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Sold several months ago, the dilapidated building located in the heart of Madison park’s commercial district that has been described by neighborhood residents as a “blight” has quite a few changes coming its way.

The historic building, located at 4114-4118 East Madison Street, was purchased in late July by the Losh family, owners of next-door neighbor Ewing and Clark Condominium Rentals. Constance Gillespie, the previous owner of the building, had held the property since her family purchased it in 1937. It was built in 1926.

Construction is ongoing on the rear of the building to change the structure.

“We’ve already torn down two-thirds of the back,” said Casey Losh, one of the new owners. “[Gillespie] had it in offices, with interior walls as support. We are getting the engineer to make just the exterior walls as supporting walls.” 

Losh said the building had been divided into three units. That won’t change for the time being, but with interior walls no longer load-bearing, it could change depending on the tenants.

The building was listed at $3 million, but the Losh family bid and won at just $1.39 million.

“I think that $3 million price tag scared off a lot of people,” Losh said. “We almost didn’t bid for it. But I think it reduced the people bidding. We went in an bid what we thought it was worth and were able to get it for less than half of asking.”

Losh has spent his entire life in Madison Park and said he is excited to be part of fixing up the crumbling building.

“We want to restore it to its former glory,” he said. “Constance had all the permits to fix it up, and we are using those. She’s been really good to work with.”

The limited liability company which bought the property was even named in honor of Constance and her family’s long history of owning the property. The Losh family bought it as JDLI Constance Court LLC, which has been admittedly confusing for the current tenant, but Losh believes it’s a nice nod to the previous owner.

The building currently has one tenant, Spa Jolie. The other two storefronts are currently vacant and have fallen into disrepair, entangling Gillespie with the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development.

In 2014, the property was found to violate several codes for a vacant property, including insufficient protection from the elements, damaged eaves and fascia on the exterior and a decaying roof.

One of the notes from an inspector regarding the building reflected this succinctly.

“Secure the building against the weather, including but not limited to openings in the collapsed roof and walls,” it reads.

This was exacerbated in March of 2016 when an inspector found a large portion of the roof had collapsed.

Tim Blevins, a Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections structural inspector, wrote up a building code violation report.

“Approximately 1/3 of the roof has failed and the brick façade wall at NE property line is bowed due to the loss of the roof diaphragm,” Blevins noted.

The city found additional issues in February of this year, imposing penalties against Gillespie for not complying. As recently as last year, Gillespie had said she was not interested in selling.

The building is 2,787 square feet on a 4,900 square foot lot, or .11 acres. It is zoned NC1P-30, which means a buyer could build it up to 30-feet high with the option for a rooftop greenhouse if supplying a restaurant below.

“Some people think we are crazy for not building other units on top of this one,” Losh said. “And we might some time in the future, but not for a while.”

Losh said his family is working with Spa Jolie to keep them in the space. He said renovations are scheduled to finish in late winter or early spring of 2018. More than 50 potential tenants have called about the building, Losh said, but rates for leases have not yet been set.

Syndicated from The Madison Park Times

Cafe Flora’s annual Vegetarian Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 23rd offers a beautiful, four-course vegetarian meal for $75 for adults and $25 for children, with plenty of gluten free and vegan options.

Regular menu:

  • Spiced Apple Parsnip Soup with crispy Brussels sprouts (vegan, gluten free), Roasted Fennel and Grilled Belgian Endive, arugula, pomegranate seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberry, and cornbread croutons (available vegan & gluten free).
  • For the main course choose from Filo Spirals filled with wilted greens, pecans, gruyere and fontina, brushed with brown butter, served with braised kohlrabi and cabbage, smashed cauliflower, Yukon gold potatoes, green beans, with chestnut leek sauce or Roasted Acorn Squash Wedge with foraged chanterelle mushrooms, oven roasted autumn vegetables, pear tangerine sage chutney, smashed cauliflower, Yukon gold potatoes, and wild mushroom gravy (vegan, gluten free).
  • End the meal with a decadent dessert of Pumpkin Mousse with pecan graham crust, and meringue candied pepitas (vegan, gluten free) or Rustic Apple Galette with horchata cinnamon ice cream and cranberry gelee.

Full kids menu (can be made completely vegan and gluten free):

  • Carrots in a Blanket with house made BBQ dipping sauce
  • Garden Salad with romaine, pears, dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds and cornbread croutons.
  • Mini Shepherd’s Pie with peas, carrots, squash, and other winter vegetables in a creamy sauce, topped with Yukon gold mashed potatoes.
  • Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream.

Available by reservation only, with seatings from 1 to 7:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23rd, 2017. To reserve, call 206.325.9100 ext. 3 and for more information, visit CafeFlora.com. Cafe Flora is located in Madison Valley at 2901 East Madison St, Seattle.

By Ryan Murray

A major infrastructure project is slated to get underway this winter right in the heart of Madison Park.

The intersection of East Madison Street, McGilvra Boulevard East and East Garfield Street is a messy, convoluted one. The Seattle Department of Transportation has heard complaints from residents and is seeking to make some major changes to make it safer and easier to navigate. The focus of the project is to add curb bulbs to effectively narrow the street but make turns into traffic along busy Madison Street less direct and with better visibility.

Five changes to the intersection were proposed, including two which came directly from community suggestions. Both of these were denied for various reasons.

Sue Romero, senior public relations specialist for SDOT, said that the department took residents’ thoughts into its plans.

