Google expansion to Ballard possibly in the works

According to a Puget Sound Business Journal report, there is a possibility that Google will expand into Ballard. The PSBJ got word from a managing director at Seattle’s largest investment bank who confirmed the potential for expansion into our neighborhood.

In an opinion piece featured in the PSBJ last week, Cascadia Capital investment banker Jamie Boyd revealed the information. “Zulily is moving to Belltown, and Google may expand into Ballard,” Boyd wrote.

The PSBJ confirms that Boyd based the information for his piece on conversations that he had with those in the Seattle commercial real estate industry.

The PSBJ also confirmed that Google officials and their Seattle real estate broker chose not to make a comment about Boyd’s assertions early this week.

In terms of Google’s presence in the Puget Sound area, the company currently has offices in both Kirkland and Fremont. The Fremont location covers 152,000 square feet of space.

“They are trying to gobble up any space they can get in Fremont, so it wouldn’t surprise me they’re looking in Ballard,” Michael Osterfeld, owner of Fremont Dock Co., told the PSBJ. The Fremont Dock Co. owns the land that is currently occupied by the Google office buildings.

Seattle commercial real estate broker Dan Dahl agrees with Osterfeld. “Fremont only is so big. At some point, one of the big companies is going to have to step aside,” Dahl told the PSBJ.

The report also confirms that Dahl, who represents the Ballard office development planned near the ship canal on Shilshole Ave NW, did approach Google about the project.

The My Ballard team will update readers with any developments if and when any official announcements are made about a Google expansion into our neighborhood.

Mayor Murray seeks new candidate for Ballard Ave Landmark District Board

Earlier this week Mayor Ed Murray announced that applications are open for a position on the Ballard Avenue Landmark District Board. The opening is either for a Ballard historian or a local who has a demonstrated interest in our neighborhood.

Ballard Avenue Landmark District Board comprises of seven members who aim to protect the historical and architectural values of the street. The board regulates proposed changes to the external façades of buildings, structures and public rights-of-way located within the district boundaries.

The Board includes two district property owners, two district property owners/business persons, one district tenant/resident, one architect and one Ballard historian or person with a demonstrated interest in the Ballard community. Of the seven members, five are elected for a two-year terms at annual elections, and two are appointed by the Mayor and approved by Seattle City Council.

Meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at 9 a.m. Board members usually must commit two to four hours per month to Board related business. Members of the Board serve without compensation and they must be Seattle residents.

If you are interested in applying send a resume and letter of interest by Tuesday, May 19 to Heather.McAuliffe@seattle.gov and reference Ballard Avenue Landmark District Board in the subject line.

Submit a paper copy to the following address:

Heather McAuliffe – Coordinator, Ballard Avenue Landmark District Board
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649

Electronic submissions are preferred.

For more information about applying contact Heather McAuliffe at (206) 684-0229.

Pioneer Houses set to transform into Italian restaurant

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According to a post on NOSH Pit blog, the Pioneer Houses on Ballard Ave NW are set to be transformed into an Italian restaurant.

The transformation and restoration is already underway at the hands of the new property owners Jeff Ofelt and Wade Weigel from Percy’s and Co. down the road. Ofelt and Weigel have also recruited the expertise of Tim Baker to breathe new life into the building.

According to NOSH Pit, the Pioneer Houses will be turned into a two story, 50-seat restaurant featuring a spiral staircase, open kitchen, banquette seating, wide plank floors, and a bar area in the back.

“We want to get people inside of it and give it another life,” Baker told NOSH Pit.

NOSH Pit confirms that the menu will be a blend of seasonal Italian staples and Italian American favorites. The menu is still be created but is likely to include a selection of salads, pastas, gnocchi, risotto, beef and tuna carpaccio.

Lunch will also be served at the kitchen counter and will offer locals pastas, salads and sandwiches.

In terms of chefs, Baker’s son Sam West will be moving over to the new restaurant to apply his skills learned during culinary training periods in Italy and Percy’s chef Derek May will oversee both restaurants.

According to NOSH Pit, the Pioneer Houses were built sometime between the late 1850s and 1880s in the area that is currently the International District. A historical report confirmed that, due to the “unusual vertical-plank construction”, the buildings “appear to be the oldest intact residential properties remaining in Seattle.”

Rainier Bank purchased the site where the buildings were situated in 1976 and donated the structures to Historic Seattle who moved them to Ballard.

Once on Ballard Ave, they were protected from changes by the area’s historical district designation and housed a number of different professional offices.

The transformation of Pioneer Houses from offices to restaurant is no easy feat and the projected opening, at this stage, is set for October this year.

The My Ballard team will update readers with the opening date as the restoration process progresses.

Photo courtesy of NOSH Pit.

Development Update April 30: Subdivisions and a four-story structure

Three subdivision applications, one subdivision approval and a four-story structure approval make up today’s development update from the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) as posted in the Land Use Information Bulletin.

Applications:

8765 15th Ave NW

MapForNotice19542

A Land Use Application has been received to subdivide one parcel into four parcels of land. Proposed parcel sizes are: A) 1,383 sq. ft., B) 679 sq. ft., C) 796 sq. ft.; and D) 4,705 sq. ft. Project also includes unit lot subdivision of Parcel D into two unit lots. The construction of single family residences has been approved under Project #6422207. The subdivision of Parcel D is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards for Parcel D will be applied to Parcel D as a whole and not to each of the new unit lots.

2237 NW 60th St

MapForNotice19545

A Land Use Application has been received to subdivide one development site into two unit lots. The construction of residential units is under Project #6440997. This subdivision of property is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards will be applied to the original parcel and not to each of the new unit lots.

