lake union blog

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.

970DennyIt seems as though all systems are ‘Go’ on a project that will bring a 40 story apartment tower to 970 Denny Way.

The project, put forth by Holland Partners Group, will include 15,580 square feet of retail space, 468 units and 359 parking spaces. Located in the “bullseye of the whole South Lake Union area”, this structure promises to boast many of high-end amenities, including a roof-top deck, gym, media room and business center, and of course, a location to boot.

Development director for Holland, Marty Goodman, said the project has been approved for a master use permit , and demolition is ready to go. Once the permits are in hand, construction will likely start within a few weeks.

Holland Group is working closely with retail experts to ensure a ground floor design that is appealing and fresh, complete with outdoor dining areas, plenty of windows and other desirable featured for retailers.

The building’s first occupants are expected to be able to move in as soon as summer 2018.

The neighborhood is going to be a busy place in June, with some pretty fun and exciting Lake Union events to look forward to…

  1. June 2 – Chateau Musar Wine Dinner at Cicchetti: This is the second annual vertical wine dinner featuring Chateau Musar at Cicchetti. The vertical wine tasting will feature a five-course menu to complement the wines, for $110 per person. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Click here to view the menu.
  2. June 3 – MOHAI June Trivia at The Wurst Place: On the first Tuesday of every month, MOHAI holds a fun pub trivia at the Wurst Place at 7 p.m. This month, the MOHAI Pub Trivia will take place on June 3rd, and is a free community event.
  3. June 3 – South Lake Union Dishcrawl: Dine at three South Lake Union eateries to discover new tastes in the neighborhood in the SLU Dishcrawl at 7 p.m. on June 3rd. The three restaurants are currently a secret for now. Purchase your tickets here – $45 per person for nine food samples.
  4. June 4 – Tamron Tailgate Tour: Join in Glazer’s Tamron Tailgate Tour on June 4th from noon until 4 p.m. to test drive the new Tamron lens technology, enjoy free photography mini-sessions, visit over 100 photographic spots, enjoy a free tailgate lunch, and enter to win giveaway prizes.
  5. June 5 – First Free Thursday at MOHAI: Every month, the Museum of History and Industry in South Lake Union offers free admission on the first Thursday. The museum is open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. The June First Free Thursday is on June 5th.
  6. June 7 – Spring Sea Scout Rendezvous with Chief Seattle Council: The Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America are doing their Spring Rendezvous with the three largest Sea Scout ships in their fleet on June 7th from South Lake Union Park. The ships will arrive at the park at 11 a.m. for the event. All young men and women ages 14-21 are welcome.
  7. June 7 – Lung Force Walk: Stand up to the rise of lung cancer in women, asthma, pollution, and COPD on June 7th with the Seattle Lung Force Walk. The event begins at Denny Park with a 0.3-mile Lung Heroes Lap, and then follows with a walk to Lake Union Park and back to the Denny Playfield.
  8. June 7 & 8 – Glazer’s Mini-Photofest: It’s the 5th Annual (mini) PhotoFest at Glazer’s on June 7th and 8th! In addition to celebrating images, offering workshops, demos, and specials, it’s also Glazer’s biggest sale of the year. The festival is from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 7th and from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 8th.
  9. June 12 – June Corks and Canvas at Pan Pacific Seattle: Paint a masterpiece while sipping and socializing in the monthly Corks and Canvas event at Pan Pacific Hotel – this month on June 12th from 6 – 9 p.m. Hosted in the Lobby Bar, participants receive instruction and all necessary supplies, plus their first glass of wine for $45 per person. Small plates and additional drinks are available for purchase. Advance registration required – click here.
  10. June 13 & 14 – Art on the Fly Dance Festival: From June 13th through 14th, Art on the Fly is having a dance and arts street fair. With roving performances, flash mobs, free dance classes, an artisan craft fair, beer and margarita gardens, activities, foods and more, the Art on the Fly Festival is not to be missed! The fair takes place between Thomas and Republican Streets on Terry Avenue North in South Lake Union.
  11. June 14 – Verdue Primavera Cooking Class at Cicchetti: Learn how to use the bounty from your garden or the Farmer’s Market in delicious dishes, in the Verdue Primavera Cooking Class at Cicchetti on Saturday, June 14th at 1 p.m. The class is $70 per person. Please call 206-323-0807 to reserve your space.
  12. June 19 – June History Café at MOHAI: In this month’s history café at MOHAI, the topic is “Pike Place Market”. Join the group in the MOHAI Café from 7 – 8 p.m., grab a coffee or a glass of wine, and learn about the past and discuss it!
  13. June 22 – SS Virginia V Birthday Cruise: Celebrate the 92nd birthday of the SS Virginia V with a special cruise presented by Vulcan Real Estate. On Sunday, June 22nd at 4 p.m., the Virginia V will depart from Lake Union Park for a cruise around Lake Union and cake and birthday toast. At 5:30 p.m., the vessel will return for more dockside celebrations until 7 p.m. Tickets are $92 per person. Click here for details.
  14. June 28 – Family Pride Day at MOHAI: Celebrate your family pride at MOHAI! All-day activities from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 28th will include special performances by Pride Idol winners, bingo with Lunch Lady Mama, family portraits, make-your-own flair for the 40th Annual Pride Parade, and more! Included with museum admission.
  15. June 29 – 4th Annual Garden Party Extravaganza at Serafina & Cicchetti: The Eastlake restaurant Serafina is celebrating their 23rd anniversary and the 4th Annual Garden Party Extravaganza on Sunday, June 29th from 1 – 10 p.m. Featured highlights include a whole-roasted pig, patio grilling, new Rosé vintages, live music, photo booth, oyster bar, and the ‘Iron Bartender’ event. Click here for more details.

