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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Developer Will Save Bauhaus Block in Its Entirety—But There Are a Couple Caveats

Posted by on Wed, May 9, 2012 at 11:45 AM

  • Kyle Johnson
The firm that bought two old buildings in the Pike/Pine Conservation District with plans to develop a seven story structure on the site—triggering outcry about stripping away neighborhood character—says it will preserve the brick structures in their entirety.

The company, Madison Development Group, intends to integrate the new, taller construction behind and above the older buildings, and it has made an agreement with Bauhaus, an iconic coffee shop on the block, to remain as a tenant once the building is retrofitted. A Kirkland-based developer with a rap-sheet of big-box chain stores, Madison Development Group had previously made no commitments to preserve the buildings, or even the facades.

"It’s not a facade-ectomy," Natalie Price, a company spokeswoman, emphasized on the phone this morning. "They are literally keeping the buildings. They will be renewing, retrofitting them—which is great, because I think that is what people really wanted to see."

Nonetheless, don't expect the old buildings to look identical after construction is complete, or to house exactly the same business. The old buildings will be integrated into the new development, which will consume nearly half a block, making it a giant hybrid of old and new construction. The newer part of the project, which will consume four parcels of land behind the older buildings, will partly overhang the two older buildings, Price explains. The new structure will cantilever within 15 feet of the existing roofline. I asked Price if Madison Development Group would maintain the interior spaces, keeping them suitable for small tenants, or if they would be retrofitted into the sort of shallow spaces typical of new developments that house chain stores. She said the developer "has an agreement with Bauhaus Coffee to be a tenant in the new building and they hope to retain some of the other existing tenants as well." As for the shape and functionality of the interior spaces, Price said she'd get back to me.

Situated on East Pine Street, the nearly century-old Melrose Building and Timken Roller Bearing Company Building were both designated by the city as character structures in 2009. They represent Pike/Pine's stock of original auto-row buildings, now part of a "cultural overlay" district, and they contain an uncommon density of small retailers and activity. But despite the city's gestures toward conservation in the Pike/Pine corridor, there is little incentive for developers to maintain the building stock. (A few weeks back, I wrote a longish piece with plenty of background on these building and the development, which you can read here.)


Comments (15) RSS

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Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 1
Ironic...because the whole thing is so completely un-Bauhaus.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on May 9, 2012 at 11:55 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 2
What @1 said.

Just embrace TOD and stop whining.
Posted by Will in Seattle on May 9, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
Better than I'd been hoping. Thanks for following up for us. There's some more good detail in yesterday morning's Capitol Hill Seattle post on this.…
Posted by gloomy gus on May 9, 2012 at 12:20 PM · Report this
While I love Bauhaus, if you really want to encourage density (and use of public transportation, walkable neighborhoods, etc), then poor use of space, such as the building housing Bauhaus, must be removed and replaced with structures that better provide density and multi-use.
Posted by TJ on May 9, 2012 at 12:38 PM · Report this
aardvark 5
good news. i wonder if they revised their original plans or if this was it.

anyhow, i demand that they keep le frock and esp that little changing room of theirs up the stairs.
Posted by aardvark on May 9, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
merry 6
This IS good news.

OMG, do you think the developer listened to the people?? And if they did, I think that may be a first for the city of Seattle...

In any event, YAY!!
Posted by merry on May 9, 2012 at 12:51 PM · Report this
in-frequent 7
While I love desity, if you really want to encourage it (and use of public transportation, walkable neighborhoods, etc); then poor use of space, such as the building housing Bauhaus, must be saved when those spaces provide the needs of a walkable neighborhood.
Posted by in-frequent on May 9, 2012 at 12:53 PM · Report this
Mike Force 8
This seems like a pragmatic approach that does the least harm. what #4 fails to recognize is that people actually want to live in a neighborhood with historical architecture and VARIETY. property values will actually plunge if you replace everything with cheap and lazy structures. But we have to acknowledge the demands of property taxes somehow.
Posted by Mike Force on May 9, 2012 at 12:57 PM · Report this
Hernandez 9
@5/6 I'm guessing they (MDG) don't get a lot of community pushback when they build big-box chain stores in Bellevue. In all likelihood, this was probably one of a number of options they considered.
Posted by Hernandez on May 9, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
Are they going to save the building on the corner of pine and bellevue or just the bauhaus building? The one on the corner is a much better urbanist example (four shops and apartments) than the shitty one-story bauhaus (one shop, no apartments).
Posted by andrew on May 9, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
translinguistic other 11
@4, That seems intuitive, right? But this article offers an explanation of why "mixed use" buildings like the ones Madison Development Group builds actually DECREASE commercial density, the kind that makes neighborhoods more dense and walkable in the long run:…
Posted by translinguistic other on May 9, 2012 at 1:04 PM · Report this
aardvark 12
@4 wtf? how fucking dense must it be? it doesnt have to be claustrophobic dense. im not a planner but where does this building not fit into the definition of density? density can also refer to zoning, shorter blocks, and smaller streets. verticality is not an essential part of that.
Posted by aardvark on May 9, 2012 at 1:28 PM · Report this
in-frequent 13
This is pretty much awesome.
Posted by in-frequent on May 9, 2012 at 2:15 PM · Report this
I along with most people are sick and tired of the "mixed use" retail on bottom overpriced condos and apartments on top that have been thrown up all o we the city (many of which still sit vacant).
Posted by SenorPoop on May 9, 2012 at 2:17 PM · Report this
This is good to all except the most hardened cynic
Posted by jeffy on May 9, 2012 at 2:29 PM · Report this

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