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A Tale of Two Fishies


Belltown residents still mourning the loss of their beloved Flying Fish restaurant, rejoice! Some new venues are set to fill their former space at 2234 First Avenue, and it’s all good!  Marcus Charles has leased the entire space and will convert it into a café, butcher shop, cheese counter and produce store. The project is called Local 360, so named because it’s Charles’ goal to have nearly 90 percent of all products sold originate within 360 miles of Seattle. Local 360 will be the general contractor and Mallet Inc, a Seattle design and construction firm whose track record includes Café Presse, Spinasse and Stumptown 12th Avenue, will be the designer. The Local 360 venues are scheduled to open in December.

If Marcus Charles’ name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s quickly turning into a Seattle legend. Over the last 14 years, he has owned, operated, and consulted on a number of entertainment / retail properties, including The Capitol Hill Block Party, Neumo’s, Raven’s Brew Coffee, Spitfire and Marcus’ Martini Heaven, among others.  He not only is owner of the JuJu Lounge, but as a partner of the newly remodeled Crocodile Cafe, was instrumental in helping to reopen this Seattle music institution.  Both venues are located in Belltown, check them out!


And now we move to the fish that swam to South Lake Union.  Renowned Seattle chef and restaurateur Christine Keff moved her wildly popular Flying Fish restaurant to 300 Westlake Ave North (corner of Thomas Street) in May 2010. Flying Fish is a sitdown restaturant and bar, open for lunch and dinner. Their private dining area, the Tobiko Room, seats up to 36 for lunch or dinner and up to 70 for a cocktail party or buffet.  Flying Fish also hosts culinary events such as the Annual Oyster Frenzy and Keff, a James Beard Award winner, also conducts cooking classes at the restaurant.


The move to South Lake Union also allowed Keff to join a trend of established chefs opening smaller, more accessible spaces adjacent to their primary restaurant.  On the Fly opened in August just around the corner at 950 Thomas Street.  It features a lighter side of Flying Fish such as take-out lunches, espresso and pastries, a wine market featuring Washington and international wines, and local artisanal goods.  On the Fly shares Flying Fish’s kitchen and staff, and allows Keff to personally interact with customers, as well as share cooking tips and recommendations. More than 300 titles from her personal cookbook collection are on display, and she encourages patrons to peruse her favorite recipes. She and her staff do the same when planning the ever-changing menus.

We hope you venture to South Lake Union to enjoy one or both of Keff’s restaurants if you haven’t already, and we’ll keep in touch with you on the progress of Belltown’s Local 360.

Mercer Street and I-5: Closures, Noise and More!


Over 80,000 vehicles use Mercer Street daily. In planning its massive renovation plan, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and its partners determined that nighttime and weekend work was necessary to keep the project on time while minimizing public impact.  SDOT recently filed a Major Public Project Construction Variance (MPPCV) allowing them to work during those hours as well.  Currently being planned:

 Mercer Street lane closures on weekdays:

  • No lane closures allowed from 6 – 9 am, and from 3 – 6 pm
  • Single lane closures may be allowed from 5 – 6 am, 9 am – 3 pm, and  6- 7 pm
  • Weekday multiple lane closures may be allowed from 7 pm to 5 am

 Mercer Street lane closures on weekdays/holidays:

  • No lane closures allowed from 2 – 6 pm.
  • Single lane closures may be allowed from 6 pm – 2 pm the following day
  • Multiple lane closures will be allowed from 7 pm – 1 am

 Interstate 5 ramp entrance and exit ramp to and from Mercer St closures as follows:

  • Sunday to Thursday from 11 pm – 5 am
  • From Friday at 11 pm to Monday at 5 am

 Timing will be adjusted due to special events like Bumbershoot, the Seafair Torchlight Parade, and victory celebrations for the Seattle Storm. 


Nighttime noise- limiting measures:

  • All trucks performing export haul shall have rubber bed liners.
  • All backup warning devices shall be either broadband or a live backup observer.
  • Hospital grade mufflers and silencers on all diesel powered equipment.
  • Lighting and equipment such as generators, air compressors, etc. shall be directed away from oncoming traffic and buildings, and have mitigation shields if necessary.
  • Radios will be used for all long-range communication.
  • Any material or debris on the pavement shall be removed by hand or by sweeping. No scraping type of equipment or activity will be used to clean pavement surfaces.
  • Moveable local noise barriers 10 – 12 feet in height, plus noise curtains will be put in place.

