An actual offshoot/descendant of the chestnut tree that young Anne Frank drew solace from, looking down from her attic window in Amsterdam, is planted in the Peace Garden at the Seattle Center. It was a gift to the Holocaust Center for Humanity in downtown Seattle, only one of 11 saplings sent to America through The Sapling Project.
The original tree lived 170 years in the Netherlands, 50 years beyond its young Jewish admirer, who died at 15 years old in a Nazi concentration camp. While Anne and her family hid for two years in a concealed attic during World War II, she wrote in her diary of birds, the blue sky, and her chestnut tree out the window: “As long as this exists, how can I be sad?”
Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) is this week, and the Holocaust Center for Humanity is holding a commemoration day on April 15th. Their current exhibit, “Let Me Be Myself: The Life Story of Anne Frank” runs through May 30th, reservations required.
Today marks the start of the tastiest week of the season- the triumphant return of Seattle Restaurant Week!
We here in Seattle are so blessed with an abundance of fabulous dining options, ranging from simple and inexpensive to exotic, lavish and extraordinary, which usually doesn’t come too cheap. Seattle Restaurant Week is an opportunity for people to explore many incredible restaurants they may not normally spring for by offering fabulous deals you won’t want to miss out on.
Every Sunday through Thursday from April 2nd to April 19th, over 165 restaurants across the city will be offering up $33 three-course dinners, with many also offering $18 two-course lunches as well. These restaurants range in price, type of cuisine and location, giving you tons of options to choose from, in every department!
If you are going to explore SRW (which we highly recommend you do!), remember to be patient, make reservations and tip your servers well! While SRW is a great opportunity for diners, restaurants do tend to get swamped, and the nicer and more understanding we are as patrons, the better the experience for everyone!
Now, go out and get a healthy dose of YUM, before it’s too late!
The summer version of the Urban Craft Uprising (there’s a winter show, too) is happening on Saturday June 24th and Sunday June 25th this year. It’s being held at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall from 11 am to 5 pm, and at the time of this writing, there are currently around 146 indie vendors showcasing their handmade wares at this event.
For those who aren’t familiar with this, the Urban Craft Uprising supports independent artists and makers and their creations, by hosting Seattle’s largest craft show of its kind. In the summer, this juried show tends to be a bit quieter than the winter show (perhaps seeking out unique Christmas gifts then), so a good time to check out the event.
Crafts fall under different categories:
art ˖ accessories ˖ baby/kid stuff ˖ bags ˖ candles ˖ bath & body ˖ ceramics ˖ clothing ˖ fiber ˖ food (packaged) ˖ housewares ˖ jewelry ˖ kits & supplies ˖ paper goods ˖ pets ˖ toys
Between shopping for one-of-a-kind gifts, there are eating options as well. Five different food trucks will be available on the premises.
Science, art, and efficiency integrate seamlessly, not unlike our own left and right brains, in the architecture and structure of The Allen Institute building, located near the southwest bank of Lake Union. The large, LED-driven installation on the exterior façade, which is based upon neural brain activity and perception, transitions between colors and layered images. And among other unique building features is the engineering marvel of corralling existing mineral springs so a building could reliably stand on the site. The Allen Institute at 615 Westlake Ave. N. encompasses three entities: the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Allen Institute for Cell Science and Paul G. Allen Frontiers.
According to Puget Sound Business Journal, philanthropist Paul Allen’s 270,000 square foot, 7-story building has now won two awards from Engineering News-Record: ENR Northwest’s “Project of the Year” and Best “Higher Education/Research” project. Only 20 real estate developments were given commendations this year for any “Best of the Best” category. The two awards mentioned were given to the Allen Institute, in ENR’s words, “for achieving the promise of a collaborative concept, overcoming dewatering and structural challenges, and preserving a historical site.”
