University Prep buys church, with demolition, new building planned

University Prep has completed a long-planned purchase of the North Seattle Friends Church property at 2415 N.E. 80th St. in North Seattle.

King County recorded the $3.6 million sale a few days ago.

The school wants to build a three-story academic building on the property. Its plan for the project goes back several years, and a master use permit was issued in January. Mithun is the architect.

The MUP was subsequently appealed by a neighborhood group, Ravenwood United, to the city hearing examiner. The hearing examiner’s recent decision to uphold the permit came a few days before the land sale.

The new building didn’t go through regular design review, and renderings are elusive. Mithun has been working since 2008 with the school; they completed the last campus renovation in 2013.

The new ULab building, as it’s known, will total about 39,550 square feet and be about 37 feet tall. It’ll have gym and fitness areas on its basement level, with classrooms, offices and labs on the upper three levels. A roof deck and solar panels are also planned. There will be 15 surface parking stalls, plus a landscaped plaza.

The ULab team also includes KPFF, civil engineer; WSP, MEP engineer; and Swenson Say Faget, structural engineer.

No start date or general contractor have been announced.

University Prep’s 2.5-acre campus is east across 25th Avenue Northeast from the church. It was developed from circa 1989 through 1991, with Morse/Stafford Partnership as the architect. The private school was founded in 1975, and recently concluded its academic year after several months of virtual classes owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

North Seattle Friends Church had owned its property for about seven decades. Both that and University Prep are right next to Temple Beth Am and Dahl Playfield in what some call Ravenwood — a mashup of Ravenna and Wedgwood.

The deal was worth about $96 per square foot for the land, which totals almost an acre and has single family zoning.
The church, which dates to 1949, will be razed along with a more recent addition. The school had also previously paid the church $305,000 in 2016 for a contiguous sliver of land that was once home to the neighborhood tool library (now apparently closed.) That building will also be removed.

The church, a Quaker establishment, joins the long list of aging, shrinking Seattle congregations to sell their properties for redevelopment. The church doesn’t list its membership size, and it hasn’t announced plans to move or close.

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Skanska is the general contractor for this project.

IMAGE CREDITS

Mithun

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