Saturday, February 23, 2008

Conceptual Drawing of the Christian Restoration Center Replacement

Here's the first published conceptual drawing of the condo/retail development that will replace the Christian Restoration Center at 15th and Oregon. From the Rudeen website:


The architects are H+DLT Collaborative, whose past projects aren't particularly inspired, but at least do not make me want to break down in tears. The H+DLT designs are certainly several steps up from the designs that Rudeen has typically worked from in the past. I'm not knowledgeable enough about design and construction to guess how well a standard big-box developer might work with a higher-end architecture firm, but I do have hope this could be a good thing for the neighborhood. (Especially if an independent restaurateur starts serving dinner and drinks in one of those retail spaces, please God.)

The scale of this structure seems out of place if you compare it to the low-built (and dilapidated and dirty and depressing) structures at Beacon and Columbian, but not so much if you compare it to the large (and dilapidated and dirty and depressing) residential developments down the road by the I-5 and West Seattle Bridge onramps. Or the nearby VA Hospital. It seems inevitable that our commercial thoroughfares will get a little taller.

As long as we don't end up with tanning/nail salons, FedEx centers, check-cashing places, chain food, or malt liquor quickie marts on that retail level, I'm actually kind of excited to see what happens here. Since I don't golf or throw weddings or dry-clean my clothes, and since I discovered that the Vietnamese sandwiches at Fou Lee don't hold a candle to the fresh ones in the nearby I-District, and that you can't drop in and get a cold six-pack at the Seattle Supermarket, and that the MC Foods gas station fails my can-I-just-fill-my-tank-outside-and-go test, I honestly have no interest in any of the stuff at Beacon and Columbian. But some of this new stuff could be useful to me.

I don't know. What do you guys think?

P.S. Jim Claeys, who's been discussed in the comments of some of these posts, is a partner in the property's ownership group (as is Rudeen Development). The group is called Beacon Hill Ventures LLC.


Anonymous said...

There's a big new building going in up the street from us and our neighborhood group, The Wedgwood Action Group, has negotiated with the developers to get what we want. See the blog here:

Wendi Dunlap said...

"As long as we don't end up with tanning/nail salons, FedEx centers, check-cashing places, chain food, or malt liquor quickie marts on that retail level"

Well, add hair salons to that list. For God's sake, do we need another hair salon? Up here in NoBeHi you can't throw a rock without hitting a hair salon.

Anonymous said...

Hope the developers will also take parking and traffic into consideration; that intersection is dicey at best what with the parking lot clusterf**k McPherson's can be on a busy day. I'd love to see an independent pizza/Italian place go in there - a satellite branch of Stellar?

A coffeehouse (w/ a drive-through) is opening in the icky old real estate office on Beacon Avenue just south of Columbian - I think the flyer in the window said Grown Folks Coffee (?) I'm willing to give it a try when it opens!

Admittedly, I never went into Blenders boba house right next door to it because it's attached to the HIDEOUS, filthy "grocery and deli" which nails their ugly signage to trees and telephone poles and never cleans up their parking lot. It's not even a grocery store - I went in there once and it's one of those "dangling duck" joints. Not even a nice one!

Seattle Supermarket is at least a good neighbor; they have their own parking lot and they keep it clean. More than I can say for Fou Lee, which again, is another parking/traffic nightmare on weekends. And it's rat city; those are just temporary buildings - you'd think for all the money they're raking in, they'd do something to improve their building. Bad neighbor, Fou Lee!

uppergeorgetowner said...

I'm not impressed - this is nothing special. Every mediocre building that goes up is a lost opportunity to do better. To make a more sustainable future; this will be full of nail and hair salons. Why not build live work lofts with open floor plans that artists and other creative professionals can buy and operate small businesses at street level? There's a great building like that in Columbia City as an example.

Harritah said...

Clarification of some points since the community seems to want to discuss this construction:
1. Jim Claeys is a long-time Beacon Hill resident. He grew up here on the hill and has watched the progression of what current landlords have done and are doing to buildings. Mr. Claeys has a list of potential retail tenants in line for the space/s of the new building. Relax, you'l like them assuming that the "dotted line" gets signed. Mr. Claeys will not be at liberty to discuss who they are or what kind of business they are probably at this point. In commercial real estate, this is a common practice. I doubt nail salons are on the short list anyway.
2. This blog was never on my radar. However once a comment was sent to me, it was I, who forwarded a copy of the blog to Mr. Claeys regarding the property. I believe he then contacted his business partners.
3. There will be an exclusive interview with the Beacon Hill News coming out shortly in which more information will be shared with the community.
4. Know that Mr. Claeys/Developers wanted to remove the old building and fence off the property in preparation for the construction and to stop dumping/tagging, but it was THE CITY OF SEATTLE who refused and told him he couldn't do this. At least Mr. Claeys has been "Johnny-on-the-spot" and hauled out trash when it was brought to his attention.

Personally, I think we, as the community, should cut him a little slack and be good neighbors back to HIM. Why? Several reasons pop to mind but two of which are:
1. If you want the sort of businesses you've blogged about, then be kind to the man and supportive. You are far more likely to have him as a fellow Beacon-Hiller listen to suggestions if you've not railed against him and his efforts to begin with.
2. He might have already negotiated other parcels which you wouldn't even know about until much later and I would think it would be cool to have a good working relationship and be "in" with a local developer who likes us as a community.

I noticed the comment about loft live/work spaces. Tho I don't have the numbers at my fingertips, the cost involved to produce this sort of construction might prohibitive on Beacon based on the commercial land values on the hill demolition and constuction costs. It's probably why so many of these opportunities exist in funky, converted buildings.

Watch the BHN for follow-up...