Fremont Bridge lights up starting tonight

Earlier this week, we reported the Fremont Bridge is getting artistic lights with plans to expand to the Ballard Bridge sometime in the future.

Last night SDOT tested the lights for a few minutes, and here’s what they look like:

The lights are designed to cast a colorful reflection on the water below, slowly changing hue and shifting with the seasons (watch this video for more). Beginning tonight, the Fremont Bridge lights will be illuminated full-time at night. The project cost $212,000: half of the money came from a rebate received from using energy-efficient lighting, reports the Seattle Times.

No date has been set for the Ballard Bridge lights, which will need private funding to proceed.

By the way, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture is looking for an “artist in residence” — a composer and/or musician — in the northwest tower of the Fremont Bridge. This person will “undertake an in-depth exploration of the historic bridge’s role and meaning for the city of Seattle and create music in response to this residency.”

This is the fourth “artist in residence” project at the bridge since the 1990s.

5-story apartment planned for Nickerson St. lot near Fremont Bridge

If you’ve driven by the Nickerson Street Saloon just to the south of the Fremont Bridge recently, you may have noticed the land use signs displayed in the parking lot.

That’s a proposal to demolish the restaurant/saloon and build a 5-story apartment building and a single-story retail building on the prominent corner property.

We contacted Nickerson’s GM Chris Martino to see what will happen with the saloon, and he said it will be coming back in the new building. There are also plans for a coffee shop, but it’s too soon to know if it will be Electric Cloud Coffee, which operates the drive-through in the parking lot.

The development is also slated to have a fitness studio and on-site parking for 37 vehicles.

Martino said the project is still in its early phases and is still a couple years away. “We’re not going away anytime soon,” he said. “We’ll be here one way or another.”

Seattle Biscuit Company to open restaurant and bar in Frelard

Another Seattle food truck is getting its own restaurant. Seattle Biscuit Company, a popular food truck since 2012, is setting up shop on Leary Way right across from Frelard Pizza Company.

If you’ve visited the truck — it’s often at Chuck’s Hop Shop — you’ve probably had the Che Biscuit (bacon, egg, cheese, ham, pickles, apple butter and mustard), The Big Al (biscuit and sausage gravy) or perhaps The Nuptial Flight (Ballard Bee Company honey, butter and rock salt.)

The new restaurant and bar at 4001 Leary Way NW features an outside deck, which was under construction when we stopped by.

Seattle Biscuit Company was founded by Sam Thompson and David Hanson, two Southerners who call Seattle home. No word on when the restaurant will open.

A few blocks away at 928 NW Leary Way, another food truck, Napkin Friends, will open a Jewish deli sometime later this year.

Area under Ballard Bridge fenced off to keep out homeless campers

Both sides of Leary Way under the Ballard Bridge are now surrounded in chain link fence. In some places, it’s topped with barbed wire. Until the fence went up, the area had been a popular place for the homeless to camp.

The fence was installed to “maintain the structural integrity of the bridge and keep our communities and commuters safe,” SDOT said in a statement. “Wooden structures, open flames and propane tanks all pose a clear danger to public safety and has the potential to destroy this critical transportation corridor that 60,000 vehicles rely on each day.”

SDOT said there have been two fires under the bridge in recent years, in 2013 and 2016.

It’s not the first bridge area that SDOT has fenced off from the homeless. Last November a “no climb” fence was installed under the Spokane Street Viaduct after a fire in an RV camp.

SDOT also pointed to the devastating fire under an overpass in Atlanta last year. Police say a homeless man set a fire that ignited plastic conduit stacked nearby.

The new Ballard fence has been a hot topic in the My Ballard Facebook Group, drawing both praise for SDOT and concern the fence doesn’t address the larger problem.

Speaking with the Seattle Times, Councilmember Mike O’Brien says the fence is just displacing the campers. “They’re probably three blocks from here, next to some business,” he said.

The Times reported the Ballard Bridge fencing cost $100,000.

New Seasons still plans to open Ballard store despite ‘strategic shift’

New Seasons announced the departure of its CEO today in a “strategic shift” that will close one California store and halt the opening of three others in the state.

