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Seattle’s transit system may be radically behind the times as compared with other cities worldwide, but commuters are about to see at least one form of improvement… if they travel between Seattle and Vancouver.

Starting April 26th, Seattle’s Kenmore Air and Vancouver, B.C.’s Harbour Air will be launching a seaplane service between South Lake Union and downtown Vancouver. The air service takes just under an hour, a considerable drop from the three-hour trip by car, which is unpredictable because of the variable border crossing times. Flying commercially via Seatac Airport is relatively inexpensive and the flight itself only takes an hour, but travelers need to account at least 2 hours of additional time to get to the airport and get through security on time.

This new service will run $285 one-way.

Microsoft is celebrating the service, since the company has a large presence in Vancouver. They have been a leading voice in the demand for high-speed travel between Seattle and the Canadian city, and even supplemented Washington State’s $300,000 budget to study a plan for fast trains with $50,000. British Columbia’s government also said it would match Washington’s budget to study corridor service, which would reach Portland as well.

“This new direct seaplane route between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., will be an important link in connecting the Cascadia Innovation Corridor,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a news release. “This association between two historic Pacific Northwest companies will accelerate cross-border business and collaboration for the entire region.”

The launch of this seaplane service comes after years of talks, but the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre’s brand new customs facility and pilot program announced earlier this month seem to have been the last step.

Numerous businesses in Seattle’s Lake Union will benefit from this new service, including Amazon of course, who announced last fall that it would be doubling its Vancouver-based workforce from 1,000 people.

“With approximately 20,000 annual passengers currently traveling between Seattle and Victoria, we’re confident this new route will support the growing demand for further cross-border travel,” said Kenmore Air President Todd Banks. “Increasing cross-border collaboration has been top of mind for government, technology and business leaders alike, and we believe this route provides a fast, convenient and much needed solution.”

The new seaplane service will offer round-trip flights Monday through Friday, which accommodate nine passengers. All passengers must present a valid passport and will be subject to customs inspection upon arrival.

Mary’s Place will occupy roughly 6 stories of Amazon’s new building on right.  Rendering: Graphite

Amid concerns about the rapidly rising cost of living in Seattle, rising housing costs and urban expansion often top the list. According to this news article, Seattle could possibly be the 9th most expensive city in the world to be a renter. Meaning it might actually be less expensive to rent an apartment in Paris, France (which also made the list) than in our city.

Mary’s Place currently occupies a former Travelodge motel on Amazon’s site.  Photo: Evan McGlinn/NY Times

Homelessness, along with this higher cost of living, has increased significantly here, as people find themselves in precarious life situations, and sometimes end up without a home. Mary’s Place is one local organization that provides safety and shelter for women, children and families. They also help people get back on their feet through meals, clean clothing, and social/financial/medical and employment services.

Amazon recently made a permanent commitment to Mary’s Place by pledging that the non-profit will be able to utilize six stories in one of two, new buildings to be built by the mega internet retail/cloud computing company on their current South Lake Union property. Plans are to open officially in the year 2020. Amazon will be providing the space rent-free for Mary’s Place, which currently occupies a former motel on the site, and will pay the utilities as well. The new space will provide an additional 10,000 square feet more than what the shelter currently has.

Amazon also recently made a commitment to FareStart, which give opportunities to people in the food industry, including job training. They will be providing significant space on their campus for 5 different types of FareStart eateries.

Rendering courtesy of Amazon.com

In a city rife with homelessness, donating space to carry out essential social service functions and job training may be a step in the right direction.

Daniels Broiler, situated on the shores of Lake Union, has been a Seattle landmark of fine dining for what seems like forever. With its sweeping views of Lake Union, Queen Anne and Gasworks Park in addition to its incredible menu of USDA prime steaks and chops, all prepared impeccably, Daniel’s has always been the go-to venue for holiday and celebratory meals, fine craft cocktails and some of the best steaks you’ll ever enjoy.

Recently, people have been up in arms as rumors swirled regarding the possible closing of Daniel’s Lake Union location, due to Vulcan Real Estate’s plans to redevelop the pier on which it sits. Those fears were somewhat put to rest this week when the Seattle Times reported that Daniel’s on Lake Union will not close, but will merely move to a nearby location, still along the shores of South Lake Union. It seems fabulous steaks and sweeping Lake Union vistas will remain on Daniel’s menu for years to come, and we’ll drink to that!

Over the years, Daniel’s Broiler has become a local fine dining legend in the Seattle area, synonymous with delicious, high-end meals, superb craft cocktails, incredible views and live music, outstanding service and a seemingly never ending parade of Seattle’s most interesting and beautiful people to be found on any given night, enjoying a bite or a sip. However, many of us who have grown up in the Seattle area, (particularly those of us under a certain age) know very little of the famed steakhouse’s origins.

