Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't most of the Pike/Pine corridor within 3-6 blocks of the Light Rail station at Seattle Central scheduled to open by 2016. So--shouldn't that radius have fewer low-rise buildings? Isn't that what station area zoning is all about?
I love Pike/Pine too, but all things change. I can't help but think you should be advocating for better developments and more design review, rather than opposing density near a rail stop.
the old will go - the new will be interesting to the new residents
too bad the stranger staff is addicted to old sleaze - some of those places on pine are pits --- who would eat there?
sorta silly to whine about change of this sort
move to everett or tacoma - less change - lots of dives to eat and drink at
You were previously arguing that the block on Pine in question, which has no housing, is "already dense" -- and you got called out on it. So now you've re-tooled your argument to say the area around that block is already dense, so I guess you're saying that that block is dense by association. And you're saying Capitol Hill is dense enough, now? In other words, no more development? So please tell us what the Stranger formula for "dense enough" is. I'm really curious to hear what you guys think is the appropriate density for Seattle -- how many people per square mile?
That's absolutely true, and many property owners in the area are holding out for the super big $$ they envision are going to follow in the wake of the LR development.
Just as is happening now west of Broadway, the area on the east side from SU campus north up to Cal Anderson (or further) is starting to see similar development pressure, so figure that, by 2008 or 2009 many of the businesses in older low-rise buildings such as: Neumo's/Bad Juju, Barca (The Vogue, already seeing the writing on the wall in the form of increased rent is pulling up stakes, even as we speak), the old Union Garage Space, et al, will no doubt soon be prime sites for redevelopment as well.
Remember, it's only a problem until it's YOUR favorite place that falls under the wrecking ball...
Er, that is, it's NOT a problem until it's YOUR favorite place, etc., etc.
funny to go back and read this thread - http://www.thestranger.com/cgi-bin/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=4507
Here's the deal: When I said "density" in the old post, I mis-spoke. I wasn't being technical and literal. That is, I didn't mean density=# of people per square mile on Pine. I was talking about Pine as an excellent by product of density. In other words, Pine is already the archetype of the kind of urban landscape I'd like to see more of in Seattle. And it's an equation with Density as the main ingredient.
The post I just did is a more accurate take on what I was trying to get at in the earlier post from a few months back.
But Pine isn't a sustainable kind of thing. It's a by-product of a shifting demographic. The pattern of life in that area doesn't, can't, won't ever reach equilibrium, unless and until the economics cause it to be abandoned.
Live by the sword, die by the sword.
You know this same conversation was going on 15 years ago among the people who repair carburetors, and the customers who frequented them. Did anybody at the Stranger cry when Emil's Cafe turned into a hipster joint? Get out a city directory from 40 years ago, and peruse your favorite streets; they've turned over six times since then.
The original statement was completely accurate. The block on which the Pine Street businesses happen to be sited runs as follows: Pine St. From Summit to Belmont; Belmont to Olive; Olive to Summit & back to Pine. The businesses just happen to be on the one side of the block that hasn't already been densely developed, as I don't think there's a single house left on that block anymore (up until about 1989 or so, there were quite a few, before the condos on Summit went up; the last house was I believe on the Belmont side, and that was torn down for the most recent development that went in maybe a couple of years ago, IIRC).
Josh - Ok, gotcha -- I agree that it sucks about that block but I mean, it's hardly a surprise. Look at any city that is considered a desirable place to live - it's more bohemian neighborhoods get gentrified and lose their cool. It doesn't spell doom. This gentrification process is old, old news in cities like NY and SF, and while those places are perhaps not what they once were, I think most of us would agree they are still pretty cool places. Capitol Hill will not be hipsterville forever, but somewhere else in Seattle will take its place. That is ok, probably even a good thing. Densification is change - both good and bad. But cities are supposed to change. Cities are dynamic places. That's how it should be. And I would be a lot more concerned if Seattle were changing in the direction of a Detroit or Cleveland -- that is, people wanting to get the hell out. So yeah, I think asking for the city to change but thinking that the places that you like should remain forever static is a kind of NIMBYism and it's anti-urban.
I totally agree with you. Go back and read the old post I did on this (the one you cited when I misused the term density.) I wasn't hollering in protest. I'm still not. (Erica wrote the piece). I'm just pointing out that her position is consistent with our paper's ongoing stance about density.
