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Conditional approval granted for new 20 unit apartment building on Lower Queen Anne/Uptown

May 16th, 2013 by Laura

Llewellyn Apts

Courtesy of Strata Architects

The City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has conditionally approved a new apartment building project at 717 3rd Ave N.

Llewellyn Place will be a 3-story building with 20 residential units, an outdoor courtyard, a rooftop deck including space for gardening, and an underground parking garage with parking for 11 vehicles.

Llewellyn mapStrata Architects is helming the project, which will include the demolition of the existing structure at the location. The 7,680 square foot lot is situated between a 4-story apartment building to the north and a 5-story mixed-use building to the south.

The project must address the usual conditions around excavation, disposal of hazardous materials, construction parking, street  and sidewalk closures, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Groundbreaking on the new project is expected this year.

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Rising rent forcing Tup Tim Thai to close May 28

May 2nd, 2013 by Laura

tup_tim_thaiQueen Anne is losing another long-time independent business to increasing rents. After 24 years at 118 W Mercer Street, Tup Tim Thai will close its doors on May 28th.

According to a tweet by Hanna Raskin, Seattle Weekly food critic, the restaurant’s landlord is doubling the rent, forcing Tup Tim Thai to close. Per Raskin, Tup Tim Thai’s Nat Chien says that the restaurant has never been late on rent payments or short on customers. So, if you have a favorite dish, you have 25 more days (and counting down) to get your orders in.

As for the new tenant, no word yet.

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Design Review scheduled for new 6-story Uptown mixed-use building

February 11th, 2013 by Laura

315 1st Ave N Proposed Development
Courtesy: Runberg Architecture Group

Another mixed-use building is proposed for Lower Queen Anne/Uptown, this time across from Key Arena at 315 1st Ave N. The proposed building will be six stories tall and have 212 residential units along with just over 12,000 square feet of retail space. As with other recent developments, it’ll have underground parking – although it’ll have more ample parking with spots for 238 vehicles.

Runberg Architecture Group is listed as the applicant for the project; the firm also designed the Expo Apartments at 100 Republican St. At this point in the process, the firm has provided early design drawings that indicate the mass of the building, not the final design details:

The Design Review Board Recommendation meeting is slated for 6:30pm on Wednesday, February 27th at the Queen Anne Community Center (room #1). At this meeting, the applicant will present information about the proposed design and how it responds to Design Guideline priorities. Public comments are welcome, but they must be limited to design considerations. If an environmental review is triggered, comments related to environmental impacts (e.g. traffic, parking, noise, etc.) may be sent to DPD following notice of that review.

3rd & Republican
Courtesy: Studio Meng Strazza

And, in related news, construction on the 5-story apartment complex designed by Studio Meng Strazza at 3rd Ave W & Republican will begin next month. As reported in December, this project will house 71 apartments, 5 live/work units, and 82 underground parking stalls.

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Plaza Garibaldi Burglarized Early Saturday Morning

January 26th, 2013 by Laura

SPD has reported that Plaza Garibaldi, 129 1st Ave N, was burglarized early this morning. Around the same time the alarm went off, a witness reported seeing two men breaking into the restaurant. SPD officers responded at around 4:20am, but could not locate the suspects in an area-sweep. The SPD report cites a witness description of the suspects: both were male, of unknown race, and wearing dark clothing. One was wearing a knit hat, the other a baseball cap.

According to SPD, it appears that the suspects were trying to steal alcohol from the restaurant’s bar, and they caused damage to Plaza Garibaldi’s door windows for their entry/exit. More information is available on the SPD Blotter.

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Mashawi Now Open and Celebrating with Grand Opening on Friday

January 16th, 2013 by Laura

You may recall that a reader tipped us to a new restaurant at 366 Roy Street back in November – well, Mashawi Mediterranean Cuisine is now open. After a soft opening the past week or so, they’re ready to celebrate and welcome neighbors with a Grand Opening on Friday, January 18th.

Mashawi is a family-owned restaurant run by brothers Paul and Khalil, who are originally from Lebanon and are focusing on their native cuisine. The brothers used to live and work on Queen Anne as chefs, and were drawn to the neighborhood for their new restaurant.

The Grand Opening begins at 2pm on Friday, with free Turkish coffee, baklava, and a free appetizer with purchase of an entree. (note: dine in only; one per person)

According to co-owner Paul:

“We want everyone to feel at home in our place and our philosophy is; when you’re in Mashawi’s, you’re going to be treated like family.”

So, stop by Mashawi on Friday for the Grand Opening and welcome them to Queen Anne!

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306 Queen Anne Ave Back up to 6 Stories

December 13th, 2012 by Laura

Caron Architecture: 306 Queen Anne Ave
back up to 6 stories

Last week, we reported on 3 new Lower Queen Anne/Uptown mixed-use developments that received Design and Planning Department (DPD) approvals. The final decision for 306 Queen Anne Ave required the developers to reduce the building from six to four stories.

Today, DPD issued a revised notice to “clarify the proposal as a six story structure” with all other conditions unchanged. 306 Queen Anne Ave will be a six-story, 50-unit residential building with three live-work units at street level. The building will include parking for 11 vehicles.

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Three New Lower Queen Anne/Uptown Developments Receive Final Design Decisions

December 10th, 2012 by Laura

New developments will be popping up around Lower Queen Anne/Uptown, as several proposed mixed-use (residential and retail) buildings have received final decisions from the Department of Planning and Development (DPD). Barring any appeals received in the next few weeks, these developments will move ahead.

Caron Architecture: 306 Queen Anne Ave

First up, a development at 306 Queen Anne Ave. We reported on its second design review back in September. Now, the planned development has received a final decision from DPD – the existing brick house will be demolished and Caron Architecture will transform the 7,200 square foot lot into a mixed-use development. The first floor will house three live-work units (1,334 sq. ft.) at street level, and the second through fourth sixth floors will have studio and one-bedroom units for a total of 50 residential units. It’ll also include parking for 11 vehicles within the structure (yes, this is about 1/5 of the total living units). Originally, the building was slated to be 6 stories, so the final decision puts it at 4 stories. [Note: DPD revised the decision on Dec 13, 306 Queen Anne Ave will now be 6 stories.]

Construction can begin once design conditions detailed in the DPD document are met – these include updating the plan with detailed drawings of the residential entry and darker exterior colors.

Caron Architecture: 521 2nd Ave W

Next up is another project by Caron Architecture at 521 2nd Ave W – a 33-unit building with 30 apartments and 3 live/work units. The building will take up a 7,200 square foot lot next to the KFC/Taco Bell combo. The ground floor will feature a residential lobby, 3 loft units, and 3 commercial live/work units. Floors two through four will each house studios, one bedroom and two bedroom apartment units, totaling 9 units per floor. Parking is not required for this site, but the plans include six parking stalls in the back of the building, accessed via the alley.

The design team must make a few key changes per the DPD filing before construction can begin, including consolidate three bathrooms in the commercial zone, providing transparency at a screen wall for light and views, and outdoor seating at the entry of the building.

Studio Meng Strazza: 3rd & Republican

The third approved design is a 5-story mixed-use development at 3rd Ave W & Republican, this time constructed by Studio Meng Strazza, the same developer as the 4-story mixed-use building being built across from the Uptown Safeway. The 21,600 square foot location will house a new apartment complex with 71 apartments, 5 live/work units, and 82 underground parking stalls. According to the firm, the building will also include a garden courtyard off 3rd Ave W for patio living space and a rooftop terrace.

Again, construction can begin once design conditions detailed in the DPD document are met – including adding easily removable walls in the live/work units, aesthetic detailing to the concrete base, and pedestrian lighting.

A key issue that many will note about these new developments is the ratio of parking to the number of residential units included in the designs. Uptown is considered an “urban center area” and the City Council passed Council Bill 117430 Ordinance Number 123939, which means that minimum parking requirements are reduced by 50% for buildings in an urban center; the underlying thought is that people living in urban centers are more likely to use public transit instead of cars.

For reference of where these new buildings will be popping up, see the map below for the locations of these 3 new developments plus the previously reported 509 1st Ave W building:

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Marx Foods Opens First Brick-and-Mortar Specialty Store on Western Ave

November 27th, 2012 by Laura

Owner Justin Marx with
first customer Marco

Marx Foods, an online retailer of a large, eclectic collection of specialty foods, has opened its first brick and mortar store in the Lower Queen Anne/Uptown neighborhood. Owner Justin Marx, recently profiled in Food & Wine, aims to serve as the “culinary concierge” for both Queen Anne residents and Seattle at large. The store will serve as a shop where you can get unique food and condiments, as well as advice, suggestions, and in-house tested recipes of how to best enjoy and make use of them. Some of the items offered, such as fine charcuterie, cheeses, balsamic vinegars, and olive oils will be familiar to most, but with some of the less common items, a knowledgeable staff and test kitchen are sure to come in handy.

