A look inside the old Ballard Denny’s

Seattle’s Landmark Preservation Board toured the boarded-up Denny’s yesterday, and today the property owners invited members of the media to tour the building. Benaroya Companies’ Marc Nemirow and architect Arthur Chang took us inside the restaurant to point out the differences between the Denny’s and the old Manning’s Cafeteria: for one, the old Manning’s had a vaulted ceiling with expansive windows, but a renovation in 1984 created a flat ceiling and eliminated the tall windows. “It had a very different feel than this restaurant right now,” Chang said, adding that the building is not up to code and is suffering from dry rot in some places. “If they landmark it, it’s to be preserved in its current state,” he said.

“I have no plan B,” admitted Nemirow, when asked what he would do if the board votes to designate the building as a landmark. “I have no idea what we could use this site for.” When a reporter asked him why they don’t just invite Denny’s back to the restaurant, he said Denny’s had paid “an incredibly low rent” and it wouldn’t be “financially feasible” for the $12.5 million Benaroya paid for the property. “The issue here isn’t growth… or condos or no condos,” Nemirow said. “It’s whether this building is a landmark.”

A shot of the inside, with the boarded up windows.

The ceiling. The media was allowed to walk up a ladder and peer through the hole to see the vaulted ceiling that once was with Manning’s.

The old Denny’s bar. Dark. Cold. A little creepy.

As some will point out, it was smart of Benaroya to tour the media through the building and illustrate the differences between Manning’s and the renovated Denny’s. To an untrained observer, the building is old and tired. It just looks like an old Denny’s. Of course, that decision isn’t up to Nemirow and company, but the Landmark Preservation Board, which meets on February 20th.

Streetcar coming to Ballard, Fremont?

The Seattle City Council is considering a plan to expand the South Lake Union streetcar to Ballard, Fremont, West Seattle and the University District, among other neighborhoods. “Ballard and West Seattle have felt somewhat abandoned after the monorail went away and we’ve been looking for a way to get transportation there,” said Department of Transportation Director Grace Crunican. The planning is still in the preliminary phase, and as Seattleites know, this means no decisions are coming anytime soon.

Skillings slowly improving, still no arrests

Students from Adams Elementary signed a big yellow banner for Joseph Skillings, who’s recovering at Harborview Medical Center after getting attacked at a Capitol Hill bus stop for trying to help a woman in distress. Now the banner is hanging in his room, and Skillings is “bragging” about his students, according to the latest entry from friends and family in his online journal. Meanwhile, it’s been a few days since police released a sketch of the suspect, and there’s no word of any arrests. And if you missed it, the Times wrote up a story on Sunday about Skillings and his “core ethic” of teaching his students to help others.

Snow photos from Ballard

We just took a drive around the area this morning, and traffic is moving smoothly, including Market St. up over the Ridge.

Crown Hill seemed to have as much or even more snow than Phinney Ridge. This is 20th Ave. and 80th St.

The stop sign on that corner.

As usual, there’s much less snow in central Ballard. But there are lots of folks taking the bus this morning.

My Ballard reader Silver sent us this photo of Ballard Market and snow-covered Phinney Ridge. Thanks for the pic!

Snow everywhere, more coming tonight

We have a good inch on the ground around our Ballard house, and it’s a nasty commute just about everywhere. For starters, avoid the steep roads climbing up to Phinney Ridge. Fortunately, school buses don’t have to negotiate the mess: the Seattle school district was already closed today. Forecasters say the snow will taper off this morning, but it will return again late tonight: as much as 2-4″ of new snowfall. If you have photos or any snow-related news, please send us an email to tips@myballard.com. We’ll post photos in a bit.

Golden Gardens slide covered in cloth

We hiked down Golden Gardens Drive to the mudslide that took out a big chunk of the roadway back in December. You may remember, it also took a Suburu with it. Well, now the Suburu is gone and the entire slide area is covered in cloth to slow the erosion process.

It looks like cloth from a burlap sack. Work crews hammered and bent rebar around branches to secure the cloth in place.

Plastic covers the roadway in an attempt to limit the erosion underneath the asphalt, but as you can see here, a new chunk popped loose in recent days. City officials say they’ll begin repairing the roadway this spring.

Ballard gets first portable restroom

After getting “a lot of inquiries” about a public restroom, the city of Seattle has placed a portable unit on Market St., right across from Majestic Bay.

Rob Mattson, director of the Ballard Neighborhood Service Center, told the Ballard News Tribune that people have asked businesses in the area to use the restroom, but have been refused. So viol√°, a public restroom. We took a peek inside, and it was cleaner and less smelly than your average Honey Bucket. The city says it will be cleaned every morning.

Adds Mark below: “This looks terrible. Could they have picked a worse spot? How about the parking lot in front of that Magnum building next to Volterra?”