Walter’s leaving Sunset Hill spot later this year

A longtime community hangout in Sunset Hill, Walter’s Cafe has been given until the end of November before it needs to find a new location, the business said.

A few days ago, the deadline was much sooner: the My Ballard Group discovered that Walter’s had been given a notice to vacate their spot at 6408 32nd Ave. NW by the end of the month.

“Nooooooo. We’ve been going there for over a decade. We love Walters!” read one of the many comments. Another commenter encouraged neighbors to email the landlord to ask for more time.

And it worked.

“We are now guaranteed thru the end of November,” said Kim at Walter’s on Facebook last night. “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our friends, family, and community. Thank you for your fast and furious response to the recent notice to vacate.”

With the extension in place, some neighbors are now wondering what can be done to keep Walter’s around beyond November.

“Please spread the word that we will be serving up your favorite coffee, ice cream, and beer as usual for another few months. We could not have done this without you,” said Kim on Facebook.

Just down from Walter’s at the corner, a new restaurant is planning to open in early November. There’s no word what’s planned for Walter’s current space.

We’ll keep you posted.

Update: Walter’s responded to our earlier request for comment: “At this time we don’t have any plans to move to a new location after November. We will continue to provide updates for the neighborhood on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Stay tuned and thanks again!”

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

48 thoughts to “Walter’s leaving Sunset Hill spot later this year”

  1. I live near the ship canal and like to walk up to Walters for coffee and then down through the neighborhood to Shilshoe and back home making a pleasant walk. I really hate to see neighborhoods being wrecked by more ugly apartment buildings. I assume that’s what will replace Walters. Population growth is what’s really killing Seattle as an interesting and livable city.

  2. Every time another “business forced to vacate” or “historic building being torn down for ugly monstrosity” post goes up I feel like I’m loosing a little bit more of my home.

    People will say it’s just a building, not a person. It’s progress, deal with it. But you can have progress without gutting a community of what made it special in the first place. I used to love telling people about the amazing neighborhoods in this city. Comprised of close knit communities and vibrant, unique areas that are all worth seeing. But with the loss of buildings and businesses to out of town developers who have no sense of community value, I no longer feel the need to flaunt my own home. (And please don’t make this a post about whatever other city crisis are underway. This is in response to the ugly cookie- cutter, poorly built developments, nothing more).

    Walters and whatever else is disappearing in the name of misguided progress will be missed. Hold on to your neighborhoods with everything you have because before long there will be nothing left. And to the owners of the building, shame on you for destroying a community gathering place with I’m guessing little regard for the people you are affecting. I hope the heinous excuse for a “lively space” you’re building was worth it.

    1. Completely agree. Nobody cares about the “Seattle Charm” anymore, which seems to be very shortsighted. Turning this city into any other bland, overpriced, condo’d out West Coast city will ultimately ruin it as some sort of destination or hots spot.

    2. Cities change, always have, always will.

      Unless you want to build a border wall around Seattle, there is nothing you can do to control it.

      1. I absolutely agree that cities grow and change, those that don’t keep up with the current industrial and technological trends become empty wastelands. However, far older cities in Europe manage to develop and grow while maintaining their traditional character and charm. London is a financial epicenter that finds a way to work with, not against, the older parts of the city. I believe local government could do something about it if they weren’t in the pockets of the developers. There seems to be zero consideration for sustainable growth that’s good for the people who call Seattle home, a practice which in and of itself is not sustainable.

        1. ” There seems to be zero consideration for sustainable growth that’s good for the people who call Seattle home, a practice which in and of itself is not sustainable.”

          So something that is not sustainable is not sustainable? Also sustainable growth != keeping terrible businesses/buildings open.

          1. I apologize, admittedly that wasn’t clear.

            I’m saying the lack of consideration isn’t sustainable. I don’t believe making neighborhoods that people move too for their character completely devoid of that character while building high density apartments with no parking is something that will improve the city in the long term. I’m not saying it will change everyone’s mind about living here, but I don’t think it will benefit the city in the long run. Running out locally run businesses is hard on communities. I don’t understand why this can’t be done in a way that preserves character without completely cutting growth.

          2. I’d recommend moving to a small town in the middle of nowhere with that attitude.

          3. Huh? Try traveling more. This idea that “Seattle is how cities are done” is very provincial and wrongheaded.

          4. The fact that the community rallied around this business enough to get their final day pushed back is proof that people in big cities can appreciate strong community and small businesses just as much as a small town. Do you not have a favorite spot you’d be sad to see disappear? Or a place you grew up with that you’d hate to see demolished? From one concerned Ballard millennial to another, wanting to preserve character isn’t limited to tiny towns.

