Ballard Blocks developers plan to keep Macefield house, ‘excited about possibilities’

Thursday update: Now that we’ve reported the house is staying, there’s a new Facebook event, “No Demolition Day,” scheduled for Saturday between 9 a.m. and noon. “Come tie a balloon to the fence to show your support,” explains the event listing. “Balloons and markers will be provided!”

Update: While rumors fly about the fate of the Edith Macefield house (see below), Ballard Blocks developer Regency Centers told My Ballard this afternoon that they’re keeping the house.

“We have no plans and no intention to demolish this house,” said Craig Ramey, managing director of Regency Centers.

In fact, Ramey said they’re exploring ideas to update the house and tie it into Ballard Blocks II, which is under construction. Some of the ideas include turning it into a community and event space, a pop-up space for local eateries and a flower shop. He said they’ll reach out to the community in the coming months for more ideas.

“We’re excited about the possibilities,” Ramey said.

A new PCC is under construction in Ballard Blocks II, right across the street from Macefield’s house. Further to the east, the second phase of Ballard Blocks II will include offices, retail, a child care facility, a bakery and a restaurant.

Do you have ideas for Macefield’s home? Leave them in comments, and we’ll keep you updated.

Earlier: A Facebook group dedicated to the Edith Macefield house has posted an event claiming the home will be demolished this Friday at 6 a.m. The rumor even sparked a story on

We’ve been keeping a close eye on the famous house at 1438 NW 46th St., and a city document search shows that no demolition permit has been issued. At least yet.

“No permits have been filed for demolition,” confirmed Bryan Stevens with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections in an email to My Ballard. “For small structures, they are often fairly simple permits to obtain. So it’s possible one could be submitted later today or tomorrow morning and be issued by Friday.”

A demolition permit is required before a property owner can demolish a structure, and work must begin after 7 a.m.

But this just could be another rumor, and there have been many since Macefield passed away in 2008. However, previous attempts to save the Macefield home — by transporting it or turning it into a landmark — have all failed to raise enough funding. So the end could be near.

We’ll be keeping an eye on this link — and you can, too — and we’ll let you know if a permit is issued. We’ve also reached out to the Ballard Blocks property managers for more information.

For those new to the neighborhood, Edith Macefield refused to sell her home to the developers of Ballard Blocks, who proceeded to build a retail complex around her. Her fight was believed to inspire the Disney movie “Up”, which explains the balloons that visitors often leave at the house.

Tiny houses camp for homeless women coming to Whittier Heights

Volunteers have begun work preparing the City Light lot at 8030 15th Ave. NW for the city’s first sanctioned homeless camp for women.

The Whittier Heights Village for Women will feature 20 tiny houses operated by the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), the same group that has organized tiny houses for the Nickelsville sites. The existing City Light building on the lot will be refurbished as a community space with a kitchen, bathrooms, showers and laundry.

When the camp opens in May, LIHI staff will be on site around the clock “to supervise and keep the village clean, organized and safe,” according to the nonprofit group. LIHI will also provide a case manager to work with camp residents with the goal to transition them into permanent housing.

The site is bordered by Homestreet Bank to the north and Duo apartments to the south. The old Pancake House restaurant (soon to become Crown Hill Broiler) is across the street to the west. The only entrance to the camp will be on 15th Ave., not the alleyway behind it, which backs up to a residential area to the east.

LIHI plans to open the camp on Mother’s Day, May 13th. If you’re interested in helping put the camp together, contact LIHI via this page.

Ballard’s other sanctioned homeless camp, Nickelsville, moved to Northlake last month.

(Our thanks to Tyrel for the tip.)

Several cars collide on the Ballard Bridge

Update: Lanes have been reopened nearly three hours after the crash.

Earlier: All lanes of the Ballard Bridge closed after 12:15 today after several cars collided.

Police are re-routing traffic through the exit and on-ramp on the north end of the bridge. Traffic is backed up in both directions. Check our traffic cameras for the latest conditions.

Heavy rain has been moving through Seattle for the last couple hours.

No word on any injuries.

Police investigating fatal shooting of a man found in a camper

Homicide detectives are investigating the shooting death of a 79-year-old man who was found in a camper parked at the north end of the Ballard Bridge on 15th Ave. NW.

Engine 18 was dispatched a report of an unresponsive man yesterday at 6 p.m. When medics first evaluated the body, it appeared he had died several days ago of natural causes, SPD said. But when the medical examiner arrived, “a single bullet hole was discovered on the body,” explains SPD’s Mark Jamieson. “A cursory search of the camper did not reveal a discarded weapon.”

Investigators were called to the scene to process the camper, looking for evidence. The case has been assigned to homicide detectives, who ask anyone who may have any information on the case to please contact the police department.

A year ago, a woman was killed in a stabbing in an RV in the 900 block of Leary Way, about a half mile away from this latest incident.

Homeless tent blocks doorway of Whitman Middle School

A homeless tent has been set up in one of the entrance areas to Whitman Middle School, KIRO TV and MyNorthwest reported last night.

The school has been in spring break all week, and the tent has been set up since Tuesday, KIRO reported. School resumes on Monday.

A Seattle police officer arrived while KIRO was covering the story, but the tent’s occupant had left. It’s unclear if the tent remains today.

