New construction (and a haunted boat ride) coming to 19th and Union


1401 19th Avenue

Soon, the corner of 19th and Union will look very different. Where there currently sits a dilapidated building that has long been a canvas for graffiti, and next door, an empty lot, will soon hold townhouses.

Plans are underway to demolish the current building at 1401 19th Avenue. Developers will then subdivide the lot into seven parcels ranging from 1,050 square feet to 1,200 square feet. Presumably, these will then be turned into townhouses, though official plans to this extent have yet to be released. We’ll update when there’s more information.

One neighbor has a more creative idea for the spot. He or she has imagined turning the dilapidated building into a haunted boat ride, and there’s even a “notice of pretend site development” affixed to the property’s chain-link fencing. Personally, I vote for the boat ride.

photo(6)Next door, at 1407 19th Avenue, where there currently sits an empty plot, will also hold townhouses, along with single family residences. The parcel will consist of two single family residences facing 19th Avenue, behind which will sit three townhouses. There will be parking spaces along the alley.

Plans for 1407 19th Avenue

Plans for 1407 19th Avenue

18 thoughts on “New construction (and a haunted boat ride) coming to 19th and Union

  1. I’m no fan of soulless townhouses, but anything has to be better than what’s there now. I’ve been waiting years for somebody to do something with that corner!

    • The owner of the building – from when it was a law office – had intentionally been letting it go to ruin to decrease property values on the corner, while simultaneously making offers to buy neighboring homes at their artificially deflated value – presumably before selling/developing this site (not sure if he did get any sellers to take the offer). So, yeah, a nice change, but that douche has been holding the corner ransom for years.

      • yes kinda like what Sharon Lee is doing on S. Jackson St. with her Sharonville homless camp. Only that is at the expense of women and children who should be housed indoors at Magnason Park barracks. Depress the values, pick up property cheap and redevelop, only her development is more low income housing for LIHI to own. low ball Developers and non-profits like LIHI have the same tactics. Donald Trump did this in New York decades ago.

  2. I vote for the haunted boat ride over more hideous townhouses. I am glad that one neighbor has a sense of humor. Hopefully, their sign will stay up through Halloween.

  3. “soulless townehouses” ? How rude. How arrogant and unwelcoming.

    Town houses have proven to be a good investment for new home owners. Many people are seeking townhomes to avoid long commutes from the burbs. Townhomes provide a safe compound where residents take care of each other.

    There are hundreds of environmental benefits to townhomes. – minimal yards/grass so less watering, less pesticides. Less building material, more efficient heating. Less foot print/overall direct impact on the world. Higher density population supports mass transit, walkability, and neighborhood vitality.

    Our townhouse increased in value from $230K in 2003 to $395K in 2008. Sold in 2012 for $360K. Bought a regular home for our new son to have a yard. And the down payment all came from our equity in the Townehouse. It was a great chance for a younger couple to get started.

    Town houses are a permanant and growing reality for Seattle. Time to stop bashing and get on with accepting your neighbors. Sure, some of them can be badly designed and build, but, most are very nice. It is up to Zoning and Codes to address quality, besides buyer beware issues.

    Town houses are much more desirable in most settings than condos or appartments. We could build town houses in sizes and types that almost anybody with a job could afford. Imagine picotownhomes. A setting like some of the cottages you see – such as at 18th and Lane. Go have a look. Imagine if a low income family could buy a 2 bedroom 1000 sq ft home in a secure compound with 10 other home owners.

    Let’s get off our pre-conceived notions about what a home is. More people need the opportunity to own a safe affordable home. Let’s push for more diversity, more choice, and better living for all.

    • You kind of said it all when you said ” regular home”. Actually, with the larger townhouses, families are raising children, raising food in the front parking strip and there is a bit of yard to play in. Parks also become important. If we are ever going to have people all living together on increasingly small amount of land, we need decent and dense places for families. We need the amenities of transit and parks that have been promised. My block is predominately families with younger and older children. Some own, and a lot of longer term renters. Great block parties!

      The Low Rise-1 zone are going to get apodments soon, full of month to month renters, to punish those who actually bought into the notion of raising families in the low rise parts of the neighborhoood. Any resale value goes down the drain at that point because it ain’t like the land itself can be sold for development by a single townhouse owner, and the house itself is not in a pleasant place to raise a family.

      • Hey, I can afford a single family home with a big yard on a quiet street, so, ya, I’m doing it. But again the Townehouse made it possible.

