Belltown Messenger #75 - January 2010
front page fodder - by Clark Humphrey
Bell Street Park, City Games Seattle, Mark Pickerel's Damaged Goods
ON THE COVER: Only a thin pane of glass separates these Edgewater Hotel guests from a breakfast of fresh Pacific oysters.
The next Bell Street park boulevard community meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 13, 7-9 p.m. in the PACCAR Pavilion at the Olympic Sculpture Park, 2901 Western Ave. City officials will present different options for the project on Bell between First and Fifth avenues, based on resident input at previous meetings. More info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seems like just yesterday when Second and Fourth avenues in Belltown were tipped up and repaved. This month, it all starts again on Olive Way and Virginia Street.
Both streets will have concrete pavement installed in the most heavily traveled bus zones, and asphalt resurfacing in other lane areas. The Seattle Department of Transportation will also install new curb ramps and a new electric duct bank under Virginia.
Most of the work will occur starting in mid-January along Virginia, between First and Boren
avenues. Some sidewalk and street work will take place along Olive. Asphalt repaving will be completed later this summer.
Last we heard about the Moda Apartments on Third Avenue, subcontractors had dismantled and removed metal balconies from six of the new building’s units. The building’s owners replaced those with parts cobbled together from other areas of the building.
In mid-December, the Moda won its court case against Brace Point Railing, the subcontractor that had removed the balconies following a dispute over payment. The original balcony units have now been re-installed. Other terms of the settlement were not released.
A King County Superior Court jury on Dec. 15 unanimously declared Naveed Haq, who was
arrested in the Jewish Federation Center shootings, guilty on one count of aggravated first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder. The aggravated-murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of release.
Defense attorneys had argued that Haq, who had suffered from mental illness for more than a decade prior to the shootings on July 28, 2006, met legal definitions of insanity. But County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and his team argued that Haq was both sane and had intended to kill people when he opened fire in the federation’s Third Avenue offices. Satterberg called the incident “our state’s worst hate crime.” At the trial, shooting survivor Carol Goldman said, “It was not insanity that led him to do this. It was hate that was in his heart.”
One woman died and five women were injured in the shooting spree, before police apprehended Haq at the crime scene.
It’s still too early to declare local real estate development “on” again. But one more site is back on the future-development wish list.
Owner Evan McMullen has filed preliminary paperwork to demolish the two-story Cosmopolitan Motors building at Eighth and Lenora, and replace it with a 38-story apartment or condominium tower. McMullen told the Seattle Times he would find a development partner or sell the land. He’d originally planned to put up a tower at the corner in 2006, but partner The Justen Co. withdrew from the deal. In August 2009, McMullen-hired crews removed the building’s 1925 terra cotta cladding.
The City of Seattle’s Downtown Design Review Board is tentatively set to consider McMullen’s latest proposal on Feb. 9. Dominic Holden, writing at TheStranger.com’s “Slog,” is calling on the city to block it: “Not because the building is worth saving—it isn’t now—but because we need to send a message to every property owner in Seattle that they can’t buy gorgeous and historically valuable old buildings, vandalize them to avoid a historic designation, and then demolish these buildings to build new towers.”
Elsewhere in real estate-land, Redfin.com (citing Multiple Listing Service data) has posted a chart stating that the average condominium closing sales price in Belltown’s 98121 Zip Code fell from just over $550 per square foot in April 2008 to just under $450 per square foot in November 2009.
Local entrepreneur Ben Brashen has just released City Games: Seattle, a board game with 1,000 Seattle-themed trivia questions.
One sample: “Who is the renowned chef from Etta’s, Dahlia Lounge, and Palace Kitchen?” (If you don’t know the answer, you haven’t been reading the Messenger very long.)
The game, featuring illustrations by Tyler Jensen and art direction by former Dale Chihuly associate Briana Hesse, is available for $29.95 from citygamesseattle.com.
With all the retail closures in the past year, there’s one new venture to cheer on. former Screaming Trees musician Mark Pickerel has announced he’ll open Damaged Goods, which he describes as a music store “and so much more,” somewhere in Belltown within the next few weeks. More details forthcoming.
The closing-time crime curse struck again twice this past December in Belltown.
Around 2:20 a.m. on Dec. 6, a driver ran over and killed Jerome Dumalo in a crosswalk at Western and Bell. Eric S. Murillo, 24, was charged with vehicular homicide and felony hit-and-run.
At 1:22 a.m. on Christmas morning, police responded to a stabbing report at Second and Bell. They found two male victims, who reported being chased and attacked by three Asian men, who then left in a vehicle. –CH