Archive for April, 2011

Mmmmm… BuiltBurger!

April 28, 2011  |  Business, Food, PI  |  No Comments

Since opening in Nov. 2010 to rave reviews in downtown Seattle, BuiltBurger has quickly established a loyal following by captivating burger lovers’ hearts with signature handmade “flavored” burgers. Builts are big, bold and fearless with a global assortment of iconic flavors known for their fresh ingredients built into 100% natural patties made of beef, pork, chicken, lamb and more. BuiltBurger’s team of burger geeks is proud to announce 3 new innovations true to the brand’s vision of being a game-changer in the premium burger category.

Breakfast Builts: Believed to be the first breakfast-inspired burgers, BuiltBurger has invented 4 new flavors perfect for Blunch (breakfast and/or lunch). The open-faced Beloved Benedict and Biscuits&Gravy burgers are joined by Mile High Denver and Sunshine Glory. These 4 unique patties borrow from and innovate time-honored breakfast traditions. BuiltBurger is now open on Sundays for Blunch to feature these big, bold breakfast-inspired flavors.

All Day – Sliders & Sides Tasting Plates: Building on the success of its revolutionary “Built Tasting Plate” (3 LittleBuilt sliders of your choice), customers can now pair 1 slider with two sides or 2 sliders with one side. With 9 distinct flavors and 6 fresh sides such as potato beignets, hand cut fries, rotating sautéed vegetables and bread pudding offered daily, BuiltBurger is giving customers the unique opportunity to customize their meal right down to the flavor and food group they are in the mood for. BuiltBurger is now open Thursday nights for Slider Suppers, where customers can customize a 3 course tasting plate for only $15.

“21 Gleason” BuiltBurger: In an exclusive partnership, BuiltBurger is proud to partner with The Gleason Ranch in Brady, WA to launch a 21-day aged, 100% grass fed and finished BuiltBurger. The “21 Gleason” 7 oz. hand-crafted patty, served on an organic brioche bun, re-defines the premium purist burger. “21 Gleason” BuiltBurger is made of a proprietary blend of muscle meats hand-cut by nationally acclaimed butcher, Tracy Smaciarz of Heritage Meats in Olympia, WA. This new Built flavor will debut in late April.

“The last three months have been terrific for BuiltBurger,” says founder David Makuen. “We have tested these new concepts with customers and the response far exceeded our expectations. I’m so excited to push the BuiltBurger brand forward thanks to our chef Robert Joice, who continues to amaze customers with craveable, memorable flavor profiles.”

All you can read about the Pioneer Square heights debate

April 27, 2011  |  News, PI, Politics  |  No Comments

Council Should Adopt Height Increases to Strengthen Pioneer Square (PubliCola)
Op Ed by Anne Fennessy and myself: We believe preservationists and residents want the same outcome: protected, quality historic buildings, fewer vacant lots and deteriorating structures, and more people in the Square. The City Council should embrace the lessons from the Paearl District and adopt the modest height increases for Pioneer Square that are currently before them. More market rate housing in Pioneer Square will strengthen the neighborhood and preserve its historic character.

Don’t Cave to Pressure for Extra Height in Pioneer Square (PubliCola)
Cary Moon’s response to the above OpEd: The city council should stick with the new height limits for Pioneer Square, as originally proposed in the Livable South Downtown Plan, and not cave to last-minute lobbying from the business community for extra height. Here’s why: Because building scale, light and views, and urban design really do matter in Pioneer Square.

Pioneer Square Zoning Changes: Citywide TDR for historic buildings would help (Seattle Land Use Code)
I think I’ve made up my mind on this: more height is better and we need citywide Transfer of Development Rights for historic buildings.

Marrying new and old in historic districts (Crosscut)
The debate showed a lot about power in the city. The International District has more of it and is better organized, while in Pioneer Square the forces of preservation, led by Councilmember Nick Licata and the city’s historic preservation czar, Karen Gordon, beat back those trying to revive the Square by getting more residents in a troubled neighborhood.

City allows taller buildings for south-downtown areas (Seattle Times)
The Seattle City Council on Monday approved sweeping zoning changes for south downtown designed to balance preservation of several of the city’s most distinctive ethnic and historic neighborhoods while adding taller residential buildings meant to attract more in-city residents.

SoDense: Council Extends Building Heights in South Seattle (Seattlest)
Density isn’t going to solve all of the area’s problems, but it does provide a solid framework to improve upon them. Seattle residents generally tend to agree – it’s worth noting that the debate surrounding this legislation was not about whether to increase the building limits, but by how much.

