New office building gets green light

The city has approved the permit to build a 4-story office building in two lots at the corner of 14th Ave. NW and NW 51th St.

In its initial proposal, the developer said it was planning a restaurant on the first floor — now it’s marked “commercial” instead. The plans call for 15 parking spots.

The vacant industrial lot on the corner sold for $850,000 last summer. The building next door was a machine shop. Both lots will be combined together for the office project.

While residential buildings are exploding around Ballard, new office space is much less common.

(We initially posted the wrong street, but have corrected. Thanks to all for pointing out the error!)

California company buys 2 Market St. properties

The old Kress building at 2220 NW Market St., home to Bop Street Records and the Ballard Discount Store, has sold, according to the Daily Journal of Commerce. So has the building at 1740 NW Market St, which is the current home of FedEx Office.

The buyer for both properties is Wang Brothers Investments in Orinda, California, according to King County records. The developer bought 2220 NW Market St. (Kress) for $4.2 million and 1740 NW Market St. (FedEx) for $8.3 million.

Wang Brothers plans to build an 8-story apartment building at the FedEx location, according to a land use “pre-application” filed with the city. It’s unclear what its plans are for the Kress building. We’ve reached out for comment.

The Kress sales listing explained that the building’s “long and narrow shape” could make it difficult to redevelop by itself, and it has “potential rental upside” through “renovation and re-tenanting.” It mentions that current tenants are paying “rents towards the very low end of the submarket range.”

Those tenants include vintage music shop Bop Street Records (above), one of Ballard’s most iconic small businesses. It opened in 1974. The Kress building itself was built in 1929 as part of the “five and dime” Kress department store chain.

We’ll let you know if we learn anything more about the buyer’s plans.

(Top photo from the CBRE listing. Second photo from Bop Street Records).

High-density neighborhoods like Ballard absorbing most of Seattle’s growth

It certainly feels like Ballard is growing faster than other North Seattle neighborhoods. Now there’s visual data that shows that Ballard is absorbing a disproportionate amount of population growth compared to most neighborhoods in our area.

“Last year 88 percent of the city’s new housing was crowded into dense neighborhoods that make up just 18 percent of the city’s residential land area,” explains Seattle Times reporter Mike Rosenberg in a Sunday column.

Rosenberg points to this interactive map (image displayed above) which shows the last decade’s worth of new residential buildings (blue dots) and permits issued for upcoming residential buildings (yellow dots.) By looking at the map — updated by the city of Seattle — it certainly appears Ballard has added more residential housing than any other neighborhood in North Seattle over the last decade. The University District and Lower Queen Anne also show a lot of growth.

“So in reality, most of Seattle is not growing – only certain parts are,” Rosenberg writes in the Times. “Single-family neighborhoods like Magnolia, Laurelhurst and Arbor Heights are absorbing virtually no growth.”

Density is a function of zoning. Central Ballard and Crown Hill are designated as “urban villages,” which makes it easier for developers to gain approval for higher-density projects. The University District is the largest urban village in North Seattle, and parts of Fremont, Greenwood, Green Lake, Ravenna, Northgate and other stretches along 99 and I-5 are designated, as well.

While other parts of Seattle are growing faster than Ballard — like South Lake and Capitol Hill — it’s certainly interesting to see how Ballard compares to our other North Seattle neighborhoods. You can browse the map right here.

Update: Central Ballard grew 54.1% in population since 2010, and that’s faster than any North Seattle neighborhood, according to this earlier Seattle Times report by Gene Balk.

Apartments slated for Crown Hill Hardware site and two other lots

Since Crown Hill Hardware announced it was closing back in November — one of the longest-running businesses in North Seattle — we’ve been waiting to see what’s planned for the property.

Today plans were filed with the city to build apartments at both the Crown Hill Hardware site and the adjacent parking lot — and on two other lots on the same block, as well.

That’s a total of four lots and four different 4-story, 21-unit apartment buildings. The Crown Hill Hardware site will have two side-by-side, and 7709 and 7711 15th Ave. NW will be the home of the other two (currently occupied by two houses.)

Of the 21 units for each building, 18 of them are small efficiency dwelling units. Since these are high-density developments along a major transportation corridor, each building is planning to offer parking for 4 vehicles.

The architect on the project is Lemon Architecture.

6-story apartment building planned for 53rd St.

The stretch of 15th Ave. NW south of Market St. may be getting another apartment building.

A 6-story apartment with 60 small efficiency dwelling units (SEDUs for short) has been proposed for 1446 NW 53th St., next door to the Subway on 15th.

The property is the current home of the gym, Outrageously Fit.

As is typical now for SEDU developments along the 15th Ave. corridor, the proposal does not include any plans for parking.

Ross Town Flats development coming to the Nickerson St. Saloon site

One of the most visible lots in Fremont will soon be home to a 5-story apartment, restaurant and coffee shop called Ross Town Flats.

As we reported back in February, big changes are ahead for the Nickerson St. Saloon site at 318 Nickerson St. — the southern gateway to the Fremont Bridge.

