Capitol Hill Seattle reports...
[Another] big real estate deal appears primed to remake part of the neighborhood. CHS has learned that property on a key block in the heart of 15th Ave E’s strip of shops and restaurants recently hit the market and already has a prospective buyer with plans for a multi-story, mixed-use building stretching from the site where the 15th Ave E QFC stands today to cornershop ShopRite.... According to people familiar with the deal, the property has been sold to a developer for $12 million. Gary Eng, UW’s senior asset manager, tells CHS that the gifted Moore family property is under contract with a buyer and should close “by May or sooner.” The real estate broker on the deal said there are “several long term leases in place” which will need to be worked out before any development can move forward. According to the broker, the plans include a new grocery store in the development.
Look, I shop at that QFC, I get my haircut at that Rudy's, and I've picked up the odd item at ShopRite. I don't want to see those businesses go but I won't be sorry to see those buildings go. I certainly won't be sorry to see the shitty eyesore that is QFC's parking lot replaced by storefronts and apartments. QFC and Rudy's hold two of the long-term leases that could put the brakes on the redeveloping this stretch of 15th. Kroger (owners of QFC) and Rudy's have leverage here and they should use it to benefit all the current tenants—including the people who live in the apartments above Rudy's and ShopRite.
But unlike a few friends who texted me in a panic after the news broke, I'm not going to mourn the passing of the shitty concrete box that houses QFC, the unremarkable building next door, those narrow sidewalks, the void created by QFC's anti-urban design (a long, ugly wall along 15th; doors that open onto the parking lot, not the street). If we're never gonna rezone Seattle's precious single-family neighborhoods, then we're gonna have to build where can. And current zoning rules allow for four-story buildings along that stretch of 15th. To say we can't build a four-story building on QFC's parking lot because "neighborhood character!!!" when there's a four-story building right behind it on 16th... is to vomit up some seriously disingenuous NIMBY bullshit.
We need housing and city streets shouldn't have suburban-strip-mall-style parking lots in the middle of them. Tear that fucker down—oh, and for the record: I support rezoning all of Capitol Hill for multi-story, multi-family housing. The whole fucking neighborhood, every single block, including my own.