Work begins on empty lot on Ballard Ave.

Crews have been out on the vacant lot at 5304 Ballard Ave NW (across from Bastille) doing some work where a 4-story mixed-use commercial building will be constructed.

 Photo by Timmy Keener

According to the city’s Department of Planning and Development, the plan for the space includes a 4-story, 21,435 sq. ft. building with a 3,514 sq. ft. 3rd-story addition to the existing building directly to the north of the lot, (above Shiku Sushi and Anchored Ship Coffee Bar). The resulting building will be 35,459 sq. ft.

No word yet on what exactly will go into the space; we have a call out to Peck Properties to get more information.

Reminder: Locks closed this morning for saltwater drain inspection

The Ballard Locks will be closed for five hours today for another saltwater drain inspection. The Locks will be closed to all marine traffic between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. in order complete the inspections.

From the Army Corps of Engineers:

U.S. Navy divers from Naval Base Kitsap will finish inspecting welds and pressure washing the screen, items they didn’t have time to complete during the July 17, 5-hour closure. The structure, immediately upstream of the locks, prevents salmon from entering the locks’ saltwater return intake. The divers, closed 10, 10-foot-by-6-foot doors and inspected the 30-by-60 foot curved-front, mesh screen structure June 6. Monthly inspections are required until the doors are opened mid-September.

The Locks will be closed to all but emergency vessels on emergency calls during the inspections. Boaters can call the lockmaster on duty at 206-783-7000 to verify the locks are open.

Toast Ballard to replace Aster Coffee Lounge

Aster Coffee Lounge (5615 24th Ave NW) is being turned into Toast Ballard. The owners, Frank Trevino and Ashley Bucenec, bought Aster in April and say it was time for a change. They say they’re excited to open the new place that will have more (and fancier) food options, and eventually boast a cocktail menu (once their liquor license goes through).

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The owners say they’ll also start serving Slate Coffee, and will change up the decor a bit. Aster Coffee opened up in 2008, and was originally owned by Beth Scribner. Little has changed at the cafe over the past 5 years, and Bucenec says it was in dire need of a face-lift.  “More modern, less lounge-y,” Trevino says. They plan to be open by Friday, just in time for their weekly Friday night music set; this week Drew Piston will take the stage.

Did your bike get stolen? SPD may have it

The Seattle Police Department has about 500 “found” bikes in holding, and they want to try to get them back to their owners. They’ve started tweeting (@GetYourBikeBack) about found bikes around the city, hoping that will help with reuniting owners with their wheels.

SPD developed a diagram to help people locate their bikes, and the first step is to file a police report if you have your bike’s serial number. “People think that if they don’t have their bike’s serial number, they can’t make a stolen bicycle report,” according to Found Property Detective Michael Whidbey in a SPD Blotter post.. “You don’t absolutely need a serial number to get your bike back, but it does expedite the process.”

Without a serial number, SPD says they can help you find it if you provide a sales receipt, a picture of your bike, vivid description of the bike or any other specific, unique traits of your bike.

Here’s a diagram they developed to help people figure out the process.

SPD says the easiest way to get your bike back is to provide your case number (if you reported it stolen) and the bike’s serial number and email it to FindMyBike@Seattle.Gov, along with your contact information. Or, if you think they tweeted about your bike, email them referencing the tweeted bike description.

Learn more about the program here.

Woman hit by own car at Ballard grocery store

A woman in Ballard was taken to the hospital yesterday after being hit by her own car, according to our news partners The Seattle Times.

The Times reports that it’s believed the woman, in her 60s, was getting out of her car when it rolled backward and ran into her outside Ballard Market. She was hit by the car, but not run over, and was taken to Harborview Medical Center with scrapes and bruises. Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore told the Times that she was taken to the hospital largely as a precaution to be checked for possible internal injuries.

Share your rent story with The Seattle Times

Our news partners, The Seattle Times, put together a survey to learn more about how much people pay for rent in various parts of the city. The Times printed “Soaring rents force lifestyle changes” in their Sunday paper, telling the story of how residents are coping with staggering home costs and rapidly rising rent. According to the Times, Ballard has seen a $306 rise in median rent for studio apartments in the past two years. Wallingford has seen a $434 rise, and Capitol Hill residents now pay an average of $419 more than they did two years ago.

In order to paint an accurate picture of how people are dealing with the rising costs of renting, the Times put together an online, interactive map that allows readers to click on their neighborhood to tell their “rent story.” According to the map, Ballard’s median household income is $58,229, and median rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $1,786, with a 5.9% increase per year in rent costs.

To add your rent story to the map, click here.

Old Ballard Library being torn down to make way for new apartments

We’ve had several tips from readers about the old Ballard Library demolition today (5711 24th Ave NW). The former site of the Ballard Library has stood mostly empty since Abraxus Books moved out in 2009. According to the Department of Planning and Development, it will be turned into “Ballard West,” a 6-story building with ground-level retail space, three live-work units, 107 residential units above and enough parking for 80 vehicles.

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Old Ballard Library demolition. Photo taken by Maura Lentini 

File photo of old Ballard Library

To read more about the project planned for the space, click here.

Neighborhood Matching Fund opens applications for neighborhood projects

The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods has opened applications to the Neighborhood Matching Fund’s Small and Simple Projects Fund. The fund provides matching fund of up to $25, 000 to support and facilitate community members who are working together to build stronger and healthier neighborhoods in Seattle.

Applications are open to all members of the community and funds can go towards a number of project ideas including physical projects and educational, cultural, and relationship-strengthening activities.

To find out more about the guidelines and application process click here. More information will also be provided at the Neighborhood Matching Fund workshop which will be held on Tuesday, September 10 at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (104 17th Ave S) from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

To start the application process, groups first need to register here.

The Neighborhood Matching Fund is celebrating 25 years of awarding approximately $50 million to neighborhood groups for community projects across the city.