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.

Out of the Box

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.

SLU To Gain 28-Story Apartment Building And…Church?

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.

Lake Union Real Estate Update

Welcome to Lake Union, where not only has the weather been hot, but the real estate market is as well. With the continued rise of median prices in King County, Seattle and all of its surrounding areas are having a heavy influence on the soaring prices we are seeing. Also adding to record prices is the lack of inventory that has become available so far this year. So, if you’re contemplating on selling high with your investment home or rental, there is not a better time than now to maximize your profits.

In the first six months of 2015, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), 41 residential homes were sold. Of those 41, 34 were two- and three-bedrooms homes, so this tends to be what is highly sought after in Lake Union. The average selling price for two-bedroom homes is approximately $607,000, while three bedrooms were in the ballpark of $782,000. How long are these homes sitting on the market to obtain these prices, you ask? According to the NWMLS, two-bedroom homes were generally on the market for about 18 days and three bedrooms sitting on for only about 10 days.

The condominium market in and around Lake Union was even hotter than the weather these past six months. Per the NWMLS, since the beginning of 2015, 167 condos have sold! That’s essentially one every day, and that’s just in the Lake Union area alone! Of the 167 purchased, 76 of those were studios and one bedrooms, 82 two-bedrooms and nine three-bedrooms.

The average days on the market for studio, one- and two-bedroom condos was just a little more than three weeks (26 days), but it was common for well-priced units to last only 10 days or less on the market. Meanwhile, 3-bedroom condos were on the market for roughly 16 days. The median prices provided by the NWMLS are as follow; studios and one-bedrooms sold for approximately $279,000; but that figure is brought down substantially by studios that sold for much less that the median average. 32 one-bedrooms sold for over $300,000, with most in the high 300 and low 400’s. The average selling price of 2-bedroom condos was nearly $354,000, and 3 bedrooms went for roughly $674,000.

Through the first half of this year, the real estate market in and around Lake Union has shown no reason to slow down through this summer and into the fall. In a lot of cases, there are multiple offer situations that homes and condos are dealing with. With most offers coming in at full price or above, why wouldn’t you want to sell now? If you have any questions regarding what your home may be worth or if you would like a tour of what is available in Lake Union, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

South Lake Union Real Estate News & Updates

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.