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Developers eyeing old library for multi-use building

Posted by Geeky Swedes on July 29th, 2010

Developers have plans to replace the old Ballard Library (5711 24th Avenue NW) with a multi-use building. The building across from the new QFC has sat empty since Abraxus Books moved out in June of last year. Two months later the property owners put a fence around what some neighbors called an eyesore with graffiti and abandoned shopping carts.

The Department of Planning and Development has announced an Early Design Guidance Meeting for the property. Plans call for a “commercial, live-work and apartment building with below-grade parking,” the meeting notice states.

More details on the development will be available at the meeting on August 9th at 6:30 p.m. at the Ballard High School library (1418 NW 65th St).

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25 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 boardbrown // Jul 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I’ll be real sorry to see this building come down. It’s such a great example of mid-century civic architecture…plus, the clear span of the structure is amazing inside. No columns at all.

    I always thought it’d make a cool indoor pool. Lord knows we need more of those. Just rip up the slab, dig a big hole, pour some concrete, and fill it with water!

  • 2 Cheese // Jul 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Plans call for a “commercial, live-work and apartment building with below-grade parking”. Those wacky imagineers have been working overtime coming up with these innovative ideas!

  • 3 Edog // Jul 29, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    That corner is so crowded as it is, this makes me worry. Sure, lets see the space used, but I don’t have high hopes for how it will end up.

  • 4 Eric Reynolds // Jul 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    UGH. I agree with boardbrown, it’s a much nicer building than it gets credit for, and its hard to believe tearing it down and building yet another multi-use building makes much financial sense in this neighborhood, at this point in time. Indoor pool is a great idea.

  • 5 Edog // Jul 29, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    P.S. Whats the vacancy rate on the apartment building across the street, you know the big QFC monster thing?

  • 6 Justin // Jul 29, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I predict it will become another empty lot.

  • 7 mrs murphey // Jul 29, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Lots of good memories at the old library. Good luck to the property owners.

    I thought the building would be a good place for a Scandinavian BBQ joint. The interior is wonderful.

  • 8 Aaron // Jul 29, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    It would be nice if that cool old building could be used, but it sounds like they’ve already made up their minds.

    I crossed 24th on 57th yesterday, and 57th was too narrow for two cars to pass each other at the same time. I worry about adding more cars exiting/entering on 57th OR 58th, and 24th would be even crazier if they put the entrance there. I just bet someone will play chicken with an 18 or 75, and lose.

  • 9 mfz // Jul 29, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I feel so sorry for those who live on NW57th west of 24th Ave NW. They have already lived through 5 years (plus) of construction “hooey”. Think about it: the building that contains Peoples Bank and condos, the Metropole (more dreaded condos plus nails and coffee), the QFC/apartment building, the apartments?/condos? going in North of the old library. There are people who’ve lived in this neighborhood for 10 – 15 years or more who now are being priced out of their living spaces by the property tax increases due to these monsters (either directly or trickle down through rents). WE WON’T BEGIN TO SPEAK ABOUT PARKING, other than to say it is a shame that people can now not park anywhere close to where they live. Another observation is that NW 57th just west of 24th NW has become a drag strip with people racing to “make” the light. People by preference from the surrounding blocks use NW 57th to take advantage of the traffic light. It would be helpful if they remembered that people live there. I am most afraid that someone will be injured or killed by a vehicle going through at excess speed. You see many walking on this street, some using wheelchairs, walkers, mobility scooters, canes etc. It is an accident waiting to happen.

  • 10 Spandex Boy // Jul 29, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    “There are people who’ve lived in this neighborhood for 10 – 15 years or more who now are being priced out of their living spaces by the property tax increases”

    Well, did you vote for people who promised to lower your taxes or increase spending? If you voted for the latter, you are the problem.

  • 11 rhino // Jul 29, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    “WE WON’T BEGIN TO SPEAK ABOUT PARKING, other than to say it is a shame that people can now not park anywhere close to where they live.”

    If you want to park your car, you should pay for some property to park it on. It is not the public’s business to provide storage for your clothes, your kitchen utensils, or your mode of transportation. That’s on your dime.

  • 12 French Waffle // Jul 29, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Don’t we already have enough of those ugly condo monsters? Why not preserve Ballard for a change?

  • 13 JF // Jul 29, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Dang. We think it’d make a great restaurant and/or live music venue, a la the Doug Fir in Portland.

  • 14 Spandex Boy // Jul 29, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    “Why not preserve Ballard for a change?”

    Sure, you buy the lot and save the building…..or do you expect OTHER PEOPLE to pay for your nostalgia?

  • 15 M // Jul 29, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Seconded, JF. It would be an awesome music venue. I think it’s a cool building with great potential as-is. Of course, I’m not a developer.

  • 16 nonplussed // Jul 29, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Pool hall. Pool hall. Pool hall.

    Rack ’em, up!

  • 17 anotherballardite // Jul 29, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    The MyBallard Blog is the most cohesive neighborhood blog that I have seen. I agree with everyone’s reservations expressed here.

    Let’s stick together and oppose this boring condo/coffeeshop plan until something more creative comes online.

  • 18 philly mom // Jul 29, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    I have the best suggestion of all– a off leash dog park with a water feature. Dogs, dogs, and more dogs.

  • 19 Mark // Jul 29, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I have been looking at that property and thinking what a great place for a family friendly pub. Have a beer and a good burger and bring your kids with you. Offer up a movie on a big screen every once in a while or a band here and there. Save the landscaping around the place, add a patio.

    Ya, Ballard has like a billion food establishments already but why doesn’t someone just do something to get back to the basics. Please add another call for a local gathering place.

  • 20 Aaron // Jul 30, 2010 at 1:57 am

    I support any idea that will keep this building standing. Its a great use of building materials rarley used. I love the big stones, trees and inside is just magnificent with the open space. A music venue or restaurant would be a great fit.

    Please don’t tare down this building!

  • 21 Adam Smasher // Jul 30, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Seems like the streets have gotten narrower. It’s because people have multiple vehicles and they do not fit into those tiny little townhome garages. Poor planning.

  • 22 Steve // Jul 30, 2010 at 9:00 am

    I’m kind of hoping hey just tear it down and put up some of that cyclone fencing. …

    Looks like it will end up like another multi use condo project. What a waste as it is a pretty neat building.

    To those that have said they don’t want tax dollars supporting our nostagia….I suppose a better use would be say building a football stadium for a billionaire?

  • 23 ethel // Jul 30, 2010 at 9:02 am

    I really like that building, too. It’s a shame the bookstore didn’t last.

  • 24 Bob Bennett // Jul 31, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I really like the idea of a pool hall.

  • 25 Barney Stinson // Aug 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm


    That is an awfully simplistic view of a sports stadium, are you sure your name is not Chris Van Dyk?

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