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.

Business is booming for Ballard’s Marian Built

As new restaurants pop up all over Seattle, Ballard furniture maker Marian Built is in high demand, creating unique bars, tables and other items from reclaimed materials. “People are getting sick of Ikea,” Michael Marian tells the Seattle Times, which produced a profile on the business that’s located near the base of the Ballard Bridge on Shilshole Ave.

If you’ve visited the new Ballard restaurant Brimmer and Heel Tap, or the Ballard bar Barnacle, you’ve seen Marian Built’s work. Or at other Seattle-area hangouts like The Hollywood Tavern, Westward and Fremont’s Rock Creek (below). They also create signature pieces for residences, but it’s not cheap.
Materials include the pews from a Baptist church, basketball and bowling alley floors and wood from a weathered barn. Marian even visits junkyards and yard sales to find hidden wooden gems. “It doesn’t look like a machine built it,” says Marian. “It looks like people did it.”

You can see lots of photos of Marian Built’s work on its website.

Umpqua Bank grand opening celebration

It’s a beautiful day for the Umpqua Bank (2032 NW Market St) grand opening celebration. Stop by all day for live music and refreshments from local eateries.

The Other Coast Cafe is providing lunch foods until 2 p.m. and a two-hour happy hour begins at 5:30 p.m. with food from Staple & Fancy, The Hi-Life and food and wine from Savour. Live music by Ryan Jander and Justin Macdonald starts at 5:30.

Umpqua Bank opened a month ago in the former Radio Shack space. (Disclosure: Umpqua Bank is a sponsor of MyBallard.)

Openings and closings on Market Street

After a decade on Market Street, Cookies, the little niche shop is closing.

The owner, Caryn, tells us she wasn’t given much notice that her lease wouldn’t renewed. “I am sad, but over the shock, and now looking forward to my next adventure. I will miss watching the babies, toddlers and children I have gotten to know grow up. I will miss the dogs that come to visit for scratches and dog cookies as well,” she writes in the forum. Your last day for cookie cutters is Sunday, January 29th.

The Aussie hangout at Green Lake, The Kangaroo and Kiwi Pub, is moving into the old Carnegie Library. MyBallard reader Josh talked to the owner last week and says the new place will have an expanded menu. “I realize I’m going into the heart of Ballard and will need to kick it up a notch,” the owner tells Josh. The pub will take up the entire first floor, where Carnegie’s moved out of last year. The opening of the Kangaroo and Kiwi will be sometime this spring. Josh tells us the hours will be lunch to about 2 a.m. on weekdays and possibly breakfast on the weekends. Of course they will still open for special sporting events. The owner still isn’t sure if he’ll close the current location on Green Lake, but probably.

Blockbuster on 15th Ave NW is closing

It’s really no surprise that the Blockbuster at 5900 15th Ave NW is closing. With on-demand movies, Netflix, iTunes and Red Box, fewer people are actually going to the video store to get movies.

The store will close the end of February, although a final date hasn’t been decided on. Until then, everything in the store is for sale. This includes, movies, fixtures, office supplies and more.

The discounts get better as the liquidation sale continues. Each Monday prices are slashed deeper. (Thanks Tomas for the tip!)

Zesto’s closed, being replaced by RoRo BBQ

Another Ballard institution is closed. After 63 years, Zesto’s quietly closed and the new owner is busy getting the place ready to reopen as RoRo BBQ & Burgers.

Zesto’s has sat on the corner of 15th Ave NW and NW 65th since 1948. In recent years Zesto’s has made headlines for failing health inspections. In 2007 the restaurant was closed by the Health Department for having six red violations and the PI reported that Zesto’s had the most health and safety violations in the city.

We spoke with Carson Cox, the nephew of owner Rob Cox, who is busy gutting the kitchen. He says this is RoRo’s third location. They’re already on Stone Way in Fremont/Wallingford (3620 Stone Way N.) and Georgetown (1128 S. Albro Pl.) Carson says they hope to open next month and will keep some of the memorabilia that was in Zesto’s.

