Real Estate

New Large Development at 3101 Eastlake Ave. E.

Did the psychic reader see this coming?  Her house, the place next to her, and places south and in back (basically all small structures on the block south of Lake Union Café) will be demolished to make way for a seven story building with over 120 units (98 efficiency units and 28 small apartments, mostly studios, including two one-bedrooms). The preliminary design includes a retail street-level front of black glass along Eastlake Avenue.

The complex will have 21 underground parking spaces including some resident bike parking.

Deadline for public comment is January 2, 2019.

Project number is 3034445-LU  

The developer’s plan for the site is in this link under Attachments. It takes a moment for the attachments to load when you click on them. Then look for “Plan Set – Land Use.pdf.” (The pdf is 51 MB and too large to post here.)

These are the buildings along Eastlake Ave. E. that will be demolished along with a few houses behind them:

The Lake Union Cafe is not part of the project:

Lake Union Cafe stays.

There is a comment form for this project under Notice of Application.pdf.

Applicant contact: Lauren Garkel    206-782-8208

SDCI Planner  Wayne Farrens   206-727-8602

Written comments are encouraged and should be submitted to 

PRC@seattle.gov

Department of Construction & Inspections

ATTN Public Resource Center

P.O. Box 34019

Seattle WA 98124-4019

People who comment and provide an email address or return US mail address will be sent notice of any public meetings or hearings and notice of the SDCI decision with information on the right to appeal. All correspondence will be posted to the city’s electronic library.

Should Lake Union be an International Seaplane Airport in the Heart of the City?

By Peter Erickson

In a letter on August 14 of this year, Kenmore Air quietly petitioned the Seattle Police Department and City of Seattle for measures that would effectively turn the center of Lake Union into a dedicated seaplane runway. By way of background, in the 1970’s there were 7 to 10 flights (5 take-offs /5 landings) a week on Lake Union. By 1989 there were 20 take-offs/20 landings a day. This year Kenmore Air alone (exclusive of Harbor and Chrysler Air) averaged 50 take-offs/50 landings a day over a 10-hour day that’s a flight event every 6 minutes. And if the dedicated runway requested in the last paragraph of their letter comes to pass, Lake Union will become a continuous hub of loud commuter flights with serious environmental and safety impacts for maritime, commercial and recreational users in the heart of our city.

Our organization, the Seaplanes Environmental Coalition (SEC) representing adjacent community councils, homeowner organizations, maritime businesses, floating homes and recreational enterprises, is reaching out to engage Kenmore Air in a public, comprehensive planning process based on the input of all Lake Union stakeholders.

site of seaplane runway on Lake Union

Today’s seaplane debate is driven by Kenmore’s letter to the city of August 14 which requested the following:

  • A 400-foot-wide by 3,000-foot-long zone with a single row of buoys down the center of the lake.
  • The buoys blink for 5 minutes when pilots are landing or taking-off. When blinking everyone is expected to move away.
  • Kenmore’s letter claims “an average of 80 flights a day” (which does not include the flights of its Canadian affiliate, Harbour Air), which over a 10-hour day during the summer means a flight every 6 minutes. In short, the buoys are always blinking and this 1.2 million square-foot runway is effectively an off-limits zone down the center of the lake.
  • Thousands of sailboats, kayakers, paddleboarders, rowers, recreational power boats and maritime businesses use the lake every week during the summer.
  • As a limited natural resource Lake Union is now very crowded. Simultaneously Kenmore Air, Seattle Seaplanes, and now Harbour Air out of Canada, have increased flights from 40 to over 80 flights a day. Because of these crowded conditions, Kenmore’s letter states that the single row of buoys is not safe and now requires police management. Yet Kenmore Air, a profitable, privately owned company, instead of monitoring the lane itself expects the police department to patrol the runway clearing it of boats and recreational users — at tax payer expense
  • The only readily found fee paid by Kenmore Air for the use of Lake Union as their runway is to the Department of Natural Resources for $8,000 a year.
  • In the last paragraph of their letter, Kenmore states that if the policing and single row of buoys doesn’t work, they request a second row of buoys as a “demarcated landing zone in Lake Union for the exclusive use of seaplanes”.

