Public Engagement Opportunities
Tuesday, 6/7/2022 @ 6:30pm
Beacon Hill Community Council Meeting
Attend June 7 Beacon Hill Council Zoom meeting to hear about Historic Seattle outreach plan and comment on Garden House activation. Email BeaconHillCouncil@gmail.com for Link to that meeting.
Saturday, 6/11/2022 from 10am - 4pm
Beacon Arts Street Fair (South Roberto Maestras Festival Street)
Saturday, 6/25/2022 @ 10am
Community Visioning at the Garden House
Wednesday, 7/27/2022 from 5:30pm - 7:30 pm
Prospective Tenant Open House at the Garden House
BEACON HILL LANDMARK THE GARDEN HOUSE ACQUIRED BY HISTORIC SEATTLE TO RESTORE COMMUNITY USE
SEATTLE, WA – December 27, 2021 -- Preservation organization Historic Seattle has successfully acquired Beacon Hill’s landmarked Garden House, located at 2336 15th Ave South, and will restore its long-time community use under their ownership.
The $2M deal, which closed on December 23, was made possible through grants from the King County Conservation Futures program, contributions from more than 100 private donors thus far, and City of Seattle seed funding, which was championed in 2018 by then-president of the City Council Bruce Harrell. Seattle Parks and Recreation will hold an easement, permanently protecting public green space in the neighborhood.
Under its ownership of the property, Historic Seattle will restore and repair the house and grounds and will work with community partners, including Beacon Arts, to reactivate the space for community use.
The Victorian home was constructed in 1886, and its grounds are home to pear trees that date back as far as a century. The Garden House is also known as the Turner-Koepf House, and it served the Jefferson Park Ladies’ Improvement Club and Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs for decades. A longstanding covenant that had guaranteed the property’s use for community purposes was deemed invalid in a 2016 lawsuit, and the property was listed for sale in 2018. Despite making a higher offer to purchase the property in 2018, Historic Seattle was unsuccessful in that bid, and a private party took ownership instead.
Historic Seattle staff & leadership visited Beacon Hill’s Garden House during due diligence for the $2M deal.
“Long, hard work like this is the center of our mission to save meaningful places that foster lively communities,” said Kji Kelly, executive director of Historic Seattle. “In Seattle’s current real estate market, historic community spaces are constantly under threat. The Garden House had fostered an incredibly lively community for decades, and we are proud to restore that community use through our ownership.”
“What looks like a holiday gift to Beacon Hill has really been a three-year community advocacy effort. We’re grateful to Seattle’s City Council, King County, our generous donors, and Beacon Arts for partnering with us to return the Garden House to community use and to Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board for designating it as a landmark,” Kelly added.
Said Betty Jean Williamson, president of Beacon Arts, “In 2018, the Beacon Hill Community rallied around our cry of ‘Save the Garden House!’ We successfully campaigned for Garden House and its grounds to be designated a City of Seattle Landmark. This held back development and bought time for Historic Seattle to make another attempt to purchase the property. With the news of this successful purchase, we know that Garden House will return to being our beloved Beacon Hill community hub with stronger, more inclusive, and more accessible programs for all our neighbors.”
Landmark Preservation Journey
Thanks to all who attended the September 13th meeting or made comments. Currently the architects are charged by the Architect Review Committee to go back to the drawing board and resubmit a plan for development that enhances the historic site. New construction would be limited to the southeast corner and possibly attaching to the rear of the house. This is still in the controls and incentive negotiation phase. We are in a holding pattern as the owner's are requesting another extension on that negotiation. We will let the public know the next opportunity for project review and comment.
Next Public Meeting Friday, Sept 13th
meeting starts 8:30am, Turner-Knoef House on agenda for 10:00am
Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue
Floor L2, Room L2-80 Boards & Commissions
Garden House (AKA Turner-Knoepf house) owners will present to the board proposals for development of 9-14 town homes on the site surrounding the historic building also known as Turner-Koepf House, review the full plans here. This was rescheduled from the 8/16 meeting.
We do not know if there will be opportunity for the public to speak at this meeting but the public is welcome to attend. Please send your written comments to Erin Doherty by Sept 11, 2019!
Garden House is a Landmark,
yet the designated site is threatened
by plans for townhomes!
Join us to learn more and give public comment:
Public meeting Friday, August 16th is Cancelled , will be rescheduled TBD.
Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue
Floor L2, Room L2-80 Boards & Commissions
Landmarks Preservation Board Architectural Review Committee Meeting. Garden House owners will present to the board proposals for development on the site.
081619.14 Turner-Koepf House / Beacon Hill Garden House
9:30 am 2336 15th Avenue South Briefing on proposed townhomes
For those who can not attend send comments to Erin.Doherty@seattle.gov before the meeting!