SDOT outreach staff will ensure the public is kept aware of any changes affecting nighttime noise levels, and that all inquiries and complaints are responded to.  A Construction Hotline has been set up and will run 24/7 as a single point of contact, and that number is 206-419-5818. This SDOT link on the Mercer project carries a lot of information including timelines, maps and construction details.

McGraw Square Renovation Underway


The McGraw Square renovations officially began on September 24. One of the smallest parks in Seattle, it is located near the Westin Hotel at the intersection of Fifth Avenue, Stewart Street and Westlake Avenue. This project permanently closes Westlake Ave between Olive Way and Stewart St to create a transit, bicycle, and pedestrian-friendly plaza at the current terminus of the Seattle Streetcar South Lake Union line.

The goals of the new, centrally-located plaza are to make walking and biking through north downtown safer and more comfortable, while improving the transfer abilities of the Seattle Streetcar, Monorail, light rail tunnel, and major bus routes. The project also seeks to better connect the South Lake Union and Denny Triangle neighborhoods to the existing retail core, offering a “sense of place” to help orient new housing and promote economic development.

Just follow the numbers. The McGraw Square Transit Mall renovations include:


1. A second streetcar platform to improve rider access to/from the new plaza

2. Integrated transit shelter/covered bicycle parking for up to 10 bikes

3. Landscaped rain garden to infiltrate majority of stormwater and reduce runoff entering the sewer system

4. Illuminated seat walls with signage, to act as gateway for Westlake Hub

5. ADA access, lighting, and seating improvements near the historic McGraw statue

6. Inlaid, energy efficient (LED) light tiles as part of a comprehensive dynamic, colored lighting scheme

7. Salvaged granite pavers for detailing, taken from overstock of original Westlake Park installation

8. New street trees to replace (two-for-one) those being removed near McGraw statue; new large specimen trees to anchor Westlake Ave terminus

9. Oversized curb ramp, utility connections to facilitate mobile food vending and plaza programming

SDOT is also considering converting 6th Ave between Virginia St and Westlake Ave to a two-way operation (and to relocate the charter bus zone), with the Westlake Ave to Stewart St approach reduced to a single southbound lane. The Seattle Streetcar and buses running along 5th Ave remain in full service during construction.

McGraw Square is named after John Harte McGraw. This grocer from Maine was a Seattle police chief, harbor master, fire warden, King County sheriff, and Washington State governor from 1893-97. The designer of McGraw Square and its completion date are unknown, but it was influenced by the famous park plan that John Charles Olmsted of the Olmsted Brothers firm in Brookline, Massachusetts drew up for Seattle in 1903. Their vision of the Seattle park system was to celebrate, showcase and protect Pacific Northwest landscapes while providing residents and tourists with park access and recreation.  

The McGraw project is also part of the City’s larger Center City Strategy to make Westlake one of three transportation “hubs” serving downtown (with King Street Station and Colman Dock). Construction of the plaza project is expected to be completed by Thanksgiving 2010.

The Grand Opening of Lake Union Park



How long does it take to turn garbage into gold? The answer is 20 years.

And that’s really true. Back in 1990, serious attention was turned towards 12 acres of prime Lake Union property filled with contaminated soil and degraded seawall. It also contained tons of garbage, creosote piles, concrete and asphalt debris. A great deal of vision, paired with a groundswell of community support, would be needed in order to polish this polluted land into a true Seattle jewel.

And 20 years later, what a jewel it is!  Those 12 acres of land is now Lake Union Park, a world-class waterfront park on the south shores of Lake Union. It will have something for everyone. Environmentalists will marvel at the restored shoreline and the returned habitat of turtles, salmon, heron and native plants. History enthusiasts will enjoy the History Trail throughout the park. Outdoor lovers will enjoy the trails for walking, jogging and biking. There’s also a pedestrian bridge, waterfront boardwalk, terraced steps at the lake’s edge. There is a beach for hand-launched boats and a model boat pond. A place to have a picnic?  There’s a tree grove with tables and benches. Things for kids to do?  There’s a 300-foot long interactive fountain, a great lawn and sculpted landforms to play with. The park has a streetcar stop for commuting convenience.


