It has been more than five years since the demolition of a former auto repair shop at the northwest corner of NE 75th Street and 25th Ave NE. The site has been vacant until, on the weekend of May 11th, environmental clean-up work was started. We don’t know whether this means that the site owner is going to build something, or is simply preparing the property for sale.
The Kane Environmental Services company which contracted to work on the site, is doing soil and groundwater remediation and system design. Project Permit #3013392 describes the work as “grading of 5,000 cubic yards of material for soil remediation which includes the removal and replacement of 2,500 cubic yards of soil. Project also includes installation of an underground hydraulic barrier wall 133 linear feet.”
On Saturday, May 11th sunny skies added to the ability to work at the process of scooping out large amounts of muddy goop, using heavy construction equipment. A police officer helped direct traffic around dump trucks as they exited the site, and the work provided Saturday entertainment to children who enjoyed watching the trucks, tractors and scoop shovels.
According to the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association, the Children’s Home Society of Washington (CHSW) property is for sale. The 3.7 acre property is comprised of 4 parcels located across the streets from Assumption-Saint Bridget School and Bryant Cafe, it includes the full city block from NE 65th Street to NE 68th Street and from 32nd Ave NE to 33rd Ave NE. According to HistoryLink, the “Washington Children’s Home Society” moved to their newly built Brown Hall in Bryant neighborhood in 1907 after their original location in Greenlake burned down. The property was later annexed into the City in 1943 and is identified on the City’s 1947 zoning maps as “Children’s Home.”
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CHSW have hired Heartland, LLC to manage their statewide land portfolio. According to Heartland, LLC., “the primary objective was to inventory the real estate assets held by CHSW and provide a current valuation of each asset, informed by site context, market forces, site conditions, and development capacity. Heartland also undertook an alternatives analysis of the existing and proposed uses on one of the eight properties to help CHSW determine the highest and best use for that site.” Heartland, LLC. has released an offering memorandum (LINK PDF) for perspective purchasers and are accepting offers through May 17th, 2013. The property includes three zoning designations: Neighborhood Commercial-30 (NC-30), Lowrise Residential-2 (LR-2), and Single Family-5000 (SF-5000). CHSW provides a phenomenal amount of services to kids in need and the money from selling a property, which King County appraises at $12,821,600, would go a long, long way.
Oh, and yes, folks on Twitter and the Ravenna Blog’s Facebook page have already suggested that the School District purchase it for a new school.
UPDATE: Market Wired confirms that the Jasper has been sold for $29.4 million, not the $29.3 million previously reported.
It seems like only yesterday the old Jewish Community Center sat lonely, unkempt, and falling apart between NE 86th St and NE 87th St. Only yesterday that a developer, Murray Fraklyn, had planned to build condos on the site. Only yesterday that the Wedgwood Action Group successfully negotiated with Murray Franklyn to adjust the building’s transition to the adjacent single-family neighborhood. Only yesterday, the property sold to Woods Partners for $3.35 million. Only yesterday that Wood Partners and Exxel Construction broke ground on the new apartment building. Only yesterday that the name “Jasper” was unveiled out of respect for the history of the Wedgwood name. And only yesterday that the Jasper Apartments officially opened.
According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, reports are that Wood Partners sold the new apartment building to an LLC (limited liability company) known as “Jasper 91″ for a cool $29.3 million. For those scoring at home, that’s $25.95 million more than the site was purchased by Wood Partners from Murray Franklyn, which doesn’t account for the costs for final design, permitting, construction, and management. Nevertheless, that’s a nice chunk of change for Wood Partners’ first development in the Puget Sound region.
A look back at our Photosynth series throughout the development follows:
The old JCC site before demolition.
The JCC post demolition.
The new Jasper going up.
The Jasper taking shape.
The Jasper opened for renter.
The building at 8605 35th Ave NE must be removed before environmental clean-up can be completed.