A couple of Ballard business tidbits

Here are a couple of quick business notes for Ballard.

  • Ballard Brothers Seafood & Burgers (5305 15th Ave. NW) is now serving local beer. Owner Drew Greer tells us that the Washington State Liquor Control Board approved their liquor license just a few days ago. They have three selections of Maritime Pacific beer and Hilliard’s Amber. “More flavors soon to come as well as draft selections in the near future,” Greer says.
  • Hours at Enlighten Cafe (5424 Ballard Ave NW) are shifting a bit. “We will now be open at 6 am for the early commuting/ coffee drinking crowd and staying open later on Friday and Saturday nights to accompany our music program,” Chris Wilcynski tells us.
  • Southern transplants open BBQ joint in Ballard

    When friends and former colleagues, Gabe Gagliardi and Mike Dahm moved to Seattle they wanted barbecue. They’re both from the south and craved the southern specialty. They didn’t find any that satisfied their taste buds so they opened their own BBQ joint – The Boar’s Nest (2008 NW 56th St).

    Gagliardi is no stranger in the kitchen. He has two decades of restaurant experience and has opened restaurants in the Hamptons and Las Vegas. His culinary education is from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. You might also recognize him from a stint on a reality TV show. He was a contestant in season two of Gordon Ramsey’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”

    “The Boar’s Nest specializes in Southern Barbecue including pulled pork, baby back ribs, smoked sausage, fried chicken breast and brisket,” Dahm tells us. “All sauces are homemade and represent the major barbecue regions throughout the South.” The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

    The Boar’s Nest has been open about two months. If you’ve stopped in, rate it and write a review here.

    Get a piece of Thaiku after it closes

    Updated: Although the owners are auctioning off the restaurant belongings, they are still looking to reopen. From a press release we received Wednesday morning – “We are actively looking for a new space and we are hopeful to reopen within a year,” the management says. “We are open to suggestions for a new location and a landlord that understands the commitment of building a community while having the security of a consistent and responsible tenant.”

    Earlier: As we wrote earlier this month, Thaiku is closing this Friday, December 23rd.

    Some of the decor to be auctioned off.

    Next week James G. Murphy will be auctioning off pieces of the decade-old restaurant. On the auction block, according to the auction website, is a huge assortment of Asian decor items, kitchen appliances and furniture.

    “I know they’ve said they will come back, but it seems odd to me that they are auctioning off their cool interior items,” Observant writes in the MyBallard forum. “I’m sad to see them go.”

    The auction is Thursday, December 29th, 10 a.m. at the restaurant (5410 Ballard Ave NW) with a preview from 8 to 10 a.m.

    Ballard businesses open late tonight

    Editor’s note: We will be re-posting this announcement each Thursday in December. The list has been updated since last week with more businesses staying open late.

    Many Ballard businesses will stay open late on Thursdays during December, the busy holiday shopping season.

    Just look for this sign in the window:

    Here are the shop hours for participating retailers:

    Open until 6 p.m.
    Dish it Up

    Open until 7 p.m.
    Classic Consignment
    Duque Salon + Spa + Boutique
    The UPS Store

    Open until 8 p.m.
    Annie’s Art & Frame
    Camelion Design
    Gift for Life Sample Sale
    Great Harvest Bakery
    Java Bean
    Kick It and Ponytail
    Laura Bee Designs
    Lemon Drop
    Market Street Shoes
    Monster Art & Clothing
    Quilting Loft
    Secret Garden Bookshop
    Sip & Ship
    Tea Cozy Yarn Shop
    The Family Pet (by appointment)

    Open until 9 p.m.
    Filthy Rich
    La Tienda

    Open until 10 p.m.
    Miro Tea
    Sonic Boom

    If you are a retailer staying open late on Thursdays and you’re not on this list, please email us.)