The Seaplanes Environmental Coalition’s main objective is a Lake Union for All. It has three goals:  livability, public safety and the equitable sharing of the lake.

Our short-term goals are as follows:

  • Kenmore should retract in writing its request for the second row of buoys to the City of Seattle and Department of Natural Resources.
  • Kenmore to cease further backdoor efforts (as with the August 14th letter which should have been cover-copied to SEC based on the 1989 Agreement) to impose a double-buoyed dedicated runway down the center of Lake Union.
  • Kenmore be allowed to continue to operate with the temporary and seasonal single row of buoys, subject to the review by the agencies involved, including public outreach and comment.
  • Kenmore agree to partner with SEC in community outreach for a public process with all stakeholders to develop a comprehensive land-use plan for Lake Union.
  • Kenmore be solely responsible for its own life-safety measures which should include the use of its staff and equipment to monitor the runway and educate users of the lake that interfere with its landing zone. As a private business that recently sold an interest in its company for many millions of dollars it should not be burdening the under-funded Harbor Patrol to clear its runway.

The Seaplanes Coalition’s long-range objective is to work with Kenmore and other seaplane operators:

  • to limit the use of the Lake Union to specific seaplane operators (as opposed to the general public);
  • to reduce the number of seaplane flights to and from Lake Union;
  • to transition over a 5 year period to less noise planes, with less impact;
  • to develop zoning controls for Lake Union based on stakeholder input;
  • and to find additional safe and sustainable, seaplane runways on nearby bodies of water and/or relocate flight operations to one of the several nearby land-based airports;

SEC is willing to work with Kenmore and other operators to make Lake Union a safer and better environment for all. To support this effort to require a comprehensive lake-use plan based on the input of all stakeholders, go to our website www.savelakeunion.com and sign the petition (ignore the confusing petition service’s request for a donation).

Peter Erickson is president of Seaplane Environmental Coalition.

The Flower Lady’s largest bouquet – the business is for sale

“What colors? What fragrance?” asked Vivian Darst when a customer walked into her shop The Flower Lady on Eastlake Ave. saying he wanted to spend $45 on a bouquet. There was a brief discussion of roses before she headed into the cooler full of flowers.

“She’s the best,” the man told me. He’d been coming for years. Did he know the shop was closing? No, he didn’t. It will be a huge loss, he added. “Where will I buy my flowers?”

Vivian came back, her hands full of pink and purple flowers; yes, the lease is up August 31 she told him. (It had been extended from April.) She was still trying to figure out what to do. A broker had brought her a potential buyer, but she didn’t know who it was or if it was going to go anywhere.

After about 10 minutes of arranging flowers and conversation, the man left with a spectacular bouquet and a hug.

This was going to be the hardest part, she said; she would miss her customers.

Vivian Darst at her shop arranging flowers.

The arrangement The Flower Lady would like best is to find a buyer who might also hire her as an occasional employee or consultant. She could help — giving the owner the luxury of vacations she never really got. She’d love to keep her hand in the business doing the floral designing and working with customers, but after 20 years of running the shop and recent rent increases, she’s ready to let someone else worry about making payroll and paying the bills.

Many people remember The Flower Lady’s first stand sprouting up in the mid-1970s at the vacant lot at the corner of Roanoke and Harvard. At that time, it was a scrappy business called Vivian’s Flowers run out of a van with buckets of flowers and a couple of sun umbrellas. (My younger sister got her first job there.)

Eventually she bought part of the property but then got caught in a high-profile zoning battle. News reporters kept referring to her as The Flower Lady.

The legal battle uprooted her to the other side of the freeway.

“Those sun umbrellas outside the store today are pretty much where they were when this place was a vacant lot,” said Vivian.

When the property owner wanted to develop the lot, the flower stand uprooted again this time just several feet over to a vacant lot next to the Larson building. By that time she had the luxury of a shed, and they moved it with a forklift.