Featured photo from Art-On-The-Fly.org.

Each month, we provide a brief summary of Lake Union crime activity from the previous month. Read on for this month’s recap of criminal activity…

  • Police Continue Their Hunt for Homicide Suspect: On April 6th, a man was shot near 5th Avenue and Olive Way. The suspect is still at large, and SPD are asking for any witnesses or people with information to step forward. The suspect is described as being a light-skinned black male with a short, curly afro. He is estimated to be in his early twenties, about 5’11” – 6 feet tall and of skinny build. At the time of the crime, he was unshaven and was wearing a red sweatshirt and jeans. He also has a marking above his right eye.
  • K9 Officers Track Down Suspects in Attempted Burglary: SPD were called to a vacant building in the 200 block of Fairview Avenue N on Thursday, April 17th after 10 p.m. with reports of a group of men on the roof, hitting a compressor with a sledgehammer. As officers arrived on the scene, the suspects fled and hid in the building. When they ordered the men out without response, they took a K9 unit named Ziva into the building. They found two of the suspects in closets and another was hiding in a roof vent. SPD recovered a backpack filled with tools and an ax. They booked the three suspects into King County Jail.
  • Serious Injuries Result from Pedestrian-Vehicle Collision: At about 4:45 p.m. on May 20th, two male pedestrians were involved in a collision with a vehicle near the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Denny Way. The pedestrians, ages 39 and 62, were thrown onto the windshield of the vehicle that struck them. They were transported to Harborview Medical Center in serious condition. No other details are known at this time.
  • Lake Union Boat Fire & Explosion Injures One: Seattle Fire responded to the a boat dock at 2732 Westlake Avenue North at about 9:30 a.m. on May 22nd from reports of a boat fire. Medics found the owner of the boat, a 33-year-old male, with extreme burns on his upper body. According to news reports, the fire was started when a spark from a vacuum cleaner ignited spilled gasoline (the man was attempting to clean up the spilled fuel with the vacuum). The man was burned on his hands, arms, torso and face with second- and third-degree burns, before he jumped into the water. He was transported to Harborview for treatment. His girlfriend was also on the boat at the time, but she avoided any injury. The estimated damage from the fire is $55,000.