Daniel’s has been owned and operated by The Schwartz Brothers Restaurant group since 1981, and has changed very little since its beginnings at the Leschi Marina in 1980, but it’s true roots go much deeper than that. Daniel’s Broiler was started by a man named, well, Daniel, believe it or not. Daniel Jack Sandal, to be specific.

Daniel Sandal, a born and bred Seattleite, grew up in The Emerald City’s Wallingford neighborhood, graduated from the now closed Lincoln High School, and got his start in the food industry at the World-Famous Pike Place Market. Daniel’s Grandfather, Dan Zido, founded “Dan’s Better Meats” in Pike Place Market in 1910, and it was there, (in a space at the market that is now known as the home of Italian favorite, Il Bistro) that Daniel began his love affair with meat, as a third-generation butcher.

Eventually the butcher shop moved upstairs in the market, to where you will now find “Don and Joe’s Meats” (unsurprisingly, Don and Joe are related to Dan, and have kept the family tradition of quality cuts alive in Pike Place). Dan took over the family business when his father retired and decided to expand their wholesale business drastically, with their meats soon being featured at Seattle’s finest restaurant, including Canlis, The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, The Space Needle and plenty more. He also started a daily-delivered, fresh-ground meat patty service for local favorite burger joint, Dick’s Drive-In, helping to make those burgers we all know and love so darn scrumptious.

In the Early 1970’s, Dan began his foray into the restaurant world as a restaurateur himself, co-founding Benjamin’s with partner Arnold Shain. The success of Benjamin’s fueled Dan and Arnold to continue on in the restaurant game, with the opening of The Gasworks Restaurant, but eventually, they parted ways as partners.

In 1980, at the ripe, young age of 40, Daniel decided it was time to start his own place, a place for steaks and chops so terrific, people would fall in love, and that they did. The vision for the original Daniels Broiler was to be Dan’s own take on the fine dining he had grown up with in Seattle, drawing heavy inspiration from places like Canlis, but staying true to the steakhouse theme with top quality steaks and chops consistently available and prepared perfectly.

Daniel’s was a sort of experiment for Dan, as he had only ever opened and operated restaurants with partners prior to Daniel’s Broiler. He was once quoted as saying “I wanted to see if I could do it, I did it on my own so I didn’t have to deal with other’s dreams and problems and wouldn’t be at anyone else’s mercy.” And do it, he did. Daniel’s Broiler became a success from the very beginning, in its original home, located on the glistening shores of Lake Washington in the Leschi Marina.  At the time, this was a convenient location for Mercer Island and Bellevue residents, until they closed the I-90 entrance and exit on the east side of the tunnels when the second bridge was built.  Today, the original Daniel’s location serves the Mount Baker, Leschi, Madrona, Washington Park, Madison Park and Denny Blaine neighborhoods and a slew of long-time customers. 

Since being purchased by the Schwartz Brothers in late 1981, they have made very few changes to Dan Sandal’s original concept for the restaurant. The Schwartz Brothers did expand the Daniel’s brand to include locations in Bellevue (opening in 1989) and the location we all know and love, on the shores of Lake Union (since 1999), where Dan and Arnold’s first venture, Benjamin’s, once lived.

Dan Sandal passed away in 2012, but left behind a much loved and delicious legacy in Daniel’s Broiler. While many people find success in the Seattle restaurant scene, few reach the iconic status of Daniel’s Broiler, nor do they stand the test of time, untarnished and as beloved as ever the way Daniel’s has.

Daniel’s Broiler has been a Seattle staple for over 35 years, in 3 different locations, and it doesn’t appear that that will be changing anytime soon. While the Lake Union location may be moved slightly to make way for the inevitable growth and changes of a bustling city, it’s good to know it won’t be going far.

Current Biosphere Construction. Photo by Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times

The three, new glass biospheres, which are part of Amazon’s new campus covering three blocks in the South Lake Union area, continue taking shape. Their 36-story adjoining square tower opened for business on November 7th, 2016, with the announcement “Hello World” in the window. This is the 2nd new building site move-in for Amazon in recent months.

Biospheres under construction, April 2016. Photo by Kevin Lisota/GeekWire.

The round, 5-story spheres are located at Lenora Street and 6th Avenue on the north end of downtown Seattle, and are designed to promote out-of-the-box thinking for 800 employees while serving as a nature conservatory. The idea is to promote creative thought in a relaxed, inviting work environment and provide a memorable iconic structure for the downtown core. They will include waterfalls, extension bridges, a river, and thousands of plants (U.S. and international), so employees and guests can connect with nature while at work. Retail spaces will also be opened within the spheres as well. Employees will have a cafeteria available on-site or always have the option of eating their lunch amid the climate-controlled gardens (set at a pleasant, not humid, temperature for humans during the day).