Developers digest new Seattle zoning (PSBJ)
Despite the high level of interest, the new guidelines aren’t likely to have an immediate impact on development because the few projects in the pipeline have already won approval of their zoning changes, for the most part.

What Trumps Density? (Seattle Transit Blog)
Maximizing density is either a priority or it isn’t. I’m disappointed that vague aesthetic considerations won out over absolutely critical imperatives.

Is ‘Highest and Best Use’ Always Right? (Seattle Transit Blog)
Maximizing an upzone in Pioneer Square might mean more jobs and homes, but it also likely translates into more minorities packing their bags and heading out to not so transit-friendly suburbs.


April 20, 2011  |  Fun  |  No Comments

I’m taking a break from the Seattle weather and going on vacation for a week, so there will be no posts for a little while.


Pioneer Square in the News

April 18, 2011  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Vacant Seattle storefronts being brought to life (PSBJ)
Here’s a surprise: Despite the slow recovery in retailing, a slew of new boutiques have opened recently in Seattle’s Pioneer Square and International District, two neighborhoods hard hit by closures during the recession.

Taller buildings for Pioneer Square (DJC – subscription only)
Yesterday, the Seattle City Council’s Committee on the Built Environment voted to allow taller buildings in Pioneer Square. This was one of the last issues to be tackled in the city’s proposal to update land use and zoning rules for South Downtown.

‘America’s Most Wanted’ filming segment in Seattle (Seattle Times)
Walsh and his crew spent Tuesday filming in Pioneer Square and at Kerry Park in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. The unsolved homicide of Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Wales, who was fatally shot by a gunman who fired through the window of Wales’ Seattle home in October 2001, will be profiled on the program.

Is the ‘Seattle Underground’ the key to solving Pioneer Square’s Internet woes? (GeekWire)
The solution to Pioneer Square’s Internet connectivity problems may be found in a cavernous, mid-19th century underworld. The City of Seattle is currently engaged in a plan to bring high-speed Internet to buildings in a four block area along First Avenue South, using the subterranean passageways in the neighborhood’s famous underground to string fiber optic cable to bandwidth-starved technology companies. Bill Schrier, chief technology officer for the City of Seattle, laid out the proposal in an interview with GeekWire this week.

And because there are so many articles, it gets its own category:


Zynga rolls out valet parking, Alcatraz crab cakes, craft beers to woo potential employees (TechFlash)
The action took place in a second-story space in the historic Washington Shoe Building, amidst exposed brick walls that felt more closed in than normal because of the throng of invited guests. There, Zynga executives and a handful of workers mingled and talked up the attributes of working at the fast-growing social game developer behind such hits as FarmVille, Mafia Wars and CityVille.

Seattle’s hottest tech neighborhood offers crappy Internet service, drug dealers (GeekWire)
KING 5 takes a deeper look at what’s going on, noting that despite cruddy Internet service and a “lingering reputation as a haven for drug dealers” the neighborhood continues to attract high-tech tenants.

Q&A: Zynga founder talks about Seattle hiring spree, Amazon, Facebook (Seattle Times)
The line was out the door Tuesday night at the new Seattle office of Zynga, the red hot San Francisco social games company. About 175 engineers and game developers crammed into the space in the Washington Shoe Building in Pioneer Square.

Zynga Seattle to open just minutes from PopCap, Nintendo, Microsoft (Games)
Zynga knows where the game’s at. KING5 news reports that Zynga is running recruitment phases for its studio in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. The building is still under construction, but the video above gives a tiny glimpse of what a Zynga studio looks like. Considering how close the FarmVille creator now is to three of the biggest players in the industry, this could be the company’s most strategic studio opening yet.


P-I archive: A forgotten Pioneer Square bar that’s now a park (Big Blog)
The building was located on the south side of South Washington Street between Occidental and First Avenue South. That, a neighboring hotel and other buildings have been demolished, and the site is now home to Occidental Park.

It’s been 70 years since Seattle replaced streetcars (HistoryLink) (PI – Transportation)
While streetcars are making a comeback in this town, Wednesday marks the 70th anniversary of the day that trackless trolleys and buses replaced Seattle’s first streetcar system, according to

Does Seattle need ‘open air’ urinals? (Big Blog)
But it begs the questions: How would Seattle do with open-air urinals? Business owners in Pioneer Square have decried the availability of public restrooms lately, saying tourists and homeless people alike don’t have many options for relieving themselves in the city’s oldest neighborhood.

Help Give Pioneer Square and Chinatown/ID a Boost!

April 15, 2011  |  Call to Action, PI, Politics  |  No Comments

Action Alert from DSA today:

This coming Monday — April 18 — the City Council will make an important decision impacting the future of Pioneer Square, Chinatown and the International District. After four years of work — including 17 City Council meetings and dozens of public hearings — the City Council will vote on new height limits for neighborhoods in South Downtown.

