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Seattle Plans

Last Build Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2015 05:03:01 +0000


Seattle Plans is back.

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 22:13:00 +0000

The blog will continue soon.

Seattle Plans on (short) leave

Sat, 23 Jun 2007 00:34:00 +0000

Yesterday Seattle Plans went on an unannounced, last-minute vacation. Sorry, this sort of thing happens during the summer. Posting will continue on Monday with the news links.

Hey, Charles (at The Stranger's Slog) finally picked up on the tiling at 5th & Madison. Did you think he would not have thoughts? His big question:

Why did the architects choose something that opposes, that works against, that almost undoes the modernistic sleekness of the tower? Most of 5th and Madison appears to be rational (the best type of architecture—or ecotecture), and this considerable confusion of tiles appears to be so whimsical. It’s not entirely bad, just remarkably odd.

Late Announcement: Meet a Central Area developement project today.

Wed, 20 Jun 2007 03:27:00 +0000

Tonight you have an opportunity to meet Jim Mueller, the developer behind the land use application for the empty lot at 23rd and Union (SW corner). Even if you don't live in the immediate area, this is a rare opportunity to understand how developers think and work. Perhaps through greater understanding comes greater respect, or at least knowledge that developers are people and they aren't all bad.

When: Tuesday, June 19, at 6 P.M.
Where: Central Cinema

More details at the Miller Park Neighborhood Association blog.

06/18/2007 Feeds Note

Tue, 19 Jun 2007 01:48:00 +0000

Sorry if your feeds are spammed. Some post label editing required republishing posts...

Now you can find DPD bulletin highlights under the label "Proposed."

A thirteen acre, master planned Pop-Up Neighborhood

Fri, 15 Jun 2007 21:21:00 +0000

(image) Image is scanned from the Wall Street Journal. Please don't sue. Click to enlarge.

Due to the increasing intensity of East Denny Triangle's construction and development, I previously characterized it as a pop-up neighborhood (posted on the original Seattle Plans site, now offline, soon back online; somewhat related post here). Notable is its recent sudden growth and diversity of uses.

But all of that would pale by comparison to West Denny Triangle if someone buys and develops the 13 acres of contiguous land the Clise family has put up for sale.

As first reported by the Wall Street Journal this morning[$], the Clise family has put the potential for 13 million square feet of development up for sale, a year after the City Council raised building heights from 300' to 500'.

"[Alfred M.] Clise says he is looking for a comprehensive, cohesive plan with world-class design. 'I envision something akin to Rockefeller Center,' he says. "Mr. Clise says the family has no specific requirements, and the investor with the proposal that impresses them the most will likely get the land. Office condominium and hotel towers are probably a given, but he is open to additional features, such as
green space, museums or performing-arts facilities."

Mr. Clise believes that the strong job growth outlook for the Seattle area and the 5% vacancy rate for top-quality Class A office space are good reasons to sell now. The WSJ does point out, however, that Mr. Clise may have "missed his window" as interest rates last week rose to nearly 5.25%. The Clise family states that they will hold out for their desired selling price (something in the hundreds of millions).

Wow. It would be a truly awesome project with tremendous impact on the city. Here is to hoping that someone with truly world-class design ideas scoops this up. It certainly would help alleviate the effects of Vulcan's uninspired Portland-cloning design ideas for South Lake Union.

Other (free) coverage:
PSBJ, PI, Times, Times #2

06/14/2007 DPD Bulletin Highlights

Fri, 15 Jun 2007 18:12:00 +0000

Just one highlight from yesterday's DPD bulletin:

Downtown: 1400 6th Ave (east side of NE block)
Modifications to east façade of Sheraton Hotel & RoW
It looks like the Sheraton is going to be a good citizen and do something about that vast expanse of concrete wall on 7th Ave. Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (of many local & famous projects), should be able to figure it out.