Photo by Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times

According to The Seattle Times, the Amazon company has hired a seasoned, full-time horticulturist, Ron Gagliardo, formerly of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, to manage these spaces. Principal architect at NBBJ, Dale Alberda, initially proposed a round, rather than square structure, which the committee responded well to. So now this out-of-the box structure is becoming a reality, and will fully open in late 2017 or early 2018.

32891314-c24f-11e6-bef8-9f9aca15af67-1020x683ZymoGenetics, a biotechnology company that manufactures therapeutic proteins, has been based in South Lake Union for many years, but that will change over the next three years.

On Tuesday, December 13th, ZymoGenetics’ parent company, Bristol-Myers Squibb said that they will not be renewing their lease when it expires in 2019. The company has been located in the iconic old Seattle City Light Steam Plant building on the southeast shore of the lake.

Bristol-Myers Squibb purchased the biotechnology company for approximately $885 million in 2010. In 2015, they moved dozens of jobs from Seattle to San Francisco.

Currently, approximately 80 people work at the plant in South Lake Union, and the parent company has more plans to move additional jobs to other locations around the U.S. They are also closing their locations in Hopewell, New Jersey and Wallingford, Connecticut. Bristol-Myers Squibb is opening a research facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts as well as building a new facility in Lawrenceville, New Jersey for research and development.

While the SLU location was ZymoGenetics’ “microbial center of excellence,” according to spokeswoman Laura Hortas, “Based on changes in R&D, we now have a limited number of microbial assets under development … As a result, we intend to exit the Lake Union plant in 2019.”

ZymoGenetics other Washington location, a Bothell manufacturing site with 70 employees, will remain open.

Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood is home to many things- fabulous restaurants, tech giants and soon, a new church?

You read that right. According to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, the part of town affectionately known as “Amazonia” (remember that part about tech giants?) may soon be getting some new residents, but these residents won’t all necessarily have laptops and badges with them.  Some may have a Bible or hymnal in tow.

But, it’s not a done deal yet.

Preliminary plans have been filed with the city by Greystar Real Estate Management for a proposed 348-unit apartment tower and church. The site for the possible construction is adjacent to Denny Park at 200 8th Avenue North and covers an impressive 29,000 square feet.

The hitch in their giddy-up at the moment is that the property is yet to be sold, but the current owners identity sheds some light on why there is a church component in this proposed deal.

The property has been owned for nearly 60 years by Seattle Unity Church.  The sale of this land would help fund the building of a new church for a congregation whose current place of worship is “wearing out” according to church staff.

The prospective plans for the site include a 28-story mixed use apartment building, and a new church of unspecified size. The apartment building would include decks, setbacks and 4 levels of underground parking.

It’s no secret that South Lake Union’s popularity has exploded in recent years, as has development in the area, with numerous other projects in talks or already in progress right near this proposed site. Seattle Unity Church’s founders were forward thinking to have bought the expansive piece of property back in the 1960’s when SLU was called the Cascade neighborhood and Amazon wasn’t a word used in conversation unless you were naming jungles and rivers of the world.

Since the site is currently only zoned for building up to 240 feet, it would seem that Greystar has their work cut out for them to really get this project off the ground (pun intended) as re-zoning would be a must.

Stay tuned for more information and to see if this project officially gets the green-light.

After all, miracles do happen.

Ride the Ducks of Seattle will resume tours at 11:00 am on Friday, January 15th, according to King 5 News.

Passenger rides were suspended since the collision with a bus on the Aurora Bridge in September that killed five and injured dozens. The Seattle Department of Transportation and Ride the Ducks have settled on an agreement that the Aurora Bridge will no longer be part of the route, rather Westlake Avenue to the Fremont Bridge to cross Lake Union. Two drivers are now required aboard—one driver and one tour guide, rather than the driver also guiding the tour.

The State of Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) found 442 safety violations in a Ride the Ducks inspection after the deadly crash. After extensive vehicle testing on land and water without passengers, the UTC has removed its ban on the business operations. Half the fleet will begin normal operations on January 15th, according to Q13 Fox News.

The first two Ride the Ducks tours have already sold out. You can book a tour here.

Featured photo found here

Photo courtesy mamnoonrestaurant.com
Photo courtesy mamnoonrestaurant.com

By now you’ve probably heard that beloved and acclaimed Middle Eastern eatery Mamnoon will be opening a new venture called ‘mBar’ in SLU, but it seems as though that’s not enough to keep Mamnoon’s owners busy this year.

In addition to the Mediterranean inspired rooftop spot (sure to be glorious with it’s 100-seat, glass railed patio, so as to protect and enhance your mealtime view), and the recently announced ‘Mamnoon Street’, it looks like the Mamnoon team will be opening yet another spot next door at Amazon’s new 6th Ave Doppler campus.

The newest addition to the Mamnoon line up will be called ‘Anar’ meaning pomegranate in Farsi, and will focus mainly on the “ancient traditions of juice and vegetarian dishes.”

