Seattle's Queen Anne Neighborhood News Blog


Entries Tagged as 'Planning & Construction'

Kidd Valley closes Queen Anne location to make way for CVS

September 3rd, 2014 by Laura

Kidd Valley closedThe Kidd Valley at the corner of Mercer St and Queen Anne Ave N has closed up shop. A sign on the door stated that September 1st was its last day in Queen Anne.

The building that houses Kidd Valley will be demolished for the upcoming construction on a CVS Pharmacy location. We first reported on the short future for the Queen Anne Kidd Valley last summer.

More on the upcoming new development is in our August 16th post.

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New developments on Queen Anne include 3 six story-plus buildings

August 19th, 2014 by Laura

There have been several land use applications for new developments on Queen Anne, along with 2 proposed multi-story residential buildings that share an Early Design Guidance meeting next month. The two with a shared meeting are side-by-side, one 6-story, one 7-story. Another 6-story building is proposed for 1st Ave N.

First up, the two residential buildings with live/work units that span the block of Thomas St between Queen Anne Ave N and 1st Ave N:

300 1st Ave W
The proposal is for a 7-story building containing 129 residential units and 9 live/work units. Parking for 113 vehicles to be provided below grade.

301 Queen Anne Ave N
The proposal is for a 6-story building containing 32 residential units and 6 live-work units. No parking provided.

300 1st Ave w

300 1st Ave W

301 QA Ave N

301 Queen Anne Ave N

The two projects above share an Early Design Guidance Meeting:

8pm, Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Queen Anne Community Center
1901 1st Ave W, Room #1      

The following addresses have Land Use Applications – decisions have not been made at this time, and no Early Design Guidance meetings have been scheduled:

219 1st Ave NLand Use Application – 219 1st Ave N
Application to allow a 6-story structure containing 45 residential units above 1,827.85 sq. ft. of commercial space. Parking for five vehicles to be provided. Existing structures to be demolished.

1010 5th Ave NLand Use Application – 1010 5th Ave N
Application to subdivide one development site into four unit lots. This subdivision of property is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards will be applied to the original parcel and not to each of the new unit lots.

722 3rd Ave NLand Use Application – 722 3rd Ave N
Land Use Application to allow 3, 3-story residential structures with a total of 16 units. Parking for 16 vehicles to be provided within the structures. Existing structures to be demolished.

Here’s a map of the above projects:

August 2014 Developments

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Tree removal becomes part of Boston Street sidewalk replacement

August 17th, 2014 by Laura

Boston Sidewalk Repair 1

Trees on Boston prior to SDOT work

Late last week we received several emails from readers who saw SDOT removing the trees along the side of Starbucks on Boston St. The crew was working on the sidewalk replacement project that we wrote about in mid-July. The project did not originally include tree removal. The sidewalk was slated for replacement and the tree pits were to be enlarged.

When the trees were ripped out last week, QAV reader Geoff Saunders sent us the photo of the SDOT crew in action (thanks, Geoff!). By the time I got up to Boston and Queen Anne Ave N, the trees were completely gone. As of this weekend, the construction area is prepped for the sidewalk, with no hint that there were ever trees in the space.

Boston Tree removal

Boston St tree removal,
photo courtesy of QAV reader Geoff Saunders

We contacted both SDOT and Picture Perfect Queen Anne (PPQA) about the tree removal. According to PPQA, tree removal was not originally included in the project plan, so we contacted SDOT about the removal of the trees.

SDOT prepared a statement for QAV readers, to explain their justification for tree removal and plans for the future.

Here’s the statement from SDOT – it’s lengthy, but explains their rationale:

During a sidewalk repair project, SDOT removes the old sidewalk, examines the tree roots, and evaluates tree health and structure.  Root pruning is routinely performed as part of this process as a means to preserve both tree and sidewalk.  In some cases, the amount of root pruning necessary to construct a new sidewalk exceeds the threshold that could sustain a healthy tree.

In this case, the westernmost tree and easternmost tree required extensive root pruning, which would have severely affected their health, jeopardized their structural stability and caused safety risks.  Therefore, SDOT determined the best plan is to replace them.

The center tree (the smallest one) did not require such extensive root pruning, so it could have been preserved for the time being. However, all three trees were Ash, which adapt poorly to – and often decline after – root pruning. Given that this smaller tree was impacted by root loss, the decision was made to replace all three trees to support the community’s desire for uniformity along the block, while adding diversity to the street tree population. There is the potential future threat of Emerald Ash Borer finding its way to Seattle, and SDOT  weighs that risk when considering opportunities to replace Ash trees in the street tree population. The replacement Gingko trees are extremely insect and disease resistant and have demonstrated excellent health and vigor in other business districts where we have recently planted them.

