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Share your input on Uptown at Thursday’s community open house

November 3rd, 2013 by Laura

Uptown is changing as new developments start to go up and the Uptown Urban Center becomes a reality. A year-long planning effort is kicking off this Thursday, November 8th, with an Uptown Community Open House at the Seattle Center Pavillion (305 Thomas St).

Uptown FrameworkInput received from residents, business owners, and community organizations will help design the Urban Design Framework (UDF) for the Uptown Urban Center. Thursday’s open house is being hosted by the Department of Planning and Development and the Uptown Alliance, and they need your input, as well as your help in spreading the word about the meeting.

The Open House runs from 5:30pm to 7:30pm, and it’s open to anyone with an interest in the future of Uptown. What issues are at hand? Success for local businesses, affordable housing for renters, cyclist and pedestrian safety, transit options, the arts, potential school and library locations, and everything else that makes up a walkable, vibrant, liveable neighborhood.

Here are some key questions that’ll be on the agenda:

  • What do you love about Uptown? What do you wish was different?
  • How do you use the public spaces in Uptown?
  • What would make you use them more?
  • What role does Seattle Center play in your Uptown experience? What uses and/or services are needed in the neighborhood? What questions are we missing?

You can check out the City’s Uptown plan online and the Uptown Alliance’s Facebook page to check out the key issues and background on the Urban Center plans.

Think about what you’d like to see in a future Uptown Urban Center, and bring those ideas to Thursday’s meeting.

 

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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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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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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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House Across From Uptown Safeway Torn Down to Make Way for New 4-Story Residential Building

November 19th, 2012 by Laura

House before today

Today an old house at 509 1st Ave W, just across from the Uptown Safeway, was torn down and a reader caught the action on video and asked us what’s next for the lot. According to the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), the house will be replaced by a four-story building that’ll have 40 residential units, 3 live/work commercial spaces, and underground parking for 20 cars.

The original house was built in 1906 and sat on a 7,200 square foot lot. It was sold last November for $1.2 million.

Planned development

The construction of the new mixed-use building is expected to last approximately 16 months.

Construction workers will park on-street until the completion of the parking garage, so expect parking and pedestrian impacts for at least the next year.

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SDOT wants your opinion on Seattle’s paid parking

August 10th, 2011 by Thea

After adjusting the city’s paid parking rates neighborhood by neighborhood across town (and decreasing rates in Uptown), the Seattle Department of Transportation wants to hear what you have to say about the city’s on-street paid parking system. SDOT is conducting an online survey about paid parking, as part of a project to make paid parking more available downtown and in certain neighborhoods.

You can find the survey here (I just did it, and it took less than 10 minutes).

By the way, SDOT has a parking map that lists every paid, permit, carpool, time limited, no parking and unrestricted zone, as well as parking garages and lots. You can zoom in by address, intersection, major landmark, or neighborhood.

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Scenes from Night Out in Queen Anne

August 3rd, 2011 by Thea

Local photographer Chelsea Nesvig snapped these photos from the National Night Out block party at Counterbalance Park in Lower Queen Anne last night, and decided to share them with us.

The Uptown Alliance ran the party, revitalizing a number of popular events from years past all in the name of bringing neighbors together.

Many neighbors brought lightly used clothes to the annual free clothing exchange. All leftovers from the swap/trade event will be donated to local shelters.

Block partiers also indulged in another popular returning event – the “Bite of Uptown,” which provided free food samples from Lower Queen Anne restaurants.

The Counterbalance wishing wall gave neighbors an opportunity to share their hopes and dreams for Lower Queen Anne with each other and local organizations and non-profits.

All in all it was a great time with fun, games and community togetherness.

Check out more pics from Night Out at Counterbalance Park here. If you’d like to share pictures from your Night Out block party, email tips@queenanneview.com or share a link to your pictures online in the comments below.

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Sheraton to open new hotel in Lower Queen Anne

August 2nd, 2011 by Thea

A new hotel will soon be moving into Lower Queen Anne. The Four Points by Sheraton says it will be opening up its new Uptown location in mid-August at 601 Roy Street, currently the site of the Comfort Suites.

Sheraton’s parent company, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, is currently doing construction on the hotel, which will continue to operate as Comfort Suites until opening. This will be the first Four Points by Sheraton brand in Washington state, according to a Starwood representative.

Four Points by Sheraton director of sales Shanna Kellin says the new hotel is smaller and more service-specific than many of the other brands Starwood runs, which she says will help it cater to the feel of the surrounding neighborhood.

“While we have amenities available that most all travelers come to expect, such as Wi-Fi, comfortable beds and workspace in the guestroom, restaurant and bar onsite with room service, we want for our guests to feel that comfort isn’t complicated and that is the experience of the Four Points brand. We don’t have bellman, we don’t have rooms that you must explain how to operate them, but we have programs such as Best Brews, which feature local micro beer in our bar and we have free bottled water in the guest rooms,” she writes.

Though the hotel is currently undergoing construction renovations as it transitions into the Four Points, it still honoring reservations that were made at the Comfort Suites before construction began. The hotel tentatively plans to reopen as the Four Points on August 11, if all goes according to plan, Kellin says.

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Proposed Uptown streetcar service could connect Queen Anne, downtown, SLU and First Hill

July 27th, 2011 by Thea

While we await word on whether or not King County Metro will cut bus service here in Queen Anne, there is news about a number of proposed streetcar services in the works citywide, including one that would connect Lower Queen Anne to downtown, South Lake Union and First Hill, and another that would link downtown to Loyal Heights via SLU, Fremont and Ballard.

A preview of the report, which serves as a blueprint for the city’s transit planning for the next 20 years, was presented to the City Council’s Transportation committee on Tuesday. A draft of the full report is expected to be presented in September, according to a report by the SeattlePI.