Dewatering? Structural challenges? What historical site? Well, “dewatering” refers to the mineral springs mentioned earlier; they bubbled up during initial excavation, which had to be addressed so the structure of the building wouldn’t buckle. Especially since the P4 parking garage is 34 feet below water level. Through a series of dewatering wells built during construction and careful monitoring over time of water pressure on shoring walls (more than 100 of them), the team was able to determine that the structure would hold. Because of a clever treatment system that filters the ground water so efficiently that it is released into Lake Union cleaner than the actual lake water, the WA Department of Ecology approved it.
The integrity of the former Ford and Pacific McKay car showrooms on-site, designated as a historic landmark, needed to be considered. Pioneer Masonry catalogued, disassembled, and stored any protected components from the buildings, especially the terra-cotta façade which was later reassembled using a virtual 3D model made previously. The new building was built to wrap around the older ones.
The interior of the facility has interesting features as well. Studio SC built the external public artwork called “Pathways” that adorns the exterior, but also provided wayfinding graphics/ signage within the building. The central atrium of the building is built to promote easy access between labs and offices, between co-workers in different departments. The excess heat produced by the data center, which stores a huge amount of information, is effectively re-routed to provide heating and cooling for the building. Besides the data center, the institute also has wet and dry labs, an electron microscopy area, auditorium, and a center for education.
Paul Allen, who initially made his fortune as co-founder of Microsoft, began this non-profit in 2003 to study the workings of the brain in an “open science” model (greatly simplified, meaning easier access to scientific knowledge and research). An interesting link to explore, the Allen Brain Atlas, gives a peek into the depth of what is studied here.
Owner/Developer: Vulcan Inc. General Contractor: GLY Lead Design/Architect Firm: Perkins+Will Subcontractors: BOLA Architecture + Planning; Candela; Sparling; Coughlin Porter Lundeen; McKinstry; Affiliated Engineers NW; Valley Electric; GeoEngineers; Pioneer Masonry
It’s almost time to lace up those running shoes and sign up for the annual Hot Chocolate 15/5k run! This year’s yummy and fun event kicks off on Sunday, March 5th at Seattle Center How’s that for a great way to spend the first Sunday-Funday of March, both for seasoned runners and first-timers who aren’t afraid of a challenge!
The fun begins bright and early at 6:45a.m. with the 5K and the 15k starts at 7:55a.m. Race participants can expect a fun, well organized and challenging race through the heart of beautiful Downtown Seattle (hills and all!), a fabulous SWAG bag of goodies to take home, of course, delicious chocolate. Talk about motivation to finish strong!
If you’re looking for a fun way to spend your Sunday while getting a great workout, consider signing up for this once-a-year event. The challenge is worth it to get to the Post Race Party where runners will enjoy music, a family friendly environment and a ‘finisher’s mug’ filled with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and delightfully dippable treats. Don’t count the calories, you will have more than earned this chocolate indulgence!
The Hot Chocolate Run isn’t just a great way to spend a day off. The Hot Chocolate Run is partnered with Ronald McDonald House Charities, helping to provide a home-away-from-home for children and the families of children being treated at Seattle Children’s’ Hospital, at little to no cost to the families. A portion of the proceeds from signing up for this race will go to this outstanding cause, helping to make a real difference in our community.
Not into running or chocolate? That’s fine! But be aware, this race will take place in Downtown Seattle and along many main roads and thoroughfares, so you will want to plan ahead for any travel on that day. Take a look at the map (left) to see the route and read the chart below for a street closure timeline, to help you plan your day.
This event is great to do with friends, family or even by yourself. You’ll probably leave with new friends after a little friendly competition! This event brings together people from all over the city and state, so get out there, mix, mingle and help build a wonderful feeling of community in our fair city. Sprint into Springtime at this fabulous annual event, get a good sweat on and maybe even make some new friends….oh and eat chocolate! Do we really need to sell you on this?
For more info on this event, road closures, the post-race party and more, visit the Hot Chocolate Run website here.
