Archive for September, 2015
By Beth Berube
The Kitchen by Delicatus is described as an experimental kitchen and event space. I describe it as something deliciously different in Pioneer Square.
On September 24th, the venue featured a French themed jazz night. I heard music on my way home, and stood in the doorway for a moment to listen. When the bartender saw me, he graciously invited me to sit and enjoy the melodious songs of Lady Delilah, a shapely chanteuse, dressed in a satin chartreuse gown. Patrons seemed to enjoy her selection of tunes by such greats as Josephine Baker and Edith Piaf. Although I did not sample the food, diners appeared pleased. The Kitchen has monthly events that can be found on their web site www.thekitchenbydelicatus.com.
by Courtney Crockett
The New Pioneer Square blog may be remiss in its responsibilities for not writing sooner about Save Our Square and the related dust up over a building proposal to replace the Old Seattle Parking Garage on the corner of S Jackson and Alaskan Way S. But it’s okay, this is an ongoing saga that becomes more interesting and important as it continues.
The backstory starts early in summer, when a group of concerned residents formed, Save Our Square in response to a proposed 120-foot-tall residential building at 316 Alaskan Way S. The scale of this development and its fit in our historic district are of key issue and SOS has support from several neighborhood businesses.
In July, following 18 months of debate over the proposed development, the Pioneer Square Preservation Board rejected the design with an unprecedented 7-1 vote against the project. Two weeks later, the city’s head of the Department of Neighborhoods, Kathy Nyland, unexpectedly overturned the board’s decision.
Last week, it was determined by the hearing examiner that the Department of Neighborhoods violated its own rules because it did not follow the law requiring a formal written opinion from the Pioneer Square Preservation Board. Rather, the department moved forward based on its own staffer’s written recommendation to ignore the board’s vote.
The Pioneer Square Preservation Board must now first approve then submit its written recommendation for 316 to Nyland, and is on the PSPB agenda for a meeting scheduled on 7 October.
Save Our Square adds to the increasingly important issues pertaining to historic preservation, new development, affordability and livability in Pioneer Square and Seattle overall. The question on my mind is, “Can Pioneer Square be funky and shiny at the same time?”
An article in Gawker How Amazon Swallowed Seattle, gives a personal account of how massive unrestrained development has essentially killed the middle class bastion that once was our wildly imperfect but likeable city.
And in Crosscut City May Dilute History in Pioneer Square, we are reminded of past battles to retain historic Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market which are fiercely relevant today. Knute Berger writes, “The rationale for saving Pioneer Square — promoted by (architect and activist Victor) Steinbrueck and others as early as the 1950s — was to revitalize our first urban neighborhood by protecting its historic character and making it work for art galleries, restaurants, clubs and the homeless. Its renovation has widely been hailed.” Indeed and yet, this success is the reason venture capital and large development projects are drawn to our neighborhood. Literally changing the landscape and figuratively, by pushing out independently owned businesses and resident artists most of whom weathered far more distasteful days than any recent inhabitant can fathom.
For example, the Seattle Times Real Estate Gold Rush Has Club Singing Blues, reveals that Highway 99 Blues Club, a great dive and outstanding blues venue in Pioneer Square since 2004, will not renew its lease this December when new owners will jack up their rent from $4600 to nearly $15,000 per month. Pioneer Square may not win by losing.
SOS and the proposal at 316 Alaskan Way S may be a test case for our neighborhood on how growth, character and community is managed in Pioneer Square. Stay tuned.
by Courtney Crockett
Brick and mortar shop, Velouria is so much more than your usual retail store. Specializing in small production and independently-made merchandise, owners Cat, Chika and Amanda are committed to Pacific Northwest artists, designers and makers, love knits and have a penchant for puns. Velouria is a great add to our neighborhood.
This Saturday marks their first year anniversary in Pioneer Square. To celebrate they’re throwing a party and want you to be there!
Join in Saturday September 26th from 2 – 7 pm.
- Tasty bites by The London Plane.
- Caffeinated refreshments by Milk & Coffee.
