Boom Preserving the Open Spaces and Vintage Character of… Parking Lots?
posted by April 21 at 13:45 PMon
Get a load of this debate around a proposed development in Madrona. Slog reader and urban village sensei David Sucher wrote about the hysteria on Saturday, so did hugeasscity. I wrote about the project back on the 2nd of April, praising the design.
The next day, the Central District News reported neighborhood discontent over the invasive species: “I sure wouldn’t want a 3-story wall to suddenly pop up and block all the light into my house.”
Then The Madrona News—a community council newsletter—got its pages in a bunch:
As many of you know, the parking lot at 1126 34 Ave, across from St. Clouds, may soon become a large multi-use commercial building…. Many of us in Madrona fear that this development will negatively impact the open spaces and vintage character of Madrona and set a precedent for future structures on 34th Avenue.
Ah, the open space and character of Madrona, where asphalt is the proverbial loom of the community’s fabric. Ahem. Let us observe the open space and vintage character currently on the site.
Continues the Madrona News’ case (this .pdf is via hugeasscity), “The proposed structure would be enormous compared to its neighbors…” Right, there’s nothing of this size anywhere in Madrona. Except, well, perhaps this building—across the street.
This three-story building is larger—running from corner to corner (between 34th and 33rd Aves). It contains Verite coffee, always busy, and an adorable little store at street level, and apartments up top. When I was a kid, that site supported only a few single-story apartments. How many people used that space then. A handful. But how many of them now regularly patronize the businesses there or live in the apartments now? Tons of ‘em. Likewise, how many neighbors use the private parking lot at the site of the proposed building? Few, if any. But I’ll bet they’ll be hanging out in the restaurant that goes into that space.
Jeez, persnickety neighbors, that block is an arterial zoned for mid-rise, mixed-use development—because 34th and Union is the neighborhood center. That parking lot’s destiny was to become a multi-story, multi-use development. The proposal could have sucked. But, instead, it’s beautiful, using natural materials and an environmentally sustainable design. Count your blessings.
Speaking of topics I wrote about on Slog that later became big issues, last Monday I wrote about the incentive to build around the light rail station on MLK and Othello. Lo and behold, that was also the topic of a full-page cover story in the Sunday Times/PI.