Apartments may come to Beacon Hill Station block

These lots have been empty for more than two years. The lot proposed for development is in the back of the photo, to the left. Photo by Wendi.
An apartment building may be the future of one of the empty lots around Beacon Hill Station. An early design guidance meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, October 25 to discuss a preliminary proposal to build a four-story commercial/residential structure at 2721 17th Ave. S., the southeast corner of the station block. Several lots on that block have been vacant and surrounded by chain-link fence since shortly after the opening of Beacon Hill Station in the summer of 2009. The lots were previously used for staging during the light rail station construction project.

Pacific Housing Northwest is proposing to build an apartment building with 30 housing units as well as 800 square feet of ground-floor retail. There would be underground parking. The Department of Planning and Development pages about the site and the associate permits are here and here. The site is currently owned by Alphonso Tucci-Grastello.

The early design guidance meeting will be held at the Wellspring Family Services community room, 1900 Rainier Avenue South, at 6:30 p.m. on October 25.

View Larger Map. This is the location of the proposed apartment building at the Beacon Hill Station block.

19 thoughts on “Apartments may come to Beacon Hill Station block”

  1. I think the buildings should be taller, more people closer to a light rail station is the best gift we could give to the environment (in my opinion). But anything will be better than those empty lots!

  2. Would like to see 6 stories but will take 4. I just want to see them built & then maybe the owners of the other vacant lots there would get motivated.

  3. Seattle zoning rarely allows anything taller than 4 stories to be adjacent to areas zoned single family. The east side of 17th is single family, so in order to zone taller buildings, the Ciity would have to upzone the east side of 17th to at least some type of multi-family use.

    Public meetings over the last 5 years have generally not shown much support for up zoning single family zones.

    30 units on a small lot like that one is a pretty good start.

  4. Mr Sound Transit guy told us a few months back that this area would not redevelop without giving up the right of way and combining the properties. Sounds like the piecemeal approach penciled out for this developer.

  5. Have to admit that I was hoping Sound Transit would acquire that property and put in a parking deck for the light-rail station; it still seems silly to me that the whole line from SeaTac to Westlake only has one dedicated parking lot. *facepalm* (Well, also because we live about half a block outside of the parking-exclusion zone, and we see people park outside our house and walk all the way to the light-rail station anyway, so it’s obvious that parking is needed.)

    On the other hand, I would like to see a really well-built and attractive block of apartments or condos in that space, since it would bring more folks into the neighborhood and hopefully encourage some retail growth… but then again that brings me to another bit of doubt: do we really need new retail space since some of what we alreadh have is still standing empty?

    Still hoping that someday, someone opens a nice little used bookstore on NBH, heh… :)

  6. Does Freddie Merril still have a hold on this site? If so, what does it mean?

    (BTW. I’ve spoken with Freddie. I understand what she’s doing and why she’s doing it, and I really wish her all the best. I don’t know if any progress has been made on the issues that she brought up with the Department of Neighborhoods though)

  7. Jeremy, what do you mean “Does Freddie Merril still have a hold on this site?”

    If you mean “this website,” Frederica Merrell has nothing to do with the website other than that she has occasionally written opinion pieces for it.

    If you mean “the station block site,” can you clarify what you are asking?

  8. I wish it could be a taller building in exchange for public amenities such as a small park on the lot.

    I know a lot of residents around here who support up zoning in exchange for amenities like they do in Vancouver, BC, but we just don’t have the time to make it to the meetings.

  9. Actually, it could likely be a taller building just by waiting until City Council approves the zoning changes. It sounds like the developer is just chosing to not build more than the current 40′. In contrast, the owner of the rest of the vacant lots on the block may be waiting for that upzoning to be final to come up with a plan. It’s unfortunate that the two parties couldn’t get together and come up with a block-wide plan.

  10. It’s actually three parties: There’s two families, plus Sound Transit. What’s confusing about this is that the family that previously had been cooperating with Sound Transit seems to have gone off on their own. The one that wasn’t cooperating presumably is still not cooperating. If I’m right that this is what’s happening, it’s a real shame for what the neighborhood — and the property owners — could conceivably have gotten with those lots.

  11. My understanding is that Sound Transit’s only role at this point is that of a facilitator, since it isn’t their property. Being a public entity, they are prohibited from being involved in private development beyond that, or something like that. That is surely over simplified, but the point is that they are not really a “party” in the development, as I understand it. Regardless, it looks like the one property owner willing to at least explore a deal got tired of waiting and came up with their own plan. Certainly not ideal, but I can’t say that I blame them.

  12. I thought that there was a small portion of the block that Sound Transit does own (that isn’t already part of the station), but I might have misunderstood that bit.

    I am surprised that they didn’t wait for the rezone to go through.

  13. Yes, Sound Transit owns a piece that can be developed and it’s in their interest (which means in the taxpayers’ interest) to bundle it together with the other two so they will get the most money for it.

  14. I just hope that whatever goes in is upscale, well built and contains at least some retail. I think part of the reason there is empty retail space here is partly because of the run down and unnattractive space that is available. Something new connected to new higher paying residences would attract businesses and build the community up to higher standards.

  15. I had thought that the last portion of property that ST owns houses the utilities and vent shaft, preventing further construction. However, Brook seems to be right as there is a small undeveloped portion of that lot that ST seems to be trying to work into a plan. A small percentage of the total area, but it’s a piece of the pie at least. Apparently the Lee family is still avoiding any communication. I hope that means they are waiting for the zoning changes to be implemented and have a great plan for their property that they want to implement themselves. We’ll see.

  16. only 4 stories? for ridership to go up they need more residents there, and more parking for people using the light rail. currently theres only one park and ride in tukwila and that is full every workday. U drive by it every other day and its a huge space, and right next to it is another empty lot at el central de la raza. I bet many people would love to rent there since theres a red apple right accross the street for groceries and toiletries, and theres 2 banks, asian market, resturaunts all within a couple of blocks, and they can get to downtown easily

  17. About time somebody began some transit oriented development in the area after ST spent millions on this station. Bizarre that no day-long public parking is available in vicinity of the Beacon Hill Station. Developer could enhance public support and usefulness by incorporating paid daily parking in his plans for basement parking.

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