lake union residents

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.

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Come out and experience the “Shipwrecked Pirate Party” this Saturday! Epiphany Events is hosting this event in South Lake Union. Now 21+ Seattleites have a way to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day! (Sat Sept 19th). The Islander is moored on Lake Union along Fairview Ave. Address: 1611 Fairview Ave E Seattle, Washington 98102

One ticket includes a 3-hour Boat Cruise, Pirate Booty and One Drink Ticket (spirits, beer or wine)!  Among the festivities, be prepared to sing sea shanties, hunt for buried treasure and indulge in many other pirate shenanigans. Wear your best pirate costume and dance the night away to DJ EPop as you cruise!

Disclaimer: Anyone who buys a ticket and shows up dressed as a landlubber will not be granted access to our ship. YOU MUST BE DRESSED AS A PIRATE!

Purchase tickets online HERE!

The ship will start boarding at 7:00pm. The cruise departs at 8 PM SHARP and returns at 11 PM. Please be aware that you will not receive a refund if you miss the boat. There is very little free parking in the area, but you might think about arriving via taxi, Uber or Lyft.

Please bring a photo ID (must be 21+). Credit card or cash to buy drinks at the No Host Bar (and to tip your awesome bartenders). Limited food menu (bar food) also available for purchase.


There has been some recent activity of note in South Lake Union real estate, so we wanted to fill you in…

Vulcan Sold Life Sciences Building in SLU for $106 Million
Last Thursday, March 13th, Vulcan Real Estate sold one of its buildings in South Lake Union to Kilroy Realty, which is located out of Los Angeles. The building is located at 401 Terry Avenue North and was built in 2003. It is a life sciences and office building with 145,923 square feet of rentable space. It’s already full leased to the Institute for Systems Biology, which does biomedical research as a non-profit organization. Last year, Kilroy Realty bought a 319,000 square foot building from Vulcan for $170 million. Click here to learn the full story from the Seattle Times.

Office Development Proceeds After 7 Years of Stagnation
The Westlake Steps have been in the works since 2007, including 825,000 square feet of office space, retail and residences. However, since that year the project has not moved forward… until now. Holland Partner Group plans to begin construction of the six-story building at 1101 Westlake Avenue North this summer. That building will be comprised of 150,000 square feet of space for offices, a hotel and 570 apartment units. Click here to read the full news brief on the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Vancouver, B.C. Based Developer to Build 1,945 Residences in SLU
The Puget Sound Business Journal reported yesterday that the Onni Group (a Canadian developer) has updated its plans to build two huge residential buildings in the South Lake Union neighborhood. The plans consist of two towers with 40 stories and 1,085 residential units. These buildings will be constructed on the block alongside Denny Way, John Street, and Fairview and Boren Avenues North. In addition, the plans include another two-tower development across the street with 24 stories and a total of 860 residential units. There will be 44,000 square feet of retail space and 1,700 parking stalls between the two developments. Onni bought the two blocks of land from the Seattle Times last year for $62.5 million. Click here for more details.

Featured photo from BizJournals.com, a MulvannyG2 Architecture rendering.

Creating a sense of community in a neighborhood driven primarily by commercial properties can be a challenge. However, there are many residents in South Lake Union who value the flavor, diversity, and fabulous options of activities available. Sometimes finding opportunities to connect can be a challenge, however, getting involved in our South Lake Union neighborhood is a great way to connect and be an agent for positive change.  Here are just a few events to put on your calendars in February and March, as well as places to connect.

Attend a weekly service at a neighborhood church:

Denny Park Lutheran Church
766 John St.

St. Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral
400 Yale Ave N
Seattle, WA ‎
(206) 624-5341 ‎

Union Church
415 Westlake Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
206.524.7301 x204

Participate in community services:

Immanuel Community Services offers many opportunities to help and connect in SLU from a community lunch preparers and servers, food bank workers, hygiene center, and support for the recovery program.  Contact the ICS Director icsdirector@immanuelseattle.org for details and ways you can help.
1215 Thomas Street
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 622 1930

Join and/or participate in your neighborhood Chamber of Commerce events:

SLU Chamber February Lunch
February 19, 2014, from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM. Register Online. Join them February 19 from 11:30am – 1pm for food, networking, and fun at the monthly Chamber lunch.  The host for this networking lunch is Seattle Children’s Research Institute where guests will be treated to a delicious catered lunch. A dynamic speaker will be presenting on the Chamber’s theme for February, “Medical Research.” If you have never been a part of one of our much-anticipate networking events, we encourage you to get involved.  Consider this your invitation! $25 for members, $35 for non-members.
Children’s Research Institute
1900 9th Ave,
Seattle, WA 98109