I think in that earlier post I said something like it wasn't a "Federal Case." I still feel that way. This isn't something I'm up in arms about. I'd dig for those spots to stay... and the Bus Stop is my favorite place in the world...but yeah, I'm not stunned or thrown or much upset about the whole thing. However, I do think Erica's story spelled out a compelling case for why it's a bummer.
Back in the mid-'90's I used to go to Belltown frequently, mostly to go to the old Vogue, or seedy dives like the Frontier Room (before it got upscaled). On the sidewalk near the Vogue was a trash can that someone had decorated. It had a poem:
Come to Belltown
See the artists
Buy a condo
Kick the artists out
Now it's Capitol Hill's turn. Oh, and I haven't been back to Belltown in years. Nothing much there for me.
I found my original post from Sept. 13... plus my comment...
Here's the post:
Posted by JOSH FEIT at 01:52 PM
Word is: Capitol Hill’s hipster drag, the stretch of property along Pine St. that houses The Cha-Cha Lounge, Bimbo’s, The Bus Stop, Man-Ray, Harry’s Market, and Kincora’s has been sold. (This is on the North side of Pine between Summit and Belmont).
Reportedly, all the business owners along the block will be getting letters today telling them they can stay through November 2007 (the businesses—who’d been aware of a pending sale—were nervous that they were going to have to split by next April).
More condos on Capitol Hill?
No word yet on who’s buying.
Here's my comment:
Yes, of course, I think, and probably a lot of Stranger readers think, it would be a bummer to lose groovy haunts like the Cha-Cha and the Bus Stop (which as a lot of my close friends know... is my favorite 1966 gloom room-a-go-go bar on the planet!)
But, nowhere in the post do I make an impassioned case to "save" the block. I reported the basic news, which I imagined was of interest to Slog readers. Judging from the number of comments—it is!
But there's no "Gotcha" here for you guys. Read my post again. Pretty straight forward. You might get a different story from Dan or ECB, but me: I don't feel strongly about it. And again, I do love the Bus Stop!!!
Posted by: Josh Feit | September 13, 2006 06:06 PM
Folks talk about Belltown like it is just one thing (Yuppies in condos) but it's a lot more diverse than that. Of course 1st Ave is horrible...but 2nd Ave. can still be a pretty cool place to hang out...and 3rd Ave. is positively ghetto.
Josh, I'm just a bummed as anyone about the new development on Pine St.
I think you have to admit, though, that The Stranger's position on this issue is NIMBYism, plain and simple. You are no different than all the other NIMBYs trying to prevent developers from f**king up the character of their neighborhood.
If I could prevent this development, I would because I love the area the way it is. I don't see anything wrong with The Stranger opposing this development either. Perhaps it's time to rethink some of the uncompromising criticisms your paper has unleashed in the past on others who care about what goes on their backyard.
I think Erica did a terrific job of pointing out various aspects of the situation, and I don't think it was a NIMBY screed at all. I'm as sad or sadder than most about the demise of that block of Pine Street, but I don't know anyone who believes that anything can be done about it. The writing has been on the wall for years.
I'm proud to say 'Hey, dumfucks, NIMBY!!' Of course, I'd say the same thing even if I didn't live on the Hill. I say the same thing when bad city planning fucks up Belltown, and Fremont, and soon, South Lake Union and probably Ballard. Seattle SUCKS when it comes to urban development and city planning; all the power is in the hands of the developers who don't give a shit about smart development. And people, it's not 'progress' to tear stuff down and put up ugly, dumb stuff that doesn't do anything to create a living, breathing, vibrant neighborhood...it's just greed and incompetence. And if you don't get it, I suggest visits to Portland and Vancouver, cities that have done a hell of a lot better job in the care and creation of smart, dense, livable neighborhoods than Seattle. Actually, there's 12 year old Sim City players that could do a better job.
Okay, I'll just point out what nobody else seems to be addressing.
The buildings on the block in question are single story masonry buildings with wooden ceilings and no basements. Essentially, they're tents: all they do is keep the elements at bay. They have very little character to speak of. The Kincora in particular-- great bar, but an ugly, badly designed building and a shite use of that space. I mean, check me on this, but isn't the wall with the Kincora's mural on it actually made out of cinder blocks? There are refugee camps in the West Bank with more architectural flair.
