UPDATE: I've confirmed with a spokesperson for Madison Development Group that the company is under contract to buy the property and has filed a proposal with the city to develop a seven-story apartment building on the site. The spokesperson says that construction is slated to begin in June 2013 and will last for roughly 18 months. All told, the development will consume roughly half the city block (the two buildings on Pine and one property behind them) and "There will not be a tanning salon," the spokesperson added, while explaining the type of retail they hope to attract will remain characteristic with the Pike/Pine neighborhood.

"We are Capitol Hill fans—we love the neighborhood and we understand how important it is to get this block right," says Jim Gallaugher, a partner in the Madison Development Group. "Our goal is to keep the character of Pine Street the way it is today—and to build on that culture with a project the neighborhood will embrace."

Madison Development has constructed several developments that fuse apartments and grocery stores, including the Safeway on 23 and Madison.

Here's the original post: Right now, there's no confirmation—despite calls to the rumor generator and the property owner—but according to the Facebook page of Spine and Crown Books, the beautiful warren of shops on Pine Street between Melrose and Bellevue has been sold:

Yep. They sold the building out from under us. June 2013, the whole block closes. That's Mud Bay, Edies, Le Frock, Wall of Sound, Spine and Crown, Scout, Vutique, and Bauhaus. Our spaces will be a hole in the ground thereafter.

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The bookseller adds:

All will go, as construction will take 18 months. Some (probably Bauhaus) may come back, but the rest of us will probably not be able to afford the new rents.

King County property tax records show the two adjacent buildings belong to M&P Partnership. Calls to them and Spine and Crown have gone unanswered this morning. But we'll see. If the parcels have been sold to a buyer who plans to sit on them, that's one thing. If they've been sold to a developer who wants to demolish them, that's another. I'm a huge density proponent—yay, density!!—but these sorts of rental spaces, featuring tightly-packed storefronts on pedestrian thoroughfares, are rarely replaced by new construction. New mixed-use building rarely add the affordable, deep retail density that it displaces, the sort of spaces that contribute to the street activity that makes neighborhoods like this so attractive to renters in the first place.