For nearly 20 years, the Pioneer Square and Chinatown/ID neighborhoods have prioritized creation of more market rate and workforce housing. However, current zoning has not resulted in new housing or significant investment in rehabbing and preserving existing historic buildings.

In a domino effect, the lack of available housing is also affecting retail in the neighborhoods. The current retail vacancy rate in Pioneer Square is nearly 20 percent — twice that of Downtown. By making it possible for more people to live in South Downtown, there will be more people to support existing retailers, new small business will be attracted to the neighborhood and there will be more eyes on the street helping to keep parks and open spaces safe and vibrant.

What is before the Council is a 20- to 30-year decision — a decision likely not to be revisited for some time and one that will impact these neighborhoods for generations. Increased high limits for the area are necessary to encourage more investment in housing and attract more residents. If approved, the legislation will help encourage development of existing vacant lots while preserving protections for historic buildings important to the neighborhoods.

South Downtown residents, business and stakeholders agree: the best way to preserve and enhance the vibrancy of Pioneer Square, Chinatown and the International District is to turn empty lots into places for people to live.

More information: – To gain housing, Pioneer Square needs a boost
The Seattle TimesElliott Bay Book Co. moving to Capitol Hill – Don’t Tax What You Want More Of
Letter from Pioneer Square and Chinatown/ID neighborhood leaders (pdf)

Action Requested:

Urge councilmembers to prioritize new housing for South Downtown!

Email your Seattle City Councilmembers TODAY and express your support for the South Downtown legislation as passed out of committee. Tell the Council this legislation is their opportunity to help South Downtown achieve its goals of attracting more residents, while preserving the historic character and assets of the neighborhoods. Let them know the best way to preserve and enhance the vibrancy of Pioneer Square, Chinatown and the International District is to increase heights and turn vacant lots into places for people to live.

Click here to send an email to all Seattle City Councilmembers today and express your support the rezoning of South Downtown. Please BCC: to help us track the response to Councilmembers.

Thank you for your support.

Burgess and Bagshaw vote to support higher heights in the neighborhood

April 14, 2011  |  PI, Politics  |  No Comments

(alternate title: why I love Burgess and Bagshaw)

City Council’s committee on the Built Environment met yesterday to talk about a proposal to increase heights in Pioneer Square. Katie Zemsteff (DJC – subscription only) provided a good write-up from the meeting:

Height limits in Pioneer Square are the most controversial issue…At a March committee meeting, council members passed an amendment that increased height limits in some areas to 130 or 140 feet. The 140-foot limits are on the east side of the district, where there is a transition to heights up to 240 feet proposed for east of Fourth Avenue South.

While many Pioneer Square stakeholders support the compromise between DPD’s original proposal and what developers want (180 feet), Councilmember Clark felt that their compromise was only adding 10 – 15 feet — still not enough to make it worth it for developers to want to build in Pioneer Square.

In addition to another Pioneer Square resident (and business owner), and two developers, I got up to testify about why I think our neighborhood needs greater heights. I also presented a letter, signed by over forty small businesses, community leaders, residents, retailers, and property owners in South Downtown, supporting maximum heights and densities in Pioneer Square:

Additional height and density in Pioneer Square will result in more market-rate and workforce housing, which means more residents supporting local retailers, activating parks and providing eyes on the street. Today, hundreds of new employees are making their way to Pioneer Square, but they have limited housing options if they desire to live in the neighborhood where they work. We urge you to adopt the maximum height and density limits studied in the EIS for Pioneer Square.

After much discussion, Clark and O’Brien voted to go with the original DPD proposal, while it was great to see Councilmembers Burgess and Bagshaw stand up for the neighborhood and support what they had originally agreed to.

Here is the map showing current zoning vs. what passed today:

With everything that’s been happening in the neighborhood (see Parking post), we need to see active support from City Council and the Mayor that shows that they’re listening to our neighborhood.

NEXT STEPS: this will go to Full Council on Monday, where it must receive 5 of 9 votes to pass. The next effort in regards to this legislation will be to support Councilmembers in passing the legislation as is concerning Pioneer Square, which will get us the higher heights/stairstep heights that could bring about the most incentive for economic development/market rate housing.

BuzzBee Team Volunteers and Donates to the Pioneer Square Spring Clean

April 13, 2011  |  Announcement, Business, PI  |  No Comments

BuzzBee, a strategic marketing and consulting leader in Seattle, is pleased to announce an employee donation of $1,000 and team participation in the Pioneer Square Spring Clean on April 16, 2011. The company is eager to join efforts with The Alliance of Pioneer Square and the City of Seattle to beautify the historic neighborhood, and welcomes the chance to work side-by-side with other local companies to revitalize the area.