I actually sort of like the dorky little brick jobbies Bimbo's and the Cha-Cha are in, but they're hardly architectural treasures and, again, as far as the neighborhood is concerned, single-story retail-only spaces are a terrible use of the square footage.
So from the perspective of which building is in which lot, that's a good block to demolish. I'd much rather see that one go than, say, some of the multi-story mixed use buildings from the same period.
The problem of having too few retail spaces is serious for a lot of reasons; cultural diversity is a biggie. I've been in Europe for the last 18 months and the things that's really striking about European cities is how much better the retail spaces are designed: they're all in multi-story structures with basements. Most of the basements have trap doors leading to the street so they can use them as stock rooms (truck unload directly into the basements) and the consequence is that a 200 square foot retail space is viable and affordable-- so there's a tremendous diversity of retail businesses here. Meanwhile, the incredible residential density means that all these businesses have plenty of people walking past them 24/7.
Governments tend to like spaces that have more square footage because national retail chains like those spaces, national retail chains can afford those spaces and, from a tax revenue perspective, national retail chains provide short-term gains to local governments that are depending on property values for revenues. There's also a perception that wages paid by national retail chains are free revenue to the local labor force, because the locals get the wages without having to front any capital to establish the enterprise. But that's bad long-term thinking. Long term, it's better for the local economy if the businesses are locally owned, because that means the takings stay in our economy instead of being paid out to executives in New York and Los Angeles-- and obviously there's an element of that where the financing for new local businesses needs to be provided locally as well, in order to keep as much of the profit as possible circulating in our economy, but I think you see my point.
...which is that the block where this development is happening is a good block to demolish. But we need to get some political awareness behind retail planning in the inner city if we don't want the whole place to look like fucking Northgate in 15 years.
The developers came to Ballard, and the Stranger didn't care.
The developers came to the West Seattle Junction, and the Stranger didn't care.
The developers came to Roosevelt, and the Stranger didn't care.
The developers came to Pike/Pine and the Stranger cares!
But nobody else seems to care. Change sucks, doesn't it?
Joshua is right when he says the current buildings are shite. And Erica is right when she says the new developments aren't very welcoming to a mix of small businesses.
So, why don't you work for changes in design review rather than spouting NIMBY rhetoric about the charecter of Pike/Pine?
Change is happening, light rail is coming...there shouldn't be blocks of one story buildings in a dense inner city neighborhood near a subway stop.
Erica and Josh, there isn't a rational defense for your position. This is what NIMBYism is all about. We don't want our neighborhood to change is the mantra. Are you suggesting that Pike/Pine stay as it is as some sort of museum piece forever?
Remember that all these "independent businesses" pushed out other independent businesses before them.
Joshua's comments are pretty much spot on.
For those of you like "Just Sayin'" who don't understand what Erica and Josh are saying...you're coming across like a bunch of retards.
The Stranger supports development when it helps create density and the accompanying urban amenities like independent shops. (And when it displaces empty lots and the overabundance of single family housing in Seattle.)
They're against development when it's redundant and displaces pre-exisitng urban amenities like independent shops.
That sounds rational and consistent to me. Stop being so... um... dense.
I am paying attention, and I think the Stranger's position is inconsistent. It sounds to me like they like density when it is on the QFC Broadway block, but not on the Linda's block. If you want better development, work for better development. But don't work for no development.
Oh FFS. What the Stranger's concerned about is the loss of the businesses. That's a perfectly reasonable concern, and it's consistent with their position because the businesses represent amenities. Very little of the development that's taken place in Ballard has destroyed working amenities; likewise most of the other places that have been mentioned. So the loss of the businesses in question is a harder blow for Capitol Hill than is desirable.
That said, I think they're misplacing their concern. The problem here isn't that the buildings in question are being destroyed; those buildings are badly designed anyway. The problem is that their function is not being replaced. Here again, this has not been a problem in most of the other neighborhoods where there's been a lot of new development because most of the new development has been plowing under severely under-utilized land.
So yes, as far for what it's worth, the Stranger is being reasonably consistent. I would contend that they're missing the point, but hypocrisy is not the problem.
Michael Strangeway's comments are pretty much spot on:
"Seattle SUCKS when it comes to urban development and city planning; all the power is in the hands of the developers who don't give a shit about smart development."
so yeah, get on a design review board, please... anyone with good ideas, that can make density feel good - it happens, can happen.... but I wouldn't count on it here.
"The kind of urban planning we support already exists in the Pine St. neighborhood: A jukebox necklace of jumping independent businesses surrounded by dense housing"
As Fnarf wrote, that kind of development is not possible in Seattle except as a transitional form, and it's a mark of the Stranger's staff's naivete that they hold it out as a goal under the current zoning, lack of air-rights transfers, etc., details that are apparently formidable challenges to their attention spans. The developers' and owners' current model seems to be Portland's Pearl District, a high-end urban suburb that is remarkably lifeless despite its density.
Yeah, I don't quite get all the Pearl District love I hear so much of. Powell's is great, but the rest of it isn't lively at all. The regular downtown parts of downtown Portland are great, but the Pearl is just ultra-expensive stuff with no parking.
The Pearl includes buildings that might not have been "designed" by a malicious Hardie board salesman.
FNARF, in this particular instance it's not at all accurate to state that these businesses "pushed out" previous businesses; what would be more accurate would be to say they replaced establishments that either went out of business (e.g. Squid Row - which incidentally replaced TUGS, Righteous Rags), or moved to other locations (e.g. Green Cat Cafe).
As I recall, many of the storefronts in that particular block changed over on an average of about once every three or four years. Harry's Grocery is the only business on the block that existed prior to 1995, if memory serves.
Be that as it may, whatever else you may think of the existing establishments, for the most part they have brought a bit of economic stability to that portion of the corridor.
And for an extra bit of irony, check out the letter from Linda Derschang that appeared in the November 30, 2000 edition of "The Stranger".
The more things change, the more they remain the same, eh?
And FWIW, I don't think any native Portlander would consider Powell's to be part of the Pearl - that's always been a Burnside establishment.
Developers don't give a shit what we think. When you champion development, you have to keep that in mind. They'll answer to the highest bidder and no one else, neighborhood be damned.
People like me have been telling you this for years and you still think that trying to find some philosophical middle ground matters. It doesn't. They'll move in, knock down your haunts, build overpriced condos in their place with overpriced chain stores.
There is no other option and there is nothing you can do to stop them, so trying to debate the point of what they SHOULD do is laughable at best. No one who matters is listening.
So, Gomez, I guess the developers would care what we think if we changed the laws, huh? Hm. How would we go about doing that... I guess the first thing we'd have to do would be to talk about it and hash out what kind of changes we'd like to make.
But never you mind. You just keep being cynical and above it all. We don't have nearly enough of that in Seattle.
All I know is that there's a good chance a bunch of us may well be out of a job come next November.
Anybody looking to hire a charming, experienced bar manager/ bartender/ tattooist/ costume designer/ country western and jazz singer/ personal shopper/ knitter/ man about town?
"Pushed out" may be too dramatic. But there's a bit too much of an attitude here of "this place had nothing before WE got here" going on. Remember Shamek's Button Shop? It was there from 1895. Now it's the Baguette Hole or something. Pine Street just below and above Melrose was Seattle's first Auto Row, and there are still remnants of that world there. Emil's Cafe was a particular favorite, not just a cafe but a whole category of cafe that doesn't exist in Seattle anymore. Those businesses WERE independent.
You want independent? Here's Pine Street walking up the hill from Minor, just across the freeway (which wasn't there then), in 1960:
1201 Pine: L E Carter paints
1202 Del Fanning Auto Rebuild
1205 Seattle Electronics
1208 Kubota Brothers Auto Service
1211 Webster Welding Co.
1217 Five Spot Cafe
1220 Melrose Auto Service
1224 Motoradio Co. (radio & TV)
Melrose Avenue Intersects
300 E Pine: E. R. Butterworth & Sons funeral directors
301 Broadway Cycle
309 Uptown Radiators
311 Feeley Apartments
313 The Republican Call newspaper
315 Northwest Trophy & Reward
316-18 Butterworth parking lot
317 Northwest Trophy
319 Northwest Bowling Supply
321 Aspinwall Realty; Uptown Realty
Bellevue Avenue intersects
400 Aptex wholesale dry goods
401 Raff's Shoe Store
414 Sire building -- offices
Crawford Place intersects
417 William F. Niemi Co. clothing mfr.
422 Pine Street Garage
Summit Avenue intersects
500 Humphrey Radio & Television
501 Clint W Lee diploma printing
502 Pine Crest Apartments
506-1/2 Bob's Barber Shop
508 Mar's Cleaners
511 Annapolis Apartments
514 Madison Cleaners
518 Matthew's Harry Kid Tavern
Belmont Avenue intersects
608 Motoradio Distribution Co.
610 A Appliance Co. appliance repair
620 Motor Specialty Co
Boylston Avenue intersects
700 Kozy Korner Kafe
701 Twentieth Century Super Market
Meehan's Meat Market
702-1/2 Sanders Apartments
704 Wanda Allen massage (hmmm?)
705 Electric Kitchens Inc. contractors
706 Olson Brothers upholsterers
707 Electric Kitchens Inc. display room
708 Mac's Barber Shop
709 Seven-O-Nine Hand Laundry
715 Laher Spring & Tire Co.
721 Flick & Rash Auto Repair
722 LMT Distr. Co. auto parts wholesale
725 Con Rod Grinding Co. auto parts mfr.
Harvard Avenue intersects
801 Masonic Temple (33 different Lodges, Courts, Chapters, Commanders, Shrines, Temples, Assemblies, and Bethels)
815 Marshall's Barber Shop
817-819 Haru Far East Contemporary Gifts
821 John Knaide Books
823 Coffee Corral restaurant
905 Burnely School of Art & Design
Patricia Perry School of Dancing
Nagle Place intersects
911 Standard Motor Products Inc.
915 I O O F Hall (offices include music teachers, architects, the Seattle Photographic Society, and Practical Bible Talks)
919 Marilley Auto Parts
10th Avenue intersects
1001 Gil's restaurant
1021 Criag [sic] Corp. recording equipment
11th Avenue intersects
1101 Kar Kraft Upholstery
1110 L E Belcourt auto dealer
M R Stanley general merchandise
12th Avenue intersects
1202 Gordon Apartments
1205 Kolar's Complete Automotive Service
1211 Continental Auto Rebuild
1213 Frame Tavern
1215 Carburetor Exchange and Supply
Rebuild Parts Service
1222 Morseth Auto Parts
1223 A to Z Exchange roofing and siding
1225 Roy's Barber Shop
1227 Triumph Continental Motors auto dealer
13th Avenue intersects
1304 Triumph Continental Service gas station
1305 Bill's Auto Repair
1315-1321 Metered Washer Co.
1316-18 Seattle Carbonic Co.
1322 Totem Athletic Club
1323 Chester Apartments
14th Avenue intersects
1401 Tosh's Richfield Service gas station
And so on. Is today's lineup really more vital? What would you give to walk into Gil's, or the Five Spot, or the Kozy Korner, or Matthew's Harry Kid Tavern today?
And the Capitol Club took over the space where one of my favorite Seattle restaurants was. Kamalko made the best spit roasted chicken I've ever had.
Change happens, true, but we don't have to welcome the intruders with open arms. Let us mourn the passing of a particular era in our neighborhood.
Fnarf, that is interesting...but how much time did that take you??
fnarf on a friday night...
What could possibly be more interesting on a Friday night than copying a bunch of data out of my 1960 Polk Directory? Anyone? Anyone? Sigh. You kids don't understand true pleasure. I'm telling you, when Fnarf sits down at the keyboard with a glass of whiskey, the house is ROCKING.
Maybe I'll do Pike next. Broadway, anyone? I'll take requests. Short cross streets? What I'd really like to do is turn it into a map, with today vs. yesterday.
Wait...am I a nerd? Or a dork? I always forget the difference.
I think you're both, as well as a darling, and a muffin. What was at 1718 Melrose in 1960? That's my ugly 80's apartment structure.
(I've been home sick for over a week, so have too much time on my hands. what's your excuse?)
Also, Fnarf, I too mourned the passing of Shameks Button Shop. I used to make my own button down shirts, but didn't have a good buttonhole maker, so I would take them there, and choose buttons, and they'd make the buttonholes for me.
1718 Melrose Ave (between E Olive Pl and E Denny) was the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local No. 77. Houses on either side.
Thank you, sir.
I guess the developers would care what we think if we changed the laws, huh? Hm. How would we go about doing that... I guess the first thing we'd have to do would be to talk about it and hash out what kind of changes we'd like to make.
That's cute, Joshua, that you think lawmakers will listen to regular people like us rather than the developers who are making them buckets of money.
It's not cynicism, boy, it's reality.
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