I spoke with Justin Marx about the new retail venture, and asked him why he decided on Lower Queen Anne/Uptown – he said he hopes to bring something to Queen Anne that is unique to Seattle, something that doesn’t exist today… well, almost today, as Marx Foods opened its doors yesterday morning at the corner of Western and John Streets. (note: the signs are going up in the next couple of weeks, but it’s easy to find, as it’s directly across from the PI globe at 144 Western Ave with street parking available and free after 6pm)

Marx has run the online business from his Lower Queen Anne office for just shy of five years, all the while watching the neighborhood evolve with new housing developments, the Thomas St Pedestrian Bridge, and new and varied local vendors and restaurants. As the neighborhood evolved, he decided his business should too, and made the jump to a retail storefront. Marx finds the items he offers for sale by traveling the country, visiting farmer’s markets, and running culinary question marks by his tasting panel of local food bloggers and chefs to see if they pass muster. With only about 20% meeting the tasting panel’s standards, you should expect the items to be as good as they are unique. While the online store has over 1,200 items, the retail shop will have 300-400 products, but for the extraordinarily adventurous, special orders are welcomed and encouraged.

A liquor license is in the works and for summer, Marx is planning to offer ready-to-go picnics with items such as sliced charcuterie and cheese. Future events, some co-hosted with their neighbor Fat Cork, a boutique champagne purveyor, are also planned, so stay tuned for more as the new year ticks over.

So what will you find when you visit? They carry a range of game meats and birds; meats you see on menus but not in stores – boar, elk, pheasant, and even more unusual meats such as antelope and kangaroo. Other items include edible flowers, a wide variety of dried mushrooms and peppers, chili sauces, pastas, snacks both savory and sweet, and probably more than a few things you’ve not had the chance to try before.

I asked Marx to narrow down a list of his personal favorites – a tough task, but here are the essentials: Chicaogi Chipotle Chili Sauce, butternut squash seed oil, aged balsamic vinegars, Pistachio Cream, Denver Vegetable Leathers, Cocomels coconut milk caramels, Ramp Vinaigrette, and local marshmallows that are cup-size – perfect for hot cocoa.

“We’ve curated a selection of products that we feel is very special – the majority of products on the shelf are direct from the producer, with only one or two items from the producer. What I’d love is for people in the neighborhood to visit, get recipes ideas, gift ideas. Building a relationship with customers is key, we want to be their culinary concierge.” – Justin Marx, owner Marx Foods

If you’re looking for specialty food items, gifts, and treats that you can’t find anywhere else, stop by Marx Foods and welcome them to the neighborhood!

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New Thomas Street Pedestrian Bridge Artwork Gateway Dedication on Sunday

November 15th, 2012 by Laura

The recently completed Thomas Street Pedestrian Bridge is benefitting from SDOT’s 1% for Art, with a dedication of a new custom artwork on Sunday, November 18. The Office of Art & Cultural Affairs commissioned the work from artist and storyteller Roger Fernandes. Snoqual/Moon the Transformer illustrates a story told by local Puget Sound Salish tribes and will serve as a entry gateway to the Thomas Street Pedestrian Bridge at Thomas St and 3rd Ave W.

Fernandes is a member of the Lower Elwha Band of the Klallam Indians. He’ll be at Sunday’s dedication, discussing the piece and telling the Salish story of Snoqual that inspired it. His work relates to art, language, ceremony and story. He tells Native American stories for his tribe and other tribes of the Puget Sound area.

Snoqual/Moon the Transformer is a wooden construction that artistically conveys elements of a story told by Puget Sound Salish tribes – Snoqual came through the world and transformed it to what it is today. The gateway is composed of two carved and painted cedar panels connected by a cross beam centered by a metal cutout of Snoqual’s face.

The Seattle of Arts & Culture press release, includes the following Artist’s Statement from Fernandes:

“There are certain cultural, philosophical and historical points this artwork tries to address. One is that local Puget Salish culture accounted for dramatic change in the world as articulated by the Snoqual story. Another is that the Natives saw the powerful transformations wreaked by invading European and American cultures and would sometimes refer to them as “Snoqual.” Another is that the Native cultures and their arts are impacted and influenced by new technologies, and that Native artists are quick to respond to such developments. Culture is never static.”

Key Details:
- What: W Thomas St Pedestrian Bridge ribbon cutting & artwork dedication
- Where: Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 2pm
- When: 3rd Ave W between W Thomas and W Harrison Streets

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Elderly Man Hit By Dump Truck on W Mercer

October 30th, 2012 by Laura

Update: SPD has reported that the pedestrian has died from the injuries suffered in the collision.

At 2:45pm today, a pedestrian was struck by a dump truck at W. Mercer and 2nd Ave W. The pedestrian, an 88-year old man, has been transported to Harborview with life-threatening injuries.