Boston Sidewalk prep

Boston St sans trees, prepped for sidewalk

The bad news: the old trees are gone, and it’ll be a while before the new trees provide the benefits of mature trees. The good news: Gingko trees will replace them.

However, let’s hope the Gingkos are male trees, as a Seattle Times article from 2009 notes that the female trees can be very smelly and drop “sticky, slimy” seeds:

“Female ginkgoes produce the troublesome seeds, which are covered in a fleshy coating that contains butyric acid, also found in rancid butter.”

According to the article, many cities have decided to remove their Gingko trees or replace the female trees with male trees. The city of Seattle has Gingko trees listed on their approved Street Tree List, so they’ve been used elsewhere in the city – hopefully without too much olfactory impact!

UPDATE: It’s a boy! SDOT has confirmed that the Gingko trees are all males, so no stinky, messy trees.

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New CVS design accommodates community, becomes more than just a one-story, one-use box

August 16th, 2014 by Laura

The proposed CVS at the corner of Mercer and Queen Anne Ave N has been through several changes. Originally planned as a one-story pharmacy-only building replicated in other locations, the new design takes into account the unique location in Lower Queen Anne/Uptown, and the urban village concept.

CVS Proposed Design

Single-use CVS design from July 2013 by Norr Architects

It was a close call. Wallingford residents fought against a CVS in their neighborhood. The single-box concept, the CVS had no housing above it and was a clone of generic CVS stores across the country. In the end, not much changed. The Wallingford CVS remained stuck at one-story and single-use.

However, we’ve been lucky on Queen Anne. Thanks to active residents and community groups like the Uptown Alliance and Queen Anne Community Council, the plans for the Queen Anne CVS were sent back to the drawing board. In addition to general design principles, the Uptown Framework provided additional guidance to ultimately create a building that fits into the neighborhood – and is more than just a one-story, one-use building.

CVS Final Plan

New multi-use CVS design by Schemata Workshop

The current design by Schemata Workshop is a big departure from the first, standard cookie-cutter CVS Pharmacy design. Instead, the Queen Anne CVS building is proposed as a three-story structure with 16,200 square feet of commercial use at street-level and 31 residential units above the first floor. A 62 stall below-grade parking will be accessed from an alley on the west side of the building.

The design guidelines incorporate the specific Uptown considerations. Among the many points in a 33-page pdf, key Uptown considerations that helped guide the new design address elements such as:

  • site characteristics
  • streetscape compatibility
  • entrance visibility
  • respect for adjacent sites
  • parking/vehicle access
  • corner lot considerations
  • height, bulk, and scale
  • architectural context
  • exterior finish
  • pedestrian open spaces and entrances

All of the above, plus more, help guide the design of Uptown buildings and ensure they are in keeping with the character of the neighborhood. One overriding principle that carries across all of the considerations is how people interact with and live with the buildings.

In the case of the Queen Anne CVS, the guidelines and feedback from the community have impacted a significant change. Whether you want a CVS in the neighborhood or not, the final building structure goes beyond just a pharmacy. It adds new living space to a key corner, and the street space will be much more pedestrian friendly – not a bad outcome for what was once a plain suburban box. If you’ve ever been pessimistic about the impact Queen Anne and Uptown residents and community groups can have, think again!

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Boston St sidewalk repair project rescheduled to July 30th start date

July 15th, 2014 by Laura

An update to the SDOT sidewalk repair project on Boston Street. It was originally slated to begin yesterday, Monday, July 14th, but has been delayed. It will now start on Wednesday, July 30th.

Boston Sidewalk Repair 1From our previous post:

The sidewalk from just west of Queen Anne Ave N down to and across the alley behind Starbucks is slated for repairs that include removing broken sections of sidewalk and enlarging the tree pits along the sidewalk.

The project was proposed by the Queen Anne Community Council and Picture Perfect Queen Anne. Funds for the sidewalk repair are being drawn from the City of Seattle Neighborhood Project Fund.

SDOT estimates that the project will take approximately three weeks.

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Boston Street sidewalk repair begins Monday

July 13th, 2014 by Laura

Boston Sidewalk Repair 1SDOT will begin a sidewalk repair project on Boston Street tomorrow, Monday, July 14th. The sidewalk from just west of Queen Anne Ave N down to and across the alley behind Starbucks is slated for repairs that include removing broken sections of sidewalk and enlarging the tree pits along the sidewalk.

The project was proposed by the Queen Anne Community Council and Picture Perfect Queen Anne. Funds for the sidewalk repair are being drawn from the Neighborhood Parks and Street Fund.

SDOT estimates that the project will take approximately three weeks.

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New Towne courtyard features a Queen Anne map of mosaics and more

May 7th, 2014 by Laura

The new Queen Anne Towne mixed-use complex is nearing completion, and the front courtyard art maps out the neighborhood and familiar Queen Anne sites. Plus, there’s a puppy sculpture designed by Georgia Gerber, the Northwest artist who also created Rachel, the Pike Place Market pig.

