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Pioneer Square: Body and Soul

July 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Land Use, Lifestyle

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To say life is busy at Pioneer Square is an understatement!  From building rezoning to preservation, the changes now occurring in Seattle’s oldest neighborhood are fast, huge, and potentially historical.  With change, of course, come a few growing pains.

DSCF0370Pioneer Square is on the north end of what the City of Seattle deems “South Downtown”, stretching across the International District and over the Stadium District.  The City does not set official neighborhood boundaries, but the Pioneer Square zone is roughly bordered by Alaskan Way S/Occidental Ave S; S Royal Brougham Way; 4th Avenue S; and a little north of Yesler Way.  More on that later.

In April, 2011, the Seattle City Council ratified new building heights for South Downtown. Addressing concerns that area development was not keeping pace with the rest of the city, hopes were that the new height limits would spur construction and stimulate growth.  It got a little heated when the talk came to Pioneer Square. 

Developers and the Downtown Seattle Association wanted heights up to 180 feet (18 stories if you calculate 10 feet per story).  Preservationists argued that this would be way too high, and radically alter the face of Pioneer Square (also on the National Register of Historic Places).  Preservationists further stated that increased heights in surrounding neighborhoods would still draw people to Pioneer Square without threatening its culture and character.

Compromise was made.  Zoned as Pioneer Square Mixed, buildings may go as high as 100 feet as long as they’re not more than 15 feet taller than the adjacent buildings.  Some areas could rise to 120 feet (without the 15-foot restriction) when certain provisions were met. Part of the entire new South Downtown rezoning plan, these provisions include: Affordable Housing; Historic Preservation; Public Safety; Parking; Economic Development; and Walkability. 

Click on this Pioneer Square Zoning Maps link for a comparison of past and present zoning areas.  If you’d like a lot more detail, check out this City of Seattle Zoning map link, Areas 115 and 116.

pio sq bldgThe City’s recent focus on Pioneer Square began in June 2010 when it released a plan called Pioneer Square 2015, A Strategy for Seattle’s First Neighborhood. This link points to how we’re doing one year later

More changes are occurring to encourage growth in the area.  The City is now laying conduit under First Avenue for fiber-optic broadband internet, and Comcast has been selected as the service provider. Access begins in September. 

Businesses are giving Pioneer Square a second look, and moving in!  Two examples are Onehub, specializing in file sharing resources, arriving from Bellevue and Jones Soda, currently at South Lake Union, relocating near CenturyLink Field.

DSCF0373Pioneer Square’s legacy is important to the history of Seattle.  On the historical side, the Trail to Treasure was introduced in May, 2011.  Its goal is to bring the story of Seattle’s beginning to life through a walking tour of Pioneer Square.  There’s still much to do to complete the full project, but you can currently hit a number of stops (and some side trips) that helped shape the history and development of Pioneer Square, and Seattle/Puget Sound itself.  Pick up a free map at the Cadillac Hotel (which is also a national park) at 319 Second Avenue S, or you can download it here.

The Alliance for Pioneer Square is dedicated to promoting Pioneer Square’s history and its local/tourist destination. The Seattle Square, in Occidental Park, will run through the fall.  This outdoor market operates on Thursdays from 4:00-9:00 p.m with vintage and craft vendors, plus a rotation of food vendors and music.  Finally, catch Pioneer Square’s monthly First Thursday Art Walk.  This is the oldest and largest ArtWalk in Seattle, ongoing for nearly 30 years.

We’ll continue to keep you informed as Pioneer Square evolves—in both body, and soul.

Belltown Art Walk on September 16th

September 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Belltown, Denny Triangle, Lifestyle, West Edge

The next Belltown Art Walk & More begins at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 16th.  Make sure you pick up a flyer as you stroll about. It will contain coupons good for discounts and 2-for-1 offers at Belltown’s most popular restaurants and bars.  We’ve grouped these by avenue for your convenience.  For a map and current event information, check out this link.

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Western & Bell:  Mars Hill Church, 2333 Western Ave

1st & Blanchard: Vain, 2018 1st Ave

1st & Blanchard: Gary Manuel Salon, 2127 1st Ave

1st & Battery:  Form/Space Atelier, 2407 1st Ave

1st & Broad: Allure Salon, 2915 1st Ave

2nd & Virginia:  Whisky Bar, 2000 2nd Ave

2nd & Blanchard: See Sound Lounge, 115 Blanchard St

2nd & Blanchard:  Belltown Barber, 2219 2nd Ave #A

2nd & Bell:  Bedlam Coffee, 2231 2nd Ave

2nd & Bell: Roq La Rue, 2312 2nd Ave

2nd & Bell:  Damaged Goods, 2316 2nd Ave

2nd & Bell:  Stylus, 2321 2nd Ave

2nd & Battery:  City Hostel Seattle, 2327 2nd Ave

3rd & Wall: Belltown Video, 2500 3rd Ave

3rd & Cedar:  Street Bean, 2702 3rd Ave

4th & Bell:  Belltown Pull-Apart, 2308 4th Ave

4th & Bell:  Gilt Edge Society, 2312 4th Ave

4th & Blanchard:  Yellow Leaf Cupcakes, 2313 4th Ave

5th & Cedar:  Musadesign, 2617 5th Ave

Denny & Taylor:  In.Fringe, 100 Taylor Ave N #A2

9th & Westlake:  Art Not Terminal, 2045 Westlake Ave

9th & Blanchard:  Eleveight Salon, 2130 Westlake Ave

9th & Westlake:  Design Theory, 2132 Westlake Ave