17th and Yesler to get four-story live-work building

1622 E. Yesler Way

1622 E. Yesler Way

The dilapidated former gas station and auto repair shop sitting at 17th and Yesler will soon be replaced by seven four-story “live-work” units.

That means there will be 3,200 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, facing East Yesler Way. Each residential unit will have its own enclosed parking space, located behind the retail area.

The project is still in its design review phase, so we don’t have pictures of the architecture just yet. Those details are the responsibility of Caron Architecture, the same architects who designed the building at 23rd and Madison that houses Safeway. Caron has not responded to emails requesting more information.


8 thoughts on “17th and Yesler to get four-story live-work building

  1. I like the colors! Could you imagine the NIMBY sh** storm they would get if they built it like that!

  2. They would call it the OvO building. I rarely watch football, but, I did see the Ducks vs Beavers game and the bright colors were amazing. Would be funny to see something as brilliant as the UO and OSU uniforms on a building. It has to be done.

    Generally this is the type of capitalized socialist drugery workthink project that will actually help bring new faces to the CD. It’s a good thing at a good location. Anything that will drive a surge in brew pubs and foodie restaraunts.

  3. In general, I am in support of the idea of retail on the first floor with residential on the upper floors, especially on arterial streets like Yesler Way and where it is zoned for this type of thing. But I am not convinced that this live/work type of unit has been all that successful. I admit I don’t know all the details about these type of units, but my understanding is that the owner of the residential above also owns the small retail space on the first floor.

    The reason I am skeptical is that several years ago a similar building was constructed at Yesler Way and 19th (2 blocks east of this proposal) that is more in the “middle” of the small business district that is there between 16th and 20th Aves. But in the several years that building has been there, I have yet to see ONE business open in any of those small retail spaces (I think there are 3 or 4 facing Yesler). I recall the former owner of All Purpose Pizza having one of those spaces and wanting to open a small bar in one of the spaces, but posting on here that it ultimately did not work out for permits, etc.

    So those spaces have sat essentially empty, unused, and/or with temporary blinds up covering most of the windows. Not really any street activation. I still think that building overall is better than what used to be there (as will this new building), but I question if these small live/work spaces are really the right way to activate the retail portion. It seems that it would be better if retail tenants could rent as much of the space as needed and combine up to what ever size suits the business like more “traditional” mixed residential over retail buildings usually do.

    The one exception where there was some success in this model of live/work was the units at Union St. and 25th Ave, but to be honest I have not been over there recently to see if any of those are actually still functioning in the retail portion…

    • Is that the Blue and orange place? I never noticed the store fronts. It does seem pretty run down. Can’t the owners change the purpose to traditional if they want? It’s a ratty design at 19th and appears to be inhabited by rats.

      • Again, not an expert on these spaces, but my understanding of them is that they are zero-lot line townhouses that happen to have their first floors designated as retail space. So not sure how feasible it is to combine the first floors across property lines were each space is technically owned by each upper residential owner. Plus, I suspect that the construction may be such that opening the walls between them in any significant way to make a larger space for say a restaurant would not be very feasible. Traditional first floor retail tends to be built so that most of the retail space in this sized building could be leased as one big space, or then partitioned into smaller retail spaces as needed.

  4. The Safeway building at 23rd and Madison is surely one of the most hideous buildings in town. It is depressing to think this same company is going to build on Yesler. Up the bar, Caron Architecture.

    • Agreed, I am not impressed with that one at all! I hope this one is better. Hopefully, with the smaller scale, they will have an easier time of getting this one right.

  5. The Seattle Times Pacific Magazine posted a picture of what was there on that corner in last Sunday’s Then and Now. Nice diagrammatic sketch, should be taller. The rock throwing NIMBY’s will come out they always come out.