 SLU Chamber Evening Networking Event

Wednesday, February 26, from 5pm – 7pm. Join Chamber members and guests at our February evening networking event at Cuoco. We’re excited to offer you this great opportunity to connect with chamber members and other members of our community. Fees/Admission: $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Register Online.
310 Terry Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

Attend a NW Swedish Club Swedish Pancake Breakfast:

March 2, 2014, from 8:00 AM – 1:30 PM. Enjoy music and dancing, plus authentic Swedish pancakes, lingonberries, ham, and all the right fixins. Music by Metro Gnomes, Sprida Ut, and Smilin’ Scandinavians. Stay afterward for genealogy help on the lobby floor. Contact: Eva Larson 206-283-1090. Cost: $9 Guests, $7 Club members, $5 Children 5-12.
The Swedish Club
1920 Dexter Avenue N.
Seattle, WA 98109

Featured photo from Wikipedia Commons, labeled for commercial reuse.



Join with other parents and families to help make Downtown Seattle a better place to live, learn and play. The organization Downtown Seattle Families has teamed with PlayDate SEA to host a Family Fun Night next Friday, November 22nd.

Mark your calendars!

Next Friday, PlayDate SEA will offer half-off admission to their new indoor playspace in South Lake Union. The half-off deal is good all day, so you can play with your kids in the morning, and then head back for the meeting with other downtown families at 6 p.m. From 6 – 8 p.m. on the 22nd, downtown families will have a chance to meet and connect with other households in the downtown and South Lake Union areas.

There will be a free puppet show, courtesy of The Dragon Theater Puppets, to keep your kids entertained. Or, they can play on the brand new indoor playspace and make new friends.

According to their website, “PlayDate™ is an 8,500 sq. ft. indoor play space in downtown Seattle that is tailored to create a safe and energetic environment that stimulates the imagination and gives your children space to roam…at the same time giving parents a comfortable and soothing environment to relax and enjoy a warm cup of Stumptown coffee.”

The Downtown Seattle Families organization is a new group that is working to make the downtown and urban area more kid-friendly. Their mission is “to advocate for family-friendly projects, events, programs and investments in the heart of Seattle and build a strong community of families in the core of the city.”

Meet and connect with other families in the downtown area at this Family Fun Night next week! This will be a recurring event.

When: Friday, November 22nd from 6 – 8 p.m.
Where: PlayDate SEA, 1245 Mercer Street, Seattle 98109 (entrance off of Yale Avenue)
Cost: Admission is free for adults, $5 – 10 (half off for Family Fun Night) per child

Featured photo from Downtown Seattle Families’ Facebook page.

The Puget Sound Bike Share (PSBS) was envisioned several years ago by a small group of community members who wanted to bring bike share to Seattle. PSBS was formed officially in June 2012, and has since seen incorporation as a non-profit, had a $750,000 grant recommendation, and selected a bike share system vendor this last spring.

PSBS system in King County is “comprised of public and private organizations and local citizens working to bring bike sharing to King County. Our vision is to provide King County residents and visitors access to a low-cost, fast, flexible, and convenient transportation alternative with economic, social, and environmental benefits to the region,” according to the PSBS website.

The system would place bicycle transit systems at locations throughout the city, where people could rent the bikes for an annual membership fee (about $85) or for a daily use of about $9. Helmets will also be available for rental of around $3.

According to an article published in The Stranger, PSBS intends to have over 500 bikes positioned at about 50 transit stations throughout Downtown and some surrounding neighborhoods by spring next year.

As The Stranger reports, however, the community isn’t providing the support that PSBS expected to achieve its bike share system goals. “We’ve seen a lot of initial excitement with little follow-through,” says Holly Houser, PSBS’ director.

The Seattle City Council and other political organizations and individuals within the county have supported the system, but the businesses whose funds are needed to make it a reality have not. With the funds they currently have (about $1.75 million in federal and state grants), PSBS will only be able to open 12 bike stations in the University District and 17 in South Lake Union. Downtown, Capitol Hill, and other dense neighborhoods – locations with high cycling traffic – will not be served.

PSBS needs a commitment for $1.5 million to be invested annually for five years. And, they need this commitment by the middle of November. Without these necessary funds to implement the full vision of the project, the program will be limited to 290 bikes at 29 stations in just South Lake Union and the University District.