Thursday Compendium

Fri, 15 Jun 2007 01:11:00 +0000

Development Colman Center: office space for creative types [PI, June 14]Hotel not residential disappoints Seattle officials [Times, June 14]Sims hopes to buy time for rails-for-trails (?!) [PI, June 13]Related: Sims wants to speed up land-swap deal (?!) [Times, June 14]Megahomes multiplying, but how big is too big? [Times, June 14]Visions for a new Seattle Center being made public [PI, June 12]Related: Seattle Center: daily destination? [Times, June 13]Hist. comm. approves new lighting for Steinbrueck Park [PI, June 13]In Other Neighborhoods. . . [Stranger, June 13]Historic Central Area hall looks as if it's on its last legs [PI, June 12] More Ava condo information [SCR, June 11] Neighborhoods WS: Seattle Housing Authority acquires WS apts [WSB, June 13]GT: Duwamish cleanup gets a bit messy [PN, June 13]GT: Stop work order: demo of Old Firehouse Market(!) [PN, June 13] Municipal/Zoning/PoliticsCity Council: Primary Primer [Stranger, June 13]City Council: Follow up with Venus Velazquez [Slog, June 14]City Council: Joe Szwaja profile [Slog, June 14]More City Council links on Slog [Slog, June 13](I didn't see any Times or PI coverage this week. Did you?) Transportation Beyond Sound Transit 2 [OR, June 13]Related: ST2 includes study of Burien light-rail [Hi.Times, June 12] Market New housing market: Urban car camping [Slog, June 14]Sabey sells P-I building to California company [PI, June 14]WA 1st quarter mort. delinquencies down QoQ, up YoY [PI, June 14]Seattle foreclosures up QoQ, up YoY [PI, June 13]Homes cited as too costly for too many [PI, June 11]Related: Seattle Bubble's article review [SB, June 12][...]

Striking design proposed for 1903 5th Ave (photos)

Thu, 14 Jun 2007 00:38:00 +0000

(image) Model above is the original proposal for 550', 46 story hotel/condo tower at 1903 5th Ave. Changes detailed and more photos below.

I told you previously that the proposal for 1903 5th Ave was something to get excited about, and it is, not just because it would dwarfs Escala and the Westin towers and everything around it. Its thoroughly modern looks would be unlike most all of them.

Placed on a site just 108' by 120' (if I heard correctly), this tower has a tight podium and a solidly straight-up expression clad in a "greenish blue" glass, despite some changes to the original model. In order to thin the tower, "shoulders" have been lost (balconies on the corners rise higher up) and the podium has risen some stories. Added transparency at the base connects pedestrians to activity within the building. Notches have also been added to the tower's heights to avoid a "Darth Vader" feel. Interesting features include a rooftop screen inspired somewhat by an inverted parasol and transparent tube elevators at the podium corners facing 5th Ave.

For what it is worth, out of respect for the developer, a cordial man with whom I conserved briefly (and gave me permission to photograph his model for this obscure blog), I'll refrain from sharing more details until this project progresses further through design review.

The design review committee seemed slightly positive. Concerns shared among the committee members were lack of exterior expression of interior activity at higher elevations and some issues with the podium. One member expressed some worry that the tower could become "retro." I could not figure her intent, but if she meant a retro vision of the future, I do admit that that is my greatest worry here. It's too early to tell, however, and I remain terribly excited about the possibility of its being built. Here's to hoping that the committee allows this tower to make a statement, which it undoubtedly will by its height alone, unhindered and uncompromised.

Related: DJC article [via Urbnlivn, Feb 13]

The DSA Luncheon: Middling, but why?

Wed, 13 Jun 2007 00:05:00 +0000

Sorry Charles, the 49th DSA Annual Event was no party. As little more than a downtown meet and greet, there was no champagne, nor models (scale building or marketing), new information, grand initiative, or revolutionary vision. The economy is great right now but it would seem people are thinking worrying ahead about the viaduct and the general transportation mess, the potential for a local housing mess, rising interest rates, a national slowdown, or something else...

It was hard to get excited about much. The first speaker, outgoing 2006-2007 DSA Chair Pat Callahan (a real estate guy), is a terrible public speaker (sorry Callahan) and as a result (though still without excuse) the crowd's murmur rose somewhat over Callahan's farewell, devoted largely to the viaduct. Stalling an immediate rebuilt viaduct was considered a great victory; the outstanding potential of a rebuilt viaduct was the next great threat. The viaduct problem was one of too many self-interests.

After Callahan was done the incoming 2007-2008 DSA Chair, John Hanley (a real estate lawyer guy), gave a bland speech that said absolutely nothing and was completely uninspiring. His introduction to the podium, with a broad array of boards he's served on (from affordable housing to alcoholism and others I can't remember), was more interesting than his speech.

Kate Joncas, DSA President, turned things around. She spoke with some energy about a downtown's ability to foster diverse interaction and its importance to civil society. People outside downtown live and interact with too many people too similar to themselves and the Internet is largely a collection of niches. (Here was something to think about.) She said that great public open spaces were needed in order to draw a diverse crowd downtown. Her hope was to see a family picnic outside City Hall and girl scouts selling cookies (I think she said) on 2nd and Pine. That got a laugh and then some applause.