Garden House is now a Landmark!
June 5 meeting to guide future changes.
The Seattle Landmark Board voted unanimously to make Garden House and its full grounds an official Seattle Landmark.
Controls and Incentives Hearing - 6/05/19
The controls and incentives meeting has been confirmed for Wednesday June 5th. Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave, Floor L2, Room L2-80 starting at 3:30 pm. The agenda has been set, view it here.
The Landmark Board will review requests for changes to the property and confirm and incentives granted to the owners by the City. All are welcome to attend.
Thank you for helping make this icon of Beacon Hill more secure for future generations. This designation provides immediate protection for the pear orchard in regards to the pending proposal to replace it with 5 town homes. Read the full report for more history of the house and details of the designation (on last page).
While Garden House is a win, there are many other important heritage sites in our community that may require protection from the increased threat of re-development especially in the newly up-zoned area from Beacon Hill International School to Spokane Street. To that end, Beacon Hill Council is seeking people to be part of a historic preservation committee that may evolve into a Beacon Hill Historic Society. If you would like more information about this volunteer effort email Maria Batayola.
Landmark Designation Hearing - 4/03/19
The designation meeting has been confirmed for Wednesday April 3rd. Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave, Floor L2, Room L2-80 starting at 3:30 pm. The agenda has been set, view it here.
At the nomination hearing, the board was impressed with the community turnout. It's still critical for out neighbors to show up in support and comments. This meeting reviews further information from the nominators and the current owners about the property. The decision about what specific parts of the property and site will be designated happens at this time. Put on your green as a show of support and join us this Wednesday!
Landmark Nomination Hearing - 2/20/19
At the Landmark Hearing yesterday, the Seattle Landmark Board voted unanimously to nominate the Garden House and the grounds (or the Turner-Koepf house as it is referred to by the nomination) for preservation. Thanks to all of the folks who attended and spoke so eloquently on behalf of preserving this historic site.
This was an important step but it's not finished yet. Now we look forward to April 3rd for the public designation meeting for the determination of what that means for the property and our community. To find out more about the process, check out this handy flow chart. We just finished step 3 and are onto step 4.
We will share out more details regarding the April meeting as soon as we get them. Read the nomination report.
Landmark Application Status
Beacon Arts retained the services of Northwest Venacular, a highly regarded historic preservation consulting firm, who prepared and submitted the 90 page Nomination Application to the Seattle Historic Landmark Preservation Board on Oct 12, 2018.
Future Actions by Beacon Arts
Beacon Arts is committed to seeing the Landmark Application through to the end. Sign up for our mailing list for the most up to date info on these developments. Community support through letters and attendance at review meetings are crucial to get the application approved.
Details of the Sale
On Oct 10, 2018, the Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs (WSFGC) sold the Garden House for $1,438,888. The new owners are Jimmy and Kimberly Vuong, a married couple, and Pamela Vuong. Kimberly Vuong is a local real estate agent and the Vuongs own multiple properties in the area. Pamela Vuong started The Flour Box, a pop-up bakery, in 2014 while a college freshman at UW. The family intends to open a bakery at the site.
The WSFGC had received and rejected a higher offer from Historic Seattle, a non-profit Preservation Authority. We were informed that the Vuongs’ offer was a cash offer.
Status of the Title
The original deed that conveyed the property from the Jefferson Park Ladies Improvement Club to the WSFGC in 1977 included a restrictive covenant requiring that the Property was to be maintained as a historic site and stipulating that the Property could only be used, sold, or leased for non-profit purposes. The WSFGC had this covenant removed from the deed in anticipation of selling the property. Beacon Arts had obtained legal counsel to pursue whether the removal of that restrictive covenant could be challenged when we were notified of the sale.
The warranty deed recording the 10/10/18 sale of the property to the Vuongs refers specifically to the original covenant, stating that the conveyance to the Vuongs is “free of that certain restriction imposed by the conveyance from Jefferson Park Ladies’ Improvement Club, a Washington Corporation, recorded under recording number 7712190533.” (King County Public Records)
While we hope that the Vuongs’ planned bakery business will be a good addition to the neighborhood, there is no restriction currently as to how they may develop the property or to whom they may sell it if their plans change (or when their bakery business runs its course, as all business enterprises inevitably do.) The WSFGC’s attorney also notified our attorney on the date of the sale that title insurance was acquired by the owners (to indemnify the owner against any defects or issues with the title).
Save Garden House campaign would like to thank the community for their donations which has resulted in a landmark designation application happening. We raised just slightly over $12,000 including the $2,417 from the Dine out for Garden House Event. We used these funds for legal consultation and services, community outreach, and professional services to complete and submit the landmark application. We will continue to support the landmark application through the
presentation and review process. Stay tuned!