Ballard house to be picked up and moved

When a lot is sold and subdivided, developers usually demolish the house on the property. But this small Ballard bungalow at 843 NW 62nd St. is getting a second life.

The developer, NW Built, has partnered with Nickel Bros. to move the house this weekend. It will get packed up on a truck and transported — very slowly — to the boat dock at the end 14th Ave., where a barge will take it to its new owner on Lopez Island. The bungalow sold for $72,500 — which includes the price of delivery.

If all the permits come through, the big move will happen around midnight on Saturday night. A few days ago, Nickel Bros. moved a home from West Seattle via barge to British Columbia.

We spoke NW Built’s founder Keith Hammer — who lives and works in Ballard — and he said he looks for any opportunity to recycle materials from homes they take down or remove. Last summer they saved a cottage in Greenwood. The bungalow will be the second house they’ve moved.

Once the home is gone, NW Built will get to work on two 3-story single family homes that are “sustainable, energy efficient and green built.” They’ll be ready for occupancy in winter 2018.

We’ll keep you updated on the move. If you’re planning on watching, the City of Seattle requires that spectators say at least 50-feet away — and remain on the sidewalks if all possible.

Vacant house demolished on 17th Ave. to make room for apartment building

Demolition crews tore down the large brown house at the corner of 56th St. and 17th Ave. today to make room for a new 7-story apartment complex.

The new apartments will feature 85 small efficiency dwelling units (called SEDUs), ground level retail and bike parking. No car parking is proposed (see our earlier story on the proposed “parking flexibility areas” in Ballard and Crown Hill.)

It’s right across the street from the new Valdok development and next door to the Keelson.

“The project aims to create a strong urban edge and a marker at the corner for people traveling in Ballard,” explains Greenbuild Development.

(Thank you Silver for the photo!)

Market St. property that’s home to Twice Sold Tales is sold

Update: King County records show the buyer is SF-based Carmel Partners.

Earlier: A big parcel on Market St. to the west of 24th Ave. has sold to a “multifamily developer” for $11.75 million, reports the Daily Journal of Commerce.

The property is the home of Twice Sold Tales, which moved there just over a year ago. Ballard Transfer Company, Healthy Nails salon and Lundgren Enterprises are also located there.

The real estate listing notes the property’s prime and “truly exceptional” location on the south side of Market St., just up from Salmon Bay. The parcel spans 28,334 square feet — over a half acre. In this aerial view, the property is between Market and 54th St. behind it:

The listing also points out that the tenants have “demolition clauses in the leases.”

“As long as they don’t tear down the building, I’m here for the length of my lease, which is for 4 years,” said Twice Sold Tales owner John Watkins when we called him. “I sure hope that they maintain the building and continue with what they’ve got.”

He said he’s delighted with the space, which is larger and more accessible than his previous spot next to Bauhaus Coffee at the corner of Market and 20th Ave. He added, “Moving the bookstore is a difficult and painful experience.”

There’s no word on the plans or timeline of the new owners.

Concrete pouring this Friday at new office building will impact traffic on 56th

A 5-story office and retail building is under construction at the NE corner of 15th and Market (where the old gas station used to be), and they’ve scheduled the concrete pour for this Friday.

Construction crews have received a “noise variance” for the pour, which will start setting up at 4:45 in the morning. Crews will shut down the west half of NW 56th St. between 14th and 15th Ave. until about 12:30 in the afternoon.

They’re building a 202,000 square-foot office and retail building — with underground parking for 253 vehicles — for the real estate company Martin Selig. According a story published a year and half ago, the building was already 70% leased.

“It’s fair to say that there’s been very little office development in Ballard,” said Brad Hinthorne at the time, a managing principal for Perkins + Will, the architecture firm on the project. “The community was quite excited during the design review board process that there’s office product coming to Ballard. There’s a real shortage.”

Investigators: 5 fires in vacant buildings in Ballard in last 2 months

After noticing several fires in abandoned buildings over the last few weeks, we contacted Seattle Fire investigators for a tally — and to learn what started them.

There have been five fires across three locations in the Ballard area in November and December, according to investigators. All of the blazes were started by trespassers who lit warming or debris fires. And in each case, the properties had failed city inspections.

8017-8023 15th Ave NW

The largest fire occurred on the night of December 3rd (photo above by Mac Jahn), burning an abandoned structure at 8019 15th Ave NW — the largest of three abandoned homes in the same block. Fire crews had to cut through a perimeter fence to access the blaze, and one firefighter sustained minor injuries.

The cause was a “warming fire ignited nearby combustibles,” Seattle Fire told My Ballard.

Six days later, a smaller fire occurred in a vacant house next door, at 8023 15th Ave. NW (next to the Pancake House.) The cause was the same, but the building was not damaged. City records show the third vacant house at 8017 15th Ave. NW — next door to the first fire and part of the same batch of abandoned homes — failed a city inspection in February of 2017, but was subsequently brought up to compliance.

These buildings have since been torn down (above) to make room for a single development by Sage Homes comprised of nine townhouses.

8509 14th Ave. NW

Rewind to the beginning of November, and Seattle Fire responded to fire at an abandoned home at 8509 14th Ave. NW. Then again on Dec. 20th, firefighters responded to the same home for a report of smoke. In both cases, investigators say someone had set a fire in the fireplace — the first time, it set a tree on fire, right next door to a new condo building.