As of the end of the month of March, some environmental clean-up work has taken place at the site of a future park in Wedgwood, 8605 35th Ave NE. Dirt was excavated to a depth of five feet and was removed because of the presence of contamination still remaining from when a gas station was there in the 1950′s. The contamination extended to the roots of the trees so they had to be removed, as well. Now further work is on hold until removal of the building at the front of the lot. Here’s what we know so far:
The building at 8605 has been there since about 1968 and has been leased by different businesses over that time. The most recent business, a hair salon, does not own the building. The salon closed in early November and the stylists have redistributed themselves out to other locations in the neighborhood.
The land at 8605 35th Ave NE is owned by City Light. They must complete the environmental clean-up work before transferring the property over to the Parks Department. But they can’t finish the work until the building is removed. The owner is currently advertising the building as free to anyone who wants to take it away. After the site is prepared and transferred over to the Seattle Parks Dept. we don’t know how many years it will be until the site will be developed, because Parks currently has a moratorium on new projects.
Update 2: Site clearing has begun and the trees are down. Here’s a Photosynth photo (requires Microsoft Silverlight plugin) of the site on February 24, 2013. Today, fencing went up around the site and the contractors excavator and trailer were placed on site.
: While the property is moving closer to acquisition by the Parks Department for a park, many have asked what the park will be and when it’ll be open. This is a great question that cannot be answered at the moment. As we’ve written about before
, we applied for a grant to work with the Parks Department to come up with a park design. However, given the Parks budget, there is a moratorium on new park development. Until their maintenance budget is sorted out (…we’ve heard rumors of a levy for park maintenance in the future), we cannot design the park and therefore it cannot yet be officially a park.
: Since we originally wrote this post, we have received more details on the upcoming cleanup from Bill Devereaux, Manager of the Environmental Management and Compliance Unit with Seattle City Light. We’ve taken editorial privilege to add bold text
to highlight important items, a photo of the trees in the northwest corner of the parcel, and editorial notes in [brackets
] throughout for greater clarification. The trees will largely be cleared.
I apologize for the time it has taken to get back to you on your questions. The project is a work in progress. Hopefully the following addresses the questions you earlier sent to me.
Grove of trees in NW corner of the lot that will be removed as part of cleanup.
The cleanup work is planned for the period February 18 through March 8. Due to the nature of the work, it may be somewhat punctuated during that time frame. The nature of the work will be to remove roughly the upper 18 inches of soil and the concrete pad from the western half of the property (roughly the unpaved portion). This was the area used by City Light as a substation in the past. In addition, there is an area in the northwest corner of the paved portion that will require soils removal down to approximately 5 feet. Note that most of the trees will be removed in order to ensure a complete cleanup. The affected area will be fenced during the removal activities.
After the removal work City Light plans to bring the excavated west area back to grade with clean fill and a mulch of bark and wood chips. The excavation in the asphalt area will be brought to grade with clean fill and topped with gravel. The fencing around the former substation will be removed and the property will be open. As Parks has not completed their plans for the property, we will not be replanting in order to leave them with a clean slate in which to work [Editorial Note: Letter from SCL linked to below states that replacement trees will be planted.].
The building on the site is the personal property of the former lessees, and they have been asked to remove the building [Editorial Note: We are not clear when the building will be removed and if SCL or Parks has given a deadline for its removal. However, the owner had been trying to give it away for free on Craigslist earlier]. When the cleanup is completed and the building removed, the property will be transferred to the Parks Department. Any requests for landscaping between the transfer and the future park development should be referred to Parks [Editorial Note: Replacement trees are reportedly going to be installed though by SCL per the letter linked to in the next paragraph]. We have been coordinating with Chip Nevins at Parks.
