Clues about Ballard’s mysterious development

Last year we wrote about a development under construction on one of Ballard’s most prestigious lots: where the old Azteca restaurant used to be on Seaview, at the entrance to Salmon Bay. Several people had posted in comments explaining that the waterfront building included a marine business to meet zoning requirements, but it also featured a residential space for the owner.

At Large in Ballard’s Peggy Sturdivant was curious about the development, and she did some investigating. She writes:

For months, I tried contacting anyone connected to the project including (owner) John A. Goodman. He finally responded by email to my multiple questions: “This will have office use and caretakers unit for marina.” I responded with compliments on the scope of the renovations and the landscaping, mentioned swirling rumors about its usage and asked yet again if he could provide more specifics about the project. His reply: “Really not much more to say.”

The residential caretaker unit, according to official filings, measures just 676 square feet of the “10,544 sq. ft. marine, retail sales and service building.” Over the last several days, workers have been busy installing the finishing touches.

Swedes come to Seattle and go to… Northgate

Imagine the Geeky Swedes’ surprise when a busload of city officials from Sweden went to Northgate, not Ballard, to tour a new European-style development there called Thornton Place (rendering below).

It was organized by Washington Swedish Consul Lars Jonsson, who also happens to be one the developers behind the project. Jonsson said he’s working on a “Swedish week” for next year that would be timed with Swedish Hospital’s centennial. “We will have, I think, a lot of high-powered Swedes coming over for that event,” he told “Perhaps even royalty.”

Sailboat hits the water to prepare for journey

After spending time in dry dock, the “Ocean Watch” was lowered into Salmon Bay today for an adventure to teach people about the ocean.

The 64-foot sailing vessel will perform sea trials during April and May before embarking on a first-ever 13-month voyage through the Northwest Passage, around Cape Horn and back to Seattle.

The trip called “Around the Americas” will stop in 30 host ports to build awareness about ocean health. Scientists and researchers will be looking at sea ice coverage, seawater chemistry, aerosols and cloud cover. The trip is being co-organized by the Pacific Science Center, in collaboration with Sailors for the Sea, the UW Applied Physics Lab and the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean. (Photos courtesy Dan McConnell.)

Tents along Shilshole Ave.

Several readers have posted in the forum about these tents along Shilshole Ave. near 24th Ave., near the old Yankee Diner.

My Ballard reader Mymble contacted SPD about the tents. “Officer Haag, SPD, emailed me today to say he has contacted one of the groups using one of the large camping tents,” writes Mymble in the forum. “He has given them 48 hours to move the tents and stated he would follow up to be sure they do move.” Several readers have spotted other tents in Ballard, including a few along the new extension of the Burke-Gilman trail on the way to Golden Gardens.

Ballard a ‘sellers market’ for real estate

If you’re seeing a few “sold” signs around the neighborhood, there’s some data to back up your observation. “Months of supply” (MOS) is a real estate metric that measures the total number of homes on the market divided by pending sales, or roughly the rate of home sales. Anything with a MOS of 6 and under is considered a “seller’s market.” In the latest report for the month of February, the Ballard/Greenwood area came out with the second-lowest MOS in all of King County (4.6), just behind Shoreline (4.5). Sure, the market has cooled considerably, prices are way down, and who knows what the market will do next. But in today’s economy, it’s a rare nugget of positive news for homeowners.

Updated: Seattle-area home prices back to July 2005 levels