The building went up with a space designed specifically for The Flower Lady, and she moved in. It was 700 square feet, palatial to Vivian. Along with flowers, she filled it with gifts and cards, and the store flourished for many years.

This is a good business for someone with a well-off spouse, or if someone can figure out how to sell something else along with the flowers, said Vivian. The eclectic selection of gifts has not done well in recent years. Wine maybe, maybe cannabis, Vivian suggests with a smile as if the thought just occurred to her.

Except for the stuffed animals used in bouquets, the gifts, including a couple of Tibetan rugs hanging from the ceiling, are all 25% off. She’s willing to bargain lower on some things as well.

Whatever happens she’ll keep a hand in the flower business.  It’s in her blood. She’s a third-generation flower dealer. Her grandfather was a farmer who started with a few bulbs when her dad was a boy. Her dad grew flowers his whole life, mostly irises, daffodils, and sunflowers. It kept him going, she said. He was driving and delivering wholesale flowers around the region until he was 95, a year before he died.

But he was always borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, Vivian added, and she’s had to do some of that as well to keep the shop going – subsidizing it with income from her rentals.

Still it’s been a joy working here, said Vivian, surrounded by all these beautiful flowers that change with the seasons, and meeting people.

That she doesn’t want to lose it’s clear.

If there’s no buyer for the shop, people will be able to find out what’s next on her website: www.seattleflowerlady.com.

She can see continuing deliveries and taking special orders. She may go back to her roots with what would now be known as a pop-up stand.

Whatever she does she’ll always be The Flower Lady.

Vivian in front of the shop she’s run for over 20 years.

Featured image is a detail from an original painting of The Flower Lady storefront by Jerry Becker Steffen, Jr.

Red Robin site will hatch a pizzeria

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, two former Microsoft employees, John Genna and Moritz Loew, will open a pizzeria called “Johnny Mo’s,” at the old Red Robin Restaurant site now being redeveloped as Robin’s Nest. As the PSBJ writes:

Loew, who grew up in Chicago, and Genna, of New York, are bringing the “powerhouse” styles of pizza to Seattle, Genna said. The restaurant will pay homage to the heritage of those styles and nod to the Red Robin with its brick aesthetic and mural.

“We understand how iconic that place is for Seattle,” Genna said.

The two have ties to the neighborhood. They owned a boat moored near the Red Robin and frequented the restaurant in the late ’90s when they both worked at Microsoft.

The restaurant will employ about 25 to 35 people, and the owners hope to open it sometime in July.

The Robin’s Nest site is a complex of two buildings separated by an L-shape courtyard. The pizzeria will be in the left building street level. The rest of the complex will be 61-63 apartment units with approximately 20 parking spaces. Photo taken July 2, 2019.
Denser development coming

Owners of the Cortina, located at the opposite southern corner from Serafina, at 2001 Eastlake Ave., have submitted plans to the city to tear down the two buildings that make up the 1957 22-unit apartment complex, according to a May 21 Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce article. The proposal for the site takes advantage of the new 65-foot up zoning, notes the Journal. The owners, Graham Capital Group, plan a six-story, 90-unit apartment building with retail and commercial space and 35 underground parking space, as well as room for 95 bike stalls.

This old house on Eastlake may be replaced with a six-story 30-unit building, no parking.

Another parcel taking advantage of the new up zone, is between the Cortina and Serafina, an old house, at 2031 Eastlake Ave. Plans were submitted for it to be replaced, according to a May 20 Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce article, with “a six-story building with 30 units, no parking and possibly 600 square feet of commercial space.”

Sold: Roanoke Terrace Apartments

According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, the 1968 Roanoke Terrace Apartments at the corner of Eastlake Ave. (2600) and Roanoke St., across from the tennis courts, recently changed hands for just under $6.8 million.

Don’t worry; it’s not a tear down, but the new owners, Shilshole Development, do plan to renovate the four story, 16-unit structure. The average unit is 970 square feet; and the average price per unit pencils out at $424,475.

There are 14 parking spaces.