The final speaker was Edward K. Uhlir, the man put in charge of creating Millennium Park in Chicago by Mayor Daley. The park is absolutely amazing. Uhlir gave a very informative presentation that held the crowd's interest; the man himself sounded tired however.

Here's to hoping the economy doesn't tank by next February when DSA holds the State of Downtown event, the closest it gets to a party.

Original Content: Coming tomorrow!

Tue, 12 Jun 2007 00:43:00 +0000

Finally, you can expect some real journalism on Seattle Plans.

Tomorrow I'll be at the DSA's Annual Event. While I won't be live-blogging, I will provide you with a full report sometime afterward. I say sometime because tomorrow evening I plan on attending an early design-review meeting you care about to give you a second original report the following day. Bonus!

Monday List

Tue, 12 Jun 2007 00:38:00 +0000

This doesn't deserve the "compendium" label- Sorry, I just needed to get this out the door...

Seattle looks at widening apartment, condo tax break [PI, June 11]
Affordable rentals vanish as apartments go condo [Times, June 10]

Crosscut special report: Tolling the Puget Sound [Crosscut, June 11]
Kemper Freeman really hates transit [Slog, June 11]
Related: Transit opponents overview [STB, June 9]
3rd Ave to stay bus lane until viaduct replacement built [STB, June 10]

Wallingford: Park NIMBYs oppose school project [Times, June 11]
Windermere: Denny mansion loses piece of its history to [PI, June 11]

Local home sales cool off; why are prices still hot? [Times, June 10]
Belltown Market Analysis [SCR, June 8]

Sunday Compendium: Delayed

Sun, 10 Jun 2007 20:50:00 +0000

I am out of town. Sunday's news links will be up tomorrow. I've also got at least three posts brewing... hopefully I'll have some time to post this week.

As always, send tips, stories, or feedback to Thanks for reading.

06/07/2007 DPD Bulletin Highlights

Fri, 08 Jun 2007 21:11:00 +0000

Highlights from yesterday's DPD bulletin:Downtown: 600 3rd Ave (entire block)180 residential, 540k office, plaza, Metro tunnel connection, 600 spacesThis is the early design review for Triad Development's proposed "civic square." (You've heard about this previously.) The site is currently an entire city block of dirt surrounded by a plywood fence. What you may or may not realize is that the architectural firm, Norman + Partners, and its namesake, Lord Foster, is a big deal. Such a big deal that you might want to attend the early design review: June 26th, 5:30pm (possibly 7pm) at City Hall.Central District: 2203 E Union St (SW corner)6 stories, 91 residential units over retail, 100 parking spacesThis gets included because 1) it's also been a large dirt field for some time and 2) it's at the intersection (23rd & Union) featured in this week's Stranger short feature on the Central District. The Central District has seen tremendous change; since 1990 African-Americans went from over half the household population to just over one third now, whites from one third then to over half now.Roosevelt: 6515 Brooklyn Ave NE (north half of west block)4 stories, 42 apartment over 4 live-work, retail, 71 parking spacesThis project wins this week's smart growth award for working to end the tyranny of single-family homes by tearing down 5 single family houses and replacing them with over eight times as many apartments right next to a planned light rail station (albeit a years ahead of time).Sidewalk cafe applications:La Dolce Vita RistoranteThe Local VineGlobe Cafe & Bakery[...]

