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Pioneer Square: Body and Soul

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

rsz_dscf0372

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.

Seattle Heights: What Could be Coming to Your Backyard

February 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Seattle Heights

rsz_2625_prelim_designSEATTLE HEIGHTS RESIDENTS, TAKE NOTE!  We came across a news item about the 2625 Third Avenue project which should be of great interest to you. 

Originally, the current site of the American Lung Association was slated to make way for a 18-story building with 204 residential units above 4,000 sq ft of retail space.  Now, however, the developers are petitioning to increase the height to 26 stories, with 310 residential units instead.  Retail size would stay the same, with parking for 160 vehicles in five below-grade levels.

To the left is the Preliminary Design, and we have also attached the current zone map and zoning context maps at the bottom of this article.

If you would like to make your voice heard on the changes in this project, especially those Seattle Heights residents whose views may be impacted, you can attend a Seattle design review board meeting on Tuesday, February 22nd at Seattle City Hall, 601 Fifth Ave, Room L-280 at 5:30 p.m.  

Check out the February 22nd section of this meeting link for more information. Click on the Design Proposal area to download the 33-page presentation to be made on Tuesday evening.  The contact for this project is Sean Sullivan at (206) 624-8154, and the planner is Michael Dorcy at (206) 615-1393.

Zoning Map

Zoning Map

Zoning Context

Zoning Context

Downtown Seattle Zoning Map w/ Height Restrictions – updated!

August 18, 2009 by  
Filed under ALL CONDOS, Featured

Some time ago we had a client ask about zoning when the city had just made some changes, so we have now integrated it into our blog for general use by the public.  If you have any concerns regarding a possible loss of a view, this will prove to be one of the best resources for you!  For future reference you can find it under the “Search” button in our navigation.

View Zoning Map Here

View Zoning Map Here

And, just in case you missed it, we have another cool new search that allows you to view up to three years of sold history!  The best part about this feature is that if you create an account, you can also save sold properties to your favorites, then use them for future comparison when looking to sell. 

View Seattle Solds

View Seattle Solds