So, about those boarded up houses at 15th and 65th…

With Tuesday’s Ravenna-Bryant Community Association spring community meeting roster including City Attorney Pete Holmes, we thought we’d take the opportunity to assemble some reading material about one Hugh Sisley.

We don’t know how much Holmes will be able to say about the city’s plans for collecting the three million dollars in fines owed by Roosevelt’s most well-known landlord. But we do know that there are strong feelings running very deep about Mr. Hugh Sisley, and providing a more focused review of the situation (in terms of current, property-related events) wouldn’t hurt.

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Graffiti on one of Hugh Sisley’s properties. The words on the right read. “I [heart] urban decay.”

The following information focuses on Sisley’s properties in and vision for his corner of the Roosevelt neighborhood, his position as a landlord in the area, and his relationship with the City of Seattle.

Map

We’ve spent a few weeks over at the King County Parcel Viewer, looking up publicly-available property information for the map you see below. The cool-colored markers (and accompanying brown shapes) are properties where the primary taxpayer is listed as either Hugh Sisley, Hugh and Martha Sisley, or the Roosevelt Development Group.


View Properties around Roosevelt High School in a larger map

For more information about the map, including the description of the all symbols used, please open the map in a new window.

We will continue to add to it as we find more owners of multiple properties in the area.

 

Seattle Weekly articles

Earlier this year, the Seattle Weekly published a duo of articles on Mr. Sisley and his dealings (or non-dealings) with the city in terms of his housing-code violation cases and fines:

Seattle Weekly (January 10, 2014) “The Reign of Seattle’s Most Notorious Landlord Could Be Coming to an End

The 86-year-old is facing a record $2 million fine that continues to increase at the rate of $1,600 a day, plus 12 percent interest. And now, after years of foot-dragging of its own, City Hall is finally moving to collect the debt. As officials launch a new initiative approved by the City Council to inspect every rental unit in town, City Attorney Pete Holmes is planning to recover what the stubborn rental king owes by confiscating prized Roosevelt properties held by the penny-pinching millionaire.

And then, a follow-up, just 10 days later: “Hugh Sisley’s Slumlord Tab Now $3 Million, City Says After Recalculation.”

Sisley, whose property is concentrated in the Roosevelt neighborhood, has amassed close to 200 code-enforcement cases dating to the 1980s, according to city records. Among them are violations for faulty wiring, unsafe conditions, insect infestation, junk storage, emergency situations, and unfit vacant buildings subject to demolition.

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RR Hardware, on 15th Avenue NE. “Total chaos envelopes the customer who bravely ventures into this 1940′s holdover,” says one reviewer on Yelp.

 

hughsisley.com

For a glimpse at Hugh Sisley’s vision for Roosevelt, we need only get on the internet and time travel a bit.

Although hughsisley.com is no longer up and running, the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine has some snapshots stored from the days when it was. Here is the full archived selection, but we’ll point out a couple links to the two different forms the website took while it was live:

View of the progress (and the lack thereof) along NE 65th Street. Taken at 15th Avenue NE looking west.

View of the progress (and the lack thereof) along NE 65th Street. Taken at 15th Avenue NE looking west.

As the Sisleys’ attorney Jeff Grant says in the first Seattle Weekly article mentioned above, “That’s really the story of Hugh and the Roosevelt Neighborhood today. Progress.” This sentiment is echoed strongly on the pages of the old hughsisley.com.

 

Old Fruit Stand block project

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Roosevelt High School standing in the background between two of Sisley’s properties on the NW corner of 15th Avenue NE and NE 65th Street.

The Roosevelt Development Group, which has long-term leases with the Sisleys on many of their properties, is currently working with architectural firm GGLO on a project on one of the three small blocks just south of Roosevelt High School (in orange on the map below).


View NE Seattle Large Development Tracker in a larger map

Project #3013244 at 6505 15th Ave NE is described as a “seven story, 220 unit residential building with 8,000 sq. ft. of retail use at ground level. Parking for 267 vehicles will be located below grade. All existing structures to be demolished.”