Despite the changes, the company said it’s moving ahead with its new locations in Ballard and the Central District. The Portland-based company is “increasing investments in core stores and local communities,” according to a press release (.pdf).

New Seasons employees have been working toward unionizing and filed a complaint against the company in December, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The paper quoted an employee who said she hopes the shift will bring positive changes for employees.

The Ballard store is coming together at 907 NW Ballard Way — the sign is up — with the goal to open this spring. PCC plans to open a new store a few blocks away in spring of next year.

(Full disclosure: Both New Seasons as well as the “Good Jobs Coalition” — which opposes New Seasons opening in the Central District — are My Ballard advertisers)

Scout & Molly’s boutique opens in Old Ballard

In the space between the Other Coast Cafe and Re-soul, a new boutique has opened for business in Old Ballard (at 5317 Ballard Ave NW).

Scout & Molly’s features upscale women’s fashion “tailored to the distinct style of Seattle” and a team of personal stylists to attend to shoppers. It’s the first Seattle outpost for the boutique, which has a few dozen stores nationwide.

The Ballard shop is owned by Magnolia residents Marc & Nikki Harpster.

“Part of the mission of Scout & Molly’s founder Lisa Kornstein is to establish meaningful relationships with long-term clients and become a trusted resource for local shoppers,” said Nikki Harpster. “We aim to make every woman who walks in feel like they’re shopping with their best friends, and we focus on personal touches such as a phone call to let you know a new shipment from your favorite brand just arrived.”

While the shop has quietly opened, the Harpsters invite neighbors to attend its official grand opening on Saturday, February 24th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for music, snacks and raffle prizes.

(Photos from the Scout & Molly’s of Ballard Facebook page)

Fremont Bridge to light up at night, Ballard Bridge is next

On Thursday night, the Fremont Bridge will fire up its new lights, a permanent art installation celebrating the centennial of Seattle’s historic bascule bridges. The Ballard and University bridges are next on the list.

The Bridge Lights project is a collaboration between SDOT, the Office of Arts and Culture and artists Hayley Buckbee and Ian Campbell (with RSVR). The city says the lights are designed to “gently reflect seasonal, solar and lunar patterns,” and the Fremont design “beautifies this city landmark and celebrates the vibrant artistic spirit of the Fremont community.”

Unlike most major U.S. cities, Seattle’s bridges lack artistic light, the city said. “Lighted bridges serve as symbols of local pride for residents and become a significant part of a city’s story, attracting regional visitors and tourists, like other city landmarks including the Fremont Troll and the Space Needle,” SDOT explained in a press release.

This Wednesday evening, the city will provide a 6-minute preview of the lights (“including four seasonal palettes”) for the media, sometime between 6:30 and 7 p.m. Then on Thursday evening, the light display switches on permanently.

SDOT tells My Ballard they don’t have a date set for the Ballard Bridge lights as of yet, and it’s “not in the immediate future.”

Briefs: New Nordic, Hullabaloo, Hale’s Ales, Stoup, Sloths, Goodwill and more

A few quick blurbs from around the Ballard area…

NEW NORDIC: The Nordic Museum’s address has officially switched to the new location, and the staff moved into the new digs on Friday (photo above from @NordicMuseum). The building opens to the public on May 5th.

HULLABALOO – The Leif Erikson Lodge will host “the biggest Ballardest clearance sale under one roof” this Friday evening and Saturday morning. “Find treasures galore at heavily discounted prices” and support local shops, explains the event listing here.

BURGLAR STEALS CAMERA: Early in the morning of Jan. 30th in the 1400 block of NW 63rd St., police say a man gained access to a locked condo building, tore the surveillance camera off the wall and walked away with it. Nothing else was reported stolen. Police are examining the video.

CRIME CHECKS: We spoke with SPD’s Mark Jamieson to check on a few ongoing cases. He said the investigation into the assault at Salmon Bay Park is still active, but he has nothing new to share. He said there’s no new information on the search for the Ballard dumpster fires suspect — or the search for Chris Burrus, suspected of setting a man on fire last November.

