Mixed-use Walgreens is built in Seattle

From this, December 6, 2005…

seattlewalgreens1.jpg

…to this, March 29, 2007:
seattlewalgreens2.jpg
Pictures care of Capitol Hill Housing

I’m handing this posting over to Mike Stanton of the Preservation Association of Central New York. He sent me the following. Note the dates of construction. This was all going on while we were being told that Walgreens would not entertain building anything other than the standard suburban model we were fighting. We’re thrilled to see Walgreens has learned how to build for an urban environment.

Mike writes:

In 2004 Walgreens made a proposal to build their standard store at a busy Seattle intersection: a large, single-story, stand-alone building with surface parking. The neighborhood was appalled.

What opened for business last month, to city-wide acclaim, was a far cry from Walgreens original proposal. The five-story Broadway Crossings, the first of its kind in the country, is a joint project between Walgreens and Capital Hill Housing. There is a 12,000-square-foot Walgreens store on the first floor, two levels of underground parking below and 44 subsidized housing units in the four stories above. Nine of the units are designated for households transitioning from homelessness; 22 go to families making up to 30 percent of the county’s median income; 11 to those making up to 40 percent; and 11 to those making up to 60 percent. It is also a green building incorporating more than 50 sustainable features including windows and carpets that meet strict environmental standards.

Chuck Weinstock, Executive Director of Capitol Hill Housing, said “Walgreens took a risk to create something new that can be a model for other communities and other national corporations when coming to existing urban retail locations.”

Go here to see the brochure announcing the grand opening (all housing units were filled immediately). Go here to see weekly pictures of the project while it was under construction.

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Ribbon cutting set for Broadway Crossing

March 8, 2007

Doug Schwartz, Capital Hill Times
Seattle

It’s hard to miss the new building on the corner of Broadway and East Pine Street. Resting adjacent to the Egyptian Theater, the five-story structure cuts a prominent figure on one of Capitol Hill’s busiest intersections.

Titled the Broadway Crossing, the project is in the very last stages of completion and receives its grand opening on Wednesday, March 14. But the building is not merely one of the many mixed-use projects that have been sprouting up on the Hill in recent years. The project represents a fortuitous alignment of often mutually exclusive interests. Broadway Crossing was built as a joint development between Walgreens and Capitol Hill Housing (CHHIP). Rare are the occasions when a large, national retailer is willing to join forces with a local provider of low-income housing. Notably, the project is the first of its kind in the country for Walgreens.

The project is also notable for what it is not. The project very easily could have become something entirely appealing to the neighborhood. Nearly four years ago, during the initial design guideline phase, Walgreens initial plan for the site was presented. It consisted of what many picture when they think about a Walgreens: a large, stand-alone, single-story building with on-site parking.

While such a cookie-cutter approach worked for Walgreen, the neighborhood was appalled. Such a design, the neighborhood felt, represented a missed opportunity for the location, especially in a neighborhood that welcomes density and had said as much in its neighborhood plan. As a direct result of the neighborhood’s pointed reaction, and possibly prompted from the bad neighborhood reaction and attention Walgreens’ 15th Avenue project generated less than a mile away, the company was willing to explore other options.

Developer Scott Grainger, who owns the property, abandoned the initial plan and set about considering other designs. When the opportunity to include affordable housing was suggested – another element the neighborhood plan encouraged – Capitol Hill Housing soon became involved. CHHIP, the noted nonprofit housing provider founded in 1976,provides more than 1,000 units of affordable housing spread throughout 39 buildings.

“This was new territory for Walgreens and for Capitol Hill Housing,” said Chris Cooper, CHHIP’s director of fund development. “It’s pretty complicated when a national retailer is dealing with an entity such as CHHIP. But Walgreens understood our realities, our deadlines, and worked to make the project what the community wanted as well as what they needed.”

Cooper added that this required Walgreens to have more patience than perhaps the company is used to.