- Gift Certificate giveaways from several local favorites in the Square including: Elm Coffee, E. Smith Mercantile, Zeitgeist, Clementines, Cone & Steiner, Drygoods Design, Convoy Coffee, The London Plane, Caffe Umbria, Temple Billiards, Rain Shadow Meats and more.
- Plus a chance to win a $250 Gift Certificate to Velouria.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY VELOURIA!
Find Velouria at 145 S King St. Open Monday – Saturday from 11 -7 and Sundays 11 – 5.
By Beth Berube
If your travels led you through Pioneer Square yesterday, you may have noticed fewer curbed private vehicles and more public open space.
That’s because yesterday was Park(ing) Day. Every third Friday in September, a global make over takes place. Metered parking spaces are transformed into pop up parklets and Pioneer Square had nine of these lovely retreats. One of the parklets had a bubble making lounge. All of them afforded the public an opportunity to sit down and socialize without having to buy a cup of coffee first.
There is a movement to create more open space among urban congestion and Park(ing) Day draws attention to the value of inner city public space.
For more information, visit the Parking Day website.
By Beth Berube
When I heard there were rental apartments across from the pergola in Pioneer Square, I decided to take a peek. I live in a loft dwelling and when family members come to visit, I really need to have a backup plan if the walls close in on me. But, finding affordable accommodations in the downtown area is challenging.
Welcome to the Historic Apartments at Merchants Café and Saloon, where a one night stay can be had for the price of a pair of sunglasses at one of Seattle’s swanky hotel gift shops.
The apartments are actually above the Merchants Café. In 2013, Darcy Hanson rehabbed the dilapidated digs. She managed to retain their old fashioned charm by keeping the original doors and hardware and showcasing exposed brick walls. She replaced the old carpet with new wool carpeting, painted the walls and updated the kitchens. The units even have washers and dryers and, as of this year, air conditioning. Each apartment has a distinct personality. There is the red room, the green room, the pink room and the wagon wheel room. I may have forgotten a room or two, but you get the picture. My favorite is the wagon wheel room which overlooks the pergola and is very sunny.
Darcy told me that in the late 1800s, this building housed a saloon downstairs and the upstairs rooms were used as a brothel. As we climbed the stairs, she pointed out an alcove where a madam once sat behind a cage, sweeping up young men’s silver coins before directing them to the whoopee-making bedrooms upstairs. If you love old timey ambiance, you will not be disappointed. And if you are jonesing for creep, Seattle Ghost Tours make a stop at The Merchants Café. Google Merchants Ghostly Gal for the shuddery scoop.
The pros definitely outweigh the cons. The building dates back to 1890, so there is no elevator. Also, a couple of the rooms share a wall with Trinity, a dance club that throbs with music well into the night on Friday and Saturday. You may want to discuss this with Darcy before booking your room over a weekend. The other rooms are respectfully quieter. If you need assistance with your luggage, even late at night, employees at the Merchants Café are happy to assist you.
Lots of pictures and information can be found if you Google Historic Apartments at Merchants Café and Saloon or look at them in airb&b.
by RaNae Vodder
In a previous blog by Sarah Norton we learned about the Pioneer Collective and their innovative business. Today I stopped by to visit a pop-up store, UXIBAL that has taken residence there for the next week. It is great!!! I am a big fan of shoes so inspected all that they had to offer and ended up with a cute pair of Chi Chi flats! You can also browse a nice selection of sandals, unique bags, tall and low boots and be treated with excellent care by Britini, the founder of UXIBAL.
The story behind UXIBAL is a good one, it makes me proud to own a pair of their shoes. Britini currently lives in Guatemala but has strong ties to Seattle so returned to host this pop-up for a week. She is bringing high quality, hand made products to the neighborhood and is an example of how a small business can change people lives for the greater good.
I highly recommend that you take a break and go meet Britini while she is in town! If you find something you love, but it doesn’t quite fit, she offers to have a product tailor made “just right” and have it shipped to you in a couple of weeks. When was the last time someone offered to do that!?