Bertha Finally Breaks Through in South Lake Union

Bertha has broken into daylight.

The giant tunnel machine chewed through the side of the disassembly vault at South Lake Union about 11:25 a.m. Tuesday, after an overnight stoppage at the concrete head wall.

Bertha arrived at the tunnel’s north portal 29 months late and four years after launching in Sodo to dig the highway tube that will replace the earthquake-damaged Alaskan Way Viaduct.

The 57-foot, 4-inch wide rotating cutter, moving north on a slight upward slope, gradually pushed concrete chunks forward as it nosed through the lower part of the concrete wall.

Bertha breaks through

Despite sprinklers raining water into in the vault, thick dust filled the area and drove media and officials witnessing the event into an enclosed area.

On Monday, Joe Hedges, project administrator for the Washington State Department of Transportation, couldn’t stop smiling as he complimented the contractors, WSDOT’s oversight team, and said Washington residents should be proud the long dig was accomplished.

“To remind everybody what’s been done in the last 11 months, (they’ve) tunneled over 1.5 miles, with just amazing results, underneath the heart of the city, tunneling a five-story tunnel,” Hedges said.

Though the state and Seattle Tunnel Partners are fighting in court over a half-billion dollars in repair and delay costs, STP has also created goodwill by cruising at 40 or even 50 feet a day since passing beneath the old Alaskan Way Viaduct last April 29.

Hedges noted that much work is left to be done before the tunnel opens to traffic in early 2019.

“We’re not at the fourth quarter, we’re only at about halftime,” he said.

Crews must complete the underground double-decker highway, with two lanes going north and two going south.

There was no public access to the site, just west of Aurora Avenue. WSDOT has installed an online vault cam and is tweeting under the hashtag #Berthabreakthrough.

STP manager Chris Dixon and state officials kept saying there won’t be much spectacle. Public interest has grown anyway. Banners of Tutor-Perini and Dragados USA, the major tunneling partners, have been hung over the wall for infrastructure sponsors worldwide to notice.

Gov. Jay Inslee and Mayor Ed Murray, along with other elected officials and WSDOT leaders, were on hand for the breakthrough.

The governor acknowledges his tunnel frustrations from the 29-month delay. During a long repair stoppage in 2015, he told KIRO radio host Dori Monson that a homeowner in similar straits would whip a late contractor “like a cheap mule.”

But Inslee said last week the technology is equally memorable, and he looks forward to watching the breakthrough.

He recalled a visit early in the project, feeling like he was in a Star Wars film.

“When you stand in the tunnel, it’s five to six stories tall. It’s mind-boggling. When you go into the control room, you feel like you’re in the Millennium Falcon control room.”

Inslee also warned the state has far to go. “We’re still in a race against the next earthquake, to take the viaduct down,” he said.

Murray sponsored the 2009 tunnel legislation when he was a state senator, shortly after Gov. Chris Gregoire chose to build a single-bore, deep highway to replace the earthquake-damaged viaduct.

As mayor, Murray said, he’s had little influence over the tunnel job because it’s not only a state contract but a design-build contract in which STP does final engineering and takes on the financial risks.

He admits there were times he wasn’t sure Bertha would make it.

“Because of the way the design-build contract works, we, the city didn’t have insight into what the issue was,” Murray said. “For a while there it was unclear what was going to happen.”

He said the waterfront revival, after the viaduct is gone, “is going to capture the imagination of the city.”

Responsibility for cost overruns may take years to be settled.

Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, last week sought to revive the issue with a bill that would withhold state revenue sharing for transportation, liquor and marijuana-related health programs, and municipal courts unless Seattle pays any future cost overruns.

The 2009 legislation said excess state costs would be borne by property owners who benefit, and “a promise is a promise,” Orcutt argues.

Murray said of that concept: “I really don’t think, if you’re a Republican legislator or a Democratic legislator, you want your local city or county to pay for state roads. I think that would be an unbelievable way to go.”