Featured photo from KIROtv.com.

If you haven’t already seen it (your peripheral vision is bound to, if you happen to pass by), there’s a huge yacht docked in Lake Union right now. What’s it doing there? It’s stopping for some repairs and supplies before heading to Alaska for the summer, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

The superyacht, called the Vava II, arrived at the Nautical Landing marina, which has the space to accommodate such a large vessel, on Friday afternoon May 9th. The marina is located along Westlake Avenue North, just southeast of the Aurora Bridge. As the yacht traveled to the marina on Friday through the Ballard Locks, it drew a large crowd to watch it go through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard.

The Vava II is 315-feet in length and worth about $160 million. It has six decks and a swimming pool, and costs more than $500,000 to fully re-fuel.

Swiss-Italian billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli and his wife, Kirsty, own the massive vessel. Mrs. Bertarelli is a singer, songwriter and former beauty queen in the Miss U.K. beauty pageant. The Bertarelli’s yacht is registered in the Cayman Islands – it’s rumored to be a gift to Kirsty from Ernesto.

This is the largest yacht ever to enter Lake Union, preceded last year by the 280-foot Vibrant Curiosity, who docked at Nautical Landing last June.

According to the Business Journal report, the yachting season is expected to be great this year. “We have high hopes,” said Peter Schrappen of the Northwest Marine Trade Association. “High expectations, too. We’ve traveled all over the country showcasing the Pacific Northwest, including the largest boat show in the world in Florida, and this is a result of that effort.”

The idea is to draw wealthy yacht owners to the Seattle area, so that they spend some of their riches in our local economy while they are here. The owners and crew of a yacht like the Vava II will spend an estimated $2.7 million in the Seattle area if they stay for 30 days, according to Schrappen’s calculations.

Featured photo from Q13Fox.com.

Seattle’s very own EMP is celebrating the art and history of music video in the first museum exhibition to do so through sight and sound. Music videos began with MTV in the early 80’s and have changed the music and entertainments scene ever since.

This historic weekend provides three events to choose from to follow the birth and evolution of music videos in the 80’s. Exhibit attendees will be able to relive MTV productions and see how stars used the medium to become the historic figures they are today.  Experience the early sounds and styles of icons such as Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson, and other prominent artists.

Kick off the weekend with the Vivid: Spectacle Opening Night Party Friday May 16 7:00-11:00pm

Attendees are encouraged to dig into your parents’ and grandparents’ attics to come dressed as a favorite music icon or video character.  Party goers will be able to get interactive with the following music video experiences: OK Go Video Retrospective, Big Screen Blowout, I Want My MTV: 80s Karaoke Lounge, Behind the Screen, Spectacle! Live!  We’re Gonna Pop Some Tags, and Super secret special guests!

EMP Museum
325 5th Avenue N
Seattle, WA 98109

Tickets: $25 ($18 EMP members), $12 Youth (17 & younger)

All ages (bars with valid ID).

Purchase Tickets

For EMP members only, take advantage of Spectacle Member Previews: all day Friday, May 16- and up until an hour before the exhibit opens to the public on Saturday, May 17

If you are not a member, Join today and take advantage of the previews for free. Friday May 16, 2014 10:00am-5:00pm, and Saturday May 17, 2014 9:00am-10:00am

The third event of the weekend is the Spectacle Educator Opening Event: Saturday, May 17 9:00am-noon. This event is provided just for educators in a three hour workshop format. Arianne Garden Vasquez from SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) will guide educators through a variety of activities to effectively use this event in classrooms.

Team participants will use their own iPads and iPhones for the workshop. Free apps appropriate for classroom use are provided.

This event is limited to 30 adult educators, so register by Thursday, May 15.

