Just wanted to state a few facts related to the application for a rezone. First, we already have a master use permit for conversion to 8 units in the main building and separation of the uphill building into a bed and breakfast, so this is a modification to that MUP and neither the configuration of the units nor the B&B portion would change. Second, Scott is correct in that it is a contract rezone and the change would carry conditions and be tied to the specific three units involved. Third, all three units would be along 39th, while the five residential units would all be entered up the hill on the East side, separated from the building. Two of the commercial units will be handicapped accessible, while the third, on the corner, would be more of a two level live-work style.
Fourth, we are the guys who have renovated the buildings where Jones, Geraldines and Verve (and soon to be Rookies) reside. We also have kept the parking lot at $1 for a decade and done much deferred maintenance to the two historic houses next to it. Our plan calls for saving the existing building on 39th and opening up the corner and South wall (where three large windows were covered decades ago). I think most people who know us would vouch for the quality of our work and our long-term commitment to Columbia City. Fifth, the church that was there for several decades simply couldn't afford to stay there and face many problems of maintenance and serving its aging congregation. They tried to sell it as a church for a year with no offers given these problems, and it is at that point we bought it.
Sixth, the site currently has no parking at all, and our proposal adds 14 parking spaces (9 within the basement and 5 for the B&B, all entered off the alley which we will pave as part of the MUP). Seventh, the list of commercial uses allowed are highly restricted by the L3-RC zoning (ie no bars, late night clubs, etc., which we wouldn't want anyway). And at least once every month or two we are approached by local business people looking for smaller spaces that are in Columbia City more affordable than on Rainier, and many would love to own their own space. Eighth, ironically the building predates the zoning by decades, which was simply laid on top many decades ago. Like most of Seattle, that zoning is strip oriented and allows only 6% of Seattle to be mixed use, designed to create many Auroras. Lastly, unlike some of our other buildings, this one is not in the historic district, which is a question some people have asked.
Although we have remediated any asbestos, etc., in the old building and maintain the landscaping frequently, it has sat empty because with only 8 units and our aim of trying to save the existing building, it simply doesn't pencil. At best, the units would have to be very upscale and expensive, something we don't want to do. We understand the concerns about parking, which is precisely why we maintain the cheap parking lot despite the cost of doing so. If the neighborhood wants to petition for residential restrictions East of 39th, we would support that effort.
PS Our office is in the white house at 3824 S Ferdinand and we would be happy to show the MUP plans, which includes the layout of the units and parking, to anyone interested.