Attached is a copy of the cleanup notification letter that was sent to nearby owners and tenants last Friday…
Wedgwood Community Council (WCC) is pleased to report that the Morningside Substation site, at the northwest corner of 35th Ave NE and NE 86th Street, is about to undergo a radical transformation. The site, which is owned by Seattle City Light (SCL), is home to the now-vacant CC & Co. salon building (the salon was there under lease, and the CC & Co. hair stylists are now working in other locations
around Wedgwood.) SCL is in the process of transferring ownership of the site, which is about a third of an acre in size, to Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks) so that it can be turned into a new park for our community (you can learn more about the park here
Before the transfer can take place, SCL must perform environmental remediation so that Parks receives a clean site. The long-ago home of a gas station, testing has revealed that the top layer of the site’s soil contains contaminants and must be replaced with clean topsoil. In the coming weeks Wedgwood residents will notice construction fencing going up, the salon building coming down, and the site’s surface being stripped. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the contamination, the small stand of trees on the northwest corner of the site will become a casualty of this process.
WCC has contacted SCL regarding the remediation effort and its timeline, and will report details as they become available. Once the cleanup and title transfer are complete, Parks will await funding to begin park development. WCC has asked that in that interim period the parcel be seeded in lawn and open to the public so that our community will have attractive, usable open space in its core while we wait for funding for the design and construction of our future park. Please stayed tuned for more exciting news in the development of Wedgwood’s newest park!
At the end of 2012, we asked you a couple questions: What are your priorities for 2013 and what was your favorite Wedgwood event of 2012? The poll, which was open for over a month, gave us some great direction and reaffirmed much of the work that the trustees have been working towards throughout 2012 and earlier.
According to the poll, the top three priorities for Wedgwoodians are:
- Land use planning (design guidelines, 35th Ave NE zoning, streetscape),
- Pedestrian improvements (sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian overlay zone), and
- Public safety (police presence, block watch, emergency preparedness)
Land Use Planning
As you may know, the WCC has a land use committee that was formed out of the Wedgwood Vision Plan steering committee. While this committee hasn’t been meeting regularly in recent months, there are several things that will see this change in the very near future. First, the results of this poll confirm that the community values the land use planning activities that it has been working towards. Second, and perhaps more importantly logistically, is that we are fortunate to have a new trustee who is excited to chair the committee! If you’re interested in being part of the Wedgwood Land Use Committee, please email » us and let us know!
Based on the comments we received, there are many people in the community who are concerned about the proposed new school on the Thornton Creek Elementary School site. While we share the concerns of the project, especially the loss of the playfields, we have also tried to explain our position on the proposed school (see the bottom of this post). Should the BEX IV levy succeed and the Thornton Creek Elementary School site is chosen for the new school, we intend to work with the School District to make sure the community is part of the design process.
The single most surprising thing for me to learn before working on pedestrian improvements was just how expensive they are. It is very expensive for the City to design and construct many of the improvements that we hear about (e.g., more sidewalks) for a variety of issues. However, there are some simpler forms of improvements that may have a great positive impact at a low cost. In 2012, we worked towards large projects which will result several blocks of new sidewalks as well as smaller projects, such as a new crosswalk at 35th Ave NE and NE 80th Street. The poll results again reaffirms our work on these improvements and will encourage us to continue seeking pedestrian improvements, both large and small, as we move forward. If you have specific blocks, intersections, or forms of improvement that you suggest we work on, please let us know. Better yet, get involved and help us out! The more the merrier!
In 2012, we saw a rash of armed burglaries at 3 of our banks. This level of crime is unusual for our neighborhood and it reminds us that we need to keep our ears and eyes open for any suspicious activity. We also began the process of revamping our Wedgwood Block Watch and transition from our old email system to a new Wedgwood Block Watch Google Group. 2012 also saw us partnering with Sustainable NE Seattle to secure a grant for emergency preparedness. The purpose of the grant was to help our NE Seattle residents prepare for emergencies, learn to respond as a community in such an event, and establish our Wedgwood Emergency HUB located at the Hunter Farm Gathering Place. There is an upcoming emergency preparedness training on Wednesday, January 30th at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, from 7-9 PM.
