What could the future hold for Key Arena?

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Photo: Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times

Last week was a busy one for potential Seattle NBA/NHL arenas. After Chris Hansen stated that he’ll pay for a $500M+ new Sodo arena with private funding, Mayor Ed Murray told The Seattle Times that LA-based Oak View Group has expressed interest in Key Arena. In addition, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), an arena builder and manager for Key Arena marketing, appears open to a renovation of the Key.

Mayor Murray announced that the City will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) in January. The RFP process opens up Key Arena renovations to private parties.

He also acknowledged the impact to Uptown:

“We continue to listen to options to redevelop KeyArena as part of our revitalization of Seattle Center. There are many challenges to consider, including how to address traffic in the growing Uptown neighborhood, and any viable plan will include efforts to mitigate these concerns, while also bringing Seattle tremendous cultural and financial benefit. But, I remain committed to building a state-of-the-art arena in Seattle, and this effort means multiple entities could be working to make that a reality. I also remain committed to bringing the NBA back to Seattle.”

While traffic woes would certainly increase with a revamped arena, the positive impact to Queen Anne and Uptown businesses would be significant. When we lost the Sonics, local restaurants and bars lost business – and some had to close down.

You can read the latest on Hansen’s proposed Sodo arena and the possible renovation of Key Arena in this Seattle Times article.

5 story efficiency apartment building proposed for 215 1st Ave N

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UPDATE: No parking will be provided at the proposed building, due to its location in the Uptown Urban Center, per Seattle Municipal Code 23.54.015.

A tiny little building at 215 1st Ave N will make way for a 5 story apartment building that will house 71 “small efficiency dwelling units” and two live/work units at street level. The parcel includes the adjacent parking lot for a total of 7200 square feet of land.

The existing building will be demolished and one exceptional tree will be removed to make way for the new construction. No updated details on parking, but an earlier permit states 25 parking spaces, 14 of which will be underground.

And Early Design Guidance meeting is scheduled for 8pm Wednesday, November 16th at the Queen Anne Community Center (1901 1st Ave W). The meeting is open to the public for comments on site planning and design issues. You can also submit comments via email or snail mail to:

City of Seattle
Seattle DCI – PRC
700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA  98124-4019

The deadline for all comments related to site planning and design is November 16th.

Preserving Uptown at this Thursday’s Queen Anne Historical Society

You’ve likely seen our coverage on changes to Uptown, with the potential for some areas to see new developments soaring to 16 stories. The Uptown rezone brings up the issue of preservation – how can Uptown continue to grow while preserving its historic character?

Uptown EIS Rezone

That issue is at the center of this week’s Queen Anne Historical Society public meeting, this Thursday, October 27th. All are welcome to join QAHS members and four special guests to discuss what Preserving Uptown means.

The meeting starts at 7pm at Aegis Living at 2900 3rd Ave W, and it’s open to anyone with an interest in the proposed rezone and the character of Uptown/Lower Queen Anne.

Join the conversation with these guest speakers:

  • Jim Holmes, Seattle City Planner and Uptown planning lead
  • Debi Frausto, Uptown Alliance’s chair of the Uptown Urban Design Framework
  • Katherine Idzoriek, architect and President of the Uptown Alliance
  • Jill Crary, Seattle Center Redevelopment

Parking is available on 3rd Ave W in front of the building and in the garage, entrance off W. Florentia. For garage access, use the intercom, and please sign in upon arrival.

Uptown Counterculture + Night Out celebrates the neighborhood on Tuesday

Night Out SeattleThis Tuesday, August 2nd, is Night Out across neighborhoods in Seattle. Night Out is a national Crime Prevention event to raise crime prevention awareness, increase neighborhood anti-crime efforts, and unite communities. Neighbors can also celebrate community and meet and greet new and old neighbors alike. Anyone can register for Night Out and get neighborhood streets closed for parties and get-togethers – but do so by the Monday, August 1st deadline.

Night outUptown neighbors have come together for a second Uptown Counterculture event that coincides with Night Out. This Tuesday, from 5pm to 8pm, all are welcome to attend the family-friendly event at Counterbalance Park.

What can you expect at the event? Entertainment, games, a clothing exchange, and activities featuring a number of Uptown organizations. Plus, live music from Andre Feriante, classical guitarist, and Steve O’Brien, trumpeter – both pictured below. Both musicians will perform separate music sets on Tuesday to make the event even more festive and focused on the arts.

andre steve

The last Uptown Counterculture event was held earlier this Spring, it’s an event worth checking out! A great way to celebrate Night Out, meet neighbors, and take in some tunes.

Here’s an updated list of activities planned for Tuesday:

• giant Jenga
• giant Scrabble
• Triple Toss
• map of Uptown—mark your favorite spots
• community quilt making
• a kid’s sandbox
• sidewalk chalk
• POP UP Bike Pops for sale
• Free food samples from neighborhood
restaurants

Thank you to Debi Frausto for the images included in this post.

