Toward the long-awaited renovation of Building 9



At the upcoming special November 20, 11 a.m. Parks and Neighborhoods Committee meeting, we will discuss proposed legislation – a council bill and a resolution – that address the Sand Point Overlay. While the legislation is specific to Subarea C (see map), Building 9 will be discussed because it falls within this area.

Building 9’s Forlorn History

When the federal government closed the Sand Point Naval Station in 1999, it deeded a number of buildings to the University of Washington. The UW has spent nearly $40 million to renovate 478,000 square feet since then, space that is used by UW researchers, art studios, a pediatric dentistry, and for a number of other University uses.

Educational facility?

The UW’s original vision for a renovated Building 9 was as a multi-purpose educational facility. Unfortunately the high cost of repairing the neglected 1929 colonial-revival style building, which had been kept in good shape until the mid-80s and then, let us say, placed on a deferred maintenance plan, proved prohibitory. The building has been sitting vacant for 13 years, deteriorating even more and starting to attract vandals and criminal activity, while the UW put $3 million into attempting to keep it maintained and secure. For example, components of the plumbing and electrical systems have been stolen, so the building currently has no power.

A new vision: Residential space

The UW approached the city about taking over the building or perhaps returning it to the federal government. After much discussion with Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and the Office of Housing (OH), as well as work with the community, the UW issued a Request for Qualifications and Concepts (RFQ/C) early this year to see if a private developer could redevelop the building as a residential structure. Portland-based developer Gerding Edlen was the successful respondent.

Market rate units

While there was some initial hope that the new units could be designated as senior or low-income housing, it turned out that with the high cost of renovating the structure, it simply wasn’t feasible for the developer to offer units at anything other than market rate. Most of them will be 2-bedroom units, and some 3-bedroom. Jill Sherman of Gerdling Edlin told us that the company hopes the units will attract families and that the proximity of Magnuson Park, Children’s Hospital, UW, and other amenities of the neighborhood make it an attractive area.

Here’s an overview of the actual legislation we’ll be looking at.

Council Bill 117605

Proposed by DPD and OH , Council Bill 117605 amends the Land Use Code to grant an exemption to the maximum number of dwelling units permitted in the Naval Station Puget Sound Sand Point Historic District Overlay.

Currently, a maximum number of 200 dwelling units are allowed within the overlay. This legislation would provide an exemption meaning these units would not count against the 200 cap, when the following conditions are met:

  • They are developed after December 31, 2012.
  • They are located within an existing structure that is listed as a “contributing” structure within the historic district.
  • They are located within the portion of the overlay that is zoned lowrise 3 (also known as Subarea 3 on the map below).

The development of Building 9 as proposed by the UW and Gerdling Edlin would meet these conditions.

Resolution 31412: Changing the existing management plan

A companion resolution (Resolution 31412) proposes to change the 1997 Physical Development Management Plan for Sand Point, which did not anticipate residential uses of Building 9.

Learn more about the amendment on the Department of Planning and Development’s website, or watch the video of the November 5 public hearing on the legislation. (It’s only 11 minutes long!)

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