much longer. An already approved but stalled six-story building is now set to break ground as early as August.
Formerly owned by Jim Mueller, the property and approved building design were sold to Ian Eisenberg, who also owns property on the northeast corner of the intersection including the car wash, Med Mix property and the building that houses the Neighbor Lady.
Eisenberg and the Lake Union Partners will build and maintain ownership of the building, which should open its doors in fall of 2014.
“The interesting thing—and fun thing for us—is to understand who the neighborhood is,” said Scott Roberts of Lake Union Partners. “I’m sure we can contribute to the next hopscotch.” Hopscotch CD ended at 23rd and Union Saturday.
The planned building includes 92 apartments, 74 underground parking stalls and 4,000 square feet of retail space. The developers are lobbying to identify a restaurant for the larger corner retail space, they said. No retail tenants have been officially lined up yet.
Leasing of rooms will start three or four months before the building opens in fall 2014. Rent rates are not yet available.
The new owners do plan a few tweaks to the design, mostly geared toward improving the pedestrian environment, they said. They want to give the retail storefronts “more of a residential feel.”
Before it was a vacant lot, the corner was home to the Colman Building. But the Nisqually Earthquake-damaged building was demolished and plans for the new building were designed by Mithun Architects and had momentum to be constructed before the 2008 recession pulled the financing rug out from under most developments in Seattle and around the nation.
The project could be the start of a redevelopment of the majority of properties on the corner. The Key Bank (once home to Liberty Bank) could be on its way to becoming an affordable housing project run by Capitol Hill Housing.
The southeast corner is currently going through the rezone process in hopes that an interested developer wants to redevelop some or all of the block, which is hurting since the Post Office moved its distribution center (and the many employees it used to have) out of the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the city is working to develop a 23rd Ave Action Plan this year, which will look to update the city’s long-term plan for the CD’s major hubs along 23rd Ave, including Union. And, of course, the city is planning to repave and redesign 23rd Ave itself.
More details on the project’s movement, from Lake Union Partners:
As you probably know we are moving forward with the development at the corner of 23rd and Union in the Central District. The site was formerly owned by Jim Mueller (we closed on the property in late December) and we are planning to start construction this August on the 92-unit mixed-use apartment building with approximately 4,000sf of retail and 74 underground parking stalls at the southwest corner of 23rd Ave E & E Union St.
The property was once the earthquake-damaged Colman Building which has since been demolished by the previous owner. The site remained vacant for a number of years as it underwent environmental remediation which was completed at the end of last year. We have advanced the previously approved master use permit completed by Mithun Architects to construction drawings with a specific focus on improving the street and pedestrian experience at the retail level, which when completed in the fall of 2014 will complement the revitalization and infill redevelopment that has been seen from 20th to 25th Avenues along East Union Street.
Given the momentum in the community led by the City’s current effort with the 23rd Ave Action Plan, which is looking to create guidelines and a community vision for the future of the street’s most active areas, we expect this project to highlight the beginning of future redevelopment plans at the intersection of 23rd & Union. We believe that our project will be a good example of the appropriate density for the core of this neighborhood. We are also working with neighboring land owners to assess the feasibility of a rezone to match the same zoning to allow for continued investment in housing and quality neighborhood retail.