HALE’S ALES: As we reported in December, 34-year-old Hale’s Ales is promising big changes this year to compete with newer breweries. “We’re rolling out new packaging. The website is getting an overhaul. We’re brewing new beers. The taproom is getting a makeover,” explained Mike Hale in an email this week. “We’re working on becoming the most happening spot in Fremont, featuring events and musicians in our pub on a weekly basis.”

MOTHER OF EXILES: As part of the “Beer Trumps Hate” campaign initiated by Rooftop Brewing following the 2017 election, Stoup Brewing has brewed Mother of Exiles IPA. Proceeds from the sale of this beer will benefit The Refugee Women’s Alliance (REWA) during the month of February. Stoup will host an event tomorrow (Tuesday) evening.

SLOTHS: Those Woodland Park Zoo sloth cubs have opened their eyes, and there’s video.

HOLMAN PEDESTRIAN OVERPASS: The city has finished its design work for the new crosswalk on Holman Road at 13th Avenue NW, near Dick’s Drive-In, that will keep the current pedestrian overpass instead of tearing it down. PhinneyWood has the details.

TRANSFER STATION: In partnership with Goodwill, the North Transfer station in Fremont (1350 N 34th St.) has opened a “reuse donation center” — a drop-off location for reusable household goods and electronics. It’s also opened a “community education room” with interactive exhibits. Seattle Public Utilities will be holding an open house there on Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon.

We have a lot more community events on the Ballard calendar — and there’s always something going on in the My Ballard Facebook group, which recently surpassed 2,500 members.

Seattle PD asks for help with street robbery case

Shortly before midnight on January 15th, Seattle Police says a woman was assaulted and robbed of her purse while she walked in the 1400 block of NW Market St.

The woman did not sustain any significant physical injuries, so she was not taken to the hospital.

Detectives say they have obtained images of the suspects — which SPD provided above — from surveillance cameras prior to the robbery taking place.

If anyone has any information on their identities, they’re asked to contact Detective Mike Magan in the Robbery Unit at (206) 684-5540.

About a week before this incident, we reported on a separate case of a man who pointed a gun at a woman and her daughter as they drove through the 15th and Market intersection.

Remainder of Ballard Blocks II clears hurdle, 85C Bakery Cafe signs as tenant

A month ago, we reported that PCC was coming to the west end of the Ballard Blocks II project, at the base of the Ballard Bridge (across from Edith Macefield’s old house.)

Today the city has given the go-ahead for work to begin on east end of the project as well, ruling it “has been determined to not have a significant adverse impact upon the environment.”

Sometimes called “Lake Ballard,” much of the land is covered with water (this is the view from the eastern side looking west.) Workers will excavate 50,000 cubic yards of material from Ballard Blocks II to make room for underground parking, and “some localized structural fill may be placed under the building foundation” in areas with “unsuitable soils,” according to the land use ruling (.pdf).

So what’s going into the east side of Ballard Blocks II?

We’ve already reported that Bright Horizons child care and West Marine are tenants in the new space, and now we’ve learned that 85C Bakery Cafe is coming, too. With over 1,000 locations around the world, 85C prides itself on “premium coffee, bread, and cake at affordable prices.”

In a posting by the architectural firm Weber Thompson, there’s a lot of retail and office space still available. Here’s the first floor, and there’s more on the second floor:

The plans refer to a “restaurant space,” which looks like “G” above in the SE corner. The sketches for the project show outside seating in a courtyard area:

Bright Horizons takes up the third floor, and an elevated walkway leads to the roof the other building, where there’s an outdoor play area planned:

The project includes parking for 166 vehicles underground in addition to the ground-level parking lot next to the PCC in the middle. The plans also call for 12 dedicated parking spots for parents and care-givers to drop off and pick up their children from Bright Horizons.

The timeline for the project has slipped over the years, and we’ve reached out to Ballard Blocks for more information. We’ve also asked about any future plans for the Edith Macefield house, which remains untouched behind chain-link fence. We’ll update as we learn more.