“Luckily one of our residents was able to call 911 before the fire did a lot of damage to either property,” said one of the condo residents, Jed, in comments in our earlier story on the fire. He said a man and woman had fled after the fire started.

The vacant home failed a city inspection on November 17th, according to city records. There’s no record of the property being brought back into compliance. When we visited over the weekend (above), the home was boarded up.

Last week Jed said workers had re-boarded up the house and hauled away “6 or 7 trips of trash and debris from the house.” He said the developers told him they were planning to demolish the home this month. Records show the owner is 308 VIEW LLC, and the plan is to build two apartment buildings with a total of 24 units.

1443 NW 63rd St.

The final fire in the list occurred at a vacant home at 1443 NW 63rd St. on November 26th, right next to Alki’s Body Shop.

This fire was extinguished quickly, and investigators told us the cause is “small debris fires set.” A search of city records shows the property has received at least four complaints and one citation.

“As of 12/21/17 the site has been cleaned up,” explains a note in the records. “Case to remain open until [demolition] and [building] permits are issued to ensure site is maintained.” As we saw when we visited (above), a fence had been installed around the property.

The owner, Greenbuild Development, plans to build an apartment complex with 30 units.

In each of these cases, the city’s enforcement work has prompted developers to respond, some sooner than others. If you see a vacant building that may not be following city ordinance, you can call city inspectors at (206) 615-0808. You can also fill out a form online here.

If you see any trespassers or suspicious activity, you can call 911 or the Seattle Police non-emergency line at 206-625-5011.

We’ll keep an eye on subsequent fires in the neighborhood. As always, if you have a news tips, please email us at — it’s a big help.

Valdok project taking shape, first apartments to open next summer

One of Ballard’s largest developments under construction is coming together on both sides of 56th St. at 17th Ave., behind Ballard Realty.

Valdok is a 7-story apartment and retail complex with two buildings across the street from each other. The Valdok I (closest to Market St.) is the furthest along — the building topped out in September — and it plans to open next summer. Here’s what it will look like:

The Valdok II is just to the north, and it’s slated to open in 2019. Here’s the rendering:

The architects, Clark Barnes, say both buildings “are inspired by Scandinavian culture and design and will use warm colors and wood throughout.” The name Valdok has both Scandinavian and local roots: one of the homes on the Valdok site was owned by the family of Bjorn Leo Valdok, who immigrated from Norway in 1959.

The Valdok family and their neighbors did well with the sale: the properties sold in 2016 for a combined $3.5 million.

Here’s the view looking down 17th Ave. toward Market St.:

Valdok will feature 178 apartments with lots of retail space on the ground floor and on-site parking. It’s owned by LMC, which also owns Axle, the large apartment building under construction in Interbay at 3230 16th Avenue W.

(Renderings by Clark Barnes)

New apartment complex proposed for Mac’s Upholstery site

Ballard continues to attract high-density developments, and the latest proposal is for 150 “small efficiency dwelling units” in a new apartment along 15th Ave. at 51st St.

The development is slated for the site currently leased by Mac’s Upholstery, a small business operating in Ballard for the last 48 years. But Mac’s has a backup plan: the store will move a few blocks away to 46th St., right next door to Mac’s Canvas Shop, the company’s marine operation.

“I just bought [that property] a year and half ago,” owner Tony Mazzarella told My Ballard. “I got really lucky.”

Tony says the 15th Ave. store will remain open until 2021, and that should give him enough time to build the new store and move down to the 46th St. property. He said the 15th Ave. lot was too expensive to buy.

As for the new development, the proposal says it will not offer vehicular parking because it’s in a “parking flexibility area” — in part due to its proximity to mass transit — but will provide parking for bicycles “as required.”

“Where are people that work in Ballard supposed to park?” Tony asked, explaining that people from nearby apartments are trying to park in his parking lot. He said the surge in Ballard’s development over the last few years is “dominating small businesses.”

The proposal is still in its early phases, but given the zoning for the area, “a six- or seven-story building is likely,” reports the Daily Journal of Commerce.

We’ll keep you updated…

West Woodland Business Center coming to 53rd

In Ballard’s industrial area that’s now home to several breweries, a new business complex called the West Woodland Business Center is slated for development at 1125 NW 53rd St.

Avenue 55 is developing the project: a 4-story “light industrial” building with 71,460 square feet and a freight elevator. You may recognize Avenue 55’s work from Ballard 14, a new warehouse building that’s located two blocks north of Ballard Blocks.

The property was once home to Ness Cranes. The Ness family sold the land in August for $6 million, according to DJC.

7-story building proposed over parking lot

Ballard’s growth shows no signs of slowing as new development proposals keep rolling in.

The latest proposal is for a 7-story mixed-use building — apartments and commercial — at 5409 Leary Ave NW. That maps to the small parking lot between Cafe Fiore and the Ballard Landmark.

It goes without saying that parking is at a premium in the Old Ballard area. The new proposal does not include any on-site parking.

The new project is proposed by Skidmore Janet, the same architectural firm that designed Stoneburner in the Olympic Club Hotel.