 The pre-dedication festivities kick off on Friday evening, September 24th with a lavish dinner dance. The “Green Tie Gala.” will introduce civic, business and philanthropic leaders to the beauty of Lake Union Park. On Saturday, September 25th, the real party kicks in from sunrise to sunset (7 a.m. – 7 p.m.) and you’re invited!  The community-wide celebration will begin with sunrise yoga and a family Fun Run. The ribbon-cutting ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m. Live music, a fitness field, parade of Seattle mascots, maritime activities, History Trail guided tours, kayak and paddle board demonstrations, and ample food and drink will set the stage for a great day in the park. All activities are free of charge.

Seattle Parks Foundation is a private nonprofit organization working to improve, expand, and create parks and green spaces, building a more vibrant community. Founded in 2001 to bring new resources to Seattle’s park system, Seattle Parks Foundation has completed 30 park projects and secured more than $29 million for parks and green spaces in Seattle. Lake Union Park was specifically chosen as its first major project because of its central location, a need for green space in the downtown area, plus the project’s amazing partnerships with The Center for Wooden Boats, Museum of History and Industry, The United Indians of all Tribes Foundation, and the City of Seattle.

Lake Union Park is located at 860 Terry Avenue. For more information, please visit their website. Come to the park, and come to it often!

One of Belltown’s Finest Restaurants Relocating to SLU

January 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Enso, Featured, Lifestyle, South Lake Union

If you’re a downtown resident, then you may have already heard about plans the Flying Fish restaurant has made in regards to moving to South Lake Union.  If you’re not from the area, The Flying Fish is probably one of Belltown’s last remaining fine dining restaurants.  In a recent article in the Seattle Times, chef Chris Keff explains her motivation to seek a new lease elsewhere.

That’s a far cry from what’s been happening in Belltown, Keff insists, where the bar scene has overtaken the dining scene and movement and closures continue unabated. (Recent deaths include Belltown Bistro and Cucina De-Ra, and several high-profile restaurant spaces remain on the market.) In Belltown, Keff says, “You’ve got a lot of small landlords who never get together to have any say in what happens around them. And before you know it, things have gone to hell”.

With Enso doing as well as it has, and with every visit to SLU seeming to always have a new discovery, the Flying Fish is expected to thrive at the modern built location.

Although South Lake Union has yet to fully develop, the neighborhood is certainly more than it used to be just a couple of years ago.  Although it’s still very quite at night, it shouldn’t be more than a few years away before SLU opens the first plant/lamp shop.  In the meantime, the Butabi brothers are planning on meeting with Mr. Zadir about opening only the coolest club in Belltown once the Flying Fish relocates to the Westlake/Terry building sometime around May.


Marselle Photos – 1 Bedrooms, Townhomes, plus Amenities

So far, the Marselle has achieved 11 sales and two pendings.  The units themselves are pretty nice, with location only three blocks from the city center.  highway-99-tunnel

There’s 2 types of units that we expect to be very popular at Marselle.  The 1 bedroom plus sizable den, and the townhomes are very nice.  Here are some pics of their modeled 1 bedroom + den:


Stainless Appliances & Granite Countertops


Large Den at Entry


Gorgeous Hardwoods

Bedrooms Have Large Windows & Full Bath

Bedrooms Have Large Windows & Full Bath

Full Private Bath

Full Private Bath

As mentioned in a post from our first visit, the townhomes are also a splendid buy.  We took pictures of unit #705, which is just under $650k.  The 2 bedroom plus den has soaring ceilings and a full on view of the Space Needle from the living room and bedroom, in addition to its own rooftop terrace access.  We sure would love to see the view from that unit at night!  Here’s the pics:


Full View of Needle & EMP

Hardwoods Throughout Living & Kitchen

Hardwoods Throughout Living & Kitchen


Main Floor Bedroom w/ Lots of Light

2nd Story Den

2nd Story Den

2nd Bedroom w Rooftop Access

2nd Bedroom w Rooftop Access

Terrace Outside Unit #705

Terrace Outside Unit #705

As far as amenities go, Marselle features a game room w/kitchen, a fitness room, stretch room, and of course the rooftop terrace with a doggie area.