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.
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).
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.
The South Lake Union streetcar came first, and was followed by the First Hill streetcar a few years later. Now, work will begin this month on the First Avenue streetcar, also known as the Center City Connector, which will connect the two existing lines.
Test drilling is the first step in the project, with the intent to confirm where underground utilities are located (some have been there for approximately 100 years!). In the summer, major construction on the site will begin.
As part of this project, since the Center City Connector runs along 1st Avenue from Westlake Center through Pioneer Square to Occidental Avenue, streetcar-exclusive lanes will be added to ensure traffic won’t slow transit trips during peak hours. To do this, 194 parking spaces on 1st Avenue will be removed, which is an acceptable loss since these spaces are primarily used in off-peak hours.
This has already been done for the SLU streetcar, which has benefitted from having transit-only lanes added to Westlake Avenue North. Ridership on that line has increased over the past couple of years from 2,500 daily riders to about 3,600. Meanwhile, the First Hill line which was completed last year has an average of 3,300 daily riders (its near-term goals).
However, this project does mean significant stress on traffic in the Downtown and Pioneer Square areas throughout construction. There will be additional traffic, temporary parking restrictions, and sidewalk detours from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on weekdays and until 5 p.m. on weekends, for a start. Look for the most intense construction phase in 2018.
The First Avenue streetcar is a $135 million project, which is projected for completion in 2020.
Facebook will be expanding its Seattle presence again. According toThe Seattle Times, this sub-section of the company, with headquarters based in Menlo Park, California, recently moved into a new office building seven months ago at 1101 Dexter Avenue to house their employees. This newest pre-lease through Vulcan Real Estate will further expand the social network giant’s presence in the South Lake Union area.
The new project, calledArbor Blocks, will begin construction in a few weeks on 8th Avenue North, between Harrison and Thomas streets. Two six-story buildings (333 8th Ave. N. and 300 8th Ave. N.) will be built on opposite sides of the street, and will include a woonerf, which is a curbless street that’s friendly to pedestrians. The woonerf will include amenities for green living, such as bike racks, seating, and plants to filter air, as well as featuring public art. Offices will encompass 384,000 square feet of these buildings, with an additional 4,100 square feet for retail on the street level.
The Seattle office at 1101 Dexter Avenue is Facebook’s software engineering focus, and is a custom-built space. It can fit up to 2,000 people, although 1,000 employees currently occupy four floors of the building. This newest building will also have custom features, and will be designed by Graphite Design Group, perCurbed Seattle.
With all that space being created, it seems logical that an even larger influx of new Facebook employees is on its way.
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.
Over the past year, office rents have been increasing across the city, but nowhere nearly as steep as in Lake Union. Explosive job growth has fueled a shocking jump of 28 percent in the last 12 months, and Lake Union office rents are at an all-time high average of just under $50 per square foot for premium space.
The average per square foot rent for premium space in downtown Seattle is $41.35, but that neighborhood only saw an increase of 7.2 percent. Comparatively, Bellevue office rents increased 16 percent in the last year, to $45.57 per square foot. So, with premium Lake Union office rents at $48.39 in a 28 percent increase, this neighborhood is seeing the most dramatic jump in price across the greater Seattle area.
What’s the cause of this soaring increase?
According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, it’s the result of explosive job growth with the addition of more than 100,000 new jobs in the last 12 months in the Seattle metro area. Nearly half of these positions are in job sectors that need office space for their operations, and only 8.8 percent of Seattle office space is vacant. Low inventory is helping to drive up office rents, particularly in desired areas such as Lake Union.
Luckily, lots of new office space is currently under construction to fill the growing demand. Of more than 7.2 million square feet of office space in construction right now, 22 percent is located in Lake Union (another 31 percent is being built elsewhere in Seattle, and 15 percent in downtown Bellevue). Approximately 3.2 million square feet will open for use this year, according to JLL’s second quarter report.