Whether you attend the opening night party, the special member previews, or the educator opening event, be prepared for a memorable weekend of saturating yourself in the history of music video.

Featured photo from DBFestival.com.

Thai cuisine is now a popular dining option across the Seattle area… I would even venture to say that there are nearly as many Thai restaurants as there are Starbucks locations. But one of the very first of these (if not the first – it’s always hard to say for certain) was Siam Thai Cuisine. Chai Asavadejkajorn was one of the original owners of the first Siam Thai Cuisine, which opened in Capitol Hill on Broadway in 1986.

The Capitol Hill location closed – to much sadness throughout the neighborhood – in May 2009, but Siam Thai was already flourishing in Lake Union and also in Bothell.

This month for our Lake Union restaurant spotlight, we’re featuring Siam Thai Cuisine in our neighborhood!

The Lake Union location opened in October 2010. “We offer authentic Thai food that is higher-end,” says owner Chai Asavadejkajorn. “We want to be modern with a similar feel at our restaurants … [This restaurant] is modern, open, and we have created a fun place to eat.”

That sentiment is echoed to the menus at both the Lake Union restaurant and the Bothell location, where most of the menu items are consistent at both restaurants. Actually, most of the menu items are from the original Siam Thai Cuisine menu – although the menu is getting a makeover for the summer. Asavadejkajorn expects to be releasing that in the next few weeks or so.

One of the favorites at Siam is the Jungle Chicken, with fried, crispy chicken that is stir-fried with pineapple, bell peppers and basil in a tangy garlic-chili sauce. Not surprisingly for a Thai restaurant, Panang Curry is also on the list of popular entrées. “We have the best Panang Curry in the city,” Asavadejkajorn says. “And people used to say we have the best peanut sauce, but now there are too many.”

Siam’s Soy Ginger Salmon, Shu-Chee Catfish or Salmon, and Scallop Prik Paow (sautéed chili scallops) are other favorites.

For Asavadejkajorn, keeping the atmosphere welcoming and the prices affordable is very important. “The treatment of the neighbors here is very important. If people can afford to come out, it keeps the business going,” he said.

Siam has a constantly rotating wine list, with about 40-50 bottles on it at any given time. There are six beers available on tap, and a featured cocktail list that changes every six months or so, in addition to a full service bar.

Dinner is available all day, however a lunch menu is also served during the weekdays to offer smaller portions and lower prices. Siam Thai kitchen hours are 11:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 11:30 p.m. on Friday, and from 3 – 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and 3 – 10 p.m.

Happy Hour at Siam offers about a dozen small entrées for $5-7 each, martinis for $7, $3.50 draft beers, $3 bottled beers, and $4.50 house wines by the glass. Happy Hour is daily from 3 – 6 p.m. and from 9 p.m. until close, and all day on Monday.


From foodie events to educational and community activities, there are plenty of Lake Union events to look forward to next month! Here’s just a taste…