“Also in the same neighborhood,” notes the Journal, “Shilshole Development is redeveloping the old Ross Labs site, at 3138 Fairview Ave. E., with a small renovated office building and 103 new apartments”

Roanoke Terrace Apartments seen from the tennis court side of the street, and way above seen from Eastlake.
The old Ross Labs.
What the new building at 3138 Fairview Ave. E. might look like (just below and to the north of Lake Union Cafe).
Another chance to learn  about the “Mammoth” development at 2715 Eastlake

A centerpiece development for Eastlake is receiving a lot of excitement and pushback from the community. It will replace two buildings at corner of Louisa St. and Eastlake Ave., the strip mall that houses the Mammoth bistro and the retro SPRAG office structure next door. There’s excitement for the new potential landmark design that the architect Hewitt is known for delivering and for street level activity with the retail and housing that will come. The pushback comes at how tall the new construction will be, possibly six stories and the largest in Eastlake, blocking views from Rogers Playfield and the Green Street, and how affordable the housing will be.

The developers are open to public feedback. A February 28 open house introduced developers, Washington Holdings + Pollard and architect to the community with photos of past work. A preliminary concept was also on view with a timeline. Demolition is expected next summer, 2020, with a new building opening Summer 2022.

There’s another community outreach meeting on Friday, March 8, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the SPRAG building at 2517 Eastlake Ave.

More opportunities for public feedback are expected.

preliminary site plan

Hewitt designs

Bottom image is the new multi-family on Stoneway.

Eastlake project, home to Grand Central Bakery.

sketch by Karen Berry

Hamlin Deal

According to today’s Daily Journal of Commerce, Hamlin Place apartments at the corner of Hamlin and Franklin (2800 Franklin Ave.) sold recently for just under $2.2 million. The corner lot is roughly the size of three or four residential lots in Eastlake, and with residential lots topping out at $1.5 million, the Hamlin sale appears to be a steal. Actually, it’s likely an internal business deal, as the DJC writes,

The seller was DK Hamlin Place LLC, which acquired the property in 1995 for $905,000.

The buyer was RL Hamlin Place LLC, which is associated with a private investor on Mercer Island.

Brokers were not announced. The buyer and the seller, who share the same surname, were partners in the 1995 investment. The deal was worth about $134,781 per unit.

The DJC goes on to note the building was constructed at the same time as I-5, 1959.

The four-story building has 16 units and an equal number of surface parking spaces.

With that much surface parking and an up zone increase that will allow the property to grow 10 feet taller and slightly wider, it’s ripe for possible re-development, but plans at this point are unknown.

Front view of 2800 Franklin Ave.

Side view

16-space rear parking lot

Robin’s Nest will be built at old Red Robin site

Last month the Daily Journal of Commerce reported that development of the old Red Robin site was moving forward with a 61-union residential structure containing space for a restaurant or pub on the ground level and 21 underground parking spaces. The new construction will play homage to the old site calling itself Robin’s Nest — quite a nest it will be too with rooftop decks all around. However, neighboring residents are appealing some of the projects design — one being that street access have a sidewalk and enough room for vehicle turn-around and garbage collection.

DJC article pdf

photo: b9 Architecture

Second Notice: New York Times highlights Eastlake real estate

The New York Times seems to have discovered Eastlake. For the second time in less than a month another Eastlake property, this time an Italian hillside villa condo, part of the Siena Del Lago complex, with shared greenhouse lap pool and views of Lake Union, was featured in the Times’ real estate section last Sunday under the column “What You Get.” The asking price? Around $1,150,000. Just a few weeks ago it was “What You Get — $950,000” and a Lake Union floating home.

And the status of the Eastlake condo? Don’t even think about it. Like the floating home, it had a pending sale within a week of the Times’ spread.

Also like the floating home it was photographed by Eastlake resident, New York Times photographer, Ruth Fremson. She travels all around the Northwest for work but in the last month has gotten a couple of serendipitous local assignments she could walk to.

Siena Del Lago

Siena Del Lago condominums