“Our team is fortunate to work in the historic Mottman Building in Pioneer Square,” said Michele Keeffe, CEO. “The history and vibe of our community is an integral part of our culture at BuzzBee. We realize the value of our financial support, but also want to be a part of the revitalization efforts of the square as it has a direct impact on our ability to recruit and retain innovative talent.”

For this event, employees from BuzzBee will join as many as 200 other anticipated volunteers in projects such as litter pick-up, painting over graffiti, mulching tree wells, planting flowers, clean-up for Fortson Square, and weeding.

The event will take place on April 16, 2011, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Occidental Park, located at Occidental Ave S and S Main St., in Pioneer Square. The Alliance is optimistic that the clean-up effort will make the area more inviting and that it will show other businesses, like BuzzBee, that Pioneer Square is a great area to set up shop and be successful.

“BuzzBee’s young, innovative, free-thinking culture fits perfectly with the culture of the neighborhood,” said Leslie Smith, Director of the Alliance of Pioneer Square. “Companies like BuzzBee rejuvenate the area and have a positive economic impact in a down economy. We strive to attract more companies like BuzzBee.”

For more information about this event, please contact 206.667.0687.

Click here to see pics from the event last year.

Junior Ranger Day

April 12, 2011  |  Event, Fun, PI  |  No Comments

Mark your calendar for April 23rd when Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park will once again host a National Junior Ranger Day. Kids will be able to test their skills at panning for authentic “fake Klondike gold” and participate in other neat activities. The free program begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 4:00 p.m

Pioneer Square in the News

April 11, 2011  |  News, PI  |  No Comments

Exec: ShareBuilder to stay in Seattle (PSBJ)
The pending sale of online stock broker ShareBuilder Securities Corp., which employs about 350 in Pioneer Square, probably won’t change operations or staffing here, according to President Dan Greenshields.

State keeps list of where DUI suspects say they drank (Seattle PI)
Many drunken drivers in Seattle had their last drink in Pioneer Square or Belltown, and cops say dozens of people arrested for DUI said they had their last drink at Northwest casinos.

Car Stereo Thrown Through Lawrimore Project Window Last Night (Seattlest)
After the art walk last night, a car stereo was thrown through the window of Pioneer Square gallery the Lawrimore Project, says Jen Graves at the Slog.

Notes From The A&E Editor: First Thursday & 619 Western (Seattlest)
As Johnny opened a new bottle of red for me, she talks to me about Local 619, a group of about 45 artists at the 619, whose goal it is to find a permanent, publicly owned, arts space in Pioneer Square.


After Art Walk Last Night, Somebody Threw A Car Stereo Through the Window of Lawrimore Project (SLOG)
The gallery had just opened the first sanctioned solo exhibition of nationally peripatetic street artist Read. Were the haters protesting the art? Lawrimore says he has no idea. They didn’t steal anything. If they were protesting graffiti with an act of vandalism, that’s some oxymoronic business.

San Francisco’s parking experiment — Will Seattle be next? (Seattle PI Blog)
This month, San Francisco plans to launch an experiment in variable rate parking, where “rates at curbside meters in the project area will be adjusted block by block in an attempt to have at least one parking space available at any time on a given block” SFGate reports.

Attend an economic roundtable with the Port of Seattle

April 8, 2011  |  Call to Action, Event, PI  |  No Comments

As a part of its Centennial Celebration, the Port is engaging with citizens via roundtables to gather feedback about its role in the community and to support conversations with influential community members and Port officials. This event is the second of seven roundtables and will focus on creating economic opportunity in the state of Washington. The Port is particularly interested in getting feedback from the local community.

The event is Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at the Port’s HQ on Pier 69 (Directions found here) from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Port of Seattle Economic Roundtable Panelists:

* Jeff Marcell, CEO, EnterpriseSeattle
* Phil Bussey, CEO, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce
* Ron Hildebrandt, President, Trident Seafoods
* Ryan Pennington, Public Relations Director, Washington Wine Commission
* Lisa Cohen, Executive Director, Washington Global Health Alliance
* Tom McLaughlin, Executive Director, Center for Advanced Manufacturing Puget Sound (CAMPS)
* Dave Gering, Executive Director, Manufacturing Industrial Council of Seattle

Various social media activities will be happening at the event, including a live twitter feed that attendees will be able to interact with (follow #PortSeaRT for updates), pre-established check-in locations (Foursquare and Facebook), and a Facebook note to recap the event. You can RSVP to the event using this link: