Chance to reenvision historic Seattle church and theater comes with $2M price tag

Written by Desmond

January 2, 2022

The church-like grandeur is immediately recognizable from the corner on which the property rests. 

Calling all visionaries: this historic building just blocks form the waterfront in Seattle’s Fremont/Wallingford neighborhood seeks your imagination.

The property, with its unusually permissive zoning, could be just about anything you want it to be — but you’ll want to be well funded as well as creative. This major fixer asks $1.998 million, just for the chance to fix it.

If 4000 Whitman Ave. N. looks familiar, it might be that you’ve driven past it, situated as it has been for many decades. It would be hard to miss: the building commands 8,352 square feet, resting on a 5,040-square-foot corner lot. You may also have been inside it: the property was once the Hope Gospel Hall Church, and before that, the Fremont Swedish Mission Church.

Its architect, John Alfred Creutzer also designed what is now the First Covenant Church in Capitol Hill and the iconic Medical-Dental Building in downtown Seattle.

The building’s hallowed origins are evidenced by the dramatic hips and valleys of its pitched roof outside, and its soaring ceilings and abundant light inside. After retiring its holy purposes, the building served as The Carter Family Puppet Theater, which is equally easy to imagine in its clearly theatrical dimensions.  

New owners of this property could take advantage of the existing grand foot print (as well as the legally grandfathered 46 foot height): the location is prime for an event venue or community center. The neighborhood is very much in demand right now, and the water views afforded by the 4370-square-foot roof terrace would certainly draw an audience.

But this is just one possibility. Zoning here is surprisingly agreeable for a developable total of 15,162 square feet (if, as suggested by the listing’s write-up, the new owner added a 1,520-square-foot underground garage).

Listing agent Edward Krigsman stated in the official Offering Memorandum that a new buyer could capitalize on RSL (residential small lot) upzoning to build “a substantially scaled single-family home, four spacious townhomes with ADUs, or perhaps four congregate dwellings with as many as 32 affordable, or even 40 market-rate, rental apartments.”

“One of the most consistent buyer requests received while brokering Seattle’s real estate over the years is one I can almost never fulfill: For an entire old ‘character’ building, perhaps in Pioneer Square or South Lake Union, that could be refurbished into an impressive, rustic, loft residence,” Krigsman said. “4000 Whitman is one such an opportunity.” 

Keep scrolling to take a tour of the property.

The location is in the Fremont/Wallingford neighborhood, a short walk and drive to the area’s many amenities. 

The waterfront is nearby, which means stunning views can be part of the deal here. 

The sizable lot offers many redevelopment options. 

Inside, the grand dimensions offer inspiration. 

The terrace could be an incredible view deck. 

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert.

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