  1. May 1 – First Free Thursday at MOHAI: Every month, the Museum of History and Industry in South Lake Union offers free admission on the first Thursday. The museum is open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. MOHAI is celebrating the Sounders’ 40th anniversary for the May First Free Thursday, with lots of fun free events inside and outside the museum.
  2. May 2 – South Lake Union Art Walk: The South Lake Union Art Walk is on Friday, May 2nd from 5 – 8 p.m. at various locations throughout the neighborhood. Row House Café will be holding an artist reception from 6-9 p.m. to feature photography from Bronwen Houck. Caffe Torino is featuring Autumn Kegley and Audrey Guidi, with free snacks and discounted beverages.
  3. May 3 – Member Day at the Center for Wooden Boats: The Center for Wooden Boats is offering free rides, boat rentals, and more to CWB members on May 3rd from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.
  4. May 3 – Opening Day Parade on the Virginia V: The opening day of boating season is Saturday, May 3rd! Participate in the parade of boats by boarding the Virginia V at the Historic Ships Wharf at 806 Terry Ave N at 11 a.m. (departs at 11:30 a.m.). Tickets are $55 for V5 members, or $69 for non-members. There is a buffet lunch including BBQ beef sliders, mini hot dogs and earth burgers, mac ‘n cheese, Caesar salad, and Oreo pops. A cash bar will also be available.
  5. May 3 – Fourth Annual Kentucky Derby Party at Re:public: For four years now, Re:public in South Lake Union has hosted a Kentucky Derby celebration. Like they’ve done in years past, Re:public will open with a complimentary brunch at 10 a.m. Then, at 11:30 a.m., buses will transport guests to Emerald Downs for the simulcast viewing of the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby. After the races, all patrons will ride back to Re:public to party with a live disc jockey, prizes for the best-dressed, a photo booth, and more. Tickets are $50 per person, and include the brunch, transportation and admission to Emerald Downs. Email rory@republicseattle.com for tickets.
  6. May 8 – May Corks and Canvas at Pan Pacific Seattle: Paint a masterpiece while sipping and socializing in the monthly Corks and Canvas event at Pan Pacific Hotel – this month on May 8th from 6 – 9 p.m. Hosted in the Lobby Bar, participants receive instruction and all necessary supplies, plus their first glass of wine for $45 per person. Small plates and additional drinks are available for purchase. Advance registration required – click here.
  7. May 8-11 – Vigor Maritime Festival: The Seattle Propeller Club and the Port of Seattle are bringing the Vigor Seattle Maritime Festival to South Lake Union from May 8th through 11th. There will be storytelling, education, tugboat races, tours, displays, demonstrations, and more. On the festival’s Family Fun Day, May 11th, MOHAI is screening the documentary, “Arthur Foss: Iconic Tugboat of the Northwest” from 1 – 4 p.m.
  8. May 11 – Mother’s Day Brunch at Serafina: Chef Christian at Serafina Osteria & Enoteca on Eastlake Avenue is cooking up a special two-course menu for Mother’s Day Brunch on Sunday, May 11th from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. The cost is $30 per person, plus tax and gratuity. A kids menu will also be available. Call 206-323-0807 for reservations.
  9. May 15 – May History Café at MOHAI: In this month’s history café at MOHAI, the topic is “Being Asian in Seattle (1860-2014)”. Join the group in the MOHAI Café, grab a coffee or a glass of wine, and learn about the past and discuss it!
  10. May 17 – Lake Union Sweep: The 12th Annual Lake Union Sweep is Saturday, May 17th. More than 250 volunteers hop into kayaks and other boats to remove trash from Lake Union, while other volunteers walk along the lakeside picking up garbage. Free picnic lunch and T-shirts are given to all volunteers after the ‘Sweep’, which is from 8 – 1 p.m. Event headquarters are at Lake Union Park.
  11. May 17 – Cocktail Class at Serafina: Learn how to make your own cocktail infusions, tinctures, syrups and more in a cocktail class at Serafina. The “Extracting, Macerating and Infusing in the Bar” event takes place at 2 p.m. on May 17th. The class costs $75 per person, and includes instruction, cocktail tastings, and paired bites. Call 206-323-0807 to reserve your place!
  12. May 19 – Bike Share Community Planning Workshop: Puget Sound Bike Share is hosting a community-planning workshop on May 19th at noon at the SLU Discovery Center. This workshop is designed to inform the public about the bike share program timeline, installation, functionality, operations, membership, and more.
  13. May 26 – “From Boomtown to Bertha” with SLU Cabaret: From Skid Row to the Denny Regrade and beyond, the South Lake Union Cabaret presents their historical, humorous, and hopeful musical theater performance titled “From Boomtown to Bertha”. Performances will take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in MOHAI’s Grand Atrium on Monday, May 26th.

