May 31, 2008

Lots of activity at Deano's site on Saturday

Jim Mueller and another photographer were busy documenting the mural (featuring paintings of Dean Falls and other Central Area celebrities) in the bar at Club Chocolate City, prior to demolition.

I showed Jim the persistent lake in the street outside the Madison Inn work release building at 21st & Denny. A neighbor has dubbed the water "Lake Denny". The "lake" half-fills the street on rainy days, and makes pedestrian travel impossible. We've had no success in getting the City to follow through on promises to make the lake go away: maybe Jim will have better luck.

Jim agreed that it would be useful for him to host a public meeting, similar to the one he held at the Central Cinema about the 23rd & Union project, to share his plans for his two projects on Madison, and to hear our concerns.

Dean Falls and helpers were removing assorted useful items from the bar, including a cooler for Mr. Falls' farm. Darnell Parker, the former manager of Club Chocolate City bid me a cheerful "Good Morning", but I didn't get to hear what he was up to.

I got to return to Dean a book he'd lent me a while ago: "Let's Take a Walk: A tour of Seattle's Central District as it was then: 1920's and 1930's". In the book was this picture (courtesy of the Black Heritage Society of Washington State), showing the site in the 1950's when it was Aaston's Meat Market and Grocery.


Strung out Yoda said...

Andrew, amy more news that the demolition re: development?



Anonymous said...

My architect neighbor has talked about how great it would be if Mueller could save that corner brick building and reuse it as part of the development (and I agree). She emailed Jim and asked about that possibility, and he replied with a "no", but that he had looked into it, and that it would involve expensive cleanup of toxic stuff under the building, and also someone in the past sandblasted the exterior too much (?) and so that would be very expensive to restore as well. Too bad -- I could see that corner being a great anchor business like a gastropub or hip restaurant.

Sean said...

I was hoping that at least the facade of that building could be saved. That section of Madison is going to go from nasty crime ridden area with lots of character to boring multi-colored apartment/condo-ville that everyone just drives through. I wish there was something in the middle. That being said, I don't think Jim is just making excuses with the brick facade, it is in poor shape. Oh well. Hopefully something is done to make the street scape more cozy than the safeway building.

I think it is worth mentioning the trees on that whole block, both sides of the street. They are much more mature than any other block of Madison, and form a very nice canopy. I think efforts should be made to keep all of the trees. It should be possible since they are all very close to the street, not the properties. It takes decades to get to that point with new trees.

Andrew Taylor said...

Monday. A neighbor notes: "well, today we're seeing furniture moved from the blue house and small bulldozer runnin' around."

Andrew Taylor said...

Jim Mueller notes: "Of course the street trees will remain unless the city forces us to remove them - they are still trying to denude Madison Park."

Sean said...

According to Andrew's pictures of the Safeway construction posted 6/5, there used to be some large trees lining Madison on that block. Now there are some tiny replacements. Did the city require those to be removed, or was that the choice of the developer?

Andrew Taylor said...

City required them preserved. Developer cut them down and paid a fine. Claimed confusion/miscommunication/whatever. Neighbors saw the tree-cutting in progress (tree were green tagged?) and called police but it was too late.

Anonymous said...

I am seriously hoping that the he throws out the courtyard / mansard roof design seen at earlier design reviews. Something about it just doesn't 'fit' the neighborhood. It seems that something with brick and a flat roof could be a throw-back to the history of the site…just don’t make it look like the Safeway .
It would be wonderful if such a visible corner received a higher quality design. The Planned Parenthood building (as well as a few other buildings including the office building on 20th & Olive, and 19th Ave. Lofts) seems to provide a nice thread of consistent character in the area. Maybe he'll hire Mithun (Planned Parenthood architect) to work on it (they are doing the other projects he is currently developing including the existing Twilight Exit site). It seems like this could be a chance to give the neighborhood a tighter sense of character.