Towne sign and puppy

Local Queen Anne artist Lydia Aldredge designed the courtyard as a map – the meandering brickwork represents roads, the green sections mark parks, ravines, and the Boulevard. Stainless steel stair image mark stairways and there’s also a stainless steel “you are here” marker. A stainless steel star is a “you are here” marker and the seven mosaics mark historic and notable Queen Anne sites.

The sites chosen for the 7 mosaics were a mix of Aldredge’s input, suggestions from Queen Anne Historical Society, and requests from the building owners.

If you’d like to figure out the mosaic sites on your own, read no further. If you want a cheat-sheet, see the list and descriptions below from Lydia Aldredge:

Towne mosaic QA High School1. Queen Anne High School: This building is an architectural and cultural landmark. It’s full block size, stone facade, intricate detail, and adaptive reuse as a condominium make it a significant visual neighborhood anchor. This is a view of the west facade of the school so as to include one of the adjacent radio towers.

Towne mosaic QA Library2. Queen Anne Library: This lovely library, designed in the Richardson Romanesque style is another architectural landmark and cultural center. Generations of Queen Anne families have appreciated its interior resources and exterior beauty.

Towne mosaic church3. Bethel Presbyterian Church: Another historic landmark and architecturally significant structure.  This building has been a center of community life for generations and is an oasis of green along the rapidly developing avenue.  It’s steeple and rose windows are striking.

Towne mosaic Wilke House4. Wilkes Farmhouse: A historic landmark and one of the oldest remaining farmhouses on the hill.  The star patterned fascia boards are unusual as are the elaborately patterned porch balustrades. [The Wilkes farmhouse is just a few blocks away from the new Towne, at 2nd Ave N and Newton St.]

Towne mosaic bridge5. Ravine Bridge on McGraw Street: This is a lovely arched bridge with elegant historic light posts. It’s hard to see the structure in summer as the dense forest canopy recalls the original forest landscape of the hill.

Towne mosaic QAFM6.  Queen Anne Farmers Market:  A great recent neighborhood event is the Thursday Queen Anne Farmer’s Market.  This is an image of a fall Farmer’s market table with baskets overflowing with squash, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, and swiss chard.

Towne mosaic Lost Cedar7.  The Lost Cedar Tree:  An ancient cedar tree grew at 912 2nd Ave. West.  It was so large that clipper ships used this tree to navigate their entrance into Elliott Bay and Seattle.  It was sacred to the local tribes and was known as the Treaty Tree or Powwow Tree.  A settler homesteaded this land and insisted on cutting down this 2,500 year old tree to create a level building site.  That house is now a historic landmark.  Small, remnant cedar seedling trees can be seen along the property line.

Aldredge also designed the Towne sign – it’s based on the image of a picket fence with climbing roses.  According to Aldredge, one of the founders of the Queen Anne neighborhood, Louisa Denny, brought sweetbriar rose cuttings to Queen Anne from Virginia.  Rumor has it that descendants of these original cuttings still can be found in the wild around the hill.

Towne sign

Check out the new artwork and map of our neighborhood at the Queen Anne Towne courtyard, on Queen Anne Ave N between Crockett St and Howe St.

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Next Early Design Review for Seattle Children’s Home development set for March 19th

March 13th, 2014 by Laura

The proposed CamWest development for the Seattle Children’s Home site is up for another Early Design Review next Wednesday, March 19th. The developer has provided several new site plans, as well as proposed building designs, in advance of the meeting.

CamWest’s preferred option for the site at 901 W McGraw is “Option 6” and it includes the following:
Children's Option 6

- Total of 61 units; 122 parking spaces

- Nearly all exceptional trees remain

- Existing cottage structure remains

- Building masses along 9th Ave W broken into 4 clusters

- Central park/greenspace preserves large trees and creates a pedestrian node

- New curb cut location on W McGraw St

- Large greenspaces along 9th Ave W

There are three proposed building designs for the new townhomes – two traditional, one urban:

Traditional 1 Traditional 2 Urban 

To provide feedback, attend the Early Design Guidance meeting on March 19 at the Queen Anne Community Center, 1901 1st Ave W, Room #1. The meeting begins at 6:30pm and you can find materials related to the meeting online.

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Traffic signals and roadwork for Nickerson and Dravus Streets

March 3rd, 2014 by Laura

If you circle the north side of Queen Anne along Nickerson St near the Ballard Bridge, you may have noticed the roadwork underway the past couple of weeks. We just got an update from SDOT this week on the work, and there are two local projects in total – one on Queen Anne at Nickerson, and one just over 15th Ave W on Dravus St in Interbay – that will include the addition of new traffic signals.