From the proprietors:

    Anar will  be an ideal destination to get energized for the day, starting with a breakfast yogurt blend, Persian mint tea, or a specially blended kombucha.  Juices will range from sweet to savory to hearty, and will include such ingredients as orange blossom, rose water and pomegranate with available additions like yogurt, cashews and chickpeas.  Food options include small plates; a mezze dish with dolma, pickled and raw vegetables, arugula and gluten free crackers with a choice of Carrot bi tahini, muhammara, or ‘Persian’ green hummus, and big plates; Fatteh with cauliflower, garbanzo, gluten-free crackers and mint cucumber salad.  For a late afternoon pick-me-up, Anar will feature desserts, snacks and ‘mocktails’, such as muddled cucumber, cilantro, mint and soda. Items from Anar will be available for take-away or to enjoy in its warm, open, colorful space.  With seating for 18, Anar will be ideal for an intimate meeting or to settle into a cozy space to work with a delicious beverage and great music.

Anar will be opening later this month at 2040 6th Avenue with business hours of Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Even Seattle’s most beloved radio station isn’t immune to the building boom that is pushing businesses out of their well-established homes to make way for shiny new apartments. This fate has been inevitable to for KEXP 90.3 FM, which lives in the densely packed Denny triangle area. The station’s lease is up this year, forcing a move that was actually much-needed.

KEXP staff moved into their New Home at Seattle Center on Wednesday, December 9th. Staff members marched from their posts at Denny Way and Dexter Ave to their new digs in the northwest corner of Seattle Center, cheering and bumping music along the way. The historic first broadcast from KEXP’s New Home was hosted by DJ John Richards starting at 9:03 am.

From the Moving Day for KEXP press release: “KEXP’s first broadcast is a major milestone for the station,” said John Richards, host of The Morning Show.  “While we are sad to say goodbye to our old studios, we know that the future of the station is at Seattle Center and our New Home. This first broadcast marks our ability to both work and broadcast from the New Home but it in no way means we are done with our capital campaign. Thanks to our amazing community we’ve raised around $13.7 million and now hope to raise the final $1.3 million leading up to a public grand opening in April. It’s one of the most exciting times ever for this station and our music community and I hope everyone who has been a part of the last 40 years celebrates KEXP on our first broadcast at KEXP’s new home!”

KEXP’s New Home is slated to open to the public on April 16, 2016. The space will be visitor-friendly with a gathering space for listeners, a showroom, café, and more accessible viewing spaces to watch live in-studio performances and observe record collections. More funds are needed to make these plans a reality—you can make a tax-deductible donation here.

Featured photo via newhome.kexp.org.

 

1. Eltana | Wood-fired Bagel Café

This is the fourth Eltana location and will serve all the same tasty food. Look for some fun additions such as, the Moroccan Shredded Beef sandwich, Aleppo Slaw and a vegetarian breakfast sandwich.

Open!

Located: 826 Thomas Street (NW corner of 9th and Thomas)

2. Hurry Curry of Tokyo

The Japanese curry restaurant will take over 3,000 sf to offer lunch, dinner, happy hour and late night happy hour. Sake and beer menus will be offered as well.

Opening in December

Located: Southwest corner of 9th and Harrison Street

 

pizza3. Ballard Pizza Company

Ethan Stowell will open his third Ballard Pizza Company restaurant which will take over 1,600 sf of space. The restaurant will be serving up slices, whole pies, beer and wine for your enjoyment. Delivery will also be available.

Opening: Early 2016

Located:  Amazon Phase VI building at Mercer Street & Westlake Avenue

 

 

4. Huxley Wallace Collective

Three new restaurants by Josh Henderson (of Skillet, Westward and other Seattle-area projects) will also be located in the Amazon Phase VI building. The restaurants will be under the Huxley Wallace Collective and will offer a variety of options for lunch and dinner.

– Poulet Galore: a rotisserie chicken window offering half and whole roasted chicken to go.

– Cantine Bottle Shop and Bar: offering a bar atmosphere for a cocktail or beer after work or pre-evening outing. wine

– Vestal: a sizable chef’s counter surrounded by a coal-fired hearth (as Vestal means “hearth” in Latin) where the menu will include some of Henderson’s most enjoyed food from his childhood, along with favorites from his travels. Word has is Henderson himself will in the kitchen with this one.

Opening: Spring 2016

Located: Amazon Phase VI building at Mercer Street & Westlake Avenue

 

5. Sam’s Tavern

This will be the tavern’s second location and will offer fancy burgers and $1 Rainier beer. Taking up 5,700 square feet, Sam’s will be open until 2 a.m. which might help pump up South Lake Union’s dismal nightlife.

Opening: January 2016

Location: Northeast corner of 9th & Harrison

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