Syndicated from The Seattle Times

South Lake Union Rezone Approved by Council Committee

A Seattle City Council committee took a step forward Tuesday in rezoning South Lake Union, Lower Queen Anne, and Downtown neighborhoods.

The Council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning committee voted 3-0 to forward the legislation, which would allow taller building heights in exchange for affordable housing.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold expressed her concerns on the equation used to determine the heights and suggested she could provide amendments in the future.

As crafted, the legislation would allow buildings up to 40 feet taller than the current code, depending on the amount of affordable market units within the building.

Councilmember Rob Johnson, who chairs the committee and presided over multiple amendments, acknowledged there will likely be changes to the legislation before a full Council vote on April 10.

Syndicated from King5 News.

Mayor Ed Murray Proposes Taller Buildings in SLU in Exchange for More Affordable Housing

Downtown Seattle and South Lake Union are the next neighborhoods where Mayor Ed Murray wants to allow taller buildings in exchange for help with affordable housing.

Under the proposed upzone, new projects would be allowed to climb one or several stories higher, depending on location. In some cases, projects would be allowed more floor area.

Photo source: Wikipedia Commons

But the Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square historic districts would be exempted from the changes, which the council’s land-use committee will take up Tuesday.

The upzone would trigger the city’s new Mandatory Housing Affordability program, which requires developers to include rent-controlled units in their projects or pay fees to help create such units elsewhere.

That program already is coming to the University District because the council voted to upzone that neighborhood last month.

Murray will ask the council to upzone more than two dozen additional neighborhoods later this year and next year.

He says the program’s goal is to create 6,000 rent-controlled units over 10 years.

In downtown and South Lake Union, housing developers would need to make about 2 to 5 percent of their units rent-controlled or pay fees of $5.50 to $13 per square foot.

Commercial developers would need to devote about 5 to 11 percent of their gross floor area to rent-controlled units or pay fees of $8 to $16 per square foot.

The affordable-housing requirements proposed for downtown and South Lake Union are lower than those proposed for other neighborhoods.

That’s because high-rise buildings are particularly expensive to construct and because the zoning changes would be more incremental there than in other neighborhoods, Murray administration officials say.

It’s also because some downtown and South Lake Union zones already require developers to provide benefits such as public open space and street improvements, officials say.

Despite the lower affordable-housing requirements, Murray administration officials say downtown and South Lake Union would generate as many as 2,100 rent-controlled units.

Where those would be located is another story. Most developers in downtown and South Lake Union would likely choose to pay fees rather than include units in their buildings.

The city would use the fees to help nonprofit developers build rent-controlled housing. Those projects could be in downtown and South Lake Union or could be in other neighborhoods.

Officials say fees are valuable because they can be combined with other financing to create more affordable housing.

If the council approves the upzone, the developer of a 44-story apartment building might be required to include 25 rent-controlled units or pay $5 million in fees.

The developer of a 35-story commercial building might be required to include 74 rent-controlled units or pay $7.8 million in fees.

Since 2001, the city has operated an incentive-zoning program in parts of downtown and South Lake Union. Under that program, developers can choose to build affordable housing or pay fees in exchange for more floor area.

If the council approves the upzone, Murray’s new, mandatory program would replace the existing, voluntary program.

The downtown and South Lake Union upzone may prove less controversial than those proposed for neighborhoods such as Wallingford, Othello and South Park, which would allow larger apartment buildings and convert some blocks now zoned exclusively for single-family, detached homes.

Syndicated from The Seattle Times.

The Allen Institute

Central atrium inside Allen Institute.  Photo: Anthony Bolante/Puget Sound Business Journal

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.

Allen Institute exterior. Photo: Lara Swimmer Photography

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.

Looking east toward Lake Union.

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 new Allen Institute building wraps around historic car showrooms.

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.

Studio SC’s public art installation “Pathways”, exterior.  Photo: Lara Swimmer Photography

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

Daniel’s Broiler Not Leaving Lake Union, But Who Is Daniel Anyway?

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.