We know there are other priorities for Wedgwoodians as well as land use planning, pedestrian improvements, and public safety. We’re continuing to work on increasing public open space, including the park acquisition process (which is going slower than we hoped) and funding a trail system through the Inverness Ravine Park.
What do you think of these rankings? Share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.
The WCC is an all volunteer council that advocates on behalf of the Wedgwood neighborhood. We aren’t nearly as successful without your involvement and your donations (or membership dues!). We would love to talk with anyone in Wedgwood who would like to become involved and serve as a WCC trustee? Please email » Per Johnson or email » to discuss further.
Take a good look now, because the Big Green House at 7321 35th Ave NE might not be there much longer. The owner/developer has applied for permits to replace the house with 2 residences and 2 live/work units.
Historic preservation of the Big Green House has been investigated and it was found not to qualify under Seattle’s landmarking ordinance. Although the house is old (about 100 years) it does not meet the preservation criteria of distinctive architecture or association with significant people and events in Seattle history. The background story of the Big Green House can be found on Valarie’s Wedgwood in Seattle History blog.
Here is your chance to get a look inside the Jasper at 8606 35th Ave NE, the first new apartment building to be built in the Wedgwood neighborhood in more than sixty years. Brian Miller, manager of the Jasper, cordially invites all Wedgwoodians to come to an Open House at the Jasper on Saturday, October 20, from 9 to 5. Coffee and donuts, too!
Apartments at the Jasper were being pre-leased even before the opening day in July 2012, and the building’s 91 units are now almost all rented. At the Open House you will be able to see the remaining vacant units, the resident lounge area and the rooftop deck. At the sidewalk level, one of the live-work units will be open for visitors to view. A live-work unit is like a storefront but includes its own living quarters. The concept of live-work units is so new to the city of Seattle that it is not yet known how well they will function and whether they will help enliven commercial districts with needed businesses and services.
At the Open House you will see how the Jasper is displaying artwork from local artists, and a display of how the Jasper got its name. Please do come on Saturday, say hello to the Jasper and its management staff, and have coffee and donuts, too. See you there!
(This originally was posted on the The Future of 35th website.)
35th Ave NE Neighborhood Walk
Saturday, October 6th, 9-11AM
Back in August, the 35th Ave NE Committee toured six neighborhoods throughout Seattle and Kirkland to see what we thought worked well and not so well. We took with us the knowledge gleaned from the 7-part Coffee Talk series and looked at what makes other neighborhoods great. This Saturday, October 6th, from 9AM-11AM, we’ll walk down 35th Ave NE to inventory business-types, discuss what works, what doesn’t work as well, and where we think are high priority locations.
All are welcome to join us during this walk. We may also have to stop in some of our local purveyors of edible goodness as part of our business-type inventory. If you plan on joining us, please come dressed appropriately for a 1 mile-ish walk, bring a camera and note pad to document your thoughts, and come a willingness to discuss your thoughts respectfully with others.
See you Saturday!
(This originally was posted on the The Future of 35th website.)
Over the past 7 months, we have been super lucky to have had presentations on a variety of land use planning concepts by a host of brilliant and local planning professionals as part of the Coffee Talk series. The Coffee Talks were sponsored by the Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT), which is part of the Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association.
The final (seventh) of these Coffee Talks was presented on August 23rd by Bill LaPatra with Mithun. Bill’s presentation neatly wrapped a bow around the previous six Coffee Talks and brought many of the concepts together. His presentation touched on the benefits to businesses, walkability, transportation, and livability from land use planning. He also touched on how increased density and how it can be done well so it complements, as opposed to competes, with local character and desired outcomes. There are trade-offs though that come along with these benefits.
If you missed, the last Coffee Talk, a video is below along with a PDF version of Bill LaPatra’s presentation for your viewing pleasure. If you missed any of the previous Coffee Talks, you can link to and watch them all HERE. As always, the video is of terrible quality…my apologies. Coffee Talk 7: The Trade Offs of Land Use Planning from Wedgwood Community Council on Vimeo.