According to the plan, two rail lines are considered to be the preferred option for transit in the “downtown connector,” which includes Lower Queen Anne.

Line CC1 would connect downtown with Lower Queen Anne via streetcar, while CC2 would run between downtown and South Lake Union via SLU’s existing rail tracks. From the looks of the map, it appears CC1 would run up 1st Ave N from S Jackson St. through Pioneer Square and Belltown to Queen Anne, with proposed stations at Denny Way and 1st Ave N, and potential terminal stations west of Seattle Center at 1st Ave N and Harrison, and at the base of the hill at Queen Anne Ave N and Mercer Street/Roy. Both the CC1 and CC2 streetcar lines would then connect to the South Lake Union Streetcar and forthcoming First Hill Streetcar, which is set to open in 2013.

The plans also outlines a Ballard streetcar line would cost about $327 million to build, including a new rail bridge across the ship canal (which would cost about $70 million) and a retrofitting of the Fremont Bridge (which would cost $10 to $12 million). Based on the map, it looks like the proposed rail line would run up and down 36th Street through Fremont en route to Ballard/Loyal Heights in one direction and South Lake Union/downtown in the other.

Of course, don’t get too excited, it’ll take a while to get this up and running. The entire plan is set-up to unfold over the next 20 years.

You can check out much more details on the plan via this PDF link.

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Mo’s Sub Co. coming soon to former Nucleus spot

July 27th, 2011 by Thea

Just one month after Nucleus hair salon shuttered its doors, a new business is opening up in the same Lower Queen Anne shopfront, and perhaps not surprisingly, it’s a restaurant. Mo’s Sub Co. will be “coming soon” to the space at 621 Queen Anne Ave N., according to the sign in the window, but beyond that little else is known.

There is currently no website or any online information for the business, and no permit applications have come through the city for that address. But whoever “Mo” is, we’re guessing he’s not from around here, considering the misspelling of Queen Anne (sans the last ‘e’) in the sign.

Still, in the current economy, where vacant storefronts have been sitting empty and idle for months at a time before a new retailer moves in (if ever – just look at both of Queen Anne’s former Blockbusters: the Upper location was left empty for almost two years before reopening as Umpqua Bank earlier this month, and the Lower QA location is still hollow from its March closure), it’s surprising to see a business closure turn around into a new opening so quickly. What do you think – is this a sign that things are looking up for Uptown’s business district?

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Woman assaulted in Lower Queen Anne Tuesday

July 4th, 2011 by Thea

Rebecca was walking to her Lower Queen Anne home alone around 1 a.m. last Tuesday when she was assaulted by a man who was not interested in robbing her, she says. The incident, which took place in front of the Iris Apartment building on Roy Street near 4th Ave W, shook her. She writes,

The assailant did not take my purse, and it is clear that his intention was sexual assault. I screamed and fought and someone in the Iris apartment building shouted that they were calling the police, and the guy ran off into Kinnear Park. I managed to walk away with just a fat lip (and some stitches and bruises) – but it could have been much, much worse.

Rebecca filed a police report before going to the hospital, but as of last Friday the suspect had not yet been caught. She provided this description:

It was dark and I can’t be certain, but I think the man was a homeless guy I’ve seen in the neighborhood before: white male, 5’10″, 170 pounds, dark chin/shoulder length hair that is wavy/matted, full beard.

Rebecca hopes that her experience will serve as a reminder to those in the community to be aware of their surroundings, and cautious for themselves and their neighbors, especially at night. She wrote,

I still feel that Queen Anne is a wonderful place to live (the fact that neighbors responded within seconds when I screamed is testament to that) but we shouldn’t be complacent about safety. Gentlemen, please consider walking ladies to their cars/homes late at night. And ladies, trust your instincts – if someone looks sketchy, walk away and go to a well lit place (like Bartell’s) or carry something like pepper spray in your purse.

Also, for those of you in the neighborhood, if you hear a scream or tussle outside late at night, please don’t hesitate to call out and say you’re calling the police. I am so fortunate that the residents of that building didn’t just roll back over and go to sleep, or call the police silently and hope for the best; the reason the guy ran off is because someone shouted “I’m calling the police, and coming right down.”

In February of last year another Uptown resident, also on her way home alone, was pushed down and kicked in the face and chest repeatedly just a block away from this recent incident, at Roy and 3rd Ave W. In this case the suspect was after her purse, but the crime startled both the victim and many of her neighbors, who organized an Uptown block watch program in response. This most recent attempted assault is a testament to the need for continued neighborhood safety programs, such as block watch groups, especially in corners of the neighborhood that are poorly lit at night and susceptible to crime.

If anyone has any information on this incident, please contact Seattle Police right away as the suspect is still at large.

Update 11:40 a.m.: We just received an update from Rebecca, who says her injuries are healing up well. Since the incident she’s been working on ways to improve safety in the neighborhood. She writes,

I’m speaking with a reporter who might do a piece on it, and I’m going to try and have him focus on the response of my neighbors, but also the need for street lighting at the end of West Roy Street and the city/county/state to cough up the rest of the funds to make Kinnear Park safe. It has helped that they cleared out so much of the underbrush, but it needs lighting and the other safety features that are part of the new park design. It would also be great if the city would allow us RPZ zone parking (we keep asking and they keep brushing us off) so that residents on the West Mercer/Roy corridor can park their cars near their homes at night; I often have to park 5 or 6 blocks away if it’s a night that people are out at the bars, or there’s an event at Seattle Center.

I haven’t heard anything from the police, but my hope is that he’ll be spotted now that so many people are on the lookout. I definitely want to make sure that women in the neighborhood are smart and safety conscious late at night.

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