          5. There is nothing I like so much that I would want to inhibit the development of the city. For everything being torn down there is so much more being built. Trying to keep Mayberry unchanged in the fastest growing city in the city is pipe dream.

          6. It’s not like one entity doing this, this is the result of a large influx of people into the city.

            Cities are large complicated systems and what you value may not be what someone else values.

          7. Person X owns a plot of land, person y wants to buy it.

            Person X: I’ll sell you this land for $__________.
            Person Y: Sure, I’ll buy it and build __________ because their is a demand for it.

            What would you change this scenario, assuming it’s not a site designated as having historical significance?

          8. I’ll tell you what I would change in the scenario. I’d impose a vacancy tax on Foreign Person X if they don’t rent their empty house out.

          9. Or, you could change the law to allow a developer to rent an otherwise empty property while they wait two years for their permits to be approved. Or, speed up the permit process.

          10. What exactly is sustainable growth? Sustainable forrestry means you plant what you cut, similar with fish farms. Does sustainable housing mean you tear down dumps and replace them with higher value homes?

            If so then sign my neighbor Lex up!!!!

      2. This has nothing to with “building walls”, in fact, it is about simple limits on development. For some reason, Seattle has an “all or nothing” mentality. Many “world class” cities manage to have both modern development and preservation of the classic character. There is plenty that can be done, but strangely, of all the little nanny laws and bureaucratic nonsense, Seattle applies little to none of its bloated governmental powers to keeping the place unique, not mention safe or clean.

        1. Point taken on London. I’m trying (maybe poorly) to make the same point you are, cities can grow without destroying themselves. There needs to be a balance and some effort taken to avoid damaging local communities for the sake of progress.

          1. What I really need is more restaurants that have playgrounds inside so the grandkids play while I can drink a beer and hang out with my fellow retirees. Maybe Walters can do something like this in their new establishment.

          2. The city is not destroyed. People move here every day and are quite happy.

      3. Plenty of neighborhoods do control it. I don’t see cookie cutter apts owned by out of state investors going up in Laurelhurst. Fatalistic millenials have just have no historical perspective.

          1. Uh, no one was saying there wasn’t a design review process, but rather you can’t stop development. Yeah the design review will force you to change the colour of the facade or put in more landscaping.

            Context is important…

  3. The problem is the “over whelming support” is always too little too late. It’s only AFTER the spot closes that people start complaining. If enough people REALLY cared about a spot, they’d support it by shopping there regularly. It doesn’t matter if it’s a business that’s been there for 50 years or 5 months. If people don’t support it, they go out of business. It’s sad to see your “favorite coffee shop” go out of business, but let’s not pretend new developments are what put them all out. Plain and simple they didn’t have enough business. Spot’s like Besalu or Senor Moose will stand the test of time because day after day they have long lines with consistent business. ‘Vera’s Restaurant’ has no-one day after day, yet you very people will be the same ones complaining “there goes another Ballard landmark” when we all know you haven’t stepped foot in there in years. Spoiler alert: Smoke Shop is another one out the door soon. The local alcoholics who start drinking at 10am keep the lights on, but when was the last time you took the family for a meal there? Or Salmon Bay Cafe? Or Bad Alberts? Want to support “old ballard”? Eat out! Shop local! Support with your wallet, instead of on a dumb forum…

  4. Walter’shas been a special fixture and part of our routine for 22 years…Kim always remebers my drink…love the regulars…how can we keep them?

  5. Our favorite spots are sometimes like a favorite tshirt… you know it’s always there to give you comfort.

    The corner where Walter’s is has always been a comfortable place, and ‘was always’ there. These are the types of places people are drawn to more than slick urbanized ones.

    That type of spot is what makes our neighborhood a good place to live. Getting rid of Walter’s will do more damage than whatever replaces it.

    We gave plenty of housing in the new units, lots of it empty. There is finally a slowdown, the bubble is flattening, and the rents will come down. Not to pre boom amounts, but somewhat more affordable.

    Stopping the cookie cutter growth takes people coming together to define what they want their community to look like. If you won’t fight for it, vote accordingly, then you are too busy to care and you’ll get what you let slip in.;) it does take a village, so why not join one?

  6. We walked to Walters from our house as a family for years. Thetes no place with the fab ice cream, cold berr, and truly local live music for the family like Walters. So sad theure leaving. I hope theyre able yo find somewhete closeby to reopen very soon.

  7. Nothing is being torn down here, the new landlords have made purchased and made improvements to the existing structure and are simply asking for rent increases for their new investment. Walters has enjoyed WELL below market rents for years. He simply can’t afford to stay now. Sad, but true, nothing to look at here…move along…Picolino’s Cafe across the street is a waaay nicer place than Walters anyway, check out their new patio garden, nicest in in ballard!

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