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Capitol Hill development at 13th and Pike will be condos

The Weber Thompson-designed building is the first new condo building to come up in Capitol Hill in a long time

Courtesy of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty

On Wednesday, development firm Solterra announced that a planned development at 1300 E Pike Street will be condominiums. The site was the longtime headquarters of Fran’s Chocolates before the company moved to Georgetown.

The project, now called Solis, was first announced back in 2016, and will employ Passive House building standards (with a goal of eventual certification)—characterized by strong insulation, airtightness, strategic ventilation, and passive heat sources like solar power. The idea is that passive homes reject heat in warmer months and collect heat in colder months for maximum energy efficiency.

Condos will range from 476-square-foot studios to two-bedrooms up to 832-square-foot two-bedrooms, with prices ranging from the $400,000s to about $1 million. The most recent project information filed with the city calls for 45 units with 3,300 square feet of ground-floor retail, plus 13 parking spaces below.

A view of Solis from the street level, showing a mural.
A rendering of Solis’s ground-floor retail space.
Courtesy of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty
The interior of Solis’s lobby.
A bench inside the Solis’s lobby.

The units themselves will have nine-foot ceilings, large windows, sun shades, and sun-themed finishes like sun-glazed Spanish tile. Shared amenities include a dog run and a rooftop garden.

A rendering of a unit’s living room.
A bedroom inside Solis.
Courtesy of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty
Interiors feature an open layout with large windows.
A bedroom with a view inside Solis.
Solis’s rooftop garden.
A closer view of Solis’s roof deck.

The project architect is Weber Thompson. Cascade Built, which has built a few other energy-efficient buildings around Capitol Hill, is the general contractor.

While Capitol Hill has filled up with high-priced residential development in recent years, often referred to as “condos,” there haven’t been any new condos in the neighborhood in more than a decade—that is, apartments in these buildings have been for rent, not for purchase.

Condos are pretty rare citywide, too, largely to laws that make it risky for developers and architects to work on them (and with little supply to go around, existing inventory is subject to bidding wars, especially around lower price points). Many design and building professionals attribute this to the Washington State Condominium Act, a consumer protection measure which holds developers and architects to a greater risk of a lawsuit within the first five years after the project is constructed.

A recent population boom has prompted a few more developers to just go for it, though, including a recently pivoted condo project at Sixth and Wall. Still, according to a joint report by Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR) and the O’Conner Consulting Group, by the time this decade is up only 6 percent of multifamily supply will have been rentals, not condos.

Pre-sales will start in September, handled by RSIR—which has been scooping up a huge chunk of new condo presales in Seattle, including Spire, Koda, and Nexus. Construction will also start this fall, with a target occupancy date of 2020.