‘Morally criminal' efforts by Pioneer Square developer thwarted

Efforts by a developer that were once called "morally criminal" have been thwarted, at least for now.

A ruling by King County Superior Court Judge Bill Bowman essentially stops the development of 316 Alaskan Way South, Crosscut reports.

Related: Pioneer Square shines after revitalization of Seattle’s oldest neighborhood

The ruling comes after the Pioneer Square Preservation Board rejected the plans for being "out of scale with the surrounding historic properties," according to Crosscut. Things escalated from there when the Department of Neighborhoods issued a certificate of approval for the project. Advocate group Save Our Square appealed and won. The developer claimed Seattle's terms, such as "scale" and "compatible," made language vague and subjective, Crosscut reports.

Bowman’s ruling ended the argument by saying the city’s preservation language is clear.

Save Our Square declared victory.

Greg Aden of Save Our Square previously told KIRO Radio that losing the building at 316 Alaskan Way South would be detrimental to the aesthetics of the historic neighborhood.

The original plan by Gerding Edlen was to demolish the existing building and build an 11-story apartment building with a waterfront view. Plans called for 200 units within about 150,000 square feet of residential space, according to city documents. There would be about 5,000 square feet of retail space and more than 26,000 of additional parking space.

Aden argued there are other areas of the city that a developer can build and there is no need to destroy a piece of the city’s history. There are eight historic neighborhoods in Seattle, why infringe on its history? Aden asked.

“With every new building, you are diluting the historic character of the neighborhood,” he said at the time.

Crosscut reports Gerding Edlen sold the property to Urban Visions.

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