According to SPD, traffic delays are expected as they inspect the accident site. More info will be updated on the Seattle Times web site.

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Small Business of the Year? Easy Street Records! Owner Matt Vaughan Shares His Insight and Upcoming Plans

October 15th, 2012 by Laura

Last week, Easy Street Records was named the King County Executive’s 2012 Small Business of the Year. The award was presented at a breakfast ceremony at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, where Easy Street Records was up against Kenmore Camera and Trophy Cupcakes for the top title. King County Executive Dow Constantine presented the award, which is “given to the small business that best exemplifies the tenacity, perspicacity, and audacity it takes to successfully operate a small business.”

Owner Matt Vaughan shared his thoughts with Queen Anne View on winning the award, as well as tips for other small businesses and plans for the coming year. Queen Anne is home to many small businesses and without our community, they wouldn’t survive. As you’ll see, Matt has many insights on the challenges and benefits of being a small business on Queen Anne – and, when you’re done getting the scoop on what it’s like to be in his shoes, stop by and say “Congratulations!” – and, keep supporting our local small businesses!

How’d you feel when you won the award?

“I was very humbled, this came as an utter surprise… Seattle is so supportive of small businesses, I think our citizens and residents understand that small business is a reflection of our society and our various neighborhoods. I think they also understand the benefits of spending money at local businesses. The money is recycled right back into our local economy. From our employees and the income they can spend locally…to the tax revenue it generates and the positive subsistence that it produces. This is what pays for our cops, firemen, paving streets, schools, etc. King County has exemplified just how the economy can recover, one community at a time. Invest in small business, shop at small business. We are the engines that fuel the economy.”

Are there any key tips or lessons learned as a small locally-owned business on Queen Anne that you’d like to share?

“1) …when first starting out, I recommend being visible, communicate with your customers, get behind that counter, work alongside your staff. Your customers work hard too, you can’t appear as a slacker, you need to dedicate yourself to your craft and your specialty.”

2) When hiring young people, give encouragement. Young people can feel intimidated if you do not spend a proper enough time with them or make them feel welcomed. Display the pride in what it means to go to work, show them some tricks of the trade.

3) When you receive a bad review or some negative feedback, you have to remember that it is simply because the people care, your customer wants the best from you. They have expectations. You can’t always live up to them, but you can’t let that bring you down or get upset over that. Also, remember the benefit you have that a large business doesn’t have, you can directly respond and have dialogue with a customer that was unhappy. You will either be able to retain that customer or at least find out some vital information about your company. The best improvements we have ever made, have always come from customer feedback.

4) Support your fellow merchants, collaborate with other businesses in your neighborhood.”

Any plans for the Queen Anne location in the coming year?

“We are coming out of very difficult stretch. In 2008, the same year the economy fell into a freefall, …we lost the Supersonics. They were our most important tenant in Queen Anne. It’s old news I know and I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but it still resonates with all of the businesses down here. We immediately saw a drop in sales, 30%+. As difficult as that was to weather, we also saw a drop in the attitude and civic pride in Queen Anne.
Soon after, we lost the Fun Forest in Seattle Center, we lost the Uptown Theater, Blockbuster Video, and a few small businesses along the way… I can’t say we are out of the woods yet, but we did find ways to get creative.

In the coming year, we will continue to have free in-store events and sidewalk sales. We will continue to support our local bands and musicians. Collaborate with like-minded businesses. We will continue to put up murals and award winning window displays. There are areas we need to improve on and we’ll work on that…our website will see an improvement in the coming months, we hope to improve our catalog in various genres, and of course expand our vinyl section. I’m open to suggestions. You did see Macklemore on the roof the other day didn’t you? That was a first.”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis perform on the roof of Easy Street’s Queen Anne location -Photo Courtesy of Jim Bennett

Many thanks to Matt Vaughan for his insight on running a successful small business on Queen Anne! Stop by Easy Street Records on Mercer Street to say congratulations – and continue to support our local independent businesses and restaurants, via both your patronage and your feedback – they’re what keeps Queen Anne unique!

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Conan O’Brien spotted wandering Queen Anne

August 26th, 2011 by Thea

Conan O’Brien has been spotted roaming around Seattle this week, posing for a picture outside the new Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in Lower Queen Anne Thursday.

*Photo courtesy of @ConanOBrien

While visiting the foundation Conan snapped this pic and tweeted:

Just tried to donate to the @GatesFoundation. Curiously, they refused to accept my ’92 Ford Taurus: http://bit.ly/ne1X3T

Coco is often seen visiting Seattle, his wife’s hometown. He’s been spotted a number of other places around town this week–have you seen him?

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