“Eliminating 21 bike-share stations (and 210 bikes) from the densest neighborhoods—Capitol Hill, Belltown, Pioneer Square, and downtown, according to 2008 estimates from the Department of Planning and Development—would effectively downgrade a useful commuting tool to a barely useful novelty for University District and South Lake Union employees,” noted Cienna Madrid of The Stranger.

How do you feel about a bike share system spread throughout Downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods? Share your thoughts with your employers, friends, and colleagues and maybe we can get this valuable, healthy service made a reality!

Featured photo from TheStranger.com.


The Aurora-Mercer construction project is expected to make traffic worse on 99 and last about a year. In order for the old underpass to be demolished and a new one built, 99 will be cut down to only two lanes each way. That is part of the “Mercer West” project which will widen Mercer to six lanes under 99 and create broader sidewalks as well. Bus lanes near Mercer will be eliminated and buses will be merging with general traffic. All bus stops at Aurora and Mercer will close as will the northbound exit from Aurora to Mercer.

The goal of this project is to simplify navigating the area whether by walking, biking or transit. Hopes are high that it will help attract more biotech and software jobs to the South Lake Union area.

Spring has sprung in Seattle, and South Lake Union is gearing up for a great season of events and activities. Check out the following Lake Union events, and mark your calendars for some fun tastings, workshops, and activities in our neighborhood!

  1. Photo credit: soulwineseattle.com
    Photo credit: soulwineseattle.com

    April Wednesdays & Thursdays – Complimentary Wine Tasting at Soul Wine: Taste three Washington wines (varies weekly) at Soul Wine every Wednesday and Thursday in April from noon to 7 p.m.

  2. April 4 – Free First Thursday at MOHAI: The Museum of History And Industry stays open late (until 8 p.m.) with free admission all day for the first Thursday of every month. It’s a great way to check out the activities, programs, and exhibits at the museum without being required to pay an entrance fee.
  3. April 4 – SLU Public Safety Conversation: Help your local SPD precinct officers by sharing your public safety concerns at this evening conversation. The South Lake Union Chamber and Community Councils will be hosting a public safety conversation at 5:30 p.m. on April 4th at the Discovery Center at 101 Westlake Ave N. To learn more about the event, click here.
  4. April 5 – Arte & Vino at Caffe Torino: Caffe Torino restaurant in South Lake Union is featuring Seattle based artist Yoona Lee. She’ll be at the restaurant on Aprilth from 5-8 p.m. with free entry and wine and beer at a discount for this monthly happening in Lake Union events.
  5. April 6 – DIY History Workshop at MOHAI: Use oral history as a medium for documenting your family history, writing a memoir, and more. This is a two-part workshop offered by MOHAI to show how oral history is used, learn basic interview techniques, understand the uses for oral history, and so on. The workshop is $40/person for the public, $30 for members, seniors, students, and educators. Learn more about the workshop, register, and contact MOHAI here.
  6. April Sundays – Sunday Ice Cream Cruise with Seattle Ferry Service: Take a tour of Lake Union while enjoying ice cream desserts, hot chocolate, tomato soup and/or soft drinks ($2-4 each, cash or check only)! Every Sunday through April 28th, you can take a 45-50 minute tour of Lake Union, from its floating homes to Gas Works Park, to Dale Chihuly’s studio, and historical narrative all the way. Tickets are $11 for adults, $10 for seniors, $7 for kids 5-13, and $2 for kids under 5. Pets welcome. Tours happen each hour between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  7. Photo credti: MOHAI.org
    Photo credit: MOHAI.org

    April 9 – Mini MOHAI: Activities for younger kids at MOHAI on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Children aged 3-5 and their parents can enjoy interactive experiences, play spaces, activity stations, and more with rotating themes each month to keep it interesting. MiniMOHAI runs from 9 a.m. to noon. Adult (non-member) admission is $14; kids under 14 get in free.