Thursday Compendium

Fri, 08 Jun 2007 00:45:00 +0000

DevelopmentFuture affordable housing funding requiring green standards [PI, June 7]Qwest Field North Lot development moves forward [Times, June 5]Stone Way QFC project stalled; currently a big pit [Times, June 5]Related: Pending groceries in West Seattle [WSB, June 5]NeighborhoodGeorgetown: Neighbors talking trash with city [PI, June 7]CD: A story (about change & race) [Stranger, June 6]Related: CD story correction [Slog, June 7] Mossback finds his n'hood: N. Dakota (Leave already!) [Crosscut, June 4]WS: Current and potential condo conversions [WSB, June 3] Municipal/Zoning/PoliticsWanted: Seattle City Council candidates, not weenies [Times, June 7]Related: Idiot, you kicked out the cool kids! [Slog, June 7]Related: Limited interest in City Council races [PI, June 4]Meanwhile, Seattle Port Commissioner race gets crowded [Slog, June 7]City Council campaign funds & strip club zoning [Stranger, June 6]New initiative from Dick's owner: More talk? [Times, June 5]State doubles funding to protect public lands [PI, June 4]Related: Where that funding is going on the Eastside [Times, June 7]1m in Sno Co. by 2040 (King Co. projections too) [Herald, June 4]Middle class moving out/what's middle class? [PI, June 4] Transportation(I can't cover the light rail/RTID debate; there's too much.)Kemper Freeman against Bellevue light rail? (Why?) [Times, June 7]UW, Sound Transit agree on extension for $1.6 billion [PI, June 7]The other tunnel debate: Bellevue's preferred light rail [Crosscut, June 5]Related: Some Bellevue LR planning alternatives [Orphan Road, June 6] MarketLinks to/reviews of all the monthly market articles [SeaBub, June 7]Best Sunday real estate ads [UrbnLvn, June 7][...]

5th & Madison: Now what?

Tue, 05 Jun 2007 20:44:00 +0000

Without a doubt, that tiling is going to fill in the orange area:

(image) Now the question is, what's going to fill in the area above? Please say it's stripes!

Sunday Compendium

Sun, 03 Jun 2007 20:06:00 +0000

Wow. I can tell summer has arrived:

The next wave of condos [SCR, June 2]

RTID Moves Forward [Slog, May 31]

King County: take our urban lands, please [SeaTrans, June 1]
Sally Clark's nightlife proposal [Slog, June 1]
Related: Earlier post [Slog, May 31]

CD Quality of Life: Under Attack! (Uh, Deano's closed.) [MP, May 31]

If you need something more, check out the Vintage Seattle blog. It launched May 3rd and it has enough content now to keep you occupied for some time. (I try to task your attention only when it's best.)

05/31/2007 DPD Bulletin Highlights

Fri, 01 Jun 2007 23:46:00 +0000

Highlights from yesterday's DPD bulletin (sorry, no photos this week):

Note that the DPD site will be down 06/02/07 from 6am to 2pm.

Lower Queen Anne: 300 3rd Ave W (NE corner)
7 stories, 195 apartments, 7 live/work, min. retail, 250 parking spaces.
The only thing I could find about this project specifically is that the developer is R.C. Hedreen Co., developer of the Olive 8.

Lower Queen Anne: 225 Roy St (South side)
2 stories, 29,000 sq. ft. performing arts theater, no parking.
Theatro Zinzanni's new digs is going through a second design review. I can't find the architect, Stephen Quinn.

Capitol Hill: 1531 Broadway (NE corner)
Walgreens Signage Special Exception
"Two additional projecting signs at street frontage." (Are these light boxes or just neon signs?) Lodge your complaints by June 13.

Sidewalk cafe applications:
Cafe Paloma

Confidential to dave: A drive-by of that U. District office building suggests it's full. No leasing signs and it just looks occupied from two sides.

Thursday Compendium

Fri, 01 Jun 2007 01:41:00 +0000

Sorry for the delay. There's a lot:Development$32m Nitze-Stagen deal saves historic downtown church [PI, May 31]Related: How the deal went down [Times, May 31]Related: Seattle Times previous version [Times, May 30]Bellevue: "Thinking big for the future of Bel-Red" [Times, May 31]Check out area development over time on Trulia [CHS, May 31]Fallout from ST Capitol Hill plans & other development [PI, May 30]Related: Capitol Hill light rail station detail [SeaTrans, May 30]Related: ST Capitol Hill light rail station page [ST]"Schnitzer Northwest expanding, changing name" [PI, May 30]"Seattle's 'Ladybug Guy' hits his blue period" [Times, May 30]Washington Hall: likely to be sold, demolished [Crosscut, May 29]Related: Paper Noose upset. [Paper Noose, May 30]Downtown hotel switch incredulousness in writing [Seattlest, May 29]Condos are spreading out [PI, May 28]Related: Even in West Seattle [WS Blog, May 29]NeighborhoodFirst Hill: M Street Grocery: Ok for neighbors [MetBlog, May 31]Intl Dist: CASA Latina has some friends [PI, May 31] Fremont:"It's back! The wait for 'the Interurban' is over" [PI, May 31]Cap Hill: New park!; Comment & meet w/Park Dept [MillerPark, May 31]Cap Hill: CHS blog wants you to move in [CHS, May 31]Ballard: Bitches and moans (like everyone else) [Times, May 30]WS: Trader Joe's Rumor [WS Blog, May 31]WS: Competing offers to buy, Renter vs. Developer! [WS Blog, May 31]WS: Land use updates [WS Blog, May 30] Transportation Sound Transit's shore-hugging rails [Times, May 30]ST small-biz mitigation: example of success(!) [SeaTrans, May 30] Market "Case-Shiller: Seattle Not Really Special" [SeaBub, May 29]ConstructionCarpenters agree to work [PI, May 30]Email tips, rumours, wild speculations to[...]