        Also, yes, people are raising kids in the townhomes. And that is just fine. People can raise kids in all kinds of environments. A small home or apartment is fine if that is what you can afford. I’m just saying, options are good. We need choices that work for all kinds of people in various economic situations.

        A home you can own can be a big part of feeling secure. I hope we can find more ways to produce inexpensive homes for people to purchase. Ideally where the are not dependent on associations with other wierdos with Home Owners Assoication rules or worse yet very restrictive places like co-ops. Our townehome didn’t even have an HOA other than regarding the shared wall there was a couple of rules about paint and structure.

        We absolutely made sure to buy a house without HOA dues and rules. Almost considered a place where the HOA owned a private park on the lake. That might have been worth while.

      • “The Low Rise-1 zone are going to get apodments soon, full of month to month renters, to punish those who actually bought into the notion of raising families in the low rise parts of the neighborhoood. Any resale value goes down the drain at that point because it ain’t like the land itself can be sold for development by a single townhouse owner, and the house itself is not in a pleasant place to raise a family”.
        This statement is wrong, spreads fear and misunderstanding and has all tha aspects of a “Karl Rove” fearmongering campaign. Typical NIMBYism. A rich diversity of housing in all zones is needed specifically in the single family zones. This brings a multi-cultural economic and demographic density to city neighborhoods. It is not the 1950’s any more.

      • Actually, it is in zoning code changes that Low Rise MultiFamily are now valid for apartments and apodments, which does not distinguish between residential family areas back in neighborhoods and places on our ‘main streets’. This development, for example, would be ideal for a small apartment/apodment complex as it is right on Union. It should be zoned commercial and built as an apartment building.

        Problem with messing around with what a zoning designation means, as has been happening in the last 6 years, instead of just biting the bullet and doing the appropriate rezones, is a sleight of hand disservice.

        There is large area of the Central District within the Urban VIllage boundaries that is zoned single family. The expected course would be those areas be rezoned LR-1, as the Urban Villlages ARE the place where growth is planned. Expect that proposal within the next few years.

        What LR-1 meant 10 years ago would have been a very resonable growing up up zone. What it means today will be radically different. What could have been fairly easy to accomplish, will be extremely difficult, given the way the Land Use code has been amended in the last 6 years. No longer can it be ‘sold’ as infill with family friendly townhouses.

      • Density is good, high density is better. Spreading misinformation and fear is bad, very very bad.

    • I’d agree with that- The quality of Townhouses varies, but the concept is a good one. Especially in neighborhoods like the CD, where it’s difficult for working families to afford a stand-alone residence.

      Trouble is that townhouses aren’t cheap anymore. A loan for $200K is workable, but $400K isn’t gonna happen for most of us. That leaves a missing rung in the Equity Ladder that needs to be met by Condos and Co-Ops and other ownership options.

      • Correct. And smaller, more efficient, economically furnished units. Again, people should look back at the cottage houses we see interspersed in our hoods. There are some at 18th and Lane, On 14th a bit north of Jackson, I think in the 1600 block of King, and lots of other places. Typically 6 stand alone small homes on a single lot.

        They really are quite friendly idylic little homes. There was a time when that would have been a great solution for me. And, you never know, might like need that again some day. We need to encourage affordable development in creative ways that deliver value to buyers, and, fits in with our goals.

        Any significant single family home building and sprall will be in the burbs. For Seattle, Townehomes, Condos, Small lot homes, etc are what will fit.

        Suck it up folks people will be getting closer. We can be nice about it or just plain grumpy all the time.

  4. One can hope that these are done well, with some creative vision to enhance their surroundings. Some townhome developments are pretty cool. Of course, in that case it would be labeled gentrification and probably get tagged by the usual morons.

  5. It just seems like there are some serious negative Nelly trolls bashing on the inevitable growth that is occuring. Eliminating choices is a bad thing. Assuring a balanced and qualified set of choices could work. Otherwise leave it alone.

  6. This development seems intriguing. There area already some nice townhouse developments on 19th and this seems like a nice opportunity. I think except in rare situations, HOA fees discourage ownership and affect the amount a bank will lend. I am interested to see these and welcome them.

  7. I wish the properties facing Union had retained the commercial zoning. It would’ve been nice to have some businesses linking Union at 14th to Union at 23rd, increasing walkability and safety. I’d had hopes that the lovely re-do of 18th and Union would’ve brought an active storefront to the corner but sadly it appears to be a very non-public business.