Vacant for 14 years, Metropole building moves closer to new life

With architect BuildingWork, the nonprofit Satterberg Foundation intends to renovate and expand its vacant, derelict Metropole Building, which is just south of Yesler Way in Pioneer Square. This Wednesday will be the next review by the Pioneer Square Preservation Board for the project at 423 Second Ave. Ext. S.

The basic plan remains the same: a full seismic retrofit and restoration of the three-story north end of the building; and a two-story addition to the smaller south end, aka the Busy Bee Cafe building. That actually amounts to a restoration, since the Busy Bee lost two stories in the 1949 earthquake.

The building was damaged again in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, then rendered unoccupiable by a 2007 fire.

The Satterberg Foundation and partner Forterra envision the renovated Metropole as a hub for nonprofits and small offices, along with other uses including a childcare center.

This summer is the goal for construction to begin. JTM Construction looks to be the general contractor. The architect previously indicated the job would take up to two years to complete.

The team also includes Swenson Say Faget, structural engineer; Ecotope, mechanical engineer, commissioning, and sustainability; Travis Fitzmaurice (TFWB), electrical engineer; LPD, civil engineer; Karen Kiest Landscape Architect; Dark Light, lighting designer; RDH, envelope consultant; Environmental Works, childcare design consultant; and Speweik Preservation, historic masonry consultant; Precision Electric; and Tiedemann Advisors, financial advisor to the foundation.

After renovations, the building will end up with around 32,000 square feet, plus roof decks for tenants and the childcare center. The project will target LEED Platinum certification, with rooftop solar panels and other green features. A rooftop penthouse would have around 1,564 square feet.

The foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Pigott and Helsell families. Along with the offices above, the foundation intends the building’s highly visible ground floor to host local artists, small businesses and pop-up events. The large basement will also have some offices and gathering spaces, along with a showers for cycle commuters. There will be a roll-in bike room at grade, facing the alley to the west.

The building sold almost two years ago for $5.5 million. No budget for the renovation has been announced. The foundation website states, “The Metropole will provide affordable office space and potentially other community amenities to nonprofit organizations, particularly those led-by people of color or serving communities of color. Through the development of this building, the Satterberg Foundation is committed to creating a diverse and equitable space to the highest of environmental and sustainability standards.”




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