Now we’re getting our first look at the preliminary designs for the development. The saloon is not going anywhere; it will have a home in the new building, complete with outdoor seating. There will also be a coffee place on the corner.

“This 5-story mixed-use project adjacent to the Fremont Bridge is undergoing a contract re-zone to incorporate Seattle’s pending HALA zoning a year early,” explains Shoesmith Cox Architects about the development. “Occupying part of a triangular island site, the project is further complicated by a maritime zoning overlay in which residential uses are not permitted.”

The project has yet to go through the design review process.

Ballard Firestone site up for sale

The Firestone lot next to McDonald’s on NW Market St. is for sale, and a senior living company is reportedly eyeing the property.

The sales price for the 1145 NW Market St. property is $8.5 million, and the listing shows it’s currently “pending.” The Daily Journal of Commerce reports that Aegis Senior Communities has filed an early plan to build a new development there.

Aegis is rapidly expanding from its current 14 properties in Western Washington. The company’s website lists 8 new properties under development, including locations in Greenwood, Ravenna, Lake Union and Laurelhurst. The Ballard location would be its ninth new property.

Meanwhile, as we reported last month, the McDonald’s next door is planning to rebuild the restaurant from the ground up.

Target confirms small-format store coming to Ballard next year

Thanks to your tips, My Ballard broke the story last month that Target is planning to open a Ballard store in the new Martin Selig development at 15th and Market.

Today Target officially announced that the 26,900 square-foot store will open in Ballard in 2019, and Martin Selig released a rendering of the new office building with all the signage (above).

For context, full-size Target stores are in the 130,000 square-foot range.

Target also announced new small-format stores are coming to the U District and Bellevue. Each location will customize its inventory for the neighborhood. Target says the Ballard store “will focus its assortment on baby and kids, apartment and home essentials, and beauty products.”

The Ballard store will also feature online pickup — usually ready in less than an hour — as well as same-day delivery services powered by Shipt.

The store will employ about 50 people, Target said.

As for the office development at 15th and Market, Martin Selig says it’s 80% leased. As we’ve been reporting, other tenants include Polyclinic, WeWork and Equal Exchange Coffee.

Early look at 2 planned apartment complexes

We’ve been reporting about two incoming developments, one on 15th Ave. NW and the other on Market St. Now we have the preliminary designs for both.

“The Apodment” is slated for the site of Mac’s Upholstery at 5011 15th Ave. The proposal is for 132 small efficiency dwelling units with no on-site parking (no longer required since it’s inside the Ballard Urban Center). Similar to the Vive nearby, it looks like it will have a big sign on the side.

When we talked to the owner of Mac’s Upholstery late last year, he said he has plans to move to a nearby property. Meanwhile, the city is installing a crosswalk and center divide at 15th and 53rd.

The next design review board meeting for the development is slated for July 16 at 6:30 pm at the Ballard Community Center.

To the west at 2417 NW Market St., a larger apartment complex is in the works to replace the building that includes Ballard Transfer and Twice Sold Tales.

The 6-story development will house 171 apartment units, 101 below-grade parking spots and ground-level retail space. It backs up to the railroad tracks, just to the north of the waterfront.

The architects say project goals include “respect the character and history of Ballard” both on the commercial side on Market St. and “the maritime industrial area in our backyard.” They also say they plan to “coordinate with the planned Burke Gilman Trail extension (which is) expected to start construction parallel to this project.” The Missing Link is slated to run along Market St. in front of the development on its way to Golden Gardens Park.

Both of these projects still need final design approval before moving ahead.

Target is coming to Ballard next year

Updated: For years there have been rumors of Target coming to Ballard, but now it’s official.

My Ballard has learned Target has signed a lease to take the first floor of the new office building at the corner of 15th Ave NW and NW Market St., according to real estate developer Martin Selig.

Target will join Polyclinic, WeWork and Equal Exchange coffee in the new 200,000 square-foot office building that’s under construction where the Shell gas station was located. It’s slated to open in the first quarter of next year, Selig said.

Given the available square footage, it’s unclear if the new store is a CityTarget — a smaller, urban version of the discount store, like the one in downtown — or an even smaller TargetExpress store. When we reached Target this afternoon, it provided this statement:

At Target, we continuously explore possible locations for new stores, including in the Seattle area. We are currently focused on new store growth with our small-format stores, which are smaller than our general merchandise Target stores and are located in dense urban and suburban neighborhoods as well as college campuses. I can tell you we are pursuing the opportunity to reach guests in the Ballard neighborhood, but at this time, we’re not at a point where we can share any new store plans.

The building is located on Ballard’s busiest corner, right next to the proposed location of the Ballard elevated light rail station. One of the few office buildings in the neighborhood, it has has underground parking for 253 vehicles.

“There really is no office space market in Ballard,” Selig told us, explaining they’ve had to work hard to lease the 5-story building, which is now 80% leased. “All that’s left is floor 3,” he said.

(Our thanks to K and Scott for their tips that led to this story.)