Roosevelt High School stands in the background between the two buildings proposed for the Old Fruit Stand block. This view is looking north from NE 65th Street through the half public, half private plaza area. Taken from page 30 of the February 3, 2014 design proposal (click to download; 17 MB PDF).

Roosevelt High School stands in the background between the two buildings proposed for the Old Fruit Stand block. This view is looking north from NE 65th Street through the half-public, half-private plaza area. Taken from page 30 of the February 3, 2014 design proposal (click to download; 17 MB PDF).

The project is currently in the Review phase, and has been presented twice at Northeast Design Review meetings (Early Design Guidance meeting on August 6, 2012, and a Recommendation meeting on February 3, 2014).

You can view the project’s current permit activity and associated documents here. The design proposal presented at the February 3, 2014 meeting can be downloaded here (17 MB PDF).

At this time, initial information has been collected for a new construction permit, but not a demolition permit.

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A graffito adorns a previously graffitied spot on the recently officially shuttered Funtiques (1512 NE 65th Street). We believe it is missing a question mark.

Full Council vote on the Roosevelt Rezone (LIVE COVERAGE)

On Monday, January 30, at 2 PM, the Seattle City Council will vote on Council Bill 117379, better known as the Roosevelt Residential Urban Village rezone.

We will be watching the live stream (via the Seattle Channel) from Ravenna Blog HQ and covering the action in the space below. Readers may follow along (and make comments) during the live event, or come back later to read our notes. We will also embed the video of the meeting here once it is available.

SPOILER ALERT: The Full Council meeting agenda already includes eight of the nine Councilmembers’ votes (then Council President Conlin was absent from the December 14, 2011 Committee on the Built Environment meeting due to illness).

Committee vote on the Roosevelt Rezone likely this Wednesday (LIVE COVERAGE)

UPDATE (1:57 PM): Today’s Committee on the Built Environment meeting footage has now been archived by the Seattle Channel, and we include it here.

UPDATE (12:18 PM): The Councilmembers present at today’s meeting of the Committee on the Built Environment have voted to move the Roosevelt Rezone (with the 65-foot-heights on the blocks just south of Roosevelt High School) forward to a full council vote. Full council vote likely to take place on January 17, 2012.

For more details about the vote and today’s COBE meeting in general, read our archived coverage of the meeting below.

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Tomorrow, Wednesday, December 14, the Seattle City Council’s Committee on the Built Environment meets to discuss and possibly vote on the Roosevelt Neighborhood Rezone (Council Bill 117379).

The meeting starts at 10:30 AM in the Council Chambers of City Hall (600 Fourth Avenue) with the Chair’s Report, then moves into 10 minutes* of public comment before the briefing on the bill begins.

We will be covering the event LIVE, right here, starting around 10:30 AM. Our notes will be archived here after the meeting, as well.

Recent Background Information

Just last week at another COBE meeting, the Committee discussed four different rough design options for the three blocks south of Roosevelt High School, before showing a preference (five of the eight councilmembers in attendance) for Option 2: A zoning designation of NC2-65 with over 25,000-square-feet of open space at street level.

You can download the entire design presentation by GGLO, “Development Standards for the High School Blocks,” in PDF format (5.03 MB) here.

An image of Option 2 from the GGLO design presentation. The view is from NE 65th Street, facing north toward the high school.

The next day, COBE Chair, Councilmember Sally Clark, summed up the rezone process so far and clarified her position on it on her blog.

Councilmember Bruce Harrell weighed in as well, on his personal blog. While he states his prefererence for design Option 2 at 65-feet, it was his “understanding that throughout the long process of neighborhood planning, the surrounding communities consistently made it clear that these three blocks should be protected from 65 foot heights.” Councilmember Harrell did not state specifically how he would vote, he did say that “[W]hat matters most to me…is that communities are ensured that their local government is truly listening to them when deciding how this city should look in the future.”

Then, today, a curve ball

Only yesterday, Publicola teased that Councilmember Nick Licata would be adding an amendment to the Roosevelt Neighborhood Rezone bill which would leave the three most contested blocks out of the rezone altogether. Today, Licata shared his position on the rezone on his Urban Politics blog.

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*Ha!