“If Walgreens had insisted, they could have put up the one-level store with surface parking. And they could have done that much more quickly. They should be commended for their approach to this project and their patience,” Cooper said. The project could well generate national recognition as a result of the unlikely pairing.

“We’re glad we were able to take advantage of this unique opportunity to bring a new Walgreens and affordable housing to Capitol Hill,” said Rob Hasty, Walgreens vice president of store operations, in a release announcing the building’s opening. “And we appreciate the efforts of S.E. Grainger Development in working with Capitol Hill Housing to make this project possible.”

Broadway Crossing consists of a 12,000-square-foot Walgreens store on the street level. Above are 44 apartments owned and operated by Capitol Hill Housing. Two levels of underground parking, one for Walgreens, the other for apartment residents, provide a total of 50 parking spaces.

Notably, nine of the units are designated for households transitioning from homelessness. Of the remaining units, 22 to go to families making up to 30 percent of King County’s median income; 11 to those making up to 40 percent ; and 11 to those making up to 60 percent.

Beyond addressing neighborhood goals such as providing pedestrian-oriented development, increasing density and providing affordable housing, Cooper noted the project was developed as a green building. More than 50 sustainable features were incorporated into its design and construction.

Such features include using a variety of green products including paints and carpeting, as well as using specific windows and carpets that meet strict environmental standards.

Cooper said that efforts at creating a green building are likely to generate official recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council. Broadway Crossing is expected to qualify for the council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certificate. There has never been a LEED silver certified affordable housing project in the country.

That the project is ready for use represents something of a milestone for the kinds of urban development projects that, against conventional wisdom, can come to physical fruition.

“Broadway Crossing is absolutely a workable, contemporary model of how one might best create urban infill,” he said.

A grand opening celebration of the Broadway Crossing takes place on Wednesday, March 14, from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 815 E. Pine St. For more information, go towww.chhip.org.

Doug Schwartz is the editor of the Capitol Hill Times. He can be reached at edi…@capitolhilltimes.com or 461-1308.

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PRESS RELEASE

SUBJECT: City-funded Broadway Crossing Apartments Open

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

3/14/2007

City-funded Broadway Crossing Apartments Open

First ever joint partnership combining national retailer Walgreens
with affordable housing

SEATTLE – Today marks the grand opening of Broadway Crossing Apartments, the first mixed use development to combine affordable housing with the national retail chain Walgreens. The project is the result of collaboration between Walgreens, Capitol Hill Housing, S.E. Grainger Development Group and residents of the Capitol Hill
neighborhood.

“Broadway Crossing is proof of what can happen when a great idea meets an excellent opportunity,” said Mayor Greg Nickels. “Not only is this project providing much-needed affordable housing, it will help spur the continued revitalization of this neighborhood.”

Walgreens initially planned a one-story retail store for the Broadway and Pine location but altered the design to include affordable housing in the upper levels at the urging of the community. The nonprofit housing provider Capitol Hill Housing and area residents worked with the S.E. Grainger Development Group on the current plan that includes 44 affordable housing units.

“Walgreens took a risk to create something new that can be a model for other communities and other national corporations when coming to existing urban retail locations,” said Chuck Weinstock, Executive Director of Capitol Hill Housing.

The City of Seattle contributed $1.8 million in 2004 to help complete the $14 million residential portion of the development at Broadway & Pine. Other funding sources include $1.75 million from State Housing Trust Fund; Low Income Housing Tax Credits; Seattle Housing Authority Capital and Section 8 vouchers (19); and assistance from Sound Families. Capitol Hill Housing is partnering with Family Services for
the Sound Families units.

Half of the development’s housing units are for very low-income residents including 9 for formerly homeless families. The rest of the units are for moderate income workers (those making about $27K or $32K a year). This project includes 10 Holly Park replacement units.

Following the City of Seattle’s SeaGreen Guide for Greening Affordable Housing – the first guide of its kind for subsidized housing – this development is also expected to earn LEED Silver status from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Get the mayor’s inside view on initiatives to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at www.seattle.gov/mayor/newsletter_signup.htm.

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