Featured photo from NWSeaport.org

This month in Lake Union crime, our neighborhood was the setting of some unfortunate events, including a fire and two shootings. Read on for summaries of these events…

  • Shooting Outside KC Sobering Center: Shots were fired near the KC Sobering Center around 4 a.m. on March 29th. Officers arrived on the scene and took a suspect into custody, but he was later released after being identified. Witnesses said they had seen the occupants of two vehicles shooting at each other, just south of the Sobering Center. According to reports, one of the cars was a black SUV and the other was a white sedan. SPD recovered 15 shell casings from the scene, and noted three bullet holes in the plywood construction sheets at Boren Avenue and Stewart Street. A stray bullet had hit a nearby apartment building window as well – officers investigated and found the resident of the apartment unhurt, however the bullet had pierced two panes of glass and the window shade before stopping in an interior wall. This remains an open investigation, since SPD was unable to contact or apprehend any suspects.
  • Fatal Shooting on Olive Way: An argument between two men resulted in one of them shooting and killing the other on April 6th. Witnesses saw two men arguing heatedly at about 2 a.m. near the intersection of 5th Avenue and Olive Way, when one of the men pulled out a gun and shot the other. SPD arrived on scene to find the 47-year-old victim dead, and the suspect had fled. He is described as being a black male with light skin, short and curly hair (afro), thin build, about 6 feet tall, in his early 20s. He was wearing a red sweatshirt and jeans, and has a distinct mark above his right eye. Click here to view the police drawing. If you have any information about the suspect or his whereabouts, please call 9-1-1 or the SPD’s Homicide Unit: 206-684-5550.
  • Boat Fire Damages Two Vessels in Lake Union: A marina fire at 1800 Westlake Avenue North on April 11th destroyed one boat and damaged another. Firefighters arrived on the scene at about 12:20 a.m., and extinguished the flames within about 20 minutes, but it was too late for a 33-foot vessel. Luckily, no one was hurt in the fire, although the total estimated damage to the boats and the dock where they were moored is $370,000. The cause for the fire is unknown.

Featured photo from KomoNews.com.

The Seattle Architecture Foundation features South Lake Union at two events coming up in May. This is a wonderful opportunity to join your neighbors and enjoy not only the architectural history of SLU, but the vision and plans for its future. You will gain an understanding of where we have come as a vibrant and changing force in Seattle and see the direction for the next chapter.


South Lake Union Extreme Makeover Walking Tour: A neighborhood tour presented in partnership with MOHAI will take you on a walking tour to experience SLU’s evolution from Seattle’s industrial center to its current place as the city’s hotspot for technology, medicine, and green design. SAF will examine the historical and architectural stories that detail the transformation of SLU as it has responded to the varying needs of the growing city.

This tour starts at 10:00am and lasts approximately two hours. Registration begins at Carroll’s Clock in front of MOHAI, 860 Terry Ave. N. Advance registration is strongly encouraged; walk-ups are limited to space available.
Cost of the tour is $20 General; $15 MOHAI or SAF Members in advance & $25 day of.
Upcoming 2014 Tour Dates:
Saturdays: May 17, July 12, and August 9
Register on MOHAI’s site


2014 Design in Depth Lecture Series: The SAF also invites you to “Hear about the past, present and future of this evolving neighborhood. Find out if this neighborhood transformation is turning out as planned, and how developers, residents and community partners envision the next phase will alter the future of this emerging community.”

Guest Speakers:
Sharon Coleman, Director, Real Estate Development, Vulcan Inc.
Jim Goodspeed, Principal, Goodspeed Architecture & South Lake Union Resident
Leonard Garfield, Executive Director of MoHAI
Lyle Bicknell, Seattle Department of Planning & Development

Get your tickets for the South Lake Union Lecture here
May 13, 415 Westlake
$2 Flat Rate Parking at Republican and Terry

Featured photo from Wikipedia Commons