1737 NW 63rd St

MapForNotice19535 (2)

A Land Use Application has been received to subdivide one parcel into two parcels of land. Proposed parcel sizes are: A) 2,799 sq. ft. and B) 2,799 sq. ft. Existing structures are to be demolished.

Decisions:

1436 NW 62nd St

A Land Use Application has been approved to allow a 4-story structure containing 30 apartment units. No parking proposed. Existing structures to be demolished.

Appeals of this decision must be received by the Hearing Examiner no later than May 14, 2015.

6719 Alonzo Ave NW

A Land Use Application has been approved to subdivide one development site into two unit lots. The construction of residential units is under Project #6405065. This subdivision of property is only for the purpose of allowing sale or lease of the unit lots. Development standards will be applied to the original parcel and not to each of the new unit lots.

Appeals of this decision must be received by the Hearing Examiner no later than May 14, 2015.

Comments about the above applications should be submitted to PRC@seattle.gov or mailed to the address below:

City of Seattle DPD PRC
700 5th Avenue Suite 2000
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA  98124-4019

Locals encouraged to adopt on National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day

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Tomorrow, April 30, is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, and the Seattle Animal Shelter (2061 15th Ave W) wants to encourage locals to adopt a shelter pet and save a life.

If you have been thinking about adding a pet to your home like Peanut (pictured), stop by the shelter filled with cats, dogs, birds, bunnies, rats, snakes and more tomorrow.

“We have incredible animals at the shelter and in our foster care program, waiting to find their forever homes,” said Don Jordan, Seattle Animal Shelter director. “If you have room in your home and your heart, you can give an animal a second chance and a new life.”

Shelter animals are usually happy and healthy and are often among the most devoted companions. Seattle Animal Shelter animals are cared for by experienced staff and volunteers, who are available to share information about the animals’ personalities and habits so perfect matches can be made with potential adopters.

In addition to visiting the shelter, locals can view adoptable animals online or meet them at monthly events held at various Seattle locations.

“Fabulous Felines” and “Cool City Pets” (critter adoptions) take place on the second and third Saturdays of each month, respectively. Both cats and critters are available for adoption at Mud Bay–Uptown (522 Queen Anne Ave N) from noon to 3 p.m. on the fourth Saturday of each month. Click here to find out more information about adoption events.

The adoption fee is $15 for critters and $40 for rabbits. Rabbits are spayed/neutered and microchipped before adoption. The adoption fees range from $175-$210 for dogs and $140-$145 for cats. The dog and cat fees include:

  • Certificate for a free health exam at local veterinarians.
  • Initial vaccinations.
  • Spay or neuter.
  • Microchip.
  • Deworming.
  • Feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus testing (cats only).

Discounts on cat adoptions are also available for seniors and adults with disabilities. If you live in Seattle, when adopting cats or dogs you must also purchase a pet license.

The Seattle Animal Shelter is open Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. for adoptions and licensing. For more information, call 206-386-7387 (PETS) or click here.

Majority of BHS juniors opt out of “Smarter Balanced” statewide exams

According to our news partners at The Seattle Times, 95% of Ballard High School juniors are opting out of the state wide Smarter Balanced exams.

The Smarter Balanced English Language Arts (ELA) and Math exams are replacing Washington’s old statewide exams and must be completed by schools before June 15.

According to the Washington State Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction, the state switched to the Smarter Balanced tests for a number of reasons including quicker results, increased accessibility for students with disabilities and English language learners, computer adaptability and connection to higher education.

According to The Seattle Times report, the numbers are decidedly higher than the Seattle Public Schools District opt out prediction of about 50% of students in some schools.

The junior cohort at BHS is not the only group of local students with such a high percentage opting out of the tests that many “see as unnecessary”.

Figures from district officials confirm that no juniors took the tests at Nathan Hale High School. 95% of juniors at Garfield High School and 80% of Roosevelt and Ingraham High School juniors also refused to take part.

The Junior cohort appears to include the majority of students who are opting out of testing as they do not need to pass the Smarter Balanced tests to graduate.

“What really convinced me was, it’s not a graduation requirement,” Kevin Nguyen, a junior at Garfield and president of his class told The Seattle Times. “At this time of the year, juniors especially don’t have that much time to just spend on stuff that doesn’t go toward graduation.”

According to the report, the major testing boycotts seem to be limited to students within Seattle. Bellevue School District has received only six refusals from the 19,000 students within the district.

Although the tests are not a requirement for Juniors to graduate, state schools Chief Randy Dorn is concerned that the high number of student boycotts could effect state funding.

Dorn confirmed that if less than 95% of students in Washington take the state wide tests, the U.S. Department of Education could withhold education funding under the No Child Left Behind Act, which requires mandatory annual testing.

“The decision to refuse testing doesn’t just affect the individual student,” Dorn told The Seattle Times. “It affects students across the state.”

Seattle Public Schools is currently monitoring the four schools that they believe will have the highest boycott rates and will release complete figures when they are known.

Groundswell NW “open space” workshop on this Thursday

The Groundswell NW team is hosting an workshop to further discuss ideas that will build and boost open space in Ballard over the next year. The workshop will be held at Ballard Library (5614 22nd Ave NW) from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. this Thursday, April 30.

“You responded with some great ideas at our Annual Meeting and Civic Social and Groundswell NW wants to help you make these ideas a reality,” say event organizers.

Event attendees will have the opportunity to collaborate with experienced open space advocates, learn how to gain support for their ideas and team up with those who’ll support them.

All are welcome to attend. Free onsite parking is available under the library building.

If you have questions about the event contact Dawn Hemminger at groundswellnw@gmail.com

Click here to find out more.