Here are the details from SDOT, along with maps:

W Nickerson & 13th Ave W:

Nickerson Signal

  • Construction underway
  • New traffic signals
  • Federally mandated Americans with Disabilities (ADA) curb ramps on each corner
  • Metro bus stop on the SW corner will be relocated to the SE corner
  • Construction is expected to be complete and signals activated by May 2014

Dravus St & 17th Ave W:

17th W Updated

  • Construction slated to begin mid-March; to be completed in phases
  • New traffic signals
  • Federally mandated Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) curb ramps on the NW and SW corners of the intersection.
  • Curb bulb and a bike rack will be installed on the SW corner
  • Four parking spots will be lost due to improvements
  • Construction is expected to be complete and signals activated by June 2014

And, as part of the Dravus work, 17th Ave W to the north of Dravus to Bertona St will also undergo key changes related to parking and repaving:

  • New pavement striping and markings
  • Conversion of head-in parking to parallel parking
  • Street repaving
  • The “roadway channelization” will result in the loss of approximately 8 parking spots

17th Ave W parking

Per SDOT, these projects are funded by a partnership of private development mitigation and the “Bridging the Gap” transportation levy approved by Seattle voters in November 2006.

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Viaduct closed this weekend for semi-annual inspection – and it’s sinking

February 25th, 2014 by Laura

Viaduct per WSDOTThis weekend brings a new traffic impact for your awareness and planning. It’s time for the semi-annual Alaksan Way Viaduct inspection, which will close 99 and the Viaduct between Valley St and South Spokane St.

The details are below, the net recommendation is to avoid travel requiring Aurora/99/Viaduct routes.


Friday, Feb. 28 – Sunday, March 2

  • Both directions of SR 99 will be closed between Valley Street and the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel from 10 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday.
  • Both directions of SR 99 will be closed between Valley Street and South Spokane Street from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
  • Both directions of SR 99 will be closed between Valley Street and the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel from 6 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday.
  • Both directions of SR 99 will be closed between North 48th Street and South Spokane Street from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday.
  • Both directions of SR 99 will be closed between Denny Way and South Spokane Street from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

On a separate, but notable point, Monday’s Seattle City Council meeting included a briefing from WSDOT on the settling of the Viaduct due to work on the replacement tunnel. To date, the Viaduct has settled up to 4/10 of an inch as a result of the construction work.

Per Q13, “Council members say if the viaduct continues to settle it may need to be shut down, and it’s time to start thinking about a contingency plan.” The article also quotes Councilmember Mike O’Brien:

“We’re clearly in a phase where this is unanticipated what is going on, and I think the fear is that everyone knows exactly what we’ve agreed to is safe. And we’re very clear if something happens, there’s going to be a lot of contractor activities happening in that area coming up, and if all we have is 6/10 of an inch on to move with on the viaduct before it gets tagged and it gets shut down we need to start planning on that.”

Stay tuned – there’s just a little over half an inch of wiggle room to keep the Viaduct open during construction (and Bertha is stalled).

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South Korean government buys block of Mercer for new Consulate

February 12th, 2014 by Laura

115 and 127 W Mercer

Proposed development from Windermere sale listing

You may recall that back in September there were rumors swirling about the sale of the block of Mercer Street that is home to the Streamline Tavern, Radio Shack, Michael Reed Black Antiques, and Spic and Span cleaners. Recently, the property was off-market, and it turns out that it has indeed been sold.

Per KIRO, the property that sits between 1st Ave W and 2nd Ave W was sold to the South Korean government in December for $2.4 million. It will become home to a new Consulate office, and current tenants will have to vacate the existing buildings before demolition, with construction planned for mid-2015. (KIRO quotes businesses as saying they must leave by December)

The block were for sale via Windermere Commercial Real Estate, with the addresses as 127 W Mercer St and 115 W Mercer St, and listed at $2.75 million.

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Reminder: Seattle Children’s Home development meeting is tonight

December 19th, 2013 by Laura

The Early Design Guidance meeting for the proposed Toll Brothers development at the former Seattle Children’s Home site is tonight. There will be 20 minutes on the agenda for feedback from attendees – the meeting is open to all, so if you have concerns, feedback, or opinions on the proposed 61+ townhome development at W McGraw and 9th Ave W, plan on attending tonight’s meeting:

Meeting Details:

  • Camwest Proposed Development – Early Design Guidance Meeting
  • Wednesday, December 18th @ 8:00pm
  • Queen Anne Community Center
  • 1901 1st Ave W, Room 1

Option 3

Option 3: Developer’s Preffered Option

The developer will present the design plans, followed by questions from the West Design Review Board. Public comment will close out the meeting. More information, including all relevant documents, are available on the Seattle Department of Planning and Development site – project # 3015522.

You can also catch up on the latest from our last post on the plans.

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