Slog: News & Arts

RSS icon Comments on Excitement, Trepidation in Columbia City


Lose Columbia Plaza (honestly, we have enough stores that sell doo-rags) but save that taco truck!

Posted by Toolio | February 18, 2008 6:59 PM

Build 6 stories and shut the fuck up assholes.

NOT a big deal.

Posted by Cale | February 18, 2008 7:01 PM

taller is better.

it also allows a nicer building with bigger setbacks instead of a bulky box design.

Posted by unPC | February 18, 2008 7:04 PM

Adding two floors to this building will have NO effect on regional growth management, but WILL violate the code and alter the character of a historic district. Oh, but the developers will get to make a few more bucks, too. BFD.

And "Road Diets" on major arterials are just plain stupid.

Posted by Mr. X | February 18, 2008 7:21 PM

Both of your photographs highlight the architectural design of the building but obscure the thing the neighborhood should be most concerned about: what's happening at the street level.

They should compromise by allowing a taller building -- five stories -- but forcing a requirement for narrow, block-depth ground floor retail flush with the lot. By "block-depth" I mean the spaces should not be built to the fraudulent new standard that's barely deep enough to put a counter in, with no back room possible, but as deep into the building as the older retail buildings in that stretch, like the one the Wellington is in.

I'm not anticipating much, though. The art of building retail strips, which was second nature to even the worst developer in the 1920s, has been lost to us today. If you don't want a Subway and three nail salons there, don't design for them. Too bad Weinstein will probably be forced to.

Posted by Fnarf | February 18, 2008 7:42 PM

city of seattle would do well to increase allowable heights through rainier valley and columbia shitty.

and while the banner is a bad ripoff of olson walker's pike & virginia

the agnes looks very nice and ed's been on a roll the last few years.

Posted by holz | February 18, 2008 7:53 PM

Height is a bogus argument. Fnarf's point is the accurate one. Street level retail design is where it's at in terms of creating good, vibrant strips.

On a recent trip up to Vancouver I was struck by the fact that along Commercial Drive there is hardly a building taller than four floors. And most are just two.

Similarly, along Robson St. the vast majority of buildings are between two and four floors. Same is true along Granville.

And many of the stores along these strips are tiny.

Posted by gnossos | February 18, 2008 8:45 PM

He changed "city" to "shitty"


Posted by Hah | February 18, 2008 9:23 PM


in vancouver, you can also go 4 or 5 blocks off robson, and it's stell 4+ stories w/ retail other than star*ucks and subway.

i agree that quality ground floor retail (as well as professional office space) is desperately needed, but a lot of the zoning through rainier ave is not adequate for developers to get the no. of units needed to make ends meet for anything other than shitty shell t.i.'s for starbucks, papajohns and the like.

Posted by holz | February 18, 2008 9:34 PM

Believe me, there's plenty of bad residential going into Columbia City, but ANYTHING will be an improvement over Columbia Plaza. What a dump. Same goes for that ugly B of A branch.

And Columbia City is not shitty. And I'm all for a Rainier Ave diet. People drive like assholes on Rainier. Move 'em over to MLK.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | February 18, 2008 10:47 PM

Hmmm, yeah all the pics you put up really show some depth of their neighborhood (as long as the neighborhood involves lots of tall new-age condos).

This site has incredible potential: the heart of columbia city, central to many south seattle attractions, and near the light rail line. I certainly hope (but wont hold my breath) for at least some pretty public space involved with this site.

I will give the Harbor Company props for the steps. Once the Viaduct goes (which it will dammit!) and Post Alley is all linked up that will be an amazingly vibrant and pretty area.

Posted by Josh Mahar | February 19, 2008 12:57 AM

I don't know when the Stranger drank the pro-developer Kool-Aid, but neither of your pet examples fit their neighborhoods, asthetically, or in terms of scale.

Of course, when everything adjacent has been pulled down and replaced, those will look pretty good. But they don't fit their neighborhood as is.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 19, 2008 8:31 AM

I live not far from there.

If we don't maximize the number of people that live near the light rail station, we're throwing away a once-in-a-century opportunity to maximize transit-oriented-development and transit use.

Let'em build as high as they want!

Posted by MHD | February 19, 2008 11:46 AM

For more information on transportation improvements planned for the southeast district of Seattle, see the draft SETS report.

It's a big file, but very easy to read once you download. Filled with graphics.

Posted by wren | February 19, 2008 12:23 PM

Both projects should be good for business in the neighborhood, get over it....there is development going in all over the City..can you name a neighborhood that doesn't have a crane?

Posted by Greengal | February 19, 2008 3:34 PM

I also live in Columbia City, and in classic Seattle form, I say: You're both right!

Let them build to 6 stories, with a minimum of parking


Hold them to a higher standard in terms of how the buildings interact with the street.

We need more people in the neighborhood, and we also need more walkable streets, extending the downtown CC area north and south and to the light rail station...

Posted by CCity Resident | February 19, 2008 6:10 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 45 days old).