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Update on Pine and Belmont – UPDATED

By May 29, 2008

Curious about the controversial Pine and Belmont condo development aka the new parking lot on Pine?

Despite losing an initial hearing at a lower level court Dennis is appealing to the Superior Court. However, Murray Franklyn has the project on hold because they can’t get financing. (See update below from Murray Franklyn.)

Here’s the full details courtesy of local neighborhood group POWHat and Dennis:

Update on Dennis’s lawsuit against the City of Seattle and Pine and Belmont LLC for noncompliance to design guidelines in their design of the 500 E Pine condos and appearance of unfairness on the part of the City (bias toward the developers).

  • Dennis lost initial hearing with the Hearing Examiner on January 3rd (decision given on January 16th) and is now applying to the Superior Court. The date of the Superior Court hearing will be July 7th.
  • Dennis’ case did not hold up demolition, excavation or even construction. Once there has been a hearing by the Hearing Examiner (as there was on January 3rd), the developer can proceed with construction if the Hearing Examiner gives them their Master Use Permit; Murray-Franklin (sic) received their MUP. Dennis’ hearing with the Superior Court doesn’t get in the way of Murray-Franklin (sic) proceeding with construction. If Dennis wins his case, he may require Murray-Franklin (sic) to change some design elements, even if they’ve already been built.
  • The reason that Murray-Franklin (sic) did not begin construction as of yet was because the city would not allow them to excavate until April 1st (rainy season rules). Murray-Franklin (sic) does not plan to excavate now because they don’t have the financing because of the bad market.
  • City Council is interested in the case and the neighborhood’s reaction to the project.
  • Dennis is proceeding with the case (despite limited finances, paying all legal and court fees himself, and limited cooperation from the city) because the complaint about the city ignoring its own neighborhood guidelines is still valid, even if construction may not go forward.

In related news, the DPD’s decision has been published on 1605 Bellevue Ave just down the block.

Bonus Link: The Slog, City Slaps Capitol Hill Building Owner With Hefty Fines. Is this the eyesore besides the Shell station? As much as the Stranger hates Ted, I’d love for him to buy the place and make it pretty again. It’s not that eyesore…

Update: Wade Metz of Murray Franklyn wrote in this more objecting to POWHat’s presentation of the situation. Regarding financing of the Pine and Belmont project he had this to say:

The project is financed. We are a long standing (40) year old company, uniquely positioned and extremely well capitalized. We have 15 plats and a couple of multi family sites currently under construction. Pine and Belmont is a great property and will make a fantastic apartment. The reason we have not moved forward is due to the LUPA appeal which, for which our hearing is July 7th. We feel confident in our position on the appeal and will proceed once the appeal is settled. We completed the Demo only because the city was forcing our hand to do something with the building. It was falling down and vagrants and druggies were housing inside. When the tenants left they destroyed the building leaving it un-rentable.

I find the use of the word “apartment” interesting. Given market conditions it would appear the decision of apartment vs condo has not yet been made. I wonder if neighbors objections are less if it is apartments instead of condos as there seems to be a lot more vilification of condos then apartment buildings.

Wade also writes that he thinks a better blog story would be one about the impact that Dennis is having on this project’s costs. Specifically how a small investment by Dennis in legal costs is costing Murray Franklyn a significant amount of money that will need to be re-couped one way or the other.

Update 2: Wade confirms it will definitely be apartments. Whew, we don’t need that much more inventory at this time :).