5th & Madison: Tiling still rising

Wed, 30 May 2007 03:37:00 +0000

Yesterday Vashon118 posted a 5th & Madison photo from last Friday on the SSP forum (scroll down a bit). The tiling continues to rise! Just a week after it first appeared, it's risen two more floors. Oh, the humanity!

I'll have another update later this week.

Monday Compendium

Tue, 29 May 2007 02:42:00 +0000

"Colman School fire was an accident" [PI, May 27]
"Condos springing up near Pike Place Market" [PI, May 25]
"Deal to build homes near Qwest Field moves ahead" [PI, May 25]
UW B-school's new building $15m short. [$ PSBJ, May 25]
"Sound Transit directors OK expansion of light rail system" [PI, May 24]
Downtown developers change minds, build hotel [PI, May 24]

Mid Beacon Hill Issues [BeaconHill, May 25]

Hempfest gets a SAM park easement from City [Slog, May 28]

Light rail in the bus tunnel! (photo) [SeaTrans, May 24]

There were plenty of opinion pieces but none were worth your time.
Feedback and tips appreciated.

Sunday Compendium: Delayed

Sun, 27 May 2007 17:33:00 +0000

The Sunday Compendium will be delayed one day on account of the holiday.

5/24/2007 DPD Bulletin Highlights

Sat, 26 May 2007 18:15:00 +0000

Sorry, I couldn't pass up a happy hour invite yesterday. Without further ado...Highlights from Thursday's DPD bulletin (sorry, no photos this week):Downtown: 1903 5th Ave46 stories, 175 hotel, 190 condos, retail, 250 underground parking.Urbnlivn reported the DJC article on this mega-tower (which suggests it might be built in the next development cycle), but did anyone follow up on the architect's website? Check it out. Is Seattle going to get itself a NY-style tower? Whether you like those designs (Time Warner Center!- !!!) or not, this is going to be a standout tower. Wild speculation: If this actually gets built, you're going to hear a lot about it, not only because there will be absolutely nothing else like it in Seattle, but it's going to be Seattle's best. Oh, and expect some belly-aching from "Old Seattle" Seattleites about this NY-attitude development.Downtown: 810 Western Ave12-stories, office over ground retail, 185 parking spaces.Colman Center will be updating its design. This is the render you've seen previously. Colman Center was actually presented as a test case in one of the Green Factor presentations, which showed all the terraces covered with green roofs (PDF, slides 123-128).Lower Queen Anne: 100 Republican St 6 stories, 228 apartments, 17 live/work, 155 parking spaces.Remember last week's update? 147 live/work units should have set something off. How would you fit 147 live/work units around the ground floor exterior? You can't. It's really just 17 units. That leaves 138 parking spaces for 228 apartments.[...]

Overheard: Green Factor leader out? Design Review review?

Thu, 24 May 2007 23:39:00 +0000

Before I forget, at last week's Green Factor Workshop I overheard the following words in this order:
  1. Moddemeyer
  2. position not funded
  3. city-wide
  4. Burien [?!]
Which might mean that Steve Moddemeyer, the brains behind the new Green Factor landscaping requirements for commercial areas, might be out of a job next year (or budget) as the city prepares to take Green Factor city-wide. I'm not as sure I heard Burien.

Also overheard: Something to the effect that the city is going to review the Design Review process, starting sometime in early July. This comes at little surprise, given Sally Clark's March editorial about updating neighborhood plans and the neighborhood plan planning process survey that's whirling around the neighborhood sites. (You have until May 28th to fill it out.)

I can't vouch for the accuracy, nor the newsworthiness, of any of this.

Everything you wanted to know about the Condo Expo

Thu, 24 May 2007 23:34:00 +0000

Can be found at Urbnlivn, here.

I just didn't have time to get to it myself. On a positive note, check back here tomorrow for DPD bulletin highlights and some wild speculation.

And remember, tips to