City seeking input on Uptown rezoning options with public meeting on August 4th

The City of Seattle is seeking input from residents on three potential rezone options for Uptown, ranging from doing nothing to allowing mid-rise (5-7 story) buildings to allowing buildings up to 16 stories in some parts of Uptown. As we’ve reported in the past, the Uptown Urban Design Framework (UDF) is the central document that guides the future of Uptown. It includes input from neighbors and community organizations like the Uptown Alliance.

Now, the city has published a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that evaluates a range of building heights, developed in collaboration with the community. It’s a hefty document, weighing in at 458 pages in its pdf format.

The EIS states upfront that the priorities for Uptown are as follows:

• Affordable housing

• A multimodal transportation system

•Community amenities (community center, new schools, open space)

• An arts and culture hub

• A strong retail core

• A welcoming urban gateway to Seattle Center

The Uptown UDF recommendations include developing rezone legislation, which could change building heights and development standards. The EIS outlines three alternatives which have been identified for study:

1) “No Action” which maintains current zoning and building heights for the dozens of parcels in the neighborhood that are expected to be redeveloped, but does not include new neighborhood-specific design and development standards to guide that growth.

2) “Mid-rise” with 5-7 story buildings that would include mandatory housing affordability requirements, along with new Uptown design standards.

3) “High-rise” featuring taller, thinner, more widely spaced 16-story buildings in areas of the Uptown Urban Center, also including mandatory contributions to housing affordability and the neighborhood design standards.

The map below shows the rezone area. Where there are 3 numbers separated by dashes, the first is the “no action” option, the middle is the “mid-rise” option, the last is the “high-rise” option:

Uptown EIS Rezone

If you want a say in the future of Uptown and potential rezoning that could either maintain the status quo or grow upward, now’s your time to get feedback to the city. Part of the City’s decision will be based on community comments and input on the three options.

The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) and Seattle Center are hosting an open house and public hearing on August 4th at the Seattle Center Armory Lofts 3 & 4, from 5pm to 8pm. At this meeting, the public will have an opportunity to learn more about the alternatives, ask questions, and provide public comment.

In addition to the three options above, the following will also be on the August 4th agenda: the upcoming Seattle Center and Uptown Strategic Parking Study, the emerging Uptown Arts & Cultural District, citywide housing affordability policies, and proposed transit improvements.

Written public comment can be submitted until September 1 by writing to jim.holmes@seattle.gov.

The City expects to complete the final EIS of the preferred alternative in November. Per the City: “Additional public comments will be gathered at that time before any proposed zoning changes are sent to the Seattle City Council.”

Avoid 99 and spend Saturday walking an Uptown Jane’s Walk

This Saturday, May 7th is the annual Jane’s Walk event, taking place in neighborhoods across Seattle. Named after Jane Jacobs (1916-2006), these walks celebrate urban communities. Jane was an urbanist and activist who championed a community-based approach to city building – and what better way to explore the community than by foot?

Jane’s Walks are free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs. The goal of the free walks is to not only explore a neighborhood, but to also share stories about the community, the city, and meet neighbors.

This weekend’s Jane’s Walk features Uptown (aka Lower Queen Anne to some). Local residents Katherine Idziorek, co-President of the Uptown Alliance and Debi Frausto, former Chair of Friends of Lower Kinnear Park and current Uptown Arts and Culture District focal point, will lead the walk.

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Walk Route

A) Lower Kinnear Park: Meet at the entrance to Lower Kinnear Park (at the end of W Roy Street) – learn about recent park renovations and improvements

B) Counterbalance Park: Uptown’s urban stage

C) The Labyrinth: Walk the labyrinth at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

D) UpGarden P-Patch:Visit a community P-Patch garden on the roof of the Mercer Parking garage!

E) EXPO Apartments: Learn how the community worked together with developers to shape the EXPO Apartment building.

F) KEXP: Visit 90.3 KEXP’s new home at Seattle Center!

G) Queen Anne & Mercer apartments: Learn how the community worked with developers to help a new project fit into the neighborhood.

H) Uptown Parklet: Visit Uptown’s tiniest park, a park”let” at SIFF Cinema Uptown

I) South Korean Consulate: See the future site of the South Korean Consulate

J) Nielsen’s Pastries: Pop in for a coffee or authentic Danish kringle at Nielsen’s Pastries

K) Selig Office Building: See the construction of a new half-block office project

L) Thomas Street Pedestrian Bridge: Walk from Uptown over busy Elliott Avenue to enjoy beautiful Sound views and a connection to Seattle’s waterfront parks

Stop by the W Roy Street entrance to Lower Kinnear Park to join the walk at noon on Saturday. Katie will be wearing her red KEXP t-shirt, and the walk will take about an hour. Happy walking!