An Olympia City Hall in Queen Anne?

No wonder the project has stalled.

The real-estate slump has resulted in dozens of stalled construction sites all around Seattle, some waiting for economic conditions to improve, some on the market, some seized by banks. Most are surrounded by cyclone fencing, and the nicer ones have tarps laid down to control erosion. The Cutting Room's favorite neighborhood pit has sat in a state of semi-demolition since early this summer: It's the old Seattle Mountaineers clubhouse in Lower Queen Anne, which in March 2007 was sold for nearly $5.9 million.The old structure, originally built in 1950 as the Norway Center, was knocked down fairly quickly. Then progress mysteriously halted, with a yellow earthmover/excavator left parked in the middle of the site. The retaining walls haven't been torn out, so the half-block parcel now looks like a gouged-out tooth, with the gums covered in graffiti.The property belongs to a partnership led by Goodman Real Estate. The city planning department (DPD) has issued a permit for the parcel—to be combined with a smaller site to the north—for some 200 apartments in a six-story building, with retail space on the street level to be developed by Virginia-based AvalonBay Communities.Or was to be developed, until the demo workers packed up their tools, save for the orphaned yellow earthmover. Curiously, the original DPD permit signs also disappeared. In their place is a very different building-permit application: one for Olympia's new City Hall.No wonder the project has stalled. Has there been some terrible bureaucratic mix-up—building the wrong building in the wrong city? "I'm absolutely certain it's being built here," says Olympia project coordinator Kathy Nolet. "I can see the crane from my office."Or has Olympia surreptitiously annexed LQA, like some Russian breakaway province? Will the once-mighty 98119 be ruled by the City Manager of Olympia? Calls to developer AvalonBay and the backhoe owner, Olympia-based DMJ Contracting, were not returned.

 
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