  8. April 12 – Northwest Seaport Chantey Sing: Sing-a-long with the Sea Chanteys and celebrate Seattle’s connection to boats, sailors, and the sea. Local Tom Rawson, a folk singer from the Seattle area, will lead this sing-a-long from 8-10 p.m. at the Center for Wooden Boats in South Lake Union. It’s a free event and great for kids, too!
  9. April 12 – Swan Lake Opening Night at the Pacific Northwest Ballet: The Tchaikovsky classic, Swan Lake, will open at the PNB on Friday, April 12th. Performances run through Sunday, April 21st. Visit pnb.org for more information and ticket purchases.
  10. April 17 – South Lake Union Chamber April Lunch: Join the SLU Chamber for their April lunch meeting! It’s hosted by MOHAI and takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 17th. The lunch will be catered by City Catering, and costs $35 for non-members, $25 for members. Click here to read more.
  11. April 20 – KOMO 4 Family Day at MOHAI: The Museum of History and Industry in South Lake Union and KOMO 4 News partner together for their quarterly Family Day this April 20th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Celebrate Earth Day at MOHAI, where participants can learn about foods’ journeys from farm to table, build globes, and enjoy entertainment from magicians, musicians, and performers. Tickets are free to kids 14 and under, adults get two-for-one ($14) admission on Family Day! For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
  12. April 23 – Mini MOHAI: Activities for younger kids at MOHAI on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Children aged 3-5 and their parents can enjoy interactive experiences, play spaces, activity stations, and more with rotating themes each month to keep it interesting. MiniMOHAI runs from 9 a.m. to noon. Adult (non-member) admission is $14; kids under 14 get in free.

Featured photo from komonews.com.

There’s a one-stop shop in the South Lake Union neighborhood that’s designed for anyone looking to live a healthy lifestyle – it’s the Shine Store. Originally a tiny shop in the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the Shine Store opened in September 2011. It offers a single place where women, men and families in general can find lifestyle products to help them before, during, and after cancer treatments, as well as maintaining a beneficial way of living in general.

It’s a retail spot with a good cause, too – all proceeds go to supporting the patient and family programs at the SCCA (who owns the nonprofit store). They asked us to take a closer look at what they’re up to, and we felt they should be featured in a Lake Union store spotlight!

In addition to their offering of apparel, jewelry and other accessories, the Shine Store features a wide variety of hats, headscarves, and other head coverings. There’s something unique and special for anyone undergoing chemotherapy treatments who has lost or is in the process of losing his or her hair.

With head-covering consultations and wig-fittings to help each patient find the right item for them, Shine offers a one-of-a-kind service to aid in making each customer feel more comfortable in their otherwise very painful and demoralizing situation.

Shine also offers free head shaves to patients in the process of treatment for cancer – no matter where they are receiving treatment.

Head coverings and apparel aren’t the only treatment-centric items to be found at the Shine store. There’s a nutrition space, where teas and nutrition supplements to help with doctors’ recommendations can be found, in addition to helpful cookbooks such as the Cancer-Fighting Kitchen and others.

“We try to source our products as locally as we can, and strive for an exclusive boutique feel,” says Erica Karlovits, one of the four employees of Shine (the rest of the workers are volunteers who donate their time to the running of the store). “All of our products are here based on recommendations from professionals in physical therapy, oncology, nutrition… The clinic over at the SCCA is there for treatment, and we see ourselves as being here as a one-stop place for resources to help with those treatments as well as benefiting the community.”

The retail store also offers a variety of oncology products, such as compression items (which are great for travelers, too), prosthetics and apparel designed to hold prosthetics, and more. As a great neighborhood shop too, Shine carries a great selection of greeting cards (featured on the SLU card) and kids books and games.

The Shine store originated in a small head covering and gift store over at the SCCA, and opened there in March 2008. They expanded to their retail location in South Lake Union in 2011 to fulfill the requests of the customers they had at the SCCA store for more space and product offerings.

It’s located at 207 Pontius Ave N  in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If you’re eager to kick off the Valentine’s Day celebration early, what better way to spread the love than to share it with the animals at Woodland Park Zoo!? Tomorrow a number of animals will receive special Valentine treats catered to their breed, such as heart shaped ice pops, herbal bouquets, and heart shaped steaks fit for Cupid! The Zoo’s animal ambassadors will be feeding the treats from 10:am-3:00pm tomorrow, make sure you take a peek at the schedule below, to make sure you don’t miss out on seeing your favorite animals! The treats are part of the Zoo’s continued enrichment program for the animals, to enhance their lives, and promote natural animal behavior, while keeping the animals mentally stimulated and engaging the zoo’s visitors!

Photo courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo
Photo courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo

Willawong Station (several bird species) – 10:00am-3:00pm

Jaguar – 10:00am

Otters- 10:30am

Golden Lion Tamarins- 11:00am

Orangutans- 11:00am

Ocelots – 11:15am

Anoa – 11:15am

Wolves 11:30

Kunekune pigs 1:00

Goats 1:15

Gorillas 1:20

Meerkats 1:30

Penguins 1:30

Elephants 2:00

Wallaroos/wallabies 2:30

Red pandas 3:00

Have a LOVELY weekend! 🙂