According to the city’s recently-updated unauthorized encampments rules (.pdf), the tent qualifies for removal because it “creates an obstruction” and is located at a school. But the rules require “notice shall be posted no fewer than 72 hours before an encampment removal.”

(Photo by KIRO’s Gary Horcher, @garyKIRO7 on Twitter)

New burger restaurant coming to ‘The Terminal’ across from New Seasons

If you’ve wondered what’s planned for the new retail-restaurant space under construction across from New Seasons, you’re not alone. After we asked for tips earlier this week, My Ballard reader Stephen pointed us to The Terminal At Ballard at 907 NW Ballard Way.

“The Terminal” is the name of the CenterCal Properties development that includes New Seasons — which is opening on May 9th — and “14,000-square feet of restaurant and small shop retail space” on the other side of the parking lot:

So far, AT&T is the only confirmed tenant, but The Terminal’s Facebook page shared a post by The Habit Burger Grill. “We can’t wait to welcome The Habit Burger Grill to the neighborhood,” it said.

Since its humble beginnings in Santa Barbara in 1969, Habit Burger has grown into a national chain of over 200 restaurants. Its closest locations are in Shoreline and Tukwila. Here’s the menu.

We reached out to both CenterCal Properties and Habit Burger, but neither has responded so far.

The Terminal’s open date is scheduled for sometime next month.

(Thanks Stephen for the tip!)

Ballard’s Joel featured on Eric’s Heroes

You may have seen Joel Abel around town, helping out at Bop Street Records (above), hanging out at Hattie’s Hat or tasting cupcakes at Cupcake Royale.

“Joel is a part of Ballard, Ballard is Joel. He’s just synonymous with Ballard,” says Emily Scully, who works at Cupcake Royale.

KOMO TV’s Eric Johnson followed Joel around Ballard for his weekly “Eric’s Heroes” segment, and it’s a good one. Without further ado, here’s the clip:

(Top photo from KOMO News)

Gemenskap Park still on schedule

Construction work to build a new park along 14th Ave. NW between 59th and 61st is running on schedule, according to Seattle Parks.

Gemenskap Park is going in on the east side of 14th Ave., shifting both lanes to the west and removing the middle parking area. The park will feature a green space, rain gardens and wider sidewalks (as you can see above along the right.)

When we checked this week, Seattle Parks confirmed that workers are still on track to complete the project in “late spring.” In the meantime, 14th Ave. remains closed to traffic.

By the way, Gemenskap is the Swedish word for “community,” and it’s pronounced Yuh-MEN-skawp. We’re still practicing.

Fast-growing Reuben’s Brews to open new production facility

One of Ballard’s most popular breweries, Reuben’s Brews is expanding into a full-scale production facility at a large, historic building at the corner of 8th Ave. NW and NW 46th St. (above).

The brewery has been operating out of several locations to keep up with growth, explained co-founder Adam Robbings in an announcement today.

“As we grew we needed space, but unfortunately nothing was ever available within the same building!” Robbings wrote in an email. “But now we are so excited to announce that we will be bringing most of our production together at 800 NW 46th St. The building is not only less than half a mile away from our taproom and brewery (which will remain in its current location), but it is also walking distance from our home.”

Robbings co-founded the brewery with his wife Grace (their first child is named Reuben) back in 2012. He said it was important to find a production facility in his home neighborhood of Ballard, close to the taproom. He says they plan to “carefully renovate” the historic facility.

“The building is getting a big overhaul – new roof, new siding, new insulation and heating systems – but the character of its 70 year-old barrel roof will now be exposed for us all to enjoy!” he wrote. “Here, our team’s lives will be made easier, and they will be able to focus on brewing different beers and increasing diversity of offerings for our customers rather than traveling between buildings!”

As you can see, he’s very excited about the new digs, which he expects will be operational by the end of the year. He’ll also get a new office, a big upgrade from his current working space inside a “merchandise storage closet.”

Reuben’s joins Fremont Brewing in opening a large, dedicated production facility and office in Ballard. Fremont’s facility is located at 4700 9th Ave NW, which the brewery calls “Fremont West.”

Music lineup announced for Ballard SeafoodFest

You might come for the salmon and lutefisk, but live music at the Ballard SeafoodFest is becoming a bigger attraction every year. On this 44th year of the festival, the lineup features headliners Blitzen Trapper and All Them Witches.

“We are excited to announce a stellar lineup of musical artists that complement everything this three-day festival has to offer,” said SeafoodFest Director Mike Stewart. “Through the support of our generous sponsors and countless volunteers, we are pleased to produce Ballard’s signature summer event that is free and open to all.”

Co-presented by KEXP, here’s the lineup:

Blitzen Trapper | All Them Witches | The Dead South | Whiskey Shivers | Smokey Brights | The Grizzled Mighty | Nite Wave | Purple Mane | Gypsy Temple | Acid Tongue | Lanford Black | Whitney Monge | #All4Doras | School of Rock

When the festival opens at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 13th, NiteWave and #All4Doras will kick things off near the beer garden. Food trucks Paella House, Where Ya At Matt, Nosh and Off the Rez will be serving up dinner.

The full festival gets underway on Saturday — when Blitzen Trapper and All Them Witches will take the main stage — and runs until 9 p.m. on Sunday.

We’ll provide more details as we get closer to the big event.