“SDOT did take community concerns into consideration, which is why we reviewed the project and looked at ways to lessen the impact on trees,” she wrote in an email. “As a result, only one tree is scheduled to be removed at Madison/McGilvra (the tree is not in good condition) and we are also adding a tree. The new tree will be on the west side of McGilvra Boulevard and will be larger and more mature than customary replacement trees.”

The tree removed at 3914 E Garfield St. is in section one of the project, which also includes the loss of two on-street parking spots and the moving of a disabled parking space to the west. SDOT claims the removal of the tree will accommodate a shifted bike ramp and make pedestrians more visible

The second approved change in the project is at 3927 E Madison St. with another shifted bike ramp, to help avoid cyclists from riding on a property owner’s lawn. The third approved change is another bike ramp between the corner of McGilvra Boulevard East and East Madison Street to the west side of Madison.

All told, four on-street parking spaces will be eliminated in the already packed area.

The two community proposals were rejected because they failed to meet some standards.

“The proposal to reorient curb ramps to face one another on the west side of Madison at Garfield does not meet SDOT standards because multi-use ramps are required to be 10 feet – the proposed location was only 6 feet,” Romero said. “This also does not meet ADA standards as facing curb ramps would be too steep for users.”

The other change, a midblock crossing on the north side of Madison/McGilvra was rejected because SDOT does not install mid-block crossings.

The project is slated to cost $490,000 and is funded by MOVE Seattle and the city of Seattle’s Neighborhood Park and Street Fund, which is now part of the participatory budgeting process. While it was still running, it “provided funds annually to neighborhoods for small-scale improvements to streets and parks.” Projects funded by this fund scheduled for 2017 totaled up to $2 million, with $90,000 going to the Garfield Street project in Madison Park.

MOVE Seattle is part of Mayor Ed Murray’s “10-year strategic vision for transportation.”

Design on the project is complete and construction is expected to begin this winter, according to SDOT.

Syndicated from Madison Park Times

By Brandon Macz

The Seattle Department of Transportation is considerably more optimistic it will have the federal funding needed to complete a major bus corridor project along Madison Street than it was when President Donald Trump released his budget plan back in May.

“We’ve been following this very closely,” said Andrew Glass Hastings, SDOT transit and mobility director. “When the president came out with his budget back in May, it was very disturbing sort of for the future of the federal government’s partnership with cities like Seattle.”

Trump’s budget proposed to eliminate the TIGER and Capital Investment Grant transportation funding program, the latter SDOT is depending on to fund 50 percent — $60 million — of the Madison Bus Rapid Transit project.

“Even though there’s not a lot of weight to the (president’s) budget, it kind of set the floor,” Hastings said, “so anything other than zero was better than Trump’s zero.”

Dedicated bus lanes are planned along three-fifths of the Madison BRT project, with bus platforms running along the future RapidRide G route from First Avenue in downtown to Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Madison Valley.

Before its August break, Congress passed two appropriations bills — one from each chamber. The House bill would have eliminated the TIGER grant, but phased out the Capital Investment Grants more slowly. It would have put SDOT in better shape to complete its Center City Connector streetcar line connecting the First Hill and South Lake Union lines through Pioneer Square, Hastings said, but not the Madison BRT project.

On July 27, Washington Sen. Patty Murray’s office reported the Senate Appropriations Committee had approved multiple transportation infrastructure investments, including $2.1 billion in the Capital Investment Grants Program that includes Madison BRT funding.

The project remains estimated at $120 million, and the Madison BRT design is proceeding under an assumption the federal funding will come through, Hastings said. There are contingencies being worked out, including shortening the corridor or adjusting the level of investment in the project.

“That’s just sort of the worst-case scenario, if you will; if we don’t get that federal funding,” Hastings said.

Both the Madison BRT and Center City Connector projects received high rankings from the Federal Transit Administration, which were also released in May, he said.

“We take that as a very positive sign, Hastings said, “that the FTA is doing independent rankings of these projects and both of these projects are worthy of funding.”

SDOT now believes it could have everything in place for a mid-2018 construction start. The transportation department had initially expected to have a funding agreement signed later this year.

“That became clearly sort of overly optimistic in the face of a Trump administration,” Hastings said.

SDOT provided a 60-percent design to the public for review this spring, and expects to be at 90 percent by early 2018.

“At this point there aren’t a lot of significant changes,” Hastings said. “A lot of it is sort of refining and adding design details to get it to the fundamental design.”

Neighbors and community stakeholders toured the intersection of East Madison Street, East John Street and 24th Avenue on May 19.

Another stakeholder walk regarding the 12th Avenue/Union Street and 14th Avenue intersections took place on June 29.

One request to consider making East Union Street one-way between 12th and 11th was determined to be unsafe unless another pedestrian signal phase were created. The design team committed to further assessment there.

Hastings said it’s important to get this complex intersection right in its design, and its next design should make it more intuitive for users, especially pedestrians and cyclists.

People also worried about the loss of on-street parking in Capitol Hill, which already struggles with parking availability. Most parking west of 24th Avenue will be removed to accommodate bus facilities and dedicated lanes.

An option for protected bike lanes on Union Street that showed up on a locally preferred alternative map two years ago that was not meant to be in the Madison BRT plan isn’t dead. In April, SDOT chief of staff Genesee Adkins committed to finding a place for the project after its disappearance — likely in the five-year Bicycle Master Plan.

“Analysis on that is moving forward,” Hastings said of Union protected bike lanes, “not on the Madison BRT project, because that’s not part of our federal scope.”

He added business and residential restraints on Union has caused analysis to take longer.

Syndicated from the CapitolHillTimes.com