Secured Lobby Entrance w Water Feature

Secured Lobby Entrance w Water Feature

Game Room

Game Room

Fitness Center

Fitness Center

Stretch/Yoga Room

Stretch/Yoga Room

Rooftop Terrace w Doggie Pottie

Rooftop Terrace w Doggie Pottie

Marselle: A Building of Some Distinction

July 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Belltown, Featured, Marselle

marselle_neSince July 18th, a new downtown condominium project named Marselle has received three offers (two mutually accepted), and their first buyer will be moving in September 1st. The most popular floorplan will more than likely be the 1 bedroom with den which varies between 832 to 854 square feet for as low as approximately $420/square foot.

Overall, the homes are your typical new construction units with slab granite countertops, hardwood floors, and stainless steel appliances. Other than Marselle’s competitive price point, there are some additional unique features we thought deserved some recognition.

The first thing that stood out was how great the rooftop deck was. The sales agent challenged that it’s the only rooftop deck offering a top to bottom view of the Space Needle, but the deck also has four separate common areas for chairs, tables, and BBQ’s. One area in particular had what the agent liked to refer to as a “doggy pad”.

The reason the rooftop deck at Marselle can be referred to as having distinctive areas is because of the 2nd story of 10 penthouse townhomes. Townhomes have their own sliding glass doors offering access to the rooftop deck from the dens, and one in particular is already plumbed for a jacuzzi (which they’ll throw in with a full-price offer).

Contact us to check it out!

No Doubt ENSO Buyers Will Walk Away VERY Happy!

enso_smallThe brokers open was certainly shoulder to shoulder last night.  Sea Star even seemed to run out of sushi early, and everybody got a pair of free slippers.  So far, everyone seems to be impressed, and Matt points out some staggering numbers when it comes to pricing.  Current buyers are being contacted today and tomorrow to discuss discounted pricing that was mailed to them last month.  There’s really not much we can say that Matt or Ben hasn’t said already.

We do feel it’s important to give credit where credit is due, and that is to Vulcan for taking aggressive action in adjusting to the market.  We’re also happy that they’ve allowed us to come in and take pictures since it’s been difficult to do with Vulcan properties in the past.

The bottom line is that ENSO is (as if it hasn’t been said already) priced to sell.  Everybody agrees that the finishes are very nice, and the location is across the street from the already well known booming South Lake Union neighborhood.

We did head back today to snap a few shots of the 2-story loft where Williams Marketing agents will be fortunate enough to set up as their office.


2-Story Loft Living Room


2-Story Loft Kitchen

enso_loft_dining enso_loft_bed enso_loft_den

Amenities are limited, and HOA dues are still TBD.  But what ENSO does have is also very nice.  Buyers are looking at one of the larger club houses with an outstanding outdoor patio equipped with B&W outdoor speakers.  The fitness room is also not only well equipped, but incredibly spacious.

Enso Amenity Terrace

Enso Amenity Terrace

Here are some more photos we took of some 12th floor units, and one of the top floor penthouses.

If you would like to arrange a showing for any of these units, contact us to set up a time at your earliest convenience.

Rollin Street goes Rental

April 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Rentals, Rollin Street, Vulcan Real Estate

Matt Goyer at posted it first.  Please review the information on his site if you’re interested:

With Pre Sales At 25%, Rollin Street Going Apartments

Amazon Still Moving Along with 11 New Buildings in SLU

Construction has been underway for some time, and Amazon has recently reported that they’re not making any plans to get out of thier lease with Vulcan.  A spokesperson for Amazon confirmed that the company is looking forward to the move, making mention that it should be a good move for the company and its customers.  Mayor Greg Nickels predicted that there will be an approximate 20,000 people working in the South Lake Union neighborhood by 2012–double today’s number.  That can mean huge profits for those who have currently invested or plan on investing in downtown real estate.  It could also mean the opposite for those waiting to see if it actually happens.

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