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RSS icon Comments on Preserving the Open Spaces and Vintage Character of... Parking Lots?


Incidentally, that three-story building across the street from the planned development also contains the office of the best dentist in Seattle.

That and St Clouds are the only reasons I ever reasons I went to Madrona.

Posted by Cow | April 21, 2008 2:02 PM

Well, technically open space doesn't get any opener than a parking lot. And if my eye for antiquities can be trusted, I'd call that circa 1980's vintage asphalt. How many examples of that remain?

Posted by elenchos | April 21, 2008 2:05 PM

That developer in the Times article gave me the willies. So some developers are getting rich building condos near the train stations - big fucking deal. How is that such a great thing? All it is is public subsidies to make developers some quick cash and help a very few downtown employees get subsidized rides to their jobs (well, apart from the occasional rider who goes to the airport).

Posted by Wellfleet | April 21, 2008 2:09 PM

Those trees are taller than the proposed structure. If they leave them intact, this could actually be a pretty pleasant new building.

Posted by Dougsf | April 21, 2008 2:37 PM

By modern standards it's a FANTASTIC building. Once again one or two malcontents get to declare themselves "the neighborhood" and stuff up something useful and good.

Posted by Fnarf | April 21, 2008 2:42 PM

Even though I've never been there, I will miss the opportunity to lay down a blanket and have a picnic in that "open space."

Posted by elswinger | April 21, 2008 2:47 PM

There's still time, elswinger.

Posted by Fnarf | April 21, 2008 3:16 PM

And this is why 40-100 story tall buildings surrounded by small greenspace rules ... the light impact is minimal on the neighbors and those people up past the first few floors (which could be commercial retail) can't even see into your bedroom unless you bought a skylight ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 21, 2008 3:30 PM

maybe the parking lot isn't so great, but yeah, those trees look really nice. hopefully at least a couple of them can be preserved.

Posted by feom | April 21, 2008 3:54 PM

the neighbors can bitch all they want. the zoning rules what will happen there.

Posted by max solomon | April 21, 2008 3:55 PM

@10 - usually. Unless they're very well connected, have lots of money to spend on lawsuits, and don't care what it takes to win. Then the neighbors eventually win.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 21, 2008 4:30 PM

man, I LOVE NIMBYS...the things they's a FUCKING parking lot on an arterial with a matching buliding arcoss the street!! amazing..."open spaces and vintage character"

Posted by nipper | April 21, 2008 4:37 PM

Once again, someone is trying to take a stand and say "ENOUGH" with all the tall cookie cutter same height "multi-purpose" buildings going up all over.

I think what is people are continually trying to express, is the inherent ugliness and box look of square buildings.

If the city would mandate a 30 foot setback from the street, with mandatory green grass or trees, there would be alot less opposition to these types of "improvements".

I too am tired of seeing more and more "non native" steel, glass, concrete, signs, fences etc etc that pass as being "architecture"

Enough! Mandate that we need spaces that have a nature feel to them. Create neighborhoods and streets that have a natural feel.

We don't want or NEED crappy box architecture like you Cap Hill lovers all seem to get a hard on over!

Posted by Reality Check | April 21, 2008 5:30 PM

30 foot setbacks? Are you mentally ill? That's as bad an idea as Will's 100-story towers. It's the SAME idea in many ways. You build flush to the sidewalk. Really, people, walkable communities are not mysterious.

Posted by Fnarf | April 21, 2008 5:56 PM

Lol, Fnarf.

Montlake can literally kill entire long span bridge designs ...

If they want to kill this, they will. Either they'll wrap it up in lawsuits and lobbying and file liens on it - or they'll decide they want it.

Who do you think provides the bulk of the funding for quite a few statewide races ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 21, 2008 10:19 PM

Shame on my Madrona neighbors. Obviously the point they're trying to make is senseless. I hope it gets built. Fuck em'.

Posted by Deacon Seattle | April 21, 2008 10:45 PM

Montlake, or Madrona, Will?

Posted by Fnarf | April 22, 2008 9:49 AM

Thank you "reality check". How can so many smart liberal minded seattle-lites miss the freaking point here? First of all, it is not a few pesky neighbors, but a packed room of opposition at several public hearings including 50 + letters of opposition submitted to the city. The parking lot is not the open space we are defending. It is the open space of the future. If everyone had the attitude Dominic has, then there would not be trees, parks, or animals left on this planet. If we chose to develop on land because the current use was already not a beautiful park, then there would never be new parks. We need to think in the future people. It’s like saying “well, this stream is trashed, so go ahead and turn it into a road”. We WILL HAVE NOTHING LEFT! Anyone who has lived in Seattle for any amount of time can see the changing character of Seattle. This is not the Seattle I once knew. We will never see Chis Cornell in the sit and spin again. If anyone should care it should be Dominic who has lived in Seattle for a long time and has seen that we are losing Seattle piece by piece to massive developments and condos. The plan for this developer is to eventually buy all the plots on this block, tear down the turn of the century houses and build lot-maxed boxes. Just what we need! I wont say much on the following topic, but talk to some people about this developer. I am pretty sure Dominic would not like to be treated the way the developer has treated others.
Dominic Do your research and pick your battles more wisely. You are on the wrong side guy.

Posted by Pablo | April 22, 2008 8:52 PM

Hey Dominic,

I respectfully disagree with your opinion. May I buy you a cup of coffee at the High Spot and tell you why? (or would you prefer one of Gage's fabulous martini's at St. Cloud's?) It would be soooo cool if you would talk to people on both sides of the issue before posting on this topic. I'd be pleased to represent "the other side".

Drop me a line.

Posted by bingo | April 23, 2008 10:55 PM

If "open space" and “vintage character” are the only issues at question with this Madrona site, over-simplification is omitting some significant facts. Most first impressions of this site plan are positive, but details in the context and design process bear more complicated issues.

"Malcontents" have not asked to “preserve” the parking lot as-is. 50 letters to the Design Review Board and 25+ attendees at each of the three public meetings have embraced the need for development, but suggested specific alterations to the existing site plan.

It's no secret that Madrona is losing lower income families, as evidenced by a drastic drop in enrollment and performance at Madrona Elementary in recent years. As families seek more affordable housing, Madrona’s once-characteristic economic diversity is watered down. This backbone of urban density is being broken. M.Tobias paid $1,000,000 for this empty lot, so the bottom line of developing a “zero lot line” maxed-out envelope is market value, not urban density. The market value of the building’s units would fund the construction bill. In contrast, a walkable urban-village model would provide no parking alongside fully affordable units.

Zoning regulations on this block are newer than most of its structures. Considering numerous references to the Bowling Green site (the red building pictured above), any new construction will continue to set precedents. The Bowling Green lot retained ground-level outdoor space, and was never fully-flanked by houses as it's on a block end. The Bowling Green owner/architect is opposed to the current parking lot site plan, as he expressed at all 3 public meetings. Bowling Green’s one large unit has hosted success because Verite’s savvy owner, Jody Hall, used her Starbucks marketing experience to expand quickly. Hall has bucked trends of small business owners, thriving financially despite the high overhead of rent at a high-profile location.

At 1422 34th Ave Madrona artist Roy McMakin used vintage structures and left ground-level outdoor space without zero lot line construction. This minimally impacted his neighbors’ property rights, unlike McMakin's neighbor to the North. Bowling Green is not Madrona's only example of innovative development. High density urban planning also involves the elements of affordable housing and reduced car traffic that need to be urgently implemented in Madrona.

Posted by Mike Leavitt | April 28, 2008 3:49 PM

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