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August 8, 2018

1st & Pike hotel site gets vested

  • The site could have been affected by a proposal to expand the Pike Place Market Historical District.
    Journal Staff Reporter

    Map by city of Seattle [enlarge]

    With all attention focused on Onni Group's proposal to demolish the Showbox, at 1412 First Ave., and build a 44-story apartment tower, the neighbors have been quietly at work.

    The two owners of the Green Tortoise Hostel building, at 103 Pike St., have filed for a master use permit to build a 14-story hotel on the corner of First, overlooking Pike Place Market. The project was approved at its third design review in April. The MUP application was filed in early June, and published on Monday. Comments are due by Aug. 20.

    The MUP filing is significant because the site could have been affected by a proposed two-year, temporary expansion of the Pike Place Market Historical District. That proposal was made on Monday by Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. It would expand the district boundaries by a half-block east of First (to the alley), and south to Union Street, including both the Showbox and Green Tortoise properties.

    Sawant's draft ordinance for a “study area” has yet to be considered or approved by the council. (The DJC requested the draft ordinance from Sawant's office, but didn't receive it before deadline.)

    A vote could come in two weeks. If approved, it would effectively block Onni's plans for the Showbox property, which it doesn't own, and any other redevelopment plans in that half-block-wide strip from Virginia to Union streets.

    The owners of 103 Pike, represented by Spectrum Development Solutions and Ankrom Moisan Architects, have now ducked that bullet. Their 1897 building, aka the Hahn Building, isn't protected by the old or proposed historic district boundaries, and can be removed for the new hotel.

    Lars Jonsson and Doug Buck bought the property in 1986 for $1.2 million.

    As a practical matter, there aren't many properties along First that would be encumbered by landmarking between Virginia and Union. The parking lot between Green Tortoise and the Showbox, long owned by the Muscatel family, is part of Onni's plan.

    The Starbucks building on Pike, and a parking lot a little north, are both owned by the Samis Foundation. The Deja Vu building is owned by a local investor group, presumably with a long-term lease.

    The Gatewood, at Pine Street, is owned by Samis and being converted into the luxury boutique Palihotel. Developer Lighthouse Investments has a 